Monday, June 30, 2008

Confined to the bed

I can't walk for "four to five days". I can hop and I can crawl (!) but no walking. My ankle is badly sprained, but thankfully nothing broke. (I keep on being told of by Po for moaning about this, whereas I should be grateful...)

Isn't that the most ridiculous thing that you have ever read-- me not walk?! So you can probably understand my uncontrollable anger yesterday, as all I did was sit on the sofa and watch trash TV. Thankfully though, people had enough sense in them to put the football on which was disappointing in itself. Spain=Liverpool = ***** (in my humble opinion...). I think Euro 2008 hasn't had the same buzz to it this year because England didn't qualify, but there were still some great games played.

Today has been slightly better since I have decided to camp in my room for as long as possible. In this way I am out of everyone's way and I can use my own computer and at least do things that I want to.

Anyway, I have lost the thread in this post and will shut up now. I will probably be posting more for a few days because I can't exactly go out anywhere. Maybe I should watch Sweeney Todd yet again?!

PS: This was the first time that I had been to the hospital (as a "patient") since I was born, and my name on their records wasn't my name! It was quite amusing actually, being told that someone with the same date of birth, address and surname at me is on the record, but it's not me.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ice-skating

Ice-skating has one very important element. If someone doesn't have this thing then they shouldn't even bother putting skates on. This main element happens to be balance.

You also have to have some sort of brain, which is where I failed. Yes, today I went ice-skating with a group of many people and a friend. I was looking forward to this challenge and wasn't scared of falling down. As we put our skates on I got talking to two women who seemed to be recovering from a fall. They were very nice and one was very perceptive and realised what kind of a bean I was! (I was pleasantly surprised by this).

Ice is very hard in case you were wondering. It doesn't hurt at first, but when it's your twentieth fall, your elbows are in tears and your hand is vibrating with pain. And when you get to thirty falls your body hates you as you refuse to give in. I was unsurprisingly rubbish on the ice, and I must say that the damn people on the TV make it look so easy! I am a person with no natural balance. I bounce from A to B and so on, but I am not balanced. Falling over my own feet is a very normal thing for me, as is not walking in straight lines. Well I always like to throw myself into things without much thought, which isn't always good. I did manage to get round once without falling but that was because the two women who I had spoken to at the start saw me sitting on the ice, taking my sweet time getting up, so they helped me around.

It probably won't come as a surprise to you when I say that my thirty fifth fall was a gruesome one. When you normally fall your body spreads out, and your limbs come out. This time round my leg became trapped under my body causing uncountable pain to my right angle (it sort of twisted back on itself). I knew straight away that I was in for it. Everyone around me was obviously laughing, for they thought I would get up again as I had done so the previous billion occasions. But that wasn't to be. I couldn't move my leg. Then the laughter stopped. As the pain coursed through my body, I managed to drag myself of the ice, despite everyone telling me not to move. I then lay in a semi safety position as the pain increased. It was numbing.

When the guys with the green jackets came (i.e. their first aiders) came, a crowd had formed. I was rather embarrassed, but I'll tell you a little secret. When something out of the ordinary happens my mouth never shuts up. I can't help it, but all I did was talk a lot of random nonsense as I was moved to a room on the right. The first aid guy commented on this and when someone from my group asked how I was, he had replied with "well beans is talking....".

I am going to A&E tomorrow morning, because I was foolish and thought that the injury was like last time and I would be able to walk in an hour or two. On the coach I had reassured everyone I would go as soon as possible, but that was half heartedly. I can't walk anymore because I can't apply pressure to my right foot. The slightest pressure results in searing pain, so I have to keep it still and in a certain position. This is bloody annoying because since I've come home I have been lying on the sofa downstairs, watching random nasty stuff on TV which I can't control. I don't log onto my blog on any other computer, so this post had to wait until I crawled upstairs to sleep. Tomorrow I'll just stay upstairs...

I am even more frustrated because I was hoping to go into university this week but I don't know if that's possible any more... I could hop to the AT building as I have been doing around the house, but my left leg starts hurting after a short while. (I can't crawl really can I!) It's quite funny how some people were concerned whereas I was very angry. Angry because I hate sitting in one place and sitting still. As long as it gets slightly better so I can at least walk, I don't care. (Which is looking unlikely).

As I was sprawled on the floor, the woman I had spoken to at the very beginning had looked down and said: "Trust you to go and do this to yourself". Sigh, my elbows are ugly and bruised as is my back and knees. Tomorrow the pain will settle down and ruin me, but I am not too concerned about that. I am not complaining because I fell 35 times, sprained(?) my ankle and that I can't skate, but because I can't move fluently any more. I can't escape to my room because that will mean I don't want to go downstairs because it'll take ages and will hurt. It is very restricting.

I did get a lot of told you sos and rightly so. Stupidly I had got bored with hugging the wall and threw myself right into it. Ah well, the quote "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing" comes to mind, justifying my actions of course! I don't think I will ever be able to skate properly due to my reasoning above about me not having any posture or balance. My mum wasn't best pleased, but she made me a nice cup of tea and some food! (I felt guilty for being a git to her last week during my sleepless week).

This wasn't quite the celebration I had in mind, but if I didn't bruise easily and my ankle hadn't died it would have been quite cool. I wonder though, why some people didn't seem pleased that I had passed. Perhaps they were hoping that if I did as badly as I had initially thought/failed, then I wouldn't do four years. This is going to be a tough battle, but if I don't transfer onto the MMaths programme by December then I don't know what will happen.

Now that my exams are over and I have got my results, I should start posting more stuff on maths. My placement is over too (more on my lessons tomorrow) and I don't think I will going back the week after next if my ankle doesn't get better. The maths in this post will about the obviously fantastic mathematician I met on the coach. He's hoping to study Maths and Accounting at LSE/City next year, and he even went to my college! I don't normally give my details to people I don't know, but I gave my email address to this person "just in case". We had a few interesting discussions on maths and I recommended that he read books like Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh, before starting. His blank face at that was enough to put me off and make me wonder the following: If you were applying to study maths at university, shouldn't your college give you extra support and guidance or is that asking too much?

Anyway, I shall shut up now and watch Dr. Who before going to sleep. Let us hope that tomorrow is a brighter day.

Friday, June 27, 2008

An end to the sleepless nights.

Finally my placement at a secondary school has ended. The weight that has been making me shorter is no longer on my shoulders.

However there is another reason as to why my sleep should hopefully return. We got out exam results yesterday. How I did will obviously be dragged out in this post (what more can you expect from me?!) but they could be the reason as to why I have the cold/flu again. (I'm not really quite sure because it's early days, but my voice is going to go again...)

We were meant to get our results yesterday and we did. During the day I had sneaked a look on the self-service thing when the teacher had stepped out of the class, and they hadn't been online. After that due to the hectic nature of Thursday (which may be mentioned later), I forgot about results for a while as I gathered resources for my lesson. It was hard-ish for me to use the internet because I don't have a username on the system. Teachers sometimes leave their system running, which is how I checked my webmail during the first week. (When the teacher popped back in, I said "is it OK if I check my university email", to which I was told yes!)

Anyway, at 3:30pm, the end of the school day, I dragged my feet to the other maths teachers room and asked her if I could check my results. She said yes and I got to work. There were a few students in her class and I didn't realise that whatever I was doing on the computer was showing up on the whiteboard! I went on the portal and there were my results. Online. Murderous. Another teacher had walked in as soon as my results appeared, and distraught I had quickly clicked on the cross having seen something horrible. Grabbing my back pack, I had logged off and thanked the teacher before walking absently to some other department. The English one.

No one had been around and I found myself alone, sat at a computer. Without thinking twice and shaking slightly, I had gone to check my results again only to find the same depressing numbers staring back. There were a few positive delights, but the one that was killing me was the one I had been sure of passing. I had passed everything, but not in quite the way I would have liked. My predictions of logic, discrete and algebra being my worst three had been correct. They were my worst three.

Detecting movement outside I had logged off and sat in the dark, only to find a teacher looking into the room. "Is everything OK?" "No, I just got my results." And then began the discussion to make me feel better. It didn't work though, as the clouds outside roared and shed my tears for me.

Eventually I picked myself from the chair, and I decided to walk home in the pouring rain. (It was actually chucking it down yesterday!) Other people had different ideas, and I didn't have to walk far before I was home. My first steps towards the computer were prevented as I was dragged out of the house to accompany Nuno to an opticians appointment... and erm I've yet to arrange mine! Silence surrounded me. I can't have got that much in that exam. Surely there must be a mistake. Who can I speak to about this? Yes I was damn upset because I had never expected myself to be staring at such a result. "But you've passed everything" they all shouted, "Be thankful for that!" Oh, I was thankful, but without sounding like a git, I had been confident of passing my exams anyway, and this had caused a U-turn on that feeling.

The receptionist tried to talk to me but even she sensed the clouds wailing above my head, and went quiet.

I got home at 5pm, semi-soaked and lifeless. I no longer wanted to do a maths degree, and forget the fourth year, if I was struggling to get onto my third year what was that telling me? Serious thoughts about just getting my degree and running, coursed through my veins as I retreated to the computer again. I was down in the dumps--deadly depressed.Words of sympathy bounced of me and I wondered about how this could have happened and the what ifs.

Logging onto the portal for the umpteen time, praying for a miracle, one happened. My previous "failings" had disappeared, and a reasonable (but could be better) mark stood smiling sheepishly at me. My thoughts were thrown into a disarray, and people around me started laughing calling me blind for not having read it properly. I hadn't been blind before. I had checked it more than once and stared at it for ages, until I had the image forever embedded in my mind. The euphoria came but then so did the questions. Was this someone's idea of a joke, or was it a glitch in the system. I could not rest and be happy until I knew, and I sent an email out (with my sad and heartbreaking story!) asking for confirmation. Today at 6:30pm I received the reply to my email. I received the confirmation!

There had been a glitch in the system so the first result was to be ignored. I am honestly overwhelmed to hear that, and A happy to have passed my second year without the badly dodgy marks that I was banking on. I am shocked at one result indeed, but unsurprised at the three I mentioned above. Discrete was my worst, but forget being disappointed, I'm taking it!

This post doesn't make sense because believe it or not, I have now been awake for 24 hours (ish). For the past few days, as soon as I've been coming home I have been sleeping till 11pm-ish and then waking up for a while to a quiet house. Eventually I tend to fall asleep again at 2am and wake up again at 7am. Today though I didn't sleep after waking up at 11pm because I had them damn resource sheets to do for my project. My mum also forbade me from sleeping as soon as I got home because I had to get out of that horrible habit. Consequently I had a rubbish driving lesson, where I stalled occasionally and nearly drove into oncoming traffic. I need to GEAR DOWN when I slow down. I keep on forgetting so have moved off in third gear, only to stall the car.

I won't write about the SAS and my lessons in this post because my head is crawling onto my desk, with my eyes shut. Today I sleep, but tomorrow I rejoice (albeit slightly under the weather but what the heck!) I hope that everyone else received the results they were after. :) I am more relived that anything else, because considering the circumstances that I struggled through this year, I expected much worse! All that matters is that I passed, not as well as I should have, but I still want to do four years. (Which is most important at this moment in time!) I didn't meet my expectations (and missed a lower expectation too), but my panicky and despondent tales of woe have now been shunned aside, as relief of not having done too badly kicks in. I look forward to the next year now, hopefully not my final one.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Woken by a fellow mathematician

A non-mathematician friend of mine graduates tomorrow, from a different university to myself. My friend wanted me to attend the graduation ceremony (with my camera of course!) and was going to inform me if she managed to get a ticket for me. It would be cool to attend such a thing because my friend has achieved something phenomenal (considering her circumstances).

Anyway, as I once again crashed out on the floor after returning from school, I put my phone on silent nearby because she said that she would ring if she got the ticket. If that happened then I would have to try and cheekily arrange it with the school, to see if I could leave after lunch. (I would complete the half day sometime next week).

At 8:53pm (I think) the loud buzz of my phone, rudely woke me from my deep slumber. Snatching for my phone, I wondered why a mathematician was ringing me. I mean, isn't it the case that we have this telepathic connection which informs us when another mathmo has left "planet earth"? Answering the phone I was asked:

"Were you sleeping? Aren't you watching the football?" (As soon as I wake up, I can never sound like I've been awake for hours!)

My friend was having a bad day I suppose, but the hurtful question of whether I had planned for my lesson was also thrown at me (after I enquired about the score). I hadn't planned it but was intending on waking up erm... now (!) to do it. Anyway, a favour was asked which I remember only half of. Shall I now rudely wake my fellow mathematician? *cue evil laugh*

I don't know if I'm going to the graduation ceremony tomorrow, but it was another phone call which woke me up again. I'm going to plan my lesson soon and do the favour, and then design the resource sheets and then sleep again. A mouthful I know, but I can't sleep peacefully, and it was only because I was shattered that I slept during the evening.

Results might be out tomorrow, and I mention this because that word has made me ill. I have a revelation to make as well. I will be doing a fourth year as decided by my heart, however now we have to make this happen. I am not ready for teaching at this moment in time, and if I was to do it I would not have the right motivation. I say this because during this placement, I haven't felt that consistent level of enthusiasm as I should have.


There were no maths lessons for me today which is why my day was probably horrible. My shoulders were slumped, and the nice history teacher wondered if I was OK! I had thought that tomorrow was a Friday, and had been upset to hear otherwise. My brain doesn't want Thursday to happen.

I did help the maths teachers, but after some of them went to a course I went to the staff room and tried to do some work (unsuccessfully might I add). BT was OK today, and I mentioned to her that I would never shout at her, for fear of my head been bitten off! (Which I don't think she liked very much, but this other teacher seemed to agree with me too!)

The PGCE student whose leaving is bringing cake tomorrow. Is this foreshadowing of some sort? Perhaps I should let Steinbeck be a master of that, and stick to the maths myself?

It's weird but being stressed makes life difficult because you can't cope with certain things that you normally can. I recall nearly throwing in the towel for TGG when I was horribly freaking out after Easter, and strangely a similar sensation is coursing through my body now. I don't want to deliver tomorrows lesson and I don't want to do the resources. However if I don't then I won't get good feedback!

From the few positives of today, one is that a certain student said that if I don't support their maths lesson tomorrow, he won't do any work! Some students have actually become more nicer to me since the start, whilst certain year 9s remain evil...

Since I'm faffing about now, I might as well make some tea and get to work. Regardless of whether I get results tomorrow, I don't see myself being happy. :(

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Attachments

The shorter this post the better it is, but since I am tired and cranky I doubt it will be short. I am also going to let a lot of steam out here, so be warned.

Firstly I HATE people who become attached to you and don't stop clinging on to you. I am not that type of person you see, and I always need my epsilon neighbourhood of some sort (more on that later too!) I don't want to feel like I'm carrying someone in my backpack all the time. And when the backpack discreetly tries to impose itself on you then fireworks are likely. I am biting my tongue very badly because I know that sometimes a person is unaware of how "clingy" they are. Damn. In my life I have been a loner of some sort. Well I have my good friends, but even they understand that Beans is a drifter, a free spirit. I never like being restrained to one thing or "one group". Having wings is liberating in many ways.

All of a sudden I feel my irresponsible youth being drained out of me. "For Pete's sake grow up", is what I want to shout. Today though, I can't do anything. I am very stubborn by nature and sometimes notice the subtle things that people do, to try and make me do something. What is wrong with being on your own or going somewhere on your own? Good company is always OK and I always enjoy doing things with my friends, but CLINGY company is nauseating. Company which tries to "subtly" dictate matters is nasty.

I have to be nice though, which is hard. Oh to be misunderstood. I was subtle and said I hate it when people ring me all the time, and that I sometimes turn my phone off during the day. OK, perhaps not so subtle because not that many people do actually ring me--I exaggerated the matter to make a point. I deliberately leave my phone at home sometimes too. This has happened over the past few days and it is my own fault because I didn't realise who was climbing into my back pack. I'm not going to be mean and say that I am now carrying excess baggage, but you shouldn't become too dependent on someone else. That's just silly and wrong. I don't like it at all. There is nothing wrong with depending on someone for a certain thing, but you can't force yourself onto another person. You don't become friends or form relations over night, they develop over time.

That's one rant over, but somebody needs to make their own back pack I think, or walk slowly into mine.

The school day was not very great. Some Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) were in the staff room when I was, and they talked about the most erm.. silliest of things. Well things not for the ears of this bean.... Nevertheless, I realised that it is really hard when you have to work with some people who don't like you, and pretend they do. Today it came to my attention that BT had a misconception about me. She treated me "more harshly" than other people because she had an assumption based on silly views, which she didn't bother correcting. Her ignorance was settled yesterday, but still I am on the look out for her. These "adults/grown ups" don't realise that us students can pick up subtle signs. When one NQT said something mean to me, which I laughed at, she thought I was being dumb and that I didn't understand the dig that was being made.

Honestly speaking, I had always thought that every single teacher in the whole wide world was "nice". Well a nice person if nothing else. That was once again naive on my part. Why then do they show two faces? When BT was evil to me today, I asked her why she didn't like maths. She went on the defensive and declared: "Oi--don't you talk to me about maths, alright?" (Cue me trying to roll my eyes...) "I got an A* at school, and did and A Level in maths too." BULL is what went through my head. "So why do you hate maths that much?"

I mean I assumed she called mathematicians losers because she wasn't able to do it herself! Anyway, I say that what she said is rubbish, because to someone else she claimed that she got 5 As and 3Bs at GCSEs. This is not a big deal and I don't care about her results, because I hadn't even asked for them. They mean nothing now, but why tell two different stories?

The way some teachers have been trying to say silly comments to me, is the only thing which I have disliked about this placement. Some understood that my legs are different sized, so it may look like I am walking and running at the same time. However, they weren't evil/mean about it. The school is the right place for me because although I try to behave professionally, the child in me can run free. Sigh. It did slightly get to me today you see, perhaps because I am stressed and not sleeping well. If you don't like someone do you have to openly not like that person? My ambition now is to become a head teacher of a school if I ever go into teaching, and make sure that such teachers walk and run at the same time... *cue evil laugh!*

Ha, well actually I naturally am inclined to go for such a role because the politics in this school have made me sick. They are disgusting and that is one thing that I can't stand. When people no longer use their hearts or heads to make decisions or talk to a fellow human, but they go by the "book" which might be wrong and unfair, then something has gone wrong. My heart is definitely not into teaching at the moment because of the excess baggage that comes with the job. The best part of the day is only for at least three lessons, when you are hopefully switching light bulbs on. The rest of the job is rubbish.

OK, so two rants over and I still feel horrible.

Someone has upset one of my mentors--one of my role models. Naturally I don't know the big picture, but this has caused me unnatural distress too. I want to do something but am compelled to do nothing. I feel a sense of duty to come to my mentors aid, but it angers me to some extent that I can do zilch.

Is it generally the case that when one bad thing happens, a million follow? These feelings come and go as we face new situations, at different times of our lives. I have been a sponge absorbing it all, and Thursday will make or break me. Would you believe me if I said that once I came home from school, I actually had a fantastic time? This post was induced by the buzz of my phone you see...

The storm will pass, but I am going to make one thing clear to certain people: don't try and change me; that is, don't try to make both my legs even.

Did you know that Lord Voldemort "came back to life" on this day, in the fourth Harry Potter book (The Goblet of Fire)? So is it only me whose been affected by this dark magic that took place today?

Monday, June 23, 2008

"That was the best Maths lesson ever!"

At 5:30am my alarm clock went on and off in quick succession. My lightning reflexes meant that I could snooze for ten minutes. After this snooze my reflexes once again granted me another ten minutes of "snoozing", and this continued until 6am. It makes you wonder though, why the heck don't I just set the alarm for 6am instead?

I was waking up at that time because last night I was unable to do my lesson plan. My lame but non-fictional excuse is that I had a headache, and the slides just wouldn't form. Hence why "Plan A" came into action, that of me waking up early in the morning. My computer doesn't have Microsoft PowerPoint (and I haven't learnt Beamer yet), so I dragged myself downstairs to use my Dad's computer. Five minutes later I was "snoozing again" until 6:20am! So I should really have set my alarm for then...

My slides were made and my nerves were set. I got to school two minutes late and was relieved to see that I wasn't the only "teacher" to be late. This Monday (yes, it's a blimmin' Monday) follows from the longest day of the year, which was yesterday, and it was very very slow. My lesson was going to be after break and I decided to use the first two lessons of the day to print resources and put the slide show on the appropriate computer. Whilst doing this I was annoyed to find that the school had an old version of Windows Media Player,, and couldn't play the video I wanted to.

The teacher got the ball rolling with a starter, and then I was asked whether I would like to take the lead. I had a chance to chicken out. But I didn't. Gulping, I looked towards the kid who had loudly exclaimed "Not you again" when I had walked in, and I nodded my head.

The lesson was titled "Mathematics and Origami" and the objective was to have made a chatter box, paper boat and hexaflexagon by the end of the lesson. The first two were just a warm up so that the kids would be more confident when going on to make the 'hexa'. I was banking on a few kids knowing what to do, which seemed to be the case.

I did go slightly fast at times, and wasn't clear perhaps when giving verbal instructions, but thankfully the teacher was there repeating everything I did. (I hate the word edge!) The teacher made me to realise what I was doing wrong without saying anything, which was nice of her.

Steve was right--the kids had a ball. They did jeer a bit when we did the chatter boxes, but the teacher made them write maths questions inside it, which shut them up! The boat though was slightly more challenging and most of them were now fully paying attention. (There were two "gits" in the corner, who tried disrupting other people because they couldn't follow instructions, but apart from that everyone was participating).

This was a year 8 set 3 class and when we got started on the 'hexa' I noticed that most of them had not cut around the strip of paper "nicely". They hadn't folded it in half properly as well, which meant some unnecessary problems for later. This has taught me one thing: to do the cutting myself next time, but not the folding.

The teacher was an immense help at this stage, as she walked around the class and helped the students with their folding, when she herself was doing this for the first time too! The pictures on the slideshow were actually quite useful to many students, but the teacher later informed me that I show try to have more pictures of the intermediate steps. (Some did struggle to follow instructions).

Anyway, after the lesson (that overran slightly), the nervous and excited ball of energy which had been flowing through my veins throughout the lesson, finally exploded. I could relax now! Quite a number of students had produced a completed hexaflexagon which was great to see. They all walked out of the classroom positive, and those who hadn't quite completed it told me that they will see me at break time to do so. (They didn't come by the way, but one said he'll ask me in the maths lesson tomorrow...)

So, doing something different has paid off. One student told the teacher that the lesson on Origami had been the "best ever", which was nice to hear. It's only one student saying this, whilst five others are walking out in a huff binning their precious 'hexas', but I can live with that. I'm just glad that the lesson didn't fall to pieces and the students actually enjoyed it. (They have been doing construction work recently, and I was glad to see that a few students remembered the mathematics of drawing equilateral triangles).

As I drag this post out, I must say that today has been the busiest day of my life.

My link teacher wasn't here so there was a non-mathematics teacher on cover, and I was supporting. The year 7 lesson was a nightmare without my link teacher, for she has really got the class working for her. Because I ended up taking charge of the class, I didn't get to work with the SEN kids as I would have liked. One has finally opened up now, and tells me straight away that she's stuck.

The teacher was an assistant teacher (I think) and did not control the class effectively. It was mayhem at times and I was conflicted on what to do, but I ended up trying to take charge for they were all doing my head in! Some children in that class are desperate for attention and want you to hold their hand for each question. This gets annoying when five such students, at different corners of the class keep on tugging at you. I even had to use the whiteboard for the first time ever on my own, but thanks to a cool student I didn't make a mess of things. Sigh. Recalling this year seven lesson is giving me a head ache.

I shouldn't have to deal with student who have behavioural problems! One got really aggressive, for although he was on question seven and well on his way, he felt a need to shout "I don't get it" which vexed me out, and I told him so too. I'm not sure whether to believe him, when at the end of the lesson he told me he was joking... What these year seven students need is a lot of encouragement and motivation. I actually had one student get to question 23 and made sure the class knew of this!

Enough of that, let me just mention the year 9 set one class before I fall asleep. (It was my first time with them, but that was because it was being covered).

One point I noticed. The students in set ones don't ask for help from the teacher straight away. Instead they are confident to ask their neighbours and discuss problems until one has the"aha" moment. They only ever call for help when two neighbours are unable to resolve a problem, or when a group of four students get distracted and lose the will to continue tackling the problem. Students don't mind walking across the other side of the class to get assistance from a friend, before actually asking help from a teacher.

On the other hand, students from lower sets tend to copy their neighbours, as they are sometimes reluctant to ask for help. Some always have their hands stuck up for they want reassurance every time, whist many tend to start distracting others when they are stuck. With such classes you have to make sure that you are going around and asking the students if they are OK. (You do this for the upper sets too, but they just shrug you away).

I had a good time talking to a few students in the year nine class, as I let them take the mick out of me for finding maths tasty. Well they were doing pie charts and I mentioned how maths looks after mathematicians certain needs! I told them about the sandwich rule which they know from English, and the pancake function which caused one student to topple over... "What's the pancake function?" one asked, whilst the other gave him a poke with, "Stop asking more questions, it's a function which gives pancakes of course!"

They complained about how boring maths was, how useless it was and that it would never help them in the real world. One challenged me with: "So when you go to the shop, do you make an equation with variables to work out the change?"

This was a different and more welcomed challenge from the students, and I actually saw some motivated students for a change. One nice student even told me that I should be a maths teacher for various reasons, but for some reason my heart didn't react to this. This time next year I could be enrolled on a PGCE. Sounds scary doesn't it?

Since I have done the first lesson and it went OK, I am looking forward to the other two on origami. I have a starter tomorrow as well which should be trivial. I know that I haven't delivered on a "proper topic", but I might try doing so with the year 10s. I want to do this now and get the experience under my belt.

Enough of me now. I want to sleep.

PS: I just looked outside and noticed that it is still a light blue sky! I seem to have the lights switched off in my head and I'm sleeping in the dark, so that was a shock to the system. It doesn't matter though, for I can shoot some hoops now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What I have done this weekend

To make myself feel slightly better (even though I shouldn't!) I will rephrase that as "what I will do by tomorrow morning", namely because I have done absolutely nothing for the past two days.

Well I have watched football, crippled my back again, watched Dr. Who (more on that some other time) and erm... lots of other "productive" things which won't help me tomorrow.

I have a lesson to give tomorrow, and I have yet to prepare anything for it. I am hating this placement now, because I am badly stressed once again. Internally I am battling with my organs to process exam results stress (which contributes to my sleepless nights), and now this added stress is causing me premature hair loss (\hyperbole)! Technically speaking we should get the results next week, and that mere thought has my stomach clenched in worry. And then they ask me why I am not looking forward to my birthday. Well if they didn't ask me about the results and birthday in one breath, then maybe I could have given them a straight answer. Sigh.

It is ridiculous to think that I am feeling this stressed out. That school have worked me like a dog (in some instances, but let me add \hyperbole too!) which I think is unfair. How can they expect me to write up a whole batch of question sheets on my own? Oh, I forgot to mention, I haven't even got started on these and have to finish them by Friday. This is going to be a heck of a week. Three lessons and the resources, and I haven't got started on any.

For tomorrows lesson I am making a damn slide show. Well the idea is to stick pictures on it, about the various stages of making the hexaflexagons so the students have visual confirmation of the stages we are at. I will be doing the folding at the front, but for those who don't pay attention, something on the board might be useful. This shouldn't really take too long, so I should finish this sometime after midnight. Once I have done my first lesson on these, the other two lessons should be "easier" because I will just have to tweak the show a little.

I will have to leave work on the resources as a one big over night project...

On one hand I want to ask the school if I can stay till the end of the year, but only come in two/three days a week; and on the other hand I want to run as far away from the school as I can. My desire to stay longer is two folds. One is because I enjoy supporting the teacher and I am learning a lot about how I can improve myself as a teacher, and secondly because BT is organising a teacher vs teachers tournament of some sort, which I want to participate in. OK, this is childish on my part, but in this way BT and myself will be competing on equal and fair footings (unless she cheats which is very likely). Well I have to show the mathematicians that we're not really losers!! (This makes me sound like a "git" as I was told, but it has become really annoying now, being told to "get lost" or "shut up" that is.) I doubt this is going to be a football tournament though, which is unfortunate, however we would like many of the staff members to take part you see.

A question to any teachers out there: is it no longer allowed to organise a teachers vs. student game? Forget the fact that you wouldn't want to play against students because they're evil, but is this "legal"?

When I was at school we always had such games and only once did it become nasty. The teachers didn't like being booed at every move they made, which was their excuse for losing! Anyway, I heard that this is not possible any more but from a not very trustworthy source (so confirmation would be nice!)

Whoops. I better shut up now. The great thing about this placement ending is that I will be able to start doing some reading for my possible project, and get to work on my too adventurous TGG agenda. At the moment I have changed my mind about doing a double project and am only considering a single one. Let us see how long this decision lasts.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Teachers are Evil

Do you know how hard it is to think of a post title? Well I am starting this post with a blank title, and we'll see what we end up with.

Today was a tired day. I was tired, and as a matter of fact, my eyes are drooping. I should go to sleep, but I'm waiting for a blimmin' phone call. In the mean time though, I have been printing some things on number theory and having a heart attack. (Well there were these big ugly summation symbols, and they were eating up the integer parts to things! There were lots of subscripts too, which made me very scared as well...)

That was me talking like a four year old by the way. Well trying to, but unsuccessfully. My heart did jolt slightly and it still is "jolting about". Why do I always make myself think that doing a project is impossible for me? I have become too dependent on teachers, and this is my chance to "grow out of it". I will still have a supervisor, but this will be independent learning. I don't want to do a project any more you see. This is going to be swings and roundabouts, but I hope that I do decide to do a project by the end of summer. (I have chosen number theory, but foolishly perhaps.)

This three week placement has possibly done damage to some of the adventures I had planned for the summer. I know that eleven weeks are left, but I am annoyed because I forgot to do something which I should have done by now. (Anna probably doesn't care, and I'm hoping she's forgotten like I had!)

Wahey--when do I talk about my placement?

I had my evaluation session today and didn't get any "excellent" boxes ticked but all the "good" ones. Meh, I have a week to pick that up. It isn't really that big a deal but I think this will go in my portfolio so positive comments would be useful. Apart from that my objective for the last week is delivery, and I will be delivering three lessons.

The three lessons will be on making hexaflexagons and origami (hopefully). Well the "guinea pigs" are going to be the year 8 class on Monday, who I will team teach with the teacher. I have to plan the lesson and find cool black and white photos for the the hexaflexagons, so don't hesitate in suggesting any. If that lesson is a success I will have a go with the year 10s too, but this time the whole lesson. Finally, on Thursday I will have to teach a year 7 lesson and I can choose to do the same topic, but slightly easier. (That is a hexa, with only 3 faces and other origami). Oh, I have to do a starter activity on Tuesday for the year seven class, and I'm thinking about doing it on times table.

One thing which is really putting me of about teaching is the amount of paper work involved. It's 90% every other silly thing and 10% teaching, as was put to me by a teacher. For a lazy person like myself (ahem!) I can't see myself doing all the paper work... Hmmm. Hopefully I will be less lazy this weekend and plan two lesson, as well as doing the damn resource sheets.

I only had two lessons today, and one was year 10 set one. The lesson was on trigonometry and I wondered the following: we are told SOHCAHTOA, and we believe this. That is, we believe that sin x is opposite over hypotenuse, and so on. But where did this come from? The only thing I can tiredly say is that I know that tan x = \frac{sinx}{cos x} so the TOA makes sense.

Have I just missed something rather elementary here? I'm just trying to remember if I ever questioned SOHCAHTOA, or did I just believe it when I was told. If I'm making you cry by my stupid questions, then apologise, but a students question actually got me thinking about this and I was stumped on what to say.

Anyway, enough of that for now. The teacher in the class doesn't like me that much (I think) because I kept on making this bored student do questions later on in the book.... A student who go into trouble also told me not to be a teacher because "teachers are evil"! My "evil laugh" followed, but the student wasn't impressed...

Before I forget, I gave a small talk in form class today to the kids and it was nerve racking. Thankfully, I survived and this was partially because I have been in that class for the past two weeks and all the kids know me.

One week left, and I have successfully managed to drain the excitement that I had for the weekend. Teaching can be a very stressful job at times.

"You make Maths fun."

It seems that I am very easily pleased, but doesn't it generally make you happy when people/kids say nice things to you for a change? (Apart from when their voice is pitched differently, which means that they want something!) I was working with a group of year seven SEN children today, and at the end of their lesson one of them said that "I made Maths fun" (it's meant to be a capital "m" by the way, which I wasn't previously aware of but am now. Or perhaps I did know but forgot?!).

Anyway, we didn't get that far with the questions, but the teacher felt we had which was a relief! The topic had been symmetry, and they had really enjoyed it for it didn't require them to perform any calculations in their heads. I think the one thing which students can't seem to do nowadays, is multiply in their heads. It's either their calculators or the timetables written in their planners.

Some of the SEN children count on their fingers up to 62 and then lose count and give the wrong answer. Other year 8, 9 and 10 students also are very hesitant and slow at this too. I'm not talking about calculations like 27 times two, but trivial stuff like three times six. Or even two times four! Obviously this problem is more evident in the lower sets, but how can we counter it? (I was with a year 9 set 3 class today, and I wasn't enjoying some of the answers I was getting for basic arithmetic questions.)

More importantly, what can I do to help the SEN students in particular, with their times tables? At first the students were slightly hesitant to ask me for help (what with me being a new face) but I'm glad that apart from one, they all speak up now and "shout things out". I reassured one that even if he wants his answer checking, I don't mind helping.

I wonder though, whether the school has any Gifted and Talented students. I was told that in year seven set 1 there are quite a few students on level 6, but since I'm in set 3 I wouldn't know. Indeed, there aren't any in year 10! That's perhaps a bit short sighted on my part, but the year 10s don't have any drive whatsoever. The teacher would also be better at telling me which students are great at mathematics, for I haven't see any of their work. One student who is obviously bright, has never written anything in her book, and laughs when I encourage her to work! So there is an obvious lack of motivation it seems, which may be because they have sat their exams. (I wish the year 11s hadn't left, because they would have been doing some interesting stuff).

A student also apologised to me to save himself from detention! I naturally forgave him (well if I had held a grudge, he'd set his big brother on me, who happens to be bigger than me!) but he still got a detention so HA. Whoops, I should be more mature than the children now...

What I have learnt today: to think about what question I will ask the students when they say they're stuck, and to ask one question at a time. That is wait for a response and then ask a different question. You know what my posts are like and today, thankfully, I noticed that I was saying too many questions in one breath (which confused the student). But we started again and got the answer much to the dismay of the student, for he had already worked out the answers without showing his calculations. (I'm evil because I try to make them write words).

Nothing else happened, but the English teacher checked my article and got me started on my abstract (which I sort of spoiled). I always seem to tend towards the History/Geog?, English, Art and Science departments when I go on work experience, for I always look for opportunities to quiz the teachers about certain things. This has its benefits for then it is not only the maths department who know me, so I can be more relaxed in the staff room.

Dare I mention BT today? Well the war has started. It's two-two at the moment, and if stays like that I'm happy. [BT was mentioning that she didn't think much about people she knew from secondary school, and then she did something which reminded me of a friend from secondary school. I pointed this out to BT which she wasn't best pleased about, and gave me "the" look! In my opinion, when BT is getting all the attention she is over the moon. During my first week I think everyone was curious about me, and wanted to know more about what I did and where I was from, so she didn't like that. What else could it be? When no ones around she's OK, but as soon as a crowd forms in the staffroom, she turns on me!

Anyway I'm not looking forward to tomorrow for I will have to "make an excuse" which is going to be difficult indeed. You might remember that last week I was given worksheets to design for the students. I haven't even got started on these, so when my link teacher asks me about this tomorrow I'm going to say that I left my USB stick at home! I'm not going to say that I haven't done anything, or I have done so and so, but just that I will show her on Monday when I bring the USB stick. What say you? (Or maybe I should give her my evaluation form first and then tell her the truth?)

Something amusing happened tonight, but it is not worth mentioning in detail for various reasons... It is enough to confirm my weirdo status and link this old post. (Although, for some reason I feel slightly unburdened now!)

PS: I also have another idea for a Galois Group lecture thanks to Steve, but I have to be careful to avoid making it similar to the first one. If anyone one has any suggestions of their own, then please throw them at me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Miss, I'm dying!"

"Die quietly then."

That is just brilliant, and my link teacher actually said that with a straight face!

I have been hearing a lot of funny stories from some teachers, and I have my own little tales too (though not as funny!)

Shockingly I didn't post yesterday, because instead I slept like a baby. Yesterday morning I had been rudely waken by the doorbell, whilst the birds had twittered outside. In auto pilot mode I had opened the door to find a delivery man there. You don't want to see me when I've rudely been woken up by the way! My brain tends to be in neutral and I behave the way I do when I wake up at 2am for an exam. So I opened the door and blinked my eyes slowly at the man, trying to make sense of the situation. He did apologise for waking me up but it didn't register. I took the parcel and signed for it, but I had to write the time too.

"Do you have the time?" I had yawned.
"It's 6:15am."
"You're joking!! I have another hour of sleep yet!"

He had showed me his watch, which had definitely woke me up. Why would someone do this? It seemed that he had three deliveries to make by 7:30am, and we were luckily first! Pfft.

I did try to doze off again but the cold air had already woken me up. When I did eventually come downstairs for breakfast, an idea had hit me as I saw the parcel lying on the floor. "Perhaps it's a present for me!" I had wondered, as I sneaked a thorough examination of it. That wasn't to be though, for it clearly was labelled to my dad...

So that's a longer version of why I slept from 5:30pm to 11:30pm yesterday, and why I didn't plan my lesson successfully. One of the maths teachers really liked Steve's suggestion, and I have been "wowing" some staff with the flexagons too. The plan is that we are going to "team teach" a year 8 set 3 class on how to make them, but it should be Monday now.

Yesterday was a duh day anyway, and thankfully BT (bully teacher) wasn't here so I was OK. I had to observe an IT lesson, and although the teacher is great, I had no idea about what he was meant to be teaching the kids.

Now on to today. I was very much awake and fresh today due to my marathon sleep session yesterday (I had slept again at 2am), so I was able to deal with certain people. It's quite amazing how much you can learn by just observing how people interact in different environments. Now BT (who will always be referred to as that) is an OK person, but she doesn't realise that she is trying to impose "her position" on me. I am a "temporary member of staff" for three weeks, whether she likes it not, and she cannot treat me in the way she treats the children. Anyway, the best I can do is avoid her whenever possible and not talk to her (which I tried doing today). She only ever becomes a BT when certain other staff are there, which doesn't make sense to me.

Anyway, today I got talking to another assistant teacher which was bad because I didn't do any work during the period I was meant to. I don't think I will sit in the staff during my frees now, for I just get distracted by the conversations taking place (and the staff room is no place to work!) I was counting my days down before, but I am actually thinking about staying on for another week perhaps.

During my conversation with the maths teachers today (at a departmental meeting) I was saddened to see that the teachers had lost their buzz for maths (to a certain degree), although they loved teaching. I had seen a question on sectors and mumbled to myself "\pi equals 180 degrees" but I got a blank face. (The teacher said they would have to look it up). I worry that I might end up like that if I do secondary school teaching, which is what is making me stall my decision. It has been swings and roundabouts for me this year, when I "hated" my course and wasn't enjoying most of it due to various reasons. But then thankfully I saw the light and realised that it wasn't maths which I was disliking. Sigh, what if one is never to see that light?

The teachers at the school have been very helpful and are telling me that it will be easier for me to teach at colleges, if I do a PGCE in secondary teaching. However if I go into college teaching first and then downgrade, it will be more difficult for I will still have to get my Qualified Teaching Status (QTS). Gah, so many decisions, and I want to do a fourth year of maths too.

If I lived on the monster planet that Dr. S had mentioned in his lecture for TGG, I would be enrolled on the MMath programme right now and would not be considering what level of teaching I want to do. No such monster planet exists unfortunately, and I worry about the consequences of any decision that I will make. Inevitably there will be one unhappy party, but should that be me?

My article is going to the English teacher tomorrow for a thorough grammatical investigation. One teacher had had a quick glance at it today and questioned most of the semi colons I had inserted! I had meekly replied that I just stick them anywhere, upon which she had kindly offered to give me information about them. The whole face of the article has had to change due to the corrections, but here's to more changes...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lack of motivation

I can't recall whether I have used that title before, but today I was disappointed to find that there exists no year 10 set 1 maths students who enjoys maths. Not one person in the class had the "buzz" whilst doing the work. That was very sad to see. Inside that class I do see people who are very good at maths, but they are stuck in one position.

What I don't understand is why they had to make GCSEs modular. These year 10s have already sat some GCSE maths exams, which is a shame. In the same way my English developed in year 11, some students mature mathematically in year 11; but by then it is too late. After year 10 and the stress of their GCSEs they lose whatever interest they had in maths. That's the impression these students are giving me.

I aim to change this, and exactly how will be decided in the next two days. I have been busy googling today, and have devised a strategy. Although I have another two weeks left at this placement, I am sure that I could stay on for another week as a volunteer if need be. At this moment in time I am very annoyed that I'm doing the donkey work and making worksheets. That isn't really donkey work, but they didn't want to do it themselves, and passed it on to me. (They are not very good at hiding their gleeful smiles when they see me "pretending" to make the questions). I know that it would be more worthwhile if I tried to inject some life into the attitude towards maths in the school. I'm going to run a few ideas that occured to me past the maths teachers, namely to create a maths club.

The structure of this group doesn't exist in my head, but the group works. I know that there are students who enjoy maths in that school, and this group is for them. I feel it will be a bit like our work shop groups, with an element of group work and presentation too. It is a little late in the year, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

Honestly speaking, I'm not surprised why certain students won't like maths. I believe all teachers are role models, and they should be aware of this. I am a product of such role models, and I can honestly say that if my maths teacher at school had spoken negatively about something, I probably would have eventually done the same. This is what makes teachers so special--more so than what they teach at times. The future generations need someone positive they can aspire to be like.

What say you about the following then: I was talking to a group of five students about maths and its creativity, where only one student really enjoyed maths. A teacher came walking up to us shouting "loser loser" and making the "L" shape in my face. I was shocked to say the least. The four students not liking maths were also encouraged and then began saying the same. I ignored the teacher and finished my point (about Harry Potter!) but the teacher continued with "maths is for losers". I let her be and then told the interested student to get used to it, as the other students were actually over the moon now too. Yes, I sounded like a boring old git whilst trying to "show them the light", but if you work with students in a positive manner, you can achieve many things.

As I reflect on that teachers behaviour I notice a few things. She wants to be seen "cool" by the kids. She gives any subject but hers a negative attitude. She's a new teacher--24 years old.

Sadly this teacher has many students in awe of her. They find her cool since she's "one of them", you know. Yes, she's an OK person and nice (apart from when she told me to shut up). She thinks the way she behaves is funny and a joke (or maybe she doesn't know about her actions); she likes the students perception of her. Perhaps she doesn't understand the power in her hand which she is abusing. OK I am a little angry at her, for I found it blimmin' rude when she said "Oi--you just shut up" to me, when I was talking to another teacher in the staff room (in front of everyone too)! My problem is that I don't think I'll shut up. I will be polite to her, but since she doesn't behave in a professional manner I'm not going to be bullied by her childish antics.

I know... I might be overreacting slightly but this is not the first time. We had CPD last week and she sat behind me, and you wouldn't believe what she did! She kept on kicking my chair like a year 8 kid. These 13 year old kids have a 13 year old role model, which is not a very good thing. No wonder they don't blimmin like maths. I won't be rude to her, but she's only 4 years older than me and I'm afraid she hasn't earnt my respect yet.

Eccentric teachers are great. Teachers who have a passion for their subject and teaching are brilliant. However, the final ingredient to greatness has to be respect. Respecting the students, the environment and your fellow colleagues. (Being professional too I suppose, could be another thing).

I am disheartened by this indeed, because of the sheer quantity of students who adore this teacher, and she goes around calling people who like learning losers!

Back to my other lessons today. I'm finally in the maths department and to "do the resource sheets" (PFFT) I have been given free lesson. It suffices to say that I didn't do anything during my frees, but talk to other members of staff and drink tea. HA. I'm definitely going to try and worm my way out of it, but I doubt it'll be successful. (The University person told us to be "proactive", but come on, I can be proactive by organising a mathematical revolution; the students will like that too!)

Year seven set 3 was very difficult. Some didn't know how to multiply 47 x 4, and I told them how to do it my way until I realised they do some grid thing. (My way being the old fashion way, which I have not the energy to insert using LaTeX). There are some students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in this class, and I spent most of the lesson with them. I told them to try and complete the remaining questions for tomorrow, and see me at break if they did. I hope they have done them... One didn't know the multiplication tables which made life hard, but we made progress I hope. (We'll find out at break time tomorrow!) I feel a real desire to help these students, and an equal desire to push those at the other end. Some people don't agree with this.

Final lesson was year 9s--the class who made my first day hell. My shoulders slumped automatically--I don't know what came over me! I just sat at the table quietly, wondering what it would look like if I was to leg it out of the class, demanding the teacher to change my timetable! The beginning of the lesson was an "I want my Mummy" moment for me, but once they got working and actually needed my support it became better. (Well then they had to say "please can you help me" as opposed to "you know that teacher over there blah blah ..." which they didn't pretend to whisper.)

Sigh. I am physically shattered today, and my back is spelling trouble for me. The day was OK overall, as more of the students are actually talking to me now! Well some gits(!) still laugh at me, but I don't care if its behind my back. To my face I have to be careful about what I reply with you see... pft. Well can you blame the kids with a "loser loser" teacher? ;)

I still need to think of a starter too. Humbug.

The Importance of Mathematics

From the National Curriculum for Mathematics, website:

"Mathematical thinking is important for all members of a modern society as a habit of mind for its use in the workplace, business and finance; and for personal decision-making. Mathematics is fundamental to national prosperity in providing tools for understanding science, engineering, technology and economics. It is essential in public decision-making and for participation in the knowledge economy.

Mathematics equips pupils with uniquely powerful ways to describe, analyse and change the world. It can stimulate moments of pleasure and wonder for all pupils when they solve a problem for the first time, discover a more elegant solution, or notice hidden connections. Pupils who are functional in mathematics and financially capable are able to think independently in applied and abstract ways, and can reason, solve problems and assess risk.

Mathematics is a creative discipline. The language of mathematics is international. The subject transcends cultural boundaries and its importance is universally recognised. Mathematics has developed over time as a means of solving problems and also for its own sake."



So that's why maths is important! Try explaining that to 11-16 year olds.... I have highlighted in red the part about creativity, for that is all that I have been going on about this past week at this school. (By the way I haven't looked at anything else on the site, because I have to eat now and wanted to post this before doing so.)

Today, I tried my creativity "bull" (as named by someone) past a few students. Some gave me "the look" but to one student I ended up using Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire as an example. Well the final task for the Tri-wizard tournament to be precise, and how Harry didn't give up when he came across challenges in the maze. Lame I know, but I was trying to tell this student that the wrong answer shouldn't stop him. Since he was a Harry Potter fan he seemed to like the maze, but more on this in my "journal post" coming up later.

So how would you "summarise" them three long paragraphs to a secondary school student, especially when they cry: "I hate Maths--why do we have to learn this? How is it going to help me?"

Oh, and they don't give a damn about the future but the here and now.

Pajarita?

After Steve's comment about Hexaflexagons, I obviously had to have a go myself. Whilst doing so, memories of my primary school days and chatter boxes came back to me; however whenever I tried to make a chatterbox I made a boat instead. Frustrated I called for backup in the form of Nuno, whose at primary school. Nuno patiently explained what I was doing wrong and it all came back to me.

On this site about Hexaflexagons there are a couple of you tube videos and one caught my eye. It was the video of how to make a "pajarita", otherwise known as my chatterbox. I was mildly surprised at this hence my post.



It's funny how you do things and don't realise what you have done until later. Hopefully my link teacher will like hexaflexagons! I know I do, and I'm (not?) ashamed to report that I let Bear go away thinking that "it's magic"... You've got to let them have the wow factor as long as possible.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Monday has come too soon

It is a Monday tomorrow. A dark, depressing day indeed. I no longer will be observing different teachers and lessons, which is a relief of some sort, but will be staying with the maths department.

I wonder though, is that a better alternative? Perhaps it will be, for in this way the same students will see me and get used to me. Trying to do things outside my comfort zone is something that I am known for. I do it all the time, unsuccessfully on many occasions, but that's where the enjoyment lies -- in not knowing where you will land, or how you will land.

The department have given me the boring task of designing work sheets for students. I have two weeks to do this "project" but I'm not too keen on it. This is where my ability to not sit still pops up. I want to do something mathematically creative with a group of kids, but don't know what. The teacher said I could work with the "gifted and talented" group, and also do things will a lower group, but I'm struggling on what to do. Someone suggested looking through Martin Gardiner's books, but I have yet to do that. Anyway, hopefully by the end of this week I will have come up with something.

Truth be told, my desire to do something creative exists because I don't want to do any delivery! Yes, I am being the ultimate chicken, but I don't think I can yet. (I'm meant to prepare and deliver a few starters this week, but let us see how long I can put this of for).

The weekend has been semi productive. The article was not edited, but I have a couple of hours of the night left for that. I completed the minutes (they just need confirming now!!) and have 15 action points. I did point out that I'm being adventurous about The Galois Group at the moment! The bonus of the holidays is that I can decide which quest is too much for me to handle, without being under much pressure.

I have some maths reading to make a start on, which frightens me very much. This is the first time you could say, that I am actually attempting "independent learning", and I keep on thinking that it is not possible for me to do. Anyway, more on that when I make a start on it. Now I must watch Dr. Who and then edit my article. Not both at once of course, because I can't multi task, so I think I'll watch Dr. Who first and then work on the article. But then what time will I sleep? Sleep, you mock me--I don't sleep at night! I will sleep when I'm at school tomorrow and trying to support the teacher. Just like the good old days eh? Fine, I won't do that. But I will be awake I promise. Hmm, perhaps I shouldn't have that cup of tea...

Minutes

Morning everyone. Yes, it seems old habits die hard and I am back to my bad ways (that of going to sleep when the birds start singing!) Today, well your yesterday but my today, has been pretty interesting.

After my meeting with Dr. C on Thursday 5th June, my to do list became rather out of control so I decided to minute what happened. This would allow me have the action points at hand, rather than everywhere. Actually, if you haven't already got it, this is my first time doing such a thing and I just needed an excuse to create minutes. The challenge was to use LaTeX to write my scribbles up. I wasn't very successful in using LaTeX, and in the end lazily gave up and used Open Office. Why wasn't I successful? Well once again I was being lazy and tried to use a package to create the minutes, rather than sectioning everything myself! Tomorrow I will be less lazy and should transfer everything to LaTeX (or so I hope).

The minutes aren't complete yet, but I only have "Any Other Business" remaining which isn't much. Anyway, my other LaTeX adventure of the day will be saved for when I come to its end. Now though, I will sleep! (By the way, I don't think that I'm very good at writing minutes. Any guesses why...)

Writers Block

Or perhaps the title should be read as, another reason as to why you should avoid Microsoft Absurd and stick to LaTeX!


(Found this gem on Ken Stange's web page.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

The weekend

Never in my life have I been so happy that it is a Friday today. I was on time again (yes 8am!) but today I had a spring in my step for another reason. Yes, I was going to the AT building after my day finished, and my TGG calling was growing in strength.

The first lesson was Art and the students have done some marvellous work indeed. I had a nice conversation with the art teacher, about maths and art; recalling The Galois Group lecture I had attended about this!

I observed a maths lesson too, which really vexed me out. Well a student who had brought nothing to school today, apart from a pen had actually vexed me out; and as the teacher had rightly exclaimed the students attitude stank. I learnt something new during the lesson, which was the positive I clung onto for a long time. (Well not new but it was something about the LCM which I had forgotten).

During the day I was given my project too. Basically I have a check-list which I aim to complete. It is not neccessary but recommended to give me the most out of this experience. One item on the list was to create resources to be used in the class, and hey, I have to design a series of worksheets over the next two weeks. What joy. Actually, it is for the higher set so I don't have to worry too much about hardness.

Po said to me: "You'll be a rubbish teacher beans." (Note insert a more "creative" word for rubbish!)

Po is possibly right, however I have realised why Po didn't like me when I tried to assist him (Noddy gave the same reason too.) Po had a question and I responded with another question. Po didn't like that at all. It is my fault to some extent, because I forgot that Po was revising for an exam the next day and didn't really care about what the work could lead too, but that's another problem I have. If we get from a to b in one piece, I always try to see how far the student can travel towards c. Some tell me to get lost and are not interested, but others play along with what I say and then exclaim "ahh, I see." That one "I see" is worth it, but the million "get losts" do annoy me sometimes.

I'm not annoyed with Po, but I'm disappointed. Po is mathematician material, however the fire that Po had for maths has gone. Still I hope that if Po decides to attend college, he will take up Maths. (However, Po has already informed me that he will never ask me for help again!)

So I have a resource project to do (over the weekend hopefully) and next week I will mainly be working in the maths department, but this time supporting lessons. I am meant to design and deliver a starter, which I am dreading. (Gah)(Gah)! \lame... Ha, I shouldn't have gone to the AT building today, for the bridge I had built regarding this placement has crumbled. Yes, I will now try not to go to the maths building until my three weeks are over. (It's the best way to handle things, for at this moment in time, I am once again hating the prospect of Monday.)

OH, I have just remembered something that I discovered about myself (nothing big don't worry). I don't like it very much when people decide for me that I can't do a certain thing. This is a dodgy statement, for I obviously can't speak French. That's not the point though. Say for example that I was learning to speak French at this moment in time, and someone comes along and loudly exclaims, "You'll never be able to speak French properly" or"I don't think French is for you, don't bother." Now wouldn't that infuriate anyone?

I will leave that point where it is, for I fear about going into a long silly rant. It suffices to say that if someone had said that to me whilst I was learning French, I would have been more determined to prove them wrong. (Whether I do end up proving them correct is another question. I perhaps might never be fluent in French, but there's no harm in trying!)

Right enough of the SAS for now. This weekend is going to be SAS free for my blog. The poor thing hasn't looked this pale for quite some time now! (Whoops, I lost another screw today but you were all expecting that I hope.) I mentioned my trek to the maths building in the second half of my post earlier today, and I have learnt from it too. (In this post I have really controlled the "i.e's" the "etcs", the dashes and "e.gs"too! But perhaps I shouldn't have written them then, for that spoils is right?)

This weekend I have to do what Mick and Anna asked me to do two weeks ago, and start working on my list. I stole another book of Dr. Coleman (some number theory one) but this is going back as soon as possible, and I will find a library copy. (It looks to be a brand new copy you see and I don't trust myself!) It being paper back is not a good thing too, for hard back books are the way forward (albeit a more expensive way). OK, I waffle now, trying to recall forever lost information.

Somebody enquired as to how I could even think about University work and maths, now that my exams are over. I sighed inwardly and reasoned that this summer has to be productive otherwise I may end up not doing the project and other things too. And we don't want that right? Alright, alright, I'm going now...

Oxford University Press Summer Sale at Blackwells

Since I posted about the Springer Yellow Book Sale some time ago, it makes sense to write about The Oxford University Press Summer Sale at Blackwells.

According to their website:

"Save up to 75% on over 800 titles in the Oxford University Press Summer Sale.

We will endeavour to do everything we can to fulfil your order, however, please note that due to limited stock, we can not absolutely guarantee availability. All orders will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis. NB: Offer not available to customers in the Americas."


I collected the book: An Imaginary Tale: The Story of \sqrt{-1}, but the Polya one hasn't arrived yet (doh!) I haven't looked through the book yet, but Dr. C found a poem inside it, so it must be interesting! (Yes, I have a thing for maths poems it seems).

Nevertheless, I'm not sure if I should buy any books from this "sale". I stupidly buy books if I see "was £100 and now £10", and argue that it was cheap (when my mum grills me of course)! Are their any titles in this sale that anyone would recommend? In a sense I can't wait for my birthday now!
----


This is just a quick paragraph about my afternoon (more on my "SAS journal" later tonight). The English teachers at the school had a skim through my article for me(!) and told me what I could change. I could have left it with them for a full dissection, but I got that from Dr. Coleman anyway. It was horrible by the way... my article that is! As you have probably gathered from my posts, I use words like "etc", "i.e." and "e.g." on too many occasions. The English teachers had already crossed them all out for me so I was prepared for the same information from Dr. C. I have an organised mess which lacks structure, and needs putting together. (I put it down as fractured.)

The English teachers found it OK after some rearranging, but I wonder what the result of their full dissection will be. I might take them up on this offer as I have some time to work on it now, for I won't be going home/uni(!) for another two weeks. (My deadline is the end of June). Well *gulp* I should be going home again after my results, to negotiate a project for myself.

Doesn't "..." and "etc" mean the same thing? So why is "..." acceptable when "etc" isn't? The English teacher said that if you write etc, it means that you actually have no clue about what you're writing, but still...

I seem to have too many things in brackets and too many dashes as well. Anyway, I'm truly grateful for the feedback I received on my work, for it gave me the chance to learn new things; and made me realise that what I sometimes like or find "cool", is actually dumb! That is very important, because at the end of the day it is not only me who will read it. Yes, editing the article seems worse than writing the thing, and the red marks don't inspire confidence in me, however it has to be done. So this weekend will be spent editing my work and sending it out to various other people, and also working on some project for the SAS (more in the next post about this).

Gah--having gone to university today, I don't want to go back to the school placement on Monday! I hate the fact that my two years are already over. How am I going to leave this place? (Psst, I banged my funny bone today and it is not very funny. I thought it was called silly bone for a second, but it isn't.) By the way you actually read one paragraph. They look like more because I just pressed enter twice by accident...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Am I bored?

Children of all ages, I have finally got to the point where I can say that the article I was writing has a body. Now all that needs doing is lots of chopping and changing, because in my opinion, staying awake till 2am to complete it wasn't very good for it.

That is all. There is nothing else interesting to report regarding my placement at this school.

OK fine, I jest (you can stop giving me that look now!) The student I was meant to be shadowing got into a fight yesterday, but still I was surprised when I realised that I would be shadowing someone else. In the morning I was given the new table and Student A was pointed out to me. After a deep sigh I headed to the students first class, and that got my day of to a bad start indeed. Now I think, since I am not mentioning the schools name or staff, I can be rather more "brutally honest". Not mean, but not wish washy too.

The teacher is quite cool, and I get along with her just fine in the staff room. She did the SAS, is newly qualified too and we both have the common interest of sports. In this lesson there were two teachers present because there was meant to be a "field visit"; this got cancelled so the students were then asked to draw a poster. (Internally all I did was curse upon hearing this...) Fair enough, I had a 25 page document to read from one of the meetings that I attend and I got to work on it. Student A seemed to be quiet and I didn't have to observe her for long.

It seemed that the two teachers introduced me in their conversation, and the one who has done the SAS started explaining what it was--the whole class her audience. "I got paid £400 for it, but beans is getting paid more." Why did this annoy me, well it gave the "evil students" more ammunition-- especially student B. However forget my little tantrum, both teachers had a very nice conversation during the lesson, so the students did the same. I watched a brilliantly constructed advert on smoking the other day, and it showed children imitating what their adults/parents did because that's what you do. How many times did you wear your dad's big shoes, and walk about the house? Nevertheless, the new teachers don't appreciate their roles as role models for students. Obviously I'm generalising, but this only applies within the school.

Both teachers are great to talk to in the staff room, but the one who was in charge should not have given the kids a free lesson. They are my worst enemy--free lessons. For Pete's sake, do all teachers lose the will to teach at this stage of the year? I'm not taking anything away from the teachers efforts up till this point. I know how much work there is to a seemingly simple job. The politics of a place also make life much harder, but all I seem to be wanting to say to some teachers is: keep going please(!) you only have four or five weeks left. Inspire these students.

Some teachers have a formula and it works, so they stick to it. They do the same thing day in and out, and that's great. However, as an observer, this formula doesn't always work. The students have sat their exams and don't want to learn. You have to change your formula to motivate them again. Sigh. I know I'm all talk, but students don't seem to be challenged any more.

The Geography lesson which was next was better, and it was then that I decided to observe two students: A and B. They both seemed to have a similar timetable and this would make my day more interesting.

During break time I had a hurried cup of tea, because I had semi-skipped breakfast. It was the third lesson (RE) which revealed the nature of student B. (To make it a fair test it had to be a she!) Student B was disruptive, attention seeking and generally would not shut up and work. Now notice that the lesson was being covered by another member of staff, but still Student B showed no respect for fellow students or teacher. B was sat with her crowd. There were about four of them, and they were pretty damn mean to some students. (I can only ever observe silently, and never tell them to stop swearing for example.) She gave me a headache!

On the other hand, student A was sat on the other side of the class with a quiet friend. She was very well behaved and got on with it. The student also saved me embarrassment, as I was about to park myself on a broken chair before I was warned!

After RS, it was maths. Student B wasn't in this class, but student A changed completely! She became annoying too, and it so happened that she had a disruptive and lazy student sat next to her. (The student who kept on asking "why should I do it" a million times.) Student A did 10% of the work required (was only on question two!) whereas other students were finishing the questions. Student A also became rude-ish to me, and the little git next to her made it very difficult for me to actually help. (I got sick of trying to speak over "why do I have to"). Hence why I moved away and positioned myself on the other side of the room, and left them to the teacher.

This behavior of student A continued in her form lesson after lunch. Student B was in the same form too, but student B sat on her own next to me, whereas A was with a friend. Student A blimmin' started egging student B on, like she ever needed the encouragement. This was a weird transformation in A, for she became exactly like B had been in their RS lesson--unbearable, sarcastic and rude. I sighed inwardly, as I observed A feel more like herself because she felt more comfortable in her form teachers class, or perhaps knew she could be more loose.

The lesson ended with student B "secretly communicating" to her cronies at the front, about myself and then pretending not to laugh. Ha--I was with them next lesson too, which served them right! (They were sick of seeing me as I was of seeing them for the whole day).

After lunch it was Biology and shock horror, Student A sat with a quiet group and behaved brilliantly throughout the whole lesson. She put her hand up and got on with her work, which was a big contrast. However, student B, although not with her friends still happened to distract the people on her table (to a smaller degree though). Both students got on with their work which is great to see, and full credit goes to the teacher for her lesson was quite cool. It was interesting and captured their attention, not the usual same old "boring" things they are used to. (But as I said, Biology is great in this respect).

The final lesson was where I went to sleep and wrote random things backwards. (Well it was a passage between two people, which I will post if I ever get the chance). It was only student A in this lesson, and frankly I couldn't care less at that stage (I still noticed that she wasn't as hyper as she had been, but was still disruptive enough to be moved).

OK--there ends the waffle. It was very interesting to observe these two students, for it gives us an idea on how to position them so they get the maximum benefit from their lessons. Student B was radioactive. Wherever she went she could cause destruction, but she should definitely be kept away from her friends (at all costs). When sat with a different group, although she misbehaved she did get on with the work. She gets distracted very easily too, and can seriously destroy another class member with her mouth.

Student A though is a different story. On her own she is nothing, and will quietly get on with her work. If sat with a quiet and hard working group, perhaps she will also be well behaved. However, if Student B or any other disruptive and loud student was to sit nearby, then Student A will be a lost cause. Once she knows that she has a human shield of some source, or source of radioactivity, there is no stopping her.

I was meant to note how different teachers dealt with these students (etc), but from what I've written, if they got on with their work they were dealt with, and if not they weren't. That's all on this, but I might do it again with pupils from a different year group. (These were year 8s).

Tomorrow I should be going HOME again (woohoo). I will be collecting two maths books from Blackwells which have arrived for me, and should hopefully pop into the AT building too. (So don't be surprised...) I can't wait for tomorrow because I get to finish early from the school! (I am also very shattered and haven't really filled in the paperwork). Hmmm, I think that is all, or should there be something else too?

I nearly forgot

Whoops--I nearly forgot to report on my activities today! (Well I have actually forced myself to complete the article, because of a grateful deadline that I imposed on myself, so I forgot). That being said, today was a forgetful day as things go.

I don't think I observed any maths lessons today! A quick glance at my timetable confirms this, but I did sit in on a departmental meeting. So today was just a full day of observations of Health and Social care, English, Physics and another science class.

In terms of well structured and organised lessons, where the students seemed engaged for most of the lesson, Health and Social care wins. The Physics lesson was a revision one (due to the looming GCSE) so instead, I actually worked on my article during the lesson! (Well what could I observe--students working in pairs to answer questions?!) Not very interesting you see, and my own work had to be done sometime or other. I actually did make good progress on my own work, and even contributed to the students work. (See, I'm not that selfish...) This also gave me an opportunity to quiz the students (who were once again "not evil") but the discussion wasn't interesting (namely because I can't remember exactly what they said!)

The English lesson had a lot of potential (I feel like a right old critic here!) The teacher set the task up nicely and it was a good one too (leaflet making). I even participated, but I think due to the teacher having to divert her attention to activity outside the classroom, the flow was disrupted.

Actually wait a minute. Today I realised that if I wasn't going to be a maths teacher, I would be an English one--only for creative writing, and expression though (NOT for the comprehension bit!) I don't think the whiteboard was productively used in the lesson; apart from displaying the objectives and information on what should be in the leaflet, nothing graphic was shown. Basically the lesson wasn't creative. The students weren't eager and enthusiastic to work on it, and as I walked around the class a sense of "we never get our work marked" and "this is boring" seemed to echo. No one had written much down and a lot of chatter was happening. It made me sad to see such a thing happen to what, in my mind, should have been a brilliant and creative lesson. I got my idea twenty minutes into the lesson, so whilst "observing" I made my leaflet.

The "starter" and "plenary" where there, but the typical energy of an English lesson wasn't.

When the teacher had gone out for two minutes, I spoke to some students about maths. One particular student said that maths is good but its very complicated. She was in set 3 and had a private tutor to help at home, which she found very helpful. A majority seemed to find maths complicated or boring too. It seems that they liked maths up to a point, but they can no longer do it easily, they stop liking it. I argued that the challenge of understanding something was where my passion came from, but they put me down as a swot! After which I was forced to claim my love for good old Sciences, (not that I minded but in my head I said Sciences\{physics}!)

My comments mainly stem from the fact that if I don't enjoy a particular lesson, or feel it wasn't well received, I always ask myself how I would have planned the lesson. This was a follow up lesson, so I suppose it was just meant to consist of the students creating their own leaflets... which they didn't finish I think.

OK, enough of English. In another lesson I confessed my love for learning and was once again called funny old names. Perhaps I should just pretend to hate school? Then the kids will all love me! But nah--I'm not that type of person. I'm getting used to how my tongue should be sharpened to survive, but the mean and green students can still get me. Now though, a majority of the school know that I'm 19(/7!) , a student of mathematics at university; someone considering a career in teaching, and someone who was a good student. (Well that's the teachers fault who introduce me--they tend to embarrass me a lot which is very unfair.)

I think that's all about today. The other Science lesson was an organised mess too, but during that lesson I wrote a mini post on paper, about a dilemma I was facing. The issue is over now, but somebody pushed a nerve during lunch time and I was really restless because of it; hence why a paper post had to suffice!

What I wanted to mention was that tomorrow I am shadowing a pupil who has behaviour problems. Will I survive? Well my stalking skills have shown significant improvement (ask my lecturers who try to avoid me....) so as long as the student doesn't know what I'm doing, I'll be safe. He shouldn't have a gun on him, but I know ways of disarming people (ahem!) Ha--relax he won't have a gun, but he has a mean punch as was demonstrated in the fight after school today. One teacher told me that I should have intervened, but apart from arriving on the scene after the fight was over, I erm... rather smugly stated "I am not allowed to intervene, even if they are killing each other. I do not have the permission to do so, but I have to get a member of staff". I also can't be left unsupervised in a class, which I quickly pointed out to the English teacher as she tried to leave me with them for a few minutes! (Like that's ever going to happen).

Enough of that now. I have a different problem regarding a very old and good friend of mine, who I met after school today. I am a person whose drive can be to create a positive impact on things and to make sure I enjoy what I'm doing (as opposed to wanting to earn lots of money). For example for TGG my determination was to generate that community feeling, and I absolutely enjoyed every second of it, especially when we got the great attendance and feedback. My friend is quite similar to me, but when I had my "depression" and moment of apathy about TGG, Dr. Coleman and others helped me out of it.

My friend has been having this moment since October and I only found out now. It is my responsibility to help her out of it. It is not a minor issue as someone's heart is at stake here. A heart which is partly responsible for what I am today. I owe a lot to my friend, and she doesn't know this. This is a very complicated issue and I will learn more about this when we next arrange to meet. At the moment, the politics of certain things sadden me. Let us just hope that this story will have a happily every after.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Alive and Kicking

Today was thankfully a much better day than yesterday, but too full in my weak opinion! (It seems that most teachers have at least five lessons a day, so I better get used to my timetable).

I observed three maths lessons today; an English lesson (set 3); Biology and History too. First the non-maths lessons. Biology was so and so, and the last lesson of the day. They had a quiz and I joined the team with only three members. We named ourselves CO (Carbon Monoxide!) i.e. deadly and poisonous.. which wasn't my bright idea by the way. They were year 10s and thankfully my team seemed to be full of nice members (for a change). I did my best to tell them about the wonders of mathematics, but that failing, I left my trust in my deteriorating biology knowledge. Our group won the quiz by the way... (WOOHOO--I couldn't erm... celebrate as a student you see), but according to my standards, I have become very dumb in biology. The only point I noted was that the teacher seemed to mention exam technique in the last five minutes, after the students were hyper from the quiz and obviously not paying any attention.

History was interesting (content wise) but it was a revision lesson for year 11s, so I mused myself by reading a history book. (Fascinating subject, history is.) The history teacher is very nice though and told me that she's something to do with PGCE student mentors, and if I need anything to give her a shout. (I will probably take her up on this offer!)

Yes, I'm rushing through this because I'm borderline shattered and can't wait to eat and then sleep. So English remains from the non-maths lesson, and boy was this lesson amazing. The teacher got the lesson spot on and the students responded fantastically. I even found myself responding and taking part too! (It was to do with creative writing you see, which is the only part of English that I used to enjoy at school. Well I enjoyed anthology lessons sometimes too..)

Anyway, I told the teacher afterwards, that I felt her lesson was brilliant. It was a set 3 class, which is why the teacher kept the pace quite fast (as I was told later on), but the students were very much engaged and participating. Great.

Now onto the maths lesson.

My first maths lesson this morning was with year 9 set 1, and they were doing relative frequency and probability. I don't know if today was a one off, but I was delighted to see that a majority of students were actually writing sentences!! I was honestly amazed.

At the start the teacher had mentioned that the work was "grade C" which seemed to have a negative effect on the students. They felt that they should be doing work at a higher grade and perhaps the lesson was a bit unchallenging for them. I did feel that when they were given "A3 paper to do the exercise on and show it to the class", it could have been used in a better way. Overall though, it was a nice class and the lesson went without any glitches.

The second maths lesson I went to though, was a complete and utter nightmare. Not because of the students attitude towards me, but because of the structure of the lesson. As an observer, I found myself building up a small rage, so what can we expect of the students? The lesson was on the volume of prism (I think). Unfortunately the whiteboard seemed to not want to work, which I realised later on, as I wondered why the teacher wasn't using it. This was the lowest set, but the teacher made the mistake of not challenging them. The students all expressed their disinterest in the topic, and desire to do something more interesting at the start of the lesson.

I would have started the lesson with the "definition" of volume, and the specialised it to cylinders etc, followed by many examples. (Actually upon further thought, don't we generally specialise and then generalise?) Whatever the case, many weren't paying attention. (I think the teacher felt threatened by my presence, which is unfortunate. I always try to explain to the teachers before hand, that my observations are for my own personal benefit, but on this occasion I happened to be a minute late due to a mistake in my timetable).

This lesson was saddening because of a certain thing that happened. The teacher told the students that those who finished the set questions would get "extension work". One lucky student got such extension work, and I found myself curiously walking towards him, enquiring about the nature of the work. The first question was about surface area, but I saw the student calculating volume all over again. "So, what's surface area?" I had asked and then tried to discuss the solution with the student. However, he was quick to point out to me that the teacher told him to work out the volume again! I was flabbergasted and left that student alone for he was eager to get on with it.

Another student happened to get the extension sheet, and once again I tried to discuss surface area with this student. We were getting somewhere nice, but then the teacher spotted me and told me to get lost. Well that is my interpretation, for she made me move to help the group she was helping! Perhaps they were going to do surface area in the next lesson, but come on, isn't the point of extension work to make the students working at a higher level to think further? I was very annoyed at this point, and was grateful for the end of the lesson.

In my annoyance, I happened to bump into the English teacher from my earlier observation, and it transpired that she had actually started a maths degree but not completed it. I had a heated discussion with her (during my 30 minute lunch!) about how the creativity of mathematics was being drowned. We discussed a great many things and how schools actually prepare student robots to sit exams. The teacher advised me to run as fast as I could, for the school system would drain my enthusiasm to inspire students about maths! The restrictions on teachers is annoying in one sense, but now that the exams are mostly over, shouldn't they use this opportunity to explore areas of next years syllabus with more imagination? You have to sit in the students place sometimes and ponder on what the lesson will seem like. Sigh.

Is that teacher right--do I want to start running now?

The last maths lesson was year 7 set 3, and once again they were a friendly and nosey bunch! One kid actually put her hand up to ask me my age?! Since a few had already guessed it, I shocked them all with how old I am. (The student seemed to have a lot of questions though, and her hand did constantly go up. I wondered whether she was deliberately acting like she couldn't answer the question, so she could grill me!)

Anyway, I had a run in with the head teacher today! I was meant to give my CRB clearance form to them yesterday, but they hadn't asked and I had forgotten. So today, they hunted me down and invaded my bag for it. During this time the headmaster contradicted the English teacher and told me to go for teaching, and that I could do my masters any time. (Like that's ever going to happen!) The woman who photocopied my form also had a friendly conversation with me too. She told me to do a PhD and do university teaching--stay away from the secondary schools, was the message she gave me! (I told her I wasn't clever enough to do that, upon which she suggested colleges).

These suggestions had me laughing at the end of the day! My future is blimmin unpredictable which makes me very annoyed. I always used to have an idea what I wanted to do, which was to be a maths teacher. I blame maths at university and my PTs (in a nice way of course) for throwing me of course! My luck got better as I bumped into the schools career advisor who told me to go into University and check their career service out. I can do a great many things with a maths degree, which I probably aren't aware off, she continued. Now is my time to see what's out there and decide if teaching is it.

I did say the staff at the school were great, but I was overwhelmed with buckets of advice! Yesterday I had a shock to my system you see, but today I think I handled it better. I was better prepared of what to expect from the students you see, but still can improve. I am a new face in the school, so there is obviously going to be some unrest as to who the heck I am. I just have to get used to that. Two days down and another 13 to go!

If I finish my article by tomorrow I am hoping to go into University on Friday (fingers crossed). (Bah--this wasn't meant to be long, but what can I say--I type too fast?!) Let us hope that tomorrow I come home alive too.