Thursday, July 27, 2006

Schools, shows and surreal moments

In the past few weeks, my life has become increasingly bizzare.

First I willingly give up my job, leaving with excellent references and a final staff review that proves how much my employers completely loved me, only to find that I am incapable of getting another one. That's right: I'm still unemployed after five interviews, after each of which I was told something along the lines of "We really, really liked you, and thought you interviewed well, but in the end you were our second choice because you didn't have exactly the experience we were looking for/you were nervous during your teaching demonstration/you asked a question that made us wonder if you were really committed to the job/you were a little bit vague in one of your answers/you needed to give a few more examples/you weren't dressed as a large orange parrot and you didn't come into the interview room singing the first three verses of Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer while standing on your head and saluting" [delete as appropriate]. I am now so good at bloody application forms that I think I could get myself an interview at any school in the country, including those weird hippy private ones where the kids do nothing but play in sandboxes and talk about their feelings in circle time because it's good for their emotional development, but I can't get through an interview. Nonetheless, this situation has its good side, which I'm sure I'll get to in more detail another time, but which basically involves doing some part time supply teaching for a bit and getting some actual rest, which might just sort out the last of the post-viral thing that's still hanging around, and would generally be very good for me. So, there is hope.

Next, I manage to get myself involved with The Girl's Edinburgh show, not least because it's brilliant, but mostly because I couldn't stand the thought of a long, insufferably hot summer full of nothing. The Girl is interesting to work with, being a control freak and more than a little bit stressed, while I'm having fun in a small box where I keep forgetting which ropes to pull and when. It's going to be fantastic, but it does all seem a bit surreal at the moment (I'm a teacher, Jim, not a theatrical type). I'm also completely exhausted, having given myself no time to stop and catch my breath. Between the last week of term, characterised by an insane rush of goodbye parties and end-of-year drinks and rushed clearing out of desks full of three years' teaching resources, and the technical rehearsals that are going on for hours and hours every day of this week, I'm a bit wiped out really.

And in the midst of all this chaos sits little me, oblivious and fairly serene. I'm reading John Irving's The World According to Garp, which is truly inspired as well really quite fucked up, and I'm writing yet another bloody application form. I am still, miraculously, both unmedicated and happy. Even in the face of unemployment leading to poverty leading to possible eviction and having to live in a box underneath Waterloo Bridge (always my contingency plan for those 'when everything goes tits up' situations), life is a good laugh at the moment. I just need to find some time to be home for long enough to do my washing and tidy my room. That'll be sometime in September, I think.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Things that go blah in the night

I'm having one of those weeks where everything's slow, painful and exhausting. It's irritating, since I so rarely have them anymore, that they're so recognisable when they arrive. They are not good for me.

I went to some unbelievably bad training yesterday. What is it, exactly, that happens to teachers who become teacher trainers that makes them forget everything they know perfectly well, in theory, when it comes to practice? These people could not teach me. Their methods were undifferentiated to say the least. I'm a quick, fairly experienced and very kinaesthetic learner when it comes to IT - if I can't practice a lot, with regular guidance, on my own, then I won't be able to learn or do anything on one of those dread machines. It was helpful, then, that these teachers made me work in a group of five (five! to one computer!) because "you can help them because you're quite good." How lovely for them. At least I learnt first-hand how useful differentiation can be for students. After lunch I refused to work with anyone, turned into one of those really stroppy silent students who get on my nerves so much, sat at my own computer and charged ahead. Other people: great for concepts, sharing ideas and discussions. Not so great when you want to get stuff done. Anyway, I did learn one or two things about using computers in English teaching, which was the point of the course. I just learnt most of that in the post-activity discussions and by experimenting with the IT systems on my own. (Electronic whiteboards... I want one so much... Funding, funding, funding. Blah.)

I was seriously stressed out on my journey home, worrying about interviews - oh yes, I've got another one on Monday - and other things I must get done this weekend despite how tired I am, so I went into Southwark Cathedral. Well, I was nearby, and it's my cathedral and I love it. Very peaceful. I prayed about the things in the world, in the news, that are scaring me. I miss the days when I had the time to drop everything and go and find a campaign when something made me angry. At least I was doing something.

So, it's back to the weekend of interview prep (microteaching - WHY? *terrified sob*) and dull, dull admin. I'm going to watch an episode of Doctor Who first, though. Something's got to give.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13: 4-8 & 13