Wednesday, March 27, 2013

So this is middle age?

I couldn’t think of a better title for this post, and I don’t even think this post will be very long. My back has gotten worse now that I’ve been home for over a week with pain. I went for a walk around town on Saturday, and I’ve taken my driving lessons, but somewhere along the line, I did something to make it worse. Steve thinks maybe I rushed the healing process too much (as I like to do with everything – I’m so impatient!) I was thinking that my one hour of practicing my parking and reverse around the corner manoeuvres in the car on Monday caused me to do a lot more twisting and turning than my poor back was ready for.

Anyway, I’m sitting here in the bed where I’m sort of comfortable. It takes me an age to get up though. I can’t sit anywhere for long, which is really irritating. I at least worked on my WIP more than usual yesterday, but the minute that I moved slightly in my little, yellow IKEA chair, I felt that familiar twinge of tightness in my back all over again.

I actually finished reading The Future of Us though, so maybe I can get into another book while I’m sitting around here helpless. I would blog more and write my review of the book, but, again, doing anything for long just ain’t happening.

I guess I’ve graduated to middle age, although I know plenty of people at all ages who hose up their back like this. Now I understand how awful this junk is and I don’t wish it on anyone.

On a bright note, I got a knock on the door from the Postman this morning. I didn’t even bother trying to get up because he would have been long gone by the time I got downstairs anyway. He left me a note saying I can pick up a letter that required my signature. I wonder if this is my Indefinite Leave to Remain biometric ID card I’ve been waiting for. I hope so.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It just keeps getting better

I swear, I can’t make this stuff up. I was scheduled to work at a Primary School as a support teacher for this week and next. As I was waiting, I was asked to work as an office assistant. I was willing to give it a whirl, until I found out that it was £7 an hour. I made that amount when I worked at the grocery store in 1996. I know jobs are scarce but luckily I don’t need one that badly.

Instead, I agreed to go in and teach at a school for Thursday morning. I am so glad I did. The school was big, and nice, and the staff was really friendly. No one was shouting at kids in the hallway. None of the kids were being complete jerks either. It really made me re-evaluate the whole, “You have to be mean,” attitude of teaching. I had a really enjoyable time, and even got to observe a student teacher. That really made me think that maybe, somehow, some day, I’d like to work as an English teacher again.

I thought I was going to get my chance when the teaching agency called me to do a mini-lesson and have a chat with the staff at a really nice school on Friday. They were looking for 2 English teachers to start on Monday, and there were going to be 4 of us interviewing. I was encouraged and excited, because I was dreading going to the Primary School when I didn’t know exactly what I was going to be asked to do.

When I got to this interview, however, the Head of English didn’t even introduce himself or speak to me longer than to say that he was going to let the other two candidates (two men) do their mini-lesson first. I waited in the staff room while I had copies for my lesson made. When another teacher (I think – no one talked to me there) came and got me, she led me to a Year 7 class where I did a creative writing lesson. The Head of English stayed a good 10-15 minutes, then talked to the classroom teacher before leaving. When I was finished the classroom teacher led me back to the staff room where the other maybe teacher told me that the other candidates had left (except one lady who still had to do her mini-lesson) and they’d “be in touch.” No chat, no real interview. I thought I had a chance but, surprise, surprise, I wasn’t selected for either of the 2 jobs.

In the meantime, my back had been aching from sitting in the chair too long a while ago when I bought my Katy Perry Sweet Treats add-on for Sims 3. I’ve never had a backache, but when I got to the Primary School on Monday I was in full-blown spasm attack. I couldn’t sit comfortably, and after an hour and a half of being there, I was convinced I was going to have to leave early. I couldn’t walk or sit. I was grabbing on to the Xerox machine, the desks, the doorjamb, etc. just to move around. Instead of calling a taxi (or an ambulance, as I really thought at one point when I was stuck and panicked in the bathroom), I stayed until the end of the day. I let the Year 1 and the Reception teachers know that usually I would sit at the desks with the kids and be much more useful, but I was in a bad way.

This morning, Steve decided to stay home with me because I couldn’t even roll over in bed. I let the teaching agency know at 6AM that I couldn’t come in today but I was more than willing to come in the rest of the week. Tonight they called and told me that the school decided to keep another lady they sent in to replace me today. Surprise, surprise.

Granted I may go back again later, but even if I don’t, I can’t be worried about these kinds of things. It’s nothing I can help, and I can just keep trying to find something. I was bored just sitting around feeling uncomfortable, but maybe if I’m not sent off anywhere else tomorrow (if I’m even able to do it, that is) I can get back to my work in progress. As I always say, that’s the important work I want to do, the rest is just to have some kind of decent money, enjoyment in the things I like, and contentment in a place to go and be useful each day.

I guess I can do that while sitting at a cafe with my netbook and my Kindle, huh? Too bad no one’s paying me for that yet.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A new season

It’s the beginning of a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the snow has melted, and I’m at home, waiting for my driving lesson to start in 45 minutes.

After my last debacle with a teaching opportunity that went belly up, I’ve decided to stick to my affirmations that I had time and time again – I need to quit. Granted, I want to work, but there’s so much to being a public school teacher that I just don’t have. The responsibility of leading young minds into the world and not wasting a single day of their education is essential. A teacher has to throw their whole life into the work and, frankly, I just don’t have that kind of conviction.

I have been told time and time again that I’ve just not found the right school; how I should teach younger students or older students. I’ve been told that if I stay in the same place to get my bearings, I would do so much better. But I’ve also been told that teaching is not for me. I’ve written about this before but since I was appointed a 7 day job at a Primary School to do support work, I just kept getting this icky feeling that I simply do not want to do it.

So, last night, I was washing the dishes and I thought about the past ten years of my life that I’ve wasted trying to get into the educational system when it’s never, ever worked out. Either I did an awful job or I had to leave the job due to some other circumstance. Finally, I said out loud, “Why would I want to do this anymore?”

I kept trying to convince myself that I should go because it’s a job and I’ve already turned down a (horrible) job, so I may as well try this one. People have jobs. They go out into the workforce and work. I’d like that, but I’d like a job I was good at. Not a job where I was wasting anyone’s time and embarrassing myself in the process. I know, deep down, that I’m not doing well whenever I’m in the classroom. I try, but, as I’ve said before, it’s messy. I know I won’t be able to stay at the school for long because the admin want strong teachers, and I don’t blame them one bit.

There was one shred of hope when I saw that my local libraries are taking volunteers. I have been asking about that since I moved here but they just don’t do that like they do in the States. That means whenever I apply for jobs, I have no U.K. library experience; now maybe I can.

It has made me feel much, much better though, that I know I don’t have to do this teaching thing just because that’s the only job I can get. Steve is so super supportive, and he’s even suggested I go to school to learn a new trade. Of course, I want to do online writing workshops because the only thing that makes me really content is working for myself on my own projects.

I just wish I could write a Dear Teen Me letter saying, “Don’t worry about what anyone tells you, just start writing and trying to get paid for it.” Man, that would have saved me so much time.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy World Book Day

I’m going to cheat a little bit and use part of this post for my book blog as well.

Lately I’ve been book hopping and I’ve built up an even bigger "Reading / To-Read” list:

I’m not making much progress in any of them, honestly. I read a bit then quit. Read something else, then start playing with the iPhone, and so on. I did, however, go to the cafe yesterday just to read over lunch and coffee yesterday so I suppose that all counts for something. Today, however, I’m still only getting through a few pages at a time.

Aside from the books, I’m happy to be working on my current project. I’ve been taking the advice of my writing books and keeping more outline notes. I’ll be working for a couple of weeks this month at a new school so I’ll have to remember where I wanted the story to go once I’m back to it.

I don’t know if I’m the only one who has this problem, but I find it very, very hard to shake off outside influences. When I have work or travelling going on, I just cannot focus on anything else. I guess it makes sense since writing requires a whole lot of solitary me time. I know I have some attention deficit issues since I can’t work in anything but silence either, but I really wish I could be the kind who grabs the free time and uses it to work. If get really mentally involved with whatever I’ve done for the day, so trying to get back into the mind-set of creating a fictional day is just down-right impossible for me. It’s not a matter of not wanting to, I just need to be in some Zen-like moment to get anything done.

That’s why I’m just going to have to keep a little notebook with me at all times (thank God for Evernote though). If I do think of something, I can at least get it down for later.

Lastly, I remember that Blogging from A to Z April Challenge will be coming up again very soon. The only thing I could think to use as a theme is music since I did movies last year.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March on for better days

Last thing I posted was the abysmal day of teaching at the local college. Things have perked up since then, I’m happy to say, except I have another cold of some sort. I’m coughing non-stop and it’s waking me up at night so a trip to the walk-in clinic will be in store for me tomorrow, I think.

But aside from the Germs Of England that love to wreak havoc on my immune system, things have gone back to normal. I am able to be home again to work on my project. I’m trying to learn to take things slower instead of wanting to get them out of the way as soon as possible so I can get on to the next project. (I think it’s an American thing, “I want what I want and I want it now.”)

This goes with my driving too. I started with a new instructor last week. She’s been to American several times so she actually understands how different the road system is there. This is something my former instructor could just never accept as a reason for having such a hard time here. But, whatever, on to a new chapter of driving expertise.

Also, I was told on Friday that I may get a position as part teaching assistant, part teacher job at a little school. This would be a good job for me since I don’t have a load of experience in the UK schools and would need to learn the curriculum. It will also take the pressure off if I’m helping another teacher out and not just being thrown in by myself.

We’ll see though. Jobs through the agency are potential but they have plenty of other potential applicants to take care of so if I don’t get it I will neither be surprised or disappointed. Of course having the money is always nice but if I it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

Anyway, after I get this annoying cough taken care of I should be good as gold. I’m so glad it’s March and the weather is starting to perk up. I really can’t stand not seeing the sun. I’ve already felt more motivated just by seeing blue sky and sunshine coming through the windows in the afternoon. It’s such a relief.