Posts Tagged ‘stuff’

Is there anybody out there…?!

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

If you ARE here, and you DO read this blog – hello.

I don’t really know if there’s anyone left reading my blog after the Wibsite was down for so long, and then I was forced to take a couple of weeks off blogging as we didn’t have Internet/phone access for two weeks. SFR and France Telecom finally worked out what was wrong with the line, but in the interim I was left toting my bag full of folder round to various friends who let me use their telephone for my phone lessons. I also used my mobile quite a lot, but because the connections weren’t good – I couldn’t find a very good signal – the lessons involved quite a lot of loudly spoken, very clearly ar-tic-u-lat-ed repetitions.

“In the weekend, I work in the country” “No, Pierre, be careful with the pronunciation and tense.” “Uh? I didn’t hear” “Be careful with the tense.” “Uh?” “The TENSE – it’s in the past. I WALKED in the country” “I WORKED…” “No, WALKED” “WALK in the country” “Good pronunciation; but the tense? This is in the past, remember.” “Ah yes, I WORKED in the country”  (And breathe)

Of course, without internet access I couldn’t blog, or catch up with those blogs I like, or go aboard The Ship  – it was a revelation to me how much I do actually use the computer, when I would have said I didn’t use it much at all!! I certainly read more in the fortnight when we didn’t have the internet. Oddly, I’d have thought I would have crafted more, but no. Maybe I’ll do a little bit this afternoon – it will be my last chance for a while .

You see, I mightn’t be around much for the next few weeks as I’m going away to the UK to work during the summer. Readers who have managed to cling onto this leaky vessel of a blog might remember that I went to the UK to work last year, and wrote a couple of plaintive posts from Downe House, in the midst of the beautiful countryside around Newbury.

Certainly at the beginning, I found it really difficult, as the whole setup seemed maddeningly disorganised, with so much being dumped on the teachers who were just expected to cope. Now, I CAN teach “on-the-hoof” if necessary, but never feel comfortable doing so, especially in an unknown set-up, with students that are unfamiliar, where expectations are unclear and where I feel nervous anyway. I prefer to have everything very well planned and to know what I’m doing. Or at least have a vague idea. By the end of the five weeks, I sort-of knew what I was supposed to be doing, I was able to get stuff prepared and I felt infinitely better about the experience.

So much so that – hey! Look! I’m going back again! It is, I will admit, partly for the filthy lucre, as I won’t have much other work during the summer, and MrD hasn’t yet been able to find a job. But it’s an opportunity to do something a little different and to stretch myself a bit. I feel slightly better about it this year, because I know how the set up works: we won’t know until Monday what level we’ll be teaching, so there’s no point worrying about it. At the moment, I don’t even know what age group I’ll be teaching: either 7-10 year olds, or 10-13 year olds. Last year I taught the older ones, so there’s stuff already prepared that I could use; however, I think I would prefer the younger ones. But I guess it depends on how many children of each age range there are, so it’s wait and see.

I will have to keep reminding myself:

This was where my problems lay last year. I got worked up about stuff that, eventually, in the long run, didn’t matter. So, the kids ate their packed lunch when they got onto the bus. Well, they’re old enough to make the decision themselves, and if they are a bit peckish mid afternoon they won’t die from it. I don’t have to check up and tell them not to eat until lunch time. Over and over again. So, they swop with their friends and have four bags of crisps and three chocolate bars for lunch. Well, again, they won’t die from it. I’m not their parents; I’m actually not that responsible for checking up on their diets for a fortnight… So, they get a bit rowdy at times – I do not need to wade in with my size 7s and yell at them as though they were in school. Yes, I need to quieten them down, but try to be more gentle and humourous about it. I was far too strict, far too disciplinarian: they need boundaries, but they also need to be able to enjoy what they’re doing and StormTrooper-Teacher Dormouse isn’t necessarily the way.

Whether I will be able to go from wound up to laid back I don’t know. But I’m going to try.

I’ve already planned the Gastronomy workshops for the whole five weeks – I’m hoping that I’ll be able to lead the Gastronomy workshops again which I enjoyed very much. (Although the first week was rather chaotic and terrible, I think I got the hang of it quite quickly!) Last year, I knew before going that I would be leading the Gastronomy workshop for the 10-13 year olds, and I’d be there for 5 weeks. This year I don’t know which workshop I’ll be leading, I don’t know the age group and I don’t know how long I’ll be there. Ho-hum.

I’ve also packed all my resources for 7 – 10 year olds, so I do feel at least VAGUELY prepared…which makes me feel less panicky. I’m even taking my popcorn maker. I reckon that if I am taking Gastronomy it will be useful; and if I’m not, I’m sure that I can use it in the less frenetic afternoon sessions with my class – we can make popcorn, make bags or boxes (following instructions! Working collaboratively!) and then eat it! Maybe design a poster on the computers as well. If nothing else, I can bribe them with popcorn, in a similar manner to Pavlov’s dogs!

or alternatively:

Just as a little reminder for me, of the sweet kiddies from last year, here they are at Warwick Castle

IMG_1277

Woohoo!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

I’m home again!

The last week at Summer School was harder than expected – several of my closest friends there had left, and those remaining were tireder than we’d expected (should that be “more tired”? I think so.) but we struggled through. The final evening was exhausting though as we had to pack everything up into boxes, and take them down to the storage area. Most of the female teachers were right pissed off as two of the guys had disappeared off the face of the earth just when heavy boxes needed to be lugged about.

“Oh, I thought we were doing it after dinner” one of them said, when challenged. Funny that, nobody else had that idea…

Anyway, it was done and dusted by about 9 pm so we hauled our weary bodies down the 20 minute walk to the pub…but we were really too knackered to celebrate very much. The pub landlord, bless his cotton socks, gave us four free pizzas to share – that shows how much business we must have brought in over the five weeks!! – but by 11.00 I was dropping, so I walked back to fall into bed by midnight.

On Saturday morning, I was being given a lift to Milton Keynes, so I was able to chill. Others were hurrying to get trains, but I was ready packed by 10.00, and just waiting for Chris. He took me to MK where I stayed overnight with friends: it was Gary’s 50th birthday party on Sunday, but unfortunately I’d booked my bus up to Liverpool…the party was just starting as I left for the Coach station. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay, but there you go!

Mum is doing very well, and healing nicely. She and Judy (my sister, who’d been staying with her) had done lots of things, and she is now getting fairly dextrous. Obviously there’s still lots she can’t do yet, but it’s looking hopeful that she’ll get much of the previous strength and movement back. Chopping and cooking are still too difficult, so I was on cooking duty, and we also ordered some food from this great site which is all in pouches and can be easily microwaved. A kettle that she could manipulate was also unearthed from somewhere, which has helped too.

I felt guilty leaving so early, having only stayed a few days, when Judy was there for three weeks, but mum insisted. She was going out yesterday evening, and going to stay with a friend at the weekend, so I probably wouldn’t have been much use, but even so… Maybe I can go back again later, I don’t know. She did point out that she’s doing most things for herself, and that she is learning to accept the help of others.

It’s interesting that it is this she’s had a lot of problems with – and I can see it in myself too. She has not been able to accept that when people have offered lifts, or to go shopping with her, or to cook, that they really want to help. ” I don’t want to impose” she says. Judy pointed out (psychologically clever) that, in accepting their help, Mum will help them to feel useful and good about themselves… I’m the same when laid low with backache: I really don’t like asking for help, even if it’s only asking Mr D to make me a cup of coffee. I don’t like to impose…

I also drove her about a bit – shopping, to physiotherapy, to Southport etc. I took my tablet into Currys, which is where we’d bought it. It was declared DOA, but unfortunately it would take too long to send it away in the UK. We have a French number to ring, so that will be a job for me to put off for I don’t know how long!!

And then yesterday, it was an early get up to take a taxi to Manchester airport…I decided that with my heavy suitcase and handluggage I really couldn’t face trains. Which probably wouldn’t have been much cheaper in the end. The flights were short and I was home by about 3.30, as we stopped off to get shopping on the way home.

The kitties were pleased to see me and Bib sat on my lap all yesterday evening. Today I’m tidying up my bits, deleting 124 emails (mostly unwanted rubbish) , blogging (though I’m having a few problems readjusting to my French AZERTY keyboard!), and settling into being here again. I don’t start work until the week after next, so I can chill. Maybe make some cards and maybe not. I should try to get some walking in too, though my feet aren’t really behaving very well at the moment.

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Here is a photo of Bib that MrD sent me while I was away. She has lost her kitten-y bundle-of-fur look, and is now a “catlet” (a small cat) as opposed to a kitten. She’s still very cute though – _ç_ç_ç_ç_ç_ç_ç(that’s her, agreeing by standing on the keyboard!)

Ah well, on with the tidying. And ironing. I washed my clothes at mum’s but didn’t bother ironing them, as I knew i’d be packing them and they’d get creased. So now I need to think about ironing. Boo, hiss, sucks.