Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Theology according to seven-year-olds.

Another little gem from some children in my class.

Child A: "I wonder who will win next week. I bet it will be the boys."
Child B: "You don't know that, only God knows."
Child A: "Yeah but God is getting really old. That's why he doesn't look after everyone very well any more and why there are lots of hungry children and bad things that happen."
Child B: "Oh that makes sense, because I was wondering why if God was so nice why horrible things happened."
Child A: "Well now you know for sure."
Child B: "Yeah, thanks for that."

Only a seven-year-old could come up with such a flawless explanation. I love them!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Facebook photos and our online persona.

I have a reputation amongst my friends as being a serial de-tagger. I am very fussy about which photos make the cut and de-tag myself from any photo which makes my face look a) pointy (yes, right now I am too thin, don't nag), b) insanely pale or c) just makes me look a bit weird. And unfortunately, this encompasses about 75% of the photos which seem to appear on facebook, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that the cameras only ever seem to come out after a few cocktails when, let's face it, no-one looks their best. Particularly me, because I am particularly unphotogenic at the best of times and whilst I'm hardly stunning, I don't think I'm that ugly? Or at least, I'm not as ugly as certain photos make me appear.

But I'm still not sure why I de-tag photos. My friends who would look at those photos were there on that night so they are fully aware what I look like, so who am I trying to kid? Why do we become obsessed with the virtual representation of ourselves and why do we try to present this perfect image?

I guess that is the joy of the online world, or the downside, depending on which way you look at it. You can be whoever you want to be, present a more refined, pleasant version of yourself which to a potential friend/partner (if you're into the online dating scene) will make you seem more appealing. But at the same time, we all know those who take it too far; Those who upload old photos to dating sites; those who lie to get attention.

I have had far too many experiences of those in my past. As a teenager growing up with few IRL friends, I found solace in an online forum. I had many friends there and no matter what had happened in my day, they would be there. They saved me during dark times, cheered me up and made me realise my own worth. They gave me what little confidence I had at that time and to most of them, I will always owe them that.

There were two girls, however, who were not who they said they were. One girl, "Daisy", told us of how her Dad died as a consequence of something she did, her step Dad sexually abused her and she was hardly ever fed or looked after. She turned out to be a girl from a very affluent family who had both parents, lived in a large house and had horses. And she had never been abused.

She was one of my closest friends and the day I found out, I was crushed. We all put our guards up that day, realising how misleading someone could be over the internet and swore we'd never be taken in again.

Then another girl, "Sarrah", came along. She seemed lovely, was a single parent who had been orphaned at 13. She had cancer, and was struggling to raise her daughter as well as work to pay her hospital bills. She turned out to be a fraud too, and was using someone else's pictures. The girl whose photos she used found out and set up a facebook group to inform us all but we never found out who she really was. I wasn't so affected by this but it was still a shock. What sort of person would lie like that, and what were they getting out of it?

I guess no matter how hard we try, no matter how careful we try to be, we can never be truly sure of who we are speaking to online. After all, we all inadvertently censor what we say or post sometimes and so the online world will never quite be a fair representation of reality. And yet, when so much of our day and social lives revolve around social networking, could we even work out where reality ends and the falsities of the internet begin?

Food for thought.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Another reason for loving my job.

A child came in to the classroom today and told me that I looked sad. She gave me a hug, told me I looked pretty, then got on with her task.

I instantly felt a million times better and haven't looked back since.

I love my class ♥

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Standing on my own two feet.

This last fortnight has been really tough, I've been pushed to the limits in every sense of the word and this weekend I felt the cracks starting to show. I now see the effect 16-hour-days are having when I look in the mirror, I am starting to go down with something and I've lost a stone since September. I'm trying to be the best teacher I can be, make new friends whilst keeping in touch with my old ones, keep up with my family whilst my Grandad is going through his treatment and my Nan feels lonely, as well as be a girlfriend, sleep and eat.

Something had to give, obviously, and given that list I still don't regret my decision that the least important element of my life was my relationship. I thought that for two or three weeks I would have the support and compassion of my boyfriend and that he would be understanding and patient in the knowledge that this wouldn't be forever.

What I did not expect, however, was to have to endure 2 hours of abuse in which I was told I was working too much (because obviously I just waste most of my time and make extra work for myself), NEVER tried in our relationship (and whilst I admit that has been true for a fortnight, that hasn't been true for the rest of the time), was selfish, a chore and didn't care. This continued until he was satisfied he had reduced me to the point of breakdown before he finally chucked me.

I was doing fine until today. Yeah I was busy and stressed and the cracks were starting to show but with a 4-day-week coming up I thought I was getting there and then suddenly I get this.

Men are basically just giant 5-year-olds. Selfish, self-absorbed and always on the verge of a tantrum if the universe doesn't revolve around them.

So back to the single life. Not that I have any time to enjoy it...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Being indecisive.

I'm so indecisive, I drive myself mad sometimes. I struggle to decide what to have for my dinner, never mind make a major life decision. I generally wait for a sign, something to really push me one way or the other but if that sign never comes and the situation continues without changing I just cannot make a decision.

I don't think it is cowardice, I just think that I need to be so sure in anything I do that when there is an element of doubt in any way, I am just not able to make a decision. And it's always that same thought which goes through my head - what if I get it wrong? Which is a fairly succinct summary of my mind-set to be honest: everything I do is through fear of someone realising that I'm wrong, useless and a general failure. I believe I've made it through life pretty well hiding this fact until now and so I must be on borrowed time until I make a spectacular mistake. Is this going to be it? Or is my failure to make a decision the mistake?

I realise I'm being a bit cryptic here but, for the reason I've just mentioned, until I've made a decision I don't want to go out on a limb and say what I'm talking about. Let's face it, it is just as likely that within a month it will have all calmed down as it is that I will have acted upon it. But right now I'm hurting, I'm confused and feeling the pressure. Something needs to give somewhere, I just need to decide what...

Now, do I want a green tea or English breakfast to snuggle up with?
Blanket or hot water bottle?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

I knew it would be mad...

...but this really is something else. No matter how many people told me, "your NQT year will be the toughest year you will ever go through", "teaching is so much paperwork" and "the autumn term is the hardest term" I never really believed them. I thought a few late nights a week would sort it all out but in reality I work 7am-7pm at school then come home and work until 10pm. And I do this everyday. Yes, weekends too.

Am I exhausted? Am I ill? No. Why not? Because I fricking love my job and every minute I work is worth it to see the kids making such fantastic progress. I love my class, I love my job and I even love the paperwork.

However, I am going to need to regain some sort of work-life balance soon before the novelty wears off. I used to go to the gym three/four times a week and I haven't been since I moved here, so that will be the first thing I aim to pick up in the new year. I want to have one evening a week off completely too so I can meet friends, go to the cinema or just laze about at home and I would like time to do all of those hobbies I used to have... knitting, sewing, cooking, blogging. It all seems like a lifetime ago now. Writing a blog entry seems like such a luxury and my bank of ideas is practically overflowing. Maybe this should be my way of weening myself back into a work-life balance.

Yes, actually, it will be. From this week onwards, I aim to write at least 2 blog posts a week. They might not be long, they might not be interesting (given that 60% of my life is teaching and the other 40% sleeping) but I will try. Being eloquent and entertaining may be the next step to regaining a balance...

In other news, I'm about to be kicked out of my flat. My letting agents haven't told me, they've just put my flat up for sale and not mentioned it.