Monday 6 May 2024

2024 Weeknote 18

My work motivation picked up a bit this week. I listened to a teaching podcast and that reminded me of some revision strategies I used to use with exam groups but had forgotten, so I spent all week doing those and they went down well. Yey me, I can teach after all. I've also been reflecting on what my role is going to be next year and how different parts of it fit together, so I can really make the most of the scant downtime I have when the exam classes leave and get lots of things planned.

Subconscious me is laughing heartily right now. The final term is always a school write-off because of the exam work, I can't think why conscious me can't quite grasp this. What does help is that, thanks to exam classes going, internal assessments and the PGCE student, I think I have around 20 lessons in total for the whole term...surely this bodes well for productivity. 


I went to a cracking history lecture this week from the venerated Ron Hutton, who was speaking about the Tudors again. This lecture is a regular at this time of year as we approach the A-level exams and the audience was predictably full of students, including some of mine, which was pleasing as the topic is nothing to do with what we teach them, but as a lecturer he is exceptional. There were also lots of my ex-students in the crowd, who traitorously went off to study history elsewhere, but it was nice to see them anyway. Plus tonnes of colleagues and friends from the surrounding area. I haven't seen much of people this year but I didn't really notice until I was there and people were asking me where I'd been. Where have I been? Hard to say. Perhaps this is part of the transition from subject leader to senior leader. 

The lecture was, naturally, extremely entertaining and educational. There's something good about seeing lectures on topics that you know loads about: I find myself not scribbling down facts as if they were gospel but instead considering what facts have been left out and how well the historian makes his case. Hutton did refer to Boulogne as a third-rate port for the second year in a row, I wonder what they did to offend him. He also made an interesting point about Henry VIII conducting 330 political executions in 8 years - 'a possible record for peacetime England'. 

It was a very historical week as I also went to see Hamilton on Saturday, with a couple of knitting group friends and a couple of school friends, tied to a lunch at Pieminister. I had a bit of trouble getting in as I hadn't managed to get all the tickets to scan (a long story) but thankfully it was OK in the end and I missed barely any of it. The show was spectacular, as you might imagine. Seeing it live was much better than watching it on Disney+. I have to dissent from popular opinion here and say I didn't think it was a great musical: the songs are very fast so I struggled to follow some of it (maybe this is how it's meant to be though, like opera) and I am never a big fan of musicals that have no dialogues (Les Mis, I mean you). It's also the nichest bit of history to focus on, but then I guess that was kind of the point. 

I made basically no progress on Still Life and have decided I need to give it up for now and move onto a book I am actually interested in, or all of May will have passed with no reading. I have also moved onto a friendlier audiobook, Restless Republic by Anna Keay - an interesting listen so far. 

We watched all of Baby Reindeer and it was as excruciating as I'd expected; I'm left wondering where Richard Gadd as to go from here, and my colleagues have joined the 'real Martha' carnival and are reading all her posts online. We tried to watch Oppenheimer yesterday but in the end had to admit that neither of us were into felt like a series of trailers, one after another. In general if a movie has music playing in the background almost all the time, I can tell it's not going to suit me. We started watching the Tattooist of Auschwitz and I was reminded to look up the second series of World on Fire because it's the same actor...I loved the first series but I assume the later ones have gone onto a streaming service. I also watched the first episode of Mary and George, on a recommendation from a student. I love Julianne Moore so this was a treat. 

I'm onto the sleeves of the Topolino I'm knitting. I'm not loving it - worries about it being too big, not long enough, the lace falling in the wrong place, the neckline being too baggy, not wanting to wear it and therefore wasting what it turning out to be some of the nicest yarn I've ever knitted with....all conspire to prevent me from finishing. But finish I will. I can always rip it out if I don't wear it, after all. 

And today I went for a swim. It was just over 13 degrees but felt colder. I managed two short laps before telling myself it was ok to stop; by that point I was acclimatised but it seemed sensible to get out as, naturally, I started to tell myself that if it no longer felt cold, I might be hypothermic. Hypochondria really is an age thing. 

It would have been nicer if it was sunny but I arrived just before the swim session started and the whole quarry was like a sheet of glass. It is definitely good for me, in many ways. 

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