Monday, November 3

Introducing: My Dreaded Year 9s!

Today was the first day where I was able to take stock of how far I've come with my unruly, disruptive and, frankly, insane Year 9s since Sept.

Weeks 1-3: Chaos. It took 15 minutes for them to quieten down sufficiently for me to give instructions, even then nobody listened. I was issuing detentions and sending notes home almost every day.

Week 9: After 2 minutes standing in front of the class silently with my arms folded across my chest, staring wildly and malevolently the class are, finally, silent. I call this technique 'The Pirate Stare', I imagine that I am about to make them walk the plank. If they disrupt this quiet again I just say, very softly, 'that's fine, I'll just come and fetch you at the end of the day to make the time up, you know I'll do it'.

And believe me, they know. I have pursued them relentlessly, like a hound on a scent, since September. With 21 kids out of 30 on the school's special needs register (mostly for behavioural difficulties) I have to be on my toes and work them like a drill sergeant.

Drizzle, dark evenings and delays

There were a few pleasant ripples in what was otherwise a washout of a day today. The journey to school was HORRIFIC, and I was forced to ride 4 separate Underground lines because of a 'person under a train'. Why would a person choose such an inconvenient time as rush hour to throw themselves under a train at one of London's busiest stations (Oxford Circus)? Actually, now I think about it, why wouldn't they? I have felt dangerously close to suicide several times on the way to work. Maybe one day I will actually do it and manage to piss off a few hundred bustling commuters in the process. Death and major annoyance; the phrase 'two birds with one stone' comes to mind...

The children were particularly exuberant after their half term break, and consequently more difficult to control than usual. To try and divert myself from giving up and sitting on the floor in protest at their behaviour I have begun mentally compiling a sort-of dictionary of all the terms they use in their silly W9 patois. I will share a few with you now:
Jokes: Funny. As in 'Remember when Abdul and Ryan had that fight? That was jokes!'
Butters: Ugly. As in 'Miss, so basically what you're saying is that Richard III was butters, right?'
Swag: Unusual. Quirky. As in 'Miss you're looking a bit swag today'. I was wearing bright pink shoes, a bright green cardigan and a yellow top. I deserved it.

Still haven't got to Westfield. I'm showing unusual restraint. However, I did find out that many of my students are now already hanging about there and referring to it as their 'yard' so it's probably wise not to go after all.

* My cat has an incredibly annoying habit of nuzzling underneath my hand and forcing me to stroke him while I type. If I refuse to cooperate he shoves his huge boy-cat face in front of the screen. He's doing it now. I feel cruel shooing him away. That's actually bollocks. I don't give a fuck. I just wanted you to think that I am kind to animals.

Sunday, November 2


I had 6 diazepam tablets left over from my holiday (I take them to alleviate plane-stress). A couple of hours ago I was feeling a little anxious about returning to school and resuming my hectic working life, so I took a tablet. Is this drug abuse? I do feel much better. But a little guilty.

Saturday, November 1

Guten tag!!!

I have made a half-term resolution to blog more often. This is bad news for whoever still bothers to read this (blah blah blah), but a positive effort on my part, to try and maintain the cheery mood that has lingered for the last couple of weeks.

School is going reasonably well. I have had two 'good' inspections; one from OFSTED and the other from Westminster LEA. I am up to date with my marking. I am keeping my head down and trying not to get involved with the gossiping networks that pervade all staffrooms across the UK. I have not been stabbed or happy slapped, yet. I have only made two children cry. And it is only seven weeks until the Christmas hols.

Last week James and I had a much-needed city break in Berlin. It is, without doubt, the coolest place I have ever been in my life. Everything there just works. For a place with such a troubled and tragic history it is the most tolerant and 'together' city that I have encountered (in my, I admit, somewhat limited travelling portfolio). We stayed in a tongue-in-cheek DDR retro hostel in East Berlin, amongst the rows and rows of identical towering grey apartment blocks. It looked bleak, but felt quite cosy. We tried to fit as much into our trip as possible, leaving room for beer drinking and sausage eating, but I was most impressed by a visit to the Stasi headquarters. It's quite a way off the main tourist drag, and barely signposted, but an utterly fascinating and terrifying testimony to a ludicrous regime. I took some photos of the mental surveillance equipment that they used, and will hopefully post them as soon as I work out how to get them out of my dad's digital camera.

I haven't felt like lying down and switching off, or rampaging through Oxford Street with my Solo card for a few months now. The routine and stability of my home and my job has evened me out marvellously. The only problem now is that I find myself occasionally terrified of losing everything that I have worked so hard for, especially James, who made it all possible.

The new flat is really starting to feel like home. I love coming home to the suburbs every night and almost forgetting I live in London. I am currently hoarding items and cultivating a Moomin themed bathroom.

What else? Oooh, yes. I am VERY excited about going to Westfields Mall as it is very close to my school. I will try and drag my workmate Andraya there this week and take a few snaps of it's shiny newness.

Just read this back. It sounds very rushed and rusty. Ah well. I can't be arsed to rewrite it.

Do Google searches and that...