Trip Of A Lifetime

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Brussels In Pictures

Okay, here are some of the photos from Brussels. This first one doesn't have either of us in it, but it's a good one of Grand Place.
Here's me in front of a couple fo really decent chocolate shops. Neuhaus is one of my faves and sells some of the most amazing chocolate creations you'll ever come across. Godiva is also very nice, and it's where Adie had his white chocolate dipped strawberry!
You can see the vat of melted chocolate in the window! It's justwaiting for me to dive in. (Except I'm a traditionalist and am not a big fan of white choc.)
Here's my Adie posing with Manneken-Pis. Quite a few people have said that they expected him to be bigger. Me too I guess because I almost walked right past him!
A better view of the boldlittle tyke. Look at his face! He really is a cheeky little devil.Here's Adie posing with the Atomium. Should we find ourselves in Brussels again sometime, I think I'll make my way up there. This time we had to make a move to the next sight.
Sorry this one's sideways. I don't have the software to change it and can't work out if I can it on the blog so just tilt your head to the left and voila! It's the cathedral in the background.And finally... the fondue! All that ice cream, fruit and chocolate brownie. Yummo! We even managed to eat it all by ourselves!
Remember, I may not be online for the nexttwo weeks if Internet access is scarce or expensive. But don't worry, I will be back.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Countdown Is On

Well, it's been on for a couple of days now. Term break is almost here! That means no classes for two weeks, travelling again and a chance to see some family while doing so.

School for me is going okay. I've found out that I'll be welcome back next term on the same timetable so at least I know what to expect. Adie, on the other hand, isn't quite sure what next term will hold for him. The job at the Transport Museum has ended and, while there may be the occaisional day of work when they are overwhelmed, he's had to hand back the laptop and puffa jacket.

There's no worry that there will be work, but Adie likes to know things in advance. (Fair enough, so do I!) He's going to keep his ear to the ground about any jobs that seem interesting but until then he's happy that there will be day to day supply.

Friday will be a short day here at school. Adie always finishes early though so it's not special for him. As soon as the last assembly finishes I'm running for the train home to pick up my bags and get to the airport. We fly out at some ridiculously early hour on Saturday morning so we're staying at a hotel near Stansted. Hotels are good because the matresses aren't lumpy and they often have a bath!

From there we fly to Germany to see my Tante Namesake before starting our tour in Frankfurt. I'm excited about going back t Germany now that I'm old enough to appreciate it. At some point we'll also be catching up with my dad in Munich so that we can... well, catch up... and hopefully see my 99 year old Oma.

Not sure if we'll be able to get onto the Internet during the tour, so I may not post for a couple of weeks. If this happens do not panic, fret or mault. I'll be back with ridiculously large posts when I'm in London again.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Aussies Are All Sports Mad!

Well, the Commonwealth Games are coming to an end and Adie and I have been forced to watch them on television, even though we are both Melbourne born and bred. Actually, to be honest, I would have done this anyway. Adie may well have braved the crowds but I am a happy observer from the couch.

It's been quite a unique experience to be able to watch your home town from another country. Every night, for an hour and a half, we've sat in front of our little tv to watch the highlights as presented by the British. We expected the worst but didn't have to because Melbourne came off as a beautiful city with so much to offer.

There was some sledging by the English athletes about the Aussie athletes, but when you look at the medal table I guess you can forgive them. Hehehe. We didn't get to see all of the Australian victories, but we did see a lot of them and every day they would show the front page of the Herald Sun and The Age. After about five days, they stopped showing the full medal table at all and only showed us sport specific tables that made the English look good.

As a result of our being here instead of at home, I've watched about a year's worth of sport in less than two weeks. Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Manneken Pis?

Adie and I spent a lovely couple of days in Brussels, the chocolate capital of the world, this past weekend. We went up straight after work on Friday on the Eurostar.

To be honest, it's not a bad way to travel. We were in the second class carriages. Second class. Hmmph! While I wouldn't try sleeping in these seats, they had much more leg room than airplanes and a sturdy tray table. The head rests were just too far back. Food was available at reasonable prices, but we didn't eat any so I can't comment on the quality.

When we arrived we had to catch a taxi. Mainly because we were tired and justwanted to find our hotel, but also because we were advised not to use the train system after 10pm. Our hotel was lovely and modern with really friendly staff. Our bathroom has a bath as well as shower and the bed was pure heaven! They had a special deal going for people who book online, so we also managed to get a really cheap buffet breakfast both mornings. So, if you're in Brussels check out the Hotel Silken Berlaymont Brussels. Try and get a deal though, the price for the hotel alone was too much for our budget, but through a deal including our train tickets it was really affordable.

Saturday was quite a busy day for us because we did almost everything on foot. Initially we took the metro into the centre of the city. The trains ran frequently and were clean. One train ride even featured a woman playing the accordion! On the Sunday we jumped on a tour bus to get out to the areas that we couldn't walk to and to get the commentary on the places we had already seen. It worked out quite well.

It should be noted that I was on a mission from the moment I reached Belgium borders. Find the chocolate! I'd done my research so that I wouldn't spend money on anything that wasn't worth it. (Not that that's really possible in Belgium. Even the dodgy, cheap chocolate is fantastic!) There were two shows that I had to visit: Neuhaus and Marcolini. We were very good too. We only bought home one box of chocolates from each shop. It did cost us 50euro, but OMG it's so worth it. Every night Adie and I sample a couple and I am seriously swooning at every nibble. Unfortunately we can't bring any home because the fresh ingredients will go stale. I promise to think of you all as I devour them though!

Apart from chocolate, we also got to see a lot of sights in Brussels:

  • A couple of amazing churches, with stained-glass windows, giant wooden carvings and stone statues.
  • Grand Place with it's guild halls and amazingly detailed and beautiful architecture.
  • A lot of parks! Brussels is filled with beautifully manicured parks filled with fountains and statues. It would be a real treat to see them in Spring or Summer.
  • The Chocolate Museum. 5euro and not worth it. It's two tiny little rooms that have posters up about how to make chocolate and a selection of moulds. At the back of the second room is a French chocolatier who constantly does the same 5 minute demonstration over and over again. Honestly, if you already know anything about chocolate (where it comes from and how to use it) don't bother. It you're a complete novice, you may enjoy it more.
  • A few huge palaces that are either lived in by the current King or Belgium or that have been lived in by people such as Napoleon when on his honeymoon. We weren't able to go into any of them, but apparently a few are open for a few months each year.
  • We went into one museum, it was in Grand Place and covered the history of Brussels. There were a lot of maps and models, as well as paintings and sculptures.
  • The Atomium, according to the website it's the most astonishing building in the world. It certainly is impressive. It's based on the structure of a molecule (I think) and has nine big silver balls, containing things like showrooms and restaurants, all linked by escalators and elevators. We didn't go into it because we only had so much time, but it was definitely something that I'll remember seeing.
  • Markets aplenty. The markets that they have in Brussels can be spotted a mile away because they all happen under the same red and green striped tents. There is a flea market near Grand Place that has some nice bits and pieces and an antiques market in Sablon.
  • And of course, Manneken Pis. This is a little statue in the middle of Brussels of a little boy taking a leak. The people of Brussels are totally in love with this statue and talk about how he's a symbol of freedom. They dress him up in one of his 700plus costumes for special occasions, they sing songs about him and they even drink from his... ahem... stream. The stories surrounding him are interesting and funny, so if you're into that kind of thing... look it up!

The last thing we did before heading to the train station was to sit down comfortably in Haagen-Dazs and indulge in their chocolate fondue. (We missed out on a cheese one at New Years so we had to make up for it!) This pot of warm chocolate sauce is served with 16 small balls of ice-cream (about 6 flavours), strawberries, apple, banana and chocolate brownie. You also get a side serving of caremelised nuts. Wow! This was such a fantastic way to end the weekend, and it kept me feeling full until we arrived back home in London!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

St. Patrick's Day In London

St. Patrick's Day is this Friday apparently, but perhaps to cash in on a couple of extra days, London held a big parade and festival in it's city this past weekend. While I did not check it out myself, Adie most certainly did. He spent an exciting afternoon watching people walk past him in costume down the street, listening to traditional Irish music and eating too much fudge.

Now while most people think of shamrocks:


and Guinness:

London decided the best way to celebrate this event was to dye their fountains green. Oh well, they have been talking about water restrictions over here lately. Anyhoo... should you have any questions about Adie's actual experience you will have to email him as I was not there to get the first hand knowledge.

As for the actual St. Patrick's Day? Well, apparently the strip of shops just at the end of our street is where they hold some really fab Irish stuff. We won't be indulgin however because we have Eurostar tickets to Brussels that leave that night. Oh well, at least Adie got to do something, even if it was a week early.

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

Well, I'm not! I'm in love with it actually. Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin were perfect in the roels of Martha and George. And even though we had some of the cheapest and crappiest seats in the house, the power and energy coming off the stage was amazing.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the play, it has three acts that can last anything from 3 to 3 and a half hours. It's set on university grounds where George is a teacher and Martha (his wife) is the president's daughter. They have just been to a party at Martha's fathers and Martha has invited a young couple from the party over for drinks even though it is about 2am. She did not run this idea by George.

George and Martha seem to have a mutual contempt for each other and constantly engage in verbal sparring, even when entertaining guests. It is this aspect of the play that Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin did so well. Their relationship was real. The discomfort of the guests was palpable. The play was, simply put, great.

I almost didn't go to see it because I didn't think I'd be able to get cheap tickets and I just can't afford the expensive ones. I'm so glad I did though. It will go down as one of the best pieces I've been lucky enough to see. Good writing and excellent performances.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Our House... Is A Very, Very, Very Small House

Adie and I decided that you all might be interested in seeing our current accomodation. It's quite cosy and it costs us approximately £780 per month, not including electricity. Ahh, London.

We are lucky to have a flat at the front because of the huge windows. It's even luckier that we're on the side we are because it's like a picture window with three parts to it, the flat on the other side only has the one window. Here you can see our kitchen. It has all the mod cons. A stove, oven and bar fridge. We also have a kettle and toaster. Off to the left you can see into our bathroom. All you can really see is the shower. There is also a toilet and sink in there, along with a medicine cabinet and shelf.
This final shot shows a little more of the lounge room and bedroom... oh, and the dining area (that would be the table you see nest to the TV. We've converted our wardrobes into an office as well by using the doors to display important information.

Yes I talk about it like I hate it, but I don't. Not really. Although I have been known to yell at the kitchen. It's a place to live and it's ours until July when we get on the road again. I must say though, it's really, really helping me to appreciate what I have at home!

Finally... The Photos From Ireland

Well, here we go... the photos. I almost gave up on them, but it just goes to show that we all need to persevere in life to get what we want. I don't quite know what happened to the photos of the Rock of Cashel though. Maybe they're on another CD. I'll look into it.

This first photo is of Adie at some castle ruins. I honestly can't remember what they're called. I do have it written down back at home, but I forgot to bring it with me. They look really nice with all that green growing on them, I think.

Now this is me, freezing half to death at the Cahergall Stone Fort. It was really amazing. It was a perfect circle with this outer wall and then an inner chamber bit. I'm sure there are more technical terms but I don't know them... obviously. We had fun here. It would be a great place to play. Correction, it was a good place to play. We climbed and jumped and giggled. Imagine having to place all those rocks by hand!

Now this photo was taken on the Skellig Ring at the top of a hill after we stopped the car in middle of a one lane road just to take the shot. It was SO cold. OMG I have never experienced such freezing winds. It felt like icicles were passing through our bodies. Maybe we should have put our jackets on.

This one is of Adie after we'd climber to the top of Bunratty Castle. Luckily the rain had stopped because when we initially entered the grounds it was absolutely pouring! We were lucky to find this shot though because every other turrety thing we looked through gave us a view of power lines or the freeway or the carpark. It really stuffed with the atmosphere. This one almost looks authentic though. No wonder Adie's smiling!

Ok, this final photo is of us at the Cliffs of Moher. This place is just absolutely stunning. It takes your breath away. Partly due to the cold wind that whipping you, but mostly because of the most amazing views. Again here we were really lucky with the weather. As we were driving here the rain was heavy and constant. As soon as we parked, it cleared up and we had magnificent blue skies. Ask to see the other photos from here when we come home though, they are just amazing!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What I Intended To Do

For some reason everytime I try to load the Ireland photos onto this blog, something happens to prevent me. Today it is the website. It's not giving me the option to post photos, usually it does. For those of you waiting patiently for them, please continue doing so in the knowledge that I AM trying. Tomorrow I'll give it another go.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Two Sides To Every Student

In the past two days I have seen both extremes of student behaviour and regard for teachers. Last night I was able to see them at their best. Feeling proud and looking towards their teachers for acknowledgement of the work that they had done. Yes, I went to the school musical.

The script was absolutely atrocious. There was no clear storyline, no ending and many of the songs went on for far too long. The students involved however were just fantastic. They had energy, enthusiasm and simply loved every moment of being on stage in front of family and friends. They beamed after the show because they felt as though they had been a part of something great. It actually made me reconsider the way that I've been thinking about them. For these kids, that performance was something great. It's got nothing to do with them if they are born into an area and family that don't value the same things I do.

The other sextreme of behaviour happened on Wednesday. I was taking a class in the hall and at one point I could smell poo. I assumed a student had passed wind and left it at that. About 20 minutes before the class was set to end I could smell it again, but it seemed to be coming from me!?! I did a quick check of my clothes, a subtle look at and under my shoes, and I looked around the area I was standing in. (All while the lovely little ones did some rehearsals.)

Finally I found the source of the smell. It was on my HAND! I had somehow managed to get s smear a dog poo ON MY HAND!

As the darlings started perfoming their plays, I started searching for the source of this smear. My eyes seached under chairs, on shoes... everywhere they could. Finally I found it. Someone muct have had it on their shoe and then put their foot onto a table where the substance had scraped off. Somehow I must have touched the table.

Now, in my fear of what the students might do should I leave them, I then proceeded to continue the class rather than run screaming ot a bathroom to scrub my sullied palms. I don't think my composure has ever been tested to such a degree. Eventually the class finished, I quickly marched to the toilets and washed... and washed.

Initially I figured the whole ordeal as an accidental and embarrassing moment. I certainly didn't see any malice in the incident. When I arrived home I found out thatI was wrong. I also found out that I did not get to poop on my hand from the table. I got it on my hand when I picked up my keys. Yes, some little (please, please excuse this) f***er thought it okay to grab MY keys, that were sitting with my things, and use one of them to scrape the poo from his/her shoe! How disgusting. How little regard this person has for the people around them.

I don't like that particular class.

I'm going to try focusing on the positives I was able to witness last night and not on the horrors of what transpired on Wednesday. I make no promises though.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Measure For Measure

I went to see some Shakespeare at the National Theatre last night. You know, get some culture? How can one justify coming to the United Kingdom and not going to see some of the Bard's work? I mean, really!

Actually, I'm never really that thrilled at the prospect of watching Shakespeare. It can be terribly boring and often directors miss the point entirely. This particular performance came highly recommended though and seemed like it had potential. I'm glad I listened because I am now a fan of the work produced by a company called Complicite.

Forget traditional Shakespeare... that can be saved for the Globe. (Which I may just indulge in come summer.) Forget crappy modernisations... that can be left to MTC. No, Complicite bring an edge to Shakespeare that I'm sure was there in his heyday but that seems to be absent from so many productions of his work in these contemporary times.

*I just re-read myself. I do sound like a prat, don't it!?! Oh well, too bad. I'm enjoying myself!

The Measure for Measure I saw last night was modernised but it was gritty too. There was some nudity, sexual references, violence and fake blood, but it was all done in a way thatdragged the audience into the performance and allowed us to feel the play. That and my incredibly crappy seat that ruined my back.

Some people didn't like it and left. (Please note that they did not leave as the couple in the brothel simulted sexual acts, but when poor Isabel's shirt was ripped from her body. Maybe they don't like grit.) Everyone else seemed riveted. Laughing, either becaus ethey understood the joke or because it made them uncomfortable. Staring, open-mouthed because the performances were so powerful. Clapping like maniacs at the end because they were satisfied by what the show provided.

Some excellent performances, filled with passion and conviction. Some interesting questions left in the minds of the viewers. And all for only £10. What a fantastic world we live in hey?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Resurrection Blues

Last night Adie came with me to see Resurrection Blues by Arthur Miller. They were free tickets so he decided he'd tag along. We thought we were going to see Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? But we had been told the wrong thing. Oh well. Theatre is theatre.

This play has one of those all-star casts...
Jane Adams, George Antoni, Megan Arellanes, Peter Brooke, Neve Campbell, James Fox, Nigel Francis, Jeffry Kaplow, Caroline Madden, Peter McDonald, Sarah Mennell, Matthew Modine Maximilian Schell, Ronan Summers.
And all-star production teams...
Director: Robert Altman, Set designer: Robin Wagner, Costume designer: Jenny Beavan, Lighting: Rick Fisher, Sound: Matt McKenzie

Unfortunately, It's been ripped to shreds by the critics. We went in with an open mind, the critics can get it wrong... but this time they were pretty right.

The script, at times, was really engaging and brought up some truly interesting ideas. At other times it was odd, disjointed and just plain unpredictable. The acting, at times, was well done and believable. Neve Campbell did a good job. Luckily her character suited her style of acting. Other actors also performed reasonably. Unfortunately the lead actor was abysmal. Either he was drunk, the director was drunk or he just hated being there. He was ll over the shop with his lines and with his action. Actors who were okay usually, really struggled when they were on stage with him at the same time. It was baffling.

I'm going to get my hands on the script and have a look at it to see if it's at all the writer's fault. Did Arthur Miller really write the line "And now it's crumpled your willy"?

Mary Poppins

This Monday night Adie and I went to see Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre. I grew up with Mary Poppins. Well, not literally. It's not like she was MY nanny or anything, but I certainly did watch the film about thirty thousand times!

The stage production was very good, with a lot of cast members flying about. It was interesting to see how they adapted the story to the stage. Some bits were left out, some embellished and others totally new. It was quite traditional in ways (like the singing) but also used a lot of contemporary techniques (mainly to do with sets).

Adie and I both agreed that the second act was better paced than the first as at times the story did drag. It was also a really strange interval. Quite a few audience members, including ourselves, felt that maybe the play was finished because the story seemed to be up to the end point of the film. There was no curtain call though and so we figured there would be more. There was, so it's a good thing we decided to stay.

Overall we did enjoy ourselves and I think I'm definitely going to have to buy the dvd of Mary Poppins if it's available as soon as I get home.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Adie Update

It has been brought to my attention that I have a habit of prattling on about myself and neglecting to fill people in on what's happening in the world of my other half. So it's time for me to make a quick ammends.

First, Adie is currently working for the London Transport Museum. He goes to a venue for the day where they provide him with a space and with lunch and he speaks to ten grade 6s at a time about how to catch public transport in London. Funny! He talks about safety and stuff and he genuinely loves it. It doesn't look like it will last beyond Easter, because they just don't have enough booking, so he's making the mostof it before he has to go back into the classroom.

Next, two weekends ago Adie was sick. I mean REALLY sick. He couldn't keep anything inside of him and I started to worry about how I was going to help him when I haven't been onto National Health yet, have no car and no idea where the nearest doctor let alone hospital is. Luckily the chemist was a very understanding and kind man who, after making sure thatAdie hadn't just gotten himself plastered the night before, gave me some magic pills and directions to the local emergency room. Adie is all better now and he's even eating dairy again! There is one little restaurant around the corner, however that will no longer be getting our business. (It should be noted that the restaurant was definitely not responsible, as Chip ate an identical meal, but it will forever be associated with that night in the bathroom.

In a general sense, everything else in Adie's life seems to be running smoothly. He works Mon-Fri. He's being dragged to theatre on a very frequent basis. He organises excursions for the weekends so that we never feel as though we're not making the most of our trip. (Last weekend we went to the Covent Garden Market, which was freezing!!! Will have to go back when there is more sun and less wind. Not this but next weekend we're going to Belgium because I feel like chocolate and Adie loves me!) He's meeting interesting and fun people for work. He gets to come home to me. What more could he possibly want from life.

Should you have any other questions about my husband, feel free to ask. I think I've covered most of it though.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

ET Phone Home

Well, maybe not ET. I've got access to a really cheap phone card and would like to catch up with some people back at home. I do realise that for you all life goes on and you still get to see everyone except myself and Adie, but we are not in the same boat and wouldn't mind even a ten minute call to say hi.

So, if you'd like a quick catch-up, email us and tell us a day that would suit. Noshie can call people on (your time) Monday nights from 7pm onwards, Saturday 6am - 11am or 7pm onwards and Sunday 6am - 11am or 7pm onwards. Adie is only available for the Saturday or Sunday times.

If you don't know my email, shame on you. Just leave a note on here and email you with the details.

Theatre #1

I thought I should start writing about my London theatre experience today because, even though I haven't actually gone out to see anything yet, I saw two performances at school yesterday.

The first was a group called Orange Tree who bring Shakespeare into schools. The year 9s are doing Macbeth so that's what the actors looked at. They did quite well, especially considering some of our kids would rather do anything other than watch a Shakespeare performance. They started with a quick performance of the important bits and then went on to disect a couple of specific scenes. The nice thing about the waythey did it though was that they gave the students ownership by allowing them to make directorial choices. Eg. Where should we set this scene? In a car? Ok, let's do it in a car! or How do you think Macbeth is feeling right now? Drunk? Ok, he's drunk! It made for some interesting interpretations and certainly got the kids thinking beyond the story and about the emotions.

The second group were called Synergy and they consisted mainly of prisoners from a local jail. The other members were former prisoners. The piece thatthey showed was about choices and the consequences of your actions. It was quite powerful, used multi-media and came across as being very real because it was being told by the people who have lived it. The group were also happy to answer questions honestly during a quick forum and then they ran a workshop.

It was a really busy day, even though I didn't do all that much. I did learn a lot though.

We're In A Booking Frenzy!!!

Adie and I have been booking up a storm. How exciting! First thing booked were theatre tickets. Pretty low key, but I'm excited. We're going to see "Mary Poppins" on Monday night! Yay!. I grew up with this in movie form. I watched it all the time and knew every word of every song. In primary school we even did a little performance of it in the multi-purpose room. I can't believe I'm going to see it on stage!

Anyway... we've also booked some stuff for this coming holiday. Two weeks in April. We will be going to Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. In that time we'll also quickly catch up with some family in Germany. Exciting!

About six weeks after that we've organised to go to Italy for mid-term break. We'll see things like Rome, Venice, Pompeii and Capri. Lovely. Weather will be getting warmer and we'll be soaking up the atmosphere on the continent. Adie can't stop talking about it.

Of course our summer holidays are still being spent in Greece, Spain and Turkey, so maybe we'll come back a bit brown. Jealous? That's a bit mean I guess. Just think, in order to be able to do it all we have to live in a tiny little room that won't heat and that only allows us about 10 minutes of hot water in the shower before the tank needs 90 minutes to reheat. There are chilly nights while I sit in bed with the hot water bottle chewing on a bag of Percy Pigs (yummiest lollies ever invented) thinking about the sunshine.

It's so worth it though!


Part Two in my London schools rant.

The people you work with have a huge impact on how easy things are and how much fun you have while "working". My school is interesting because I work relatively closely with one person who makes work a fun and happy place to be (Cat) and another who seems to want to make me feel like I'm an insignificant little bug with no clue about my supbect area or about how to teach it (Yogurt).

Cat is fantastic. She comes from a musical background, loves theatre and is so cultured and passionate she makes me want to go out and better myself after every conversation about her weekend plans. She plays piano, sings as she works and is trying to get me a free ticket to see Kathleen Turner in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" She brings in fruit and demands that I share it with her and is disappointed when I eat crisps instead. (Note the Englishism...crisps, not chips. Hehehe.) Having known me for no more than two weeks she has accepted thatI can do my job, is interested in my methods of teaching and treats me like an equal and friend.

Yogurt on the other hand is a rude, insensitive woman who likes to feel that she is better than all around her. At first I didn't realise what was going on and I would leave conversations with her in near tears because she would make little comments about what I should have done or did wrong or whatever. I soon realised however thatthis woman has all sorts of issues about herself and that she is projecting them onto the people around her. Poor, pathetic twit.

Supply vs Part-Time

Part One in my London schools rant. (Sorry if I've already said any of this.)

While I always knew that it was important to have people in your workplace who possess the sorts of skills that we should never undervalue, eg. ability to communicate (both verbally and physically), flexibility, dependability, sense of humour etc... I have never had it highlighted to me so fully as I do here in London.

As a supply teacher you have no access to anything. Including keys, resources and other teachers. Let me elaborate... because I feel the need to, not because I worry thatyou do not understand.
Keys: Under no circumstance will you be given any. Fair enough, in some school you'd been in one hell of a lot of trouble if the students got their hands on them. It means thatyou are constantly asking people to let you in. In some schools this is easy enough because any full time member of staff will have access to everywhere. In other schools however, only certain people have keys to certain rooms and inevitably none of them are around when you have 30 screaming, fighting year 9 boys wanting to get in.
Resources: In the event that you have not been left any work (50/50), there are usually two possiblities. The first is to scrounge something from the head of department which is often not pitched at the right year level and can sometimes take up no more than half the lesson time. The second option is to be prepared by having a multitude of sheets and workshops ready. The big problem here is that many schools are not willing to let you photocopy and when you prepare for a workshop, you find that you've been put in a windowless room thatseems to contain all excess furniture thatthe school doesn't yet want to throw away.
Other teachers: As a supply teacher you don't seem to exist where the full time teachers are concerned. If you end up the only supply teacher at a school on any particular day you may very well feel quite isolated and lonely as other teachers turned their chairs so that their backs face you and not achknowledge you as you ask a question like "Excuse me, but could you point me towards the toilets?"

Now, as a part-time teacher in a school things are quite different. I may still not have keys(and come report time I will be writing like a maniac for my 250 odd students) but I do have access to resources and, more importantly, to teachers.

I am not ignored when I ask a question because I am a familiar face. The rudest anyone has been to me is when they ask "What is it that you teach again?" Most of my drama classes take place in one of the drama studios, which I might add have fully functioning stage lights and black out curtains! I have access to the Internet, a computer, telephone, fridge, microwave, kettle, and have been given a shelf and chair in the office right next to the drama room. Also, whenever I need to whinge, ask a question or search for a resource, the head of drama is there. Lovely.