Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Project Based Learning? Or learning nothing

On a Wednesday during period two I teach a class a topic called Project Based Learning. I say the word "teach" very loosely as I am mainly there as an extra body in the room (alongside two other teachers) and to check the students literacy - that is whenever they produce a piece of written work I need to check it for spelling, grammar, punctuation and of course that it makes sense.

I say "check their work" in the most loosest of terms as well as so far this term I haven't seen any of it. Maybe it's because they don't know what to do. Maybe it's because they can't be bothered or maybe it's because the brief is so broad that they haven't got a clue where to start. 

But there's where Project Based Learning or PBL as it's commonly known in our school is different. The fact that the brief may be broad or the fact that little work may be produced throughout the course of the process doesn't really matter as the students are meant to learn by making mistakes in Year 10 so that they don't then repeat the same mistakes in Year 11.

What do you think of this way of learning? 

Monday, 28 September 2015

I hate Monday mornings

So it's Monday yet again. Only three weeks until half term (if you don't include this one). 

It still seems so far away though. Far far away as in the fictional world that Shrek and Fiona live in.

But would it make it go faster if i started to do a countdown clock on my phone? After all I have one for my pregnancy so why not have one for half term? 

Answers on a postcard please. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Don't swing on your chair... You'll crack your head open

I say this all the time to that one student who you always get who pushes the boundaries and doesn't listen to a word you say.

It made me laugh seeing this picture but it still doesn't take away from the seriousness of the message behind it. 

Football fan?

Can't say I am but Steve is a huge West Ham fan. Even though he doesn't get to go to many matches - mainly due to the fact that they are down south and we live up north.. He does make a conscious effort to watch (or listen to) every match.

Therefore it's no surprise that he decided to buy our baby son his first football kit. How cute.

I couldn't help but think though. What if he grows up to hate football or is a complete rebel and decides to support a local northern team? After all it's not the law to support the same team as your dad and uncles. Is it? Or is it?

I personally hope he doesn't and want him to be an avid sports fan (and player). Roll on the days when his daddy can take him to watch (or play football or rugby). We can't wait. 

In the meantime. How cute is this kit? 

Friday, 25 September 2015

It's a.....


And me and the other half couldn't be happier. 
After setting off to the hospital slightly later than planned today and nearly not being able to park due to a very full hospital car park.  We eventually made it to the second floor of Whiston Hospital only to then have to wait another ten minutes or so before we went in for the sexing scan. 

I felt a plethora of emotions. Excitement. Anxiety. Would everything be ok? Would I cry? Would Steve hold my hand? Would my bladder hold out until the end of the process after having drunk nearly two pints of water? (It did - just). But all of the emotions in the world cannot prepare you for when the sonographer tells you that baby is healthy. And is a boy!

The only thing she couldn't check was his heart (although we did get to hear his heart beat) because he was lying on his tummy throughout the whole experience. We also found out that he's very camera shy - just like his dad - and will have to go back on the 7th for another try as despite having some time out to stretch my legs and eat some chocolate - to give him the sugar boost he needed to turn round and lie on his back. He didn't! 

Oh well. I can't wait to see him again. 

Is it a boy? Or a girl?

Well today is the day we find out. 

#excited #much 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Teeth trouble

I've always had a sweet tooth and when it comes to "treating myself" before I became pregnant I'd always go for the sweet option instead of the savoury one... But I never thought that having a sweet tooth would cause me to lose two teeth - yes I said two teeth -during my first pregnancy and result in me being off work with a bacterial mouth infection and having to cope with the horrible side effects of the anti biotics. 

To say I'm frustrated is an understatement. I want to be in work. So far this year it's not actually that bad. I now (for the first time since working there) have a head of department who is employed by the school and not the sister school, two lovely new colleagues and there's a hell of a lot more organisation than in previous years. 

 Some of you may think "ah don't worry about it." They can't touch you as you are off with a pregnancy related illness but it's not about that. As a teacher when you are off for a short period of time you still have to set cover work. You still have to plan what you are going to teach - even though you are not physically there - so in a way it's actually much better psychologically if you do go in no matter how you are feeling because at least you know you are (A) not letting the kids down. (B) Not putting extra stress or work into your colleagues and (C) you know that that the work you set will be done.

But at the same time you wrestle with the fact that you are indeed entitled to be ill. No matter what you do for a living we all get ill from time to time. After all as one close friend (who is also a teacher) said to me. "You didn't ask to be ill" and how true she is. So. I'm going to continue to rest as much as I can and be bored titless by daytime TV until I feel well enough to go back in and check to see if the cover work that I did set whilst off was done, face the concerned questions from students and colleagues about where I've been and get on with the endless marking because after all there's two of us to think about now. 

And I have to look after myself and my unborn baby. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

I love a good bargain me...

When saving up for a baby it's important that you don't spend an un necessary amount of money on frivolous purchases. Or so I'm told. 

So I've been on the hunt for a good bargain and managed to snap up this chair for £5 from one of the "what's for sale" sites on Facebook. 

Am quite happy with it. What do you think? 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A poem.

I saw this poem today and thought it was very apt. 

The unconquerable mountain

With a fervour we follow the hill path,
That leads us up, up and away, 
We climb with a vigorous focus
To make higher inroads each day

We pass every landmark and signpost
Making notes on our journey's ascent
Not stopping to look back behind us, 
Still pushing, still not quite content

When tiredness and fatigue pervades us, 
We carry each other up hill
Looking only upwards and onwards
Ploughing sky high further still

Each stile we cross fades in the distance,
As our feet trudge this well trodden road
Seeking summits of success unyielding 
As we struggle to carry our load

As we reach each peak new ones appearing
Like targets set high in the sky
That mean stopping is never an option, keep climbing, don't stop, you must try

To reach the unconquerable summit
And rest satisfied at its peak
To fail is to say you are worthless
To struggle to say you are weak

So we march to where air is like gold dust
Where our bodies are broken and bent 
And our brains are a husk of exhaustion
Inspiration, motivation all spent

Yet still there's no spire in the distance
There's no bench upon which we can sit,
No end we can finally come to,
No place we can say "this is it"

This journey has taken our future,
Our past and our hopes and our dreams,
As we strove to accomplish our mission
So high up above though it seems

 We climb up this mountain together
We struggled and still could not reach
The targets forever still moving
That will haunt you as long as you teach"

C. Knight 2015

19 week check up

Well that was a huge let down. 

I have just had my 19 week follow up  appointment with the midwife. And there I was... All geared up to listen to the heart beat of my unborn child and it never happened. 

On a positive note though. All is healthy. I'm low risk when it comes to Down's syndrome. My iron levels are above average. And the pregnancy is progressing nicely. Phew!

Now roll on the 25th when I get to find out if bump is a boy or a girl. Place your bets now.... 

What do you think I'm having? 

Monday, 14 September 2015


One of the main things that I am struggling to get used to now I'm pregnant is the strange aversion to the foods that I once loved.

Take yesterday for example. Mum made me a lovely lasagne for tea. I wolfed it down and then proceeded to puke it all up soon after. 

A one off? I was certainly hoping. Fast forward to this morning. I thought I'd forgo my usual "safe option" of toast and be healthy and have porridge with chopped bananas on top. 

"Yummy." Or so you'd think! Yes. Again it was. Going down. Just not coming back up to say hello ten minutes later (sorry to be so graphic but one thing you will learn as you continue to read my blogs is that I like to say things as they are). 

So what's the solution? 

In this mornings case I left for work minus breakfast but was able to buy some ginger nut biscuits and a small bottle of sprite on my way into work (thanks for the suggestion Lauren). And they seemed to do the trick. At least for now.

As for tonight's tea. Will keep you posted... 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

The first time you meet a new class...

.... Can be one of the most scariest experiences of a teachers life...

Unless of course you actually take an interest in them as individuals and use the time to find out what they enjoy about your subject and what they hate! 

When I first met my middle set of Year 10s on Friday morning I needed to do something different and so started off by asking them to write down two things that were true about themselves and two things that were a lie. Or if you prefer: fact or fiction?

A good idea? Well... You'd think until one of my students pointed out that the three examples I'd put on the board about myself (to demonstrate what I meant) where all actually true. 

Damn it I thought to myself as I quietly joked with said student. How on earth did they guess their teacher was a former journalist, is pregnant and allergic to melon?! 

Anyhow like a consummate professional I carried on and actually thought it was quite an enlightening exercise. I found out that one had visited Brazil six times in the same year, another can only read off yellow paper and judging by the smile on each of their faces - all appreciated the fact that I had actually taken the time and effort to find out about them. 

The next task worked just as well. What makes English enjoyable. Here is what they came up with.... 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Customary bump pic..

Can you really believe I'm 18 weeks and 5 days pregnant? I look like I'm carrying twins or have ate all the pies... 

14 years since 9/11?

Has it really been 14 years since the atrocities of 9.11? Where does the time go?

Like the older generation say they always remember where they where when JFK was shot or when Diana, Princess of Wales died in a tragic car crash I can vividly remember where I was at the time; Asda in Wigan!

I'd finished university only a couple of months before and lets just say I was "between jobs." I remember coming off the home and leisure department to go on my break when it was all over the TV in the canteen. 

No one could actually believe that history was unfolding before our very eyes. My first thought was that it was the start of world war three and the second was that we were all under attack. All I wanted to do was to finish my shift and get home to see my loved ones. To hug them. To kiss them and to never leave their side... But alas I had to wait until my shift was over. 

Fast forward to a year later and I would actually find myself stood at the very site where all those innocent people lost their lives. 

It was such an eerie and bizarre experience. There was still dust everywhere and a dull lifeless feel about the place. But the site that stuck in my mind the most wasn't the huge gap that now existed where the twin towers once stood. It was the little church just round the corner that still had posters, firemens hats, pictures and even a random canoe plastered all over and around it. Almost like a make shift memorial filled with desperation that somehow... Somewhere someone would find what they were looking for. As helpless as it seemed what else could be done in such a desperate situation. 

What would you do? 

Today I have been reflecting on this memory of that fateful day but I'm also thinking ahead to the future and hope that my unborn child - whose sex I will know within the next few days - doesn't grow up in a world full of fear and terror but instead is happy and safe. 

I have also decided that one day I will take my precious loved one to that very site so that too can reflect on the fragility of life and the fact that it does go on after death. 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Is it only Thursday?

Well the hump of the week is over and the end is in sight. Believe it or not I do actually love my job but I have never been a morning person. I sometimes struggle to get out of bed in the morning and now that I'm pregnant I'm finding it even harder to move my body and "jump" in the shower. 

If only I could work from home.... 

Getting fat

So I'm now 18 weeks and three days pregnant and boy does my stomach feel it. I've lost count of the amount of articles that I've read that say "don't eat for two" but it's easier said than done when you either have no appetite or want to down everything in one. Or two...

I have to say though it's so refreshing that I can now eat what I want again after spending most of the first trimester eating what I like to call "plain" food. Pizza. Pasta. Omelettes. Toasties and the like. 

But. And that's a huge but... I don't want to end up putting on a load of baby (and extra weight) during my pregnancy so I am going to make a conscious effort to watch what I eat from tomorrow... And if it's not too ambitious... Re join slimming world next week. Not to get weighed every week but to be more mindful of what I'm eating and when. 
Wish me luck....

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