Friday 23 October 2015

Fave Friday

Today's fave is, that feeling if relief when you have been dreading something for a long time and then it turns out fine and it's now in the past.

I presented an inset day today for 21 fellow teachers.  Nervous was not the word. There have been many milestones in my teaching career.  First bit of a lesson, with the sweat trickling down my back. First assembly, at the end of which the head of year came over and told me I had been visibly shaking (thanks). First presentation to other teachers, first presentation to students I don't know... Let's just say I have a small section of my wardrobe designated as "sweat clothes" for these occasions because they hide the visible signs of my nerves.

Today was worse than all of that. A whole day, planned and delivered by me. I did try to say no, but all my issues were capably ironed out by the events manager and so here I found myself, about to become part of somebody's crap inset stories. All teachers have those stories. I was resigned to it.

No matter how rational I was, though, the fear was still very real. I was relieved and delighted to read only positive feedback on the forms at the end of the day; but I am even more relieved that it is OVER. It has been a source of much pressure for months so this is a really good moment!

Thursday 22 October 2015

Throwback Thursday: Crepes and Bad Manners in Bormio

I posted about our ski trip last week and mentioned the crepe man. I think his name was Claus. He'd rock up with a little tuc tuc about 4pm every day and make Nutella crepes. While they were cooking he would put dubstep on a little music player and do some quite awkward rave dancing to entertain the crowds. It was mesmerising but I have never seen my students look so embarrassed: they did not know where to put themselves. That alone made it worth queuing.

One afternoon we'd got there early and I waited with three Nutella fans for his tuc tuc to heat up while everybody else went back to the hotel. We sat on the chairs he'd put out for queuing. Kid number 1 got his crepe. Kid number 2 stood up...and was swept to one side by a British man with a woman and three children, who rushed forward and said, "Five crepes please!"

Kid 2 looked crestfallen but shrank back. I wanted to shrink back too. But my overdeveloped sense of justice propelled me forward.

Me: Excuse me, there's a queue
Him: Sorry, I didn't see you
Me: Well, we were here first and it's this boy's turn...
Him: You're not queuing, you're sitting
Me: ...on the chairs put out for queuing
Him: (Turns away)
Me: (Attempting to lighten the situation somewhat) Come on, you're British, you know how to queue!
Him: If you're queuing, you stand here
Me: No, if you're queuing, you sit here, where he has put the chairs, for the queue
Claus: (looking uncomfortable)
Him: Well, can't we just order? We want to go shopping...
Me: No, because it takes quite a while and we've already been waiting for nearly half an hour, and we have been queuing

I was a bit like a dog with a bone by this point. There was a bit more "No I think you'll find..." back and forthing, then...

Him: FINE you go ahead then
Me: Thanks, we will
Him: Who died and put you in charge of queuing, anyway? I bet you're a TEACHER, aren't you?

I was quite taken aback by this, because there was real venom in his voice. He expressed the word teacher as though he were naming some horrible crime. It's why the moment has stayed fresh with me, six months later. I was left with not much to say, so I just said, "Yes." I have thought of a million better things to say since, like pointing out that if I was *his* kids' teacher and I let someone push in front of them when they'd been queuing he would be furious. But I was struck dumb by his disdain.

He hung around muttering about how rude I was before taking his family off elsewhere. The students looked at me like I'd just fought a dragon. "You were very brave, Miss," said Kid 1. "My dad hates people like that. Bullies." Bless them.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Scenes from the Classroom #15

Today, a lesson on the agricultural revolution and enclosure.

I was feeling in my groove with an old lesson I'd brought back for the last day of term. I had a classful of quiet, engaged students, all looking attentive as I explained the (let's face it, not scintillating) move from strip farming to enclosed farms. I segued into the importance of the sheep and remembered this story from September. I looked at the clock.

"Oh, it's the last 15 minutes of term," I said, "so I'm just going to show you this...."

It took a minute or two for me to find a good link and then for the pictures to load, so I was standing in front of the board, displaying a picture of a massive sheep, with the students hub-bubbing about it.

So, of course, it was at this moment that, for the first time ever, the Head included the history classrooms on one of his school tours, and appeared at the door. With the Chair of Governors.

Some say it's karma for swearing (loudly and in jest) at an NQT who was trying to steal my coffee yesterday. I think it's just the final goodbye from a long and rocky term.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Weekend FO

This pink hat is very pink.

Pattern: #10 Helmet Hat  by Deborah Newton
Yarn: Watercolours and Lace White Faced Woodland DK in Strawberry Sundae, one skein. I bought this at the Bristol Wool Festival last month so I am proud of myself for using it already.
Needle: 5mm
Mods: None. I think I should have maybe knitted it on a 4.5mm needle, though. I did swatch, but as I anticipated, it's a little on the big side, in terms of the crown.

Still, I don't think it makes me look like the Mushroom Princess and that was my biggest fear.

I did quite enjoy the knitting of it, although it was quite fiddly. Loads of stitches to pick up AND sewing up to do, but there's a lot going on with all the different stitches and I think they combine together to make something really striking. It's also ever so warm. Love.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Throwback Thursday: Borrrrrrrmio

I never shared anything of last spring's ski trip.

Masses of pictures were not taken, to be honest. I was so exhausted that I slept pretty well and the trip was a day shorter than usual thanks to a last minute change by the ski company, so the trip fairly whizzed by. 

It was a lovely resort. We had a hotel on the outskirts of town but it was a 15-20 minute walk to the lift and we had a locker at the bottom, which suited us really well. As usual there was no snow in town...

...but there was plenty at the top, even if it did get a bit slushy towards the end. The slope you see in the top picture was out of use on several days for the training and testing of ski instructors, but it was pretty awesome flying down it when it was open. 

We had some snowy days, too. I feel like we're always incredibly fortunate with our ski weather, considering we go so late in the season.

Other notable bits:

The drive there took us all the way around Lake Como (I think the drivers were attempting a short cut) and the drivers got lost dropping off our coachshare group, so the journey out took a whopping 28 hours. That was a bit long, even for me. 

The teacher from our coachshare school grinding against a pillar while her Y8 student filmed it. Totally awkward. Our students were horrified which was the funniest bit. The Y8 pupil was amazing at beat boxing (I mean, proper good) but on the coach let out a massive fart and,. when his friends complained, told them, "Allow it fam!" Some of our students still shout this at me across the playground. 

Our hotel share was a Welsh language school. They had a blind kid with them. Amazing.

The hotel was OK - good food of course, because it was Italy; but the rooms had obviously originally been built with no bathrooms and were quite cramped since these had been added. I had to wedge my legs between the toilet and the bidet every time I needed a wee, for example. 

We had a good excursion into town one drizzly night in search of a street festival that turned out to have finished (cue 700 apologies from the overly-nice rep). So, we played 40/40 In around the town square, then came across a trapdoor, hid some boys in it and terrified the Y11 girls. Very funny. 

The Y11 girls held a ferry birthday party for one of them and we had invitations, hats and balloons. 

The psychedelic dancing crepe man. 

Jonty managed to ski into a cliff and his arm swelled up like a ham. He went to the hospital to get it checked out on March 31st - the day his EHIC expired. The doctor almost wet himself laughing, apparently. 

The skiing was great, of course. I am off on a ski leader refresher course this weekend which is probably what made me think of this. We're going to Spain next year and it can't come round quick enough! Mainly because all of my multiple additional jobs will be finished by then. This year has been manic.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Scenes from the Classroom #14

I smashed my phone screen at lunchtime today. So, I asked my students what they would recommend to replace it with.

My year 12 tutor group recommended some curvy Samsung thing. We looked it up - £790. Um. Hmm.

You could tell year 8 were much less au fait with being spoiled with designer electronics. I did not ask my year 8s for advice, but they noticed my open Carphone Warehouse tab on Firefox when we were looking at a portrait of Edward VI at the end of the lesson.

H: Getting a new phone Miss?
Me: What? Oh, yeah, I smashed mine at lunchtime.
Chorus: Oh Miss! Nooo!
E: Why are you getting a new one?
Me: Oh, I need to replace it quite quickly....
E: There's this guy in Trowbridge, right, and he can do you a new screen in like, 20 minutes.
Me: Really? Hmmm...any phone?
H: What phone you got?
Me: A Nexus
H: No.


Then the kid who'd come to the lesson with a picture of Jason Derulo stuck to the end of his ruler warbled, "Jason Deruler!" for the 17th time and with that, the day was over.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Weekend WIP: Still the helmet hat

It's starting to look a bit more like a hat and less like a reproductive organ, thankfully.

I'm a bit worried about how it's going to fit. I think it's going to be too big. I had to knit 12 inches for the top strip, which I've done - it's sort of necessary to follow the measurements exactly because of the way it's constructed but...hmm. I am worried it's going to be a bit baggy on the crown.

I have calmed myself with the thought that I can always create some kind of hem or something at the back, or even unpick the bind off and frog back a couple of rows, once I know how the side pieces change the shape. I did a three-needle bind-off on the back. The pattern said I should sew it down but that didn't sound like something I would do. There's going to be enough sewing with the sides.

I do love the colour quite a lot.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Weekend WIP: Helmet Hat

I am all about knitting something that I can finish quickly at the moment. I just want something in some area of my life to be a relatively easy win. Hence, I cast on this hat using some of the yarn I bought at Bristol Wool Fair.

It's from an old issue of Vogue. It has an interesting construction - you knit the brim and then pick up for the crown. So far so ordinary but the brim is pretty interesting. It is clever - the twisted rib pattern on the narrow strip makes the fabric bias so it curves naturally around the head.  I was knitting it at breakfast with my friend Phillipa. "You've knitted a spoon!" she said, when it was just a strip with one cabled oval.

Now I fear it looks like a knitted reproductive system, but maybe that's just the colour. Since I took this picture I finished the brim and sewed it up; it looks a bit less ovarian now.

I'm intending to add the lovely gold rose button I bought at Wonderwool a couple of years back. Actually, the button inspired the whole hat.

Saturday 3 October 2015

Pre-weekend FO: Endpaper Mitts

After more than 6 years stuffed in a drawer, I couldn't wait to get it finished. I didn't want to take it to knitting group, so it came to Tutt's with me on Friday night so that I could finish off the thumb ribbing.As you can see, mitt 2 is still receiving its shampoo-bottle blocking.

Pattern: Endpaper Mitts
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Silk Alpaca, just shy of a ball of the blue and about half a ball of white
Needle: 2mm, 3mm, 3.25mm DPNs
Mods: As mentioned before....I did the ribbing around the top of both mitts and the bottom of the second one on the 3mm needle instead of the 2mm. I did twisted rib for most of it. I have just realised I forgot to do twisted rib on the top of the second mitt. Let's pretend I'm going to rip that out and redo it.
Having looked at the designer's FO, I realise I reversed the colours in the colourwork. In my defence, there's no key with the chart to specify which colour is which (I don't think...I am pretty tired, I might be wrong). I don't think it matters, really.

These were very quick, really, and a great way to practise colourwork. I think it would be fun to do them in a colour changing yarn.