Tuesday 29 September 2009

Collecting missions, visions and aims

School has been INSET-ing me into a semi-vegetative state creating mission, vision and aim statements. It's like writing, in-so-far as there are words and a fat, felt pen involved but I keep getting the sneakiest of feelings that we are doing this task, on repeat, until we get close enough to the decision that has already been made to make the process seem democratic.
Its like the original Design a School Badge Competition - no one looked more confused to be awarded a prize 'for her winning design' than the girl who couldn't see any element of her design in the finished logo.

I have three headaches at the moment, so that probably counts as a good day here:
1 The one in my head
2 The situation that sees the boy without his college placement - square peg syndrome
3 The boiler that doesn't boil - can't boil, won't boil, shouldn't be allowed to boil, needs to evolve

Also, everything about autumn makes me want to write more of Jess and Caleb's story. The sky here, this evening, was flaming red and yet its unnaturally vibrant shades didn't warm, but warn. All I wanted to do, when I watched the sky become streaked with wisps of orange like irradiated fruit, was make notes in my book diary and writing journal. There are a couple of weeks to my writing's first birthday. The feelings that churn at that thought are just as intense as the way I felt when both cherubs hit the same milestones. I have an attachment to that book that is almost physical, and that feels ... unexpected and, sometimes, too large.

I re-worked the ending of Near Edgware. When I scanned the new ending it seemed that polishing wasn't going to be enough and some serious sanding was required. I was glad to have a legitimate reason to be working to make the story glow. I've got to free it from the masking of a rough surface and let the gem shine - someone wrote a poem like that today - I tell Year 6 it's called magpie-ing.

Thursday 24 September 2009

Cold Reader One makes contact

Something about that title sounds like I need a radio microphone to hear the next response!

My class is, finally, settling down. The work load is feeling more manageable. Also, I've listened to the new Muse CD so often I don't know why I didn't love it all, totally, on day one. (You know it's a bad sign when you're thinking of doing the radio phone-ins, in the hopes of winning tickets to see them live - bless!)

The cold readers, who have also been busy with the work life balance, must be eating their way to the end of the book. Perhaps they thought injesting it was the way to go. I've been a study in patience. :S Today, before school, I got an e-mail from the first of the cold readers - who only got four chapters as I was nervous of sending the whole thing out. She has asked for the rest... with lots of exclamation marks. I'm taking that as a good sign.

After school I logged on here and found messages and a new follower. I like good news. It turns average days into quite another thing. Welcome Danni. I loved reading over on your blog. I felt right at home.



Dark, clawing brambles shredded my skin. Gasping and shaking, I scrambled to higher ground at the top of the mound. I dragged shallow breaths into my aching, ice-scorched lungs. Time, like my energy, was running out and I still hadn't delivered the warning.

I’d come back home to enjoy hanging out with my friends. Instead, I’d spent time researching a little known sub-culture and walking, make that running, into danger. Before being ripped apart and dying - if I was lucky - it could be I had just enough minutes left to invent a time machine; perhaps he really wasn’t worth all this?

I imagined myself in quieter, safer, alternate realities. In my head I agonised over the question but in my heart I found the answer: the excitement of knowing, and being loved by him. I loved him. He made even this seem like the right place to be. I smiled and, even though he wasn’t there with me, I reached out my hand as if we could really touch.

Time machines are over-rated. I’d stand by my choices.

I took a deep breath and screamed.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Muse - the cure for Black Holes and these unexpected Revelations - Resistance against depression

If I hadn't bought the Muse CD yesterday I would have pitched the tent in the back garden and moved into it, because no-one deserved to be around me.

Storming, sulking and wallowing were a quite extreme reaction to the KS2 briefing Staff Meeting. One moment I was adding all the new up-dates in organisation, expectation, innovations, performances on top of my 5 sets of books that needed to be marked in the school where some people eat supply teachers for their break time snack. Next moment I knew a storm was brewing. I slid down in the chair, folded my arms (impersonated the pupil in my class, who shall remain nameless here) and realised that my foot was already tapping. Surviving to the end of the meeting, I went into my work partner's room. I was now doing an impression of a different challenged pupil. I waited, until she asked what was up, and being too socially skilled and conditioned to complete my impersonation, by turning the tables over, I opted for crying.

My nice head of KS2 genuinely tried to offer help but I don't know how to not manage. I was so out of my depth in the-land-of-swamped-under, I didn't see what I needed help with. I just needed more hours in the day and I didn't think she could supply that. I threw up some fierce defensive walls and let the words flow somewhere over the top of my head and wound myself up tighter.

The, also, nice teacher who phoned to ask if I knew it was my day in charge of lunch, for the next day, was the final straw. Numbed panic was replaced by unimaginable rage. Now, I don't do not coping. I do geeky amounts over-enthusiastic work and laughing the face of adversity. Rage was followed, far too quickly, by a trip to a dark hole I haven't navigated since the day my boy was diagnosed with autism. It is no place to be.

Tescos had Muse. Now I'm a bit deafer. My cure for that insidious feeling of panic that drags you into places dark-and-deep involves headphones (ever thoughtful) and volume that makes you appreciate music at a physical level - vibrations in more than the middle ear.

This CD may not be my classic, favourite on-first-listening, perfect collection - the answer for Black Holes and Revelations being Absolution - but I sure know the tracks quite well now. What is with the classic-heavy bit Matt? Also, it's bad enough that my seventeen-year-old has made a bid for rebellion by obsessing over musicals without the 'Muse-does-Queen-in-Sinbad-production-number' shock! But the cure worked. I ran the Y6 teachers' Meet and Greet, meaning I didn't get out of school until 7:30, and I'm now sane enough to admit that yesterday I'd have rivaled the feral Were for ferocious, mindless, violence - they could have brought it, because I would have left with it.

Then I edited Near Edgware Chapter One - I felt right at home re-reading and picking on semi-colons.

Monday 7 September 2009

This feeling called ... hateful! Horrible! Hateful! Horrible! Hateful! Horrible! Apart from the reading

The days just kept on passing, tick by ominous and inevitable tick, and then the school holidays ended! I couldn’t believe it. One minute I had oodles of writing time and the next thing I knew it was three days to term and I had to WORK!

I cold read Laura’s Hollow Souls and got engrossed in it. The process of reading for a writer was a different reading experience from any other I’d had before. Starting a book is not normally a scary thing – wanting to read it ‘right’ :S I confused myself! (No wonder I had such trouble with the poor girl’s name.)

The new class is vast – I seem to be packing them in. I had 18 in my Maths group last year – I’ve, literally, doubled that this year. My eyes can’t stretch wide enough to see them all at once if I had the ‘surround’ vision of an owl I’d agree that that number is manageable but OMG. Normal chit-chat brings noise levels to frowning point. The year group is, technically, full + 1 but we cannot turn anyone away as we have the potential to go back to three forms of entry. At least the biggest group - Maths - are the middles and above (in ability) but that means they ‘do’ lots. I looked at the books piled up on the table, hoped there must be some completed books in there too, and realised that they all needed marking.

Three classes merged into two so something as simple as finding everyone’s exercise book – yes they do carry over into the next year – has been a trial. They were challenging in three classes so condensed into two they are ... brimful of characters.

So, no writing since the Reading Festival. Did I write about that here? I've been so busy I don't know if I did that - great! Re-order this well known phrase or saying: PLOT MUST LOSING I THE BE

However, I’ve been READING!!!!
Planning and reading.
Tidying and reading.
Sorting and reading.

8 am to 6pm
(NO BREAK Break Duty
15 minutes for lunch
staff meeting after school)
7:30pm to 10:00pm working on assessment and preparation

During the holiday a telephone survey called – when the girl said, “Oh! A teacher that’s 9 to 3:30 - about 35 hours a week then?.” Little Miss Positivity... Positivity ... All is Positivity very nearly decided that my normal mantra didn’t apply to tele-canvassers!!

10:00 pm to 11:00
This bit of blog writing and a Haiku for Twitter

I think I’m due an early night. Tom and his friends and The Ghost and her homeless protectors know I’ll be right back when things settle down, when I’m used to not being able to see, at one glance, that my whole class is present.