Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Let it snow...

Check it out...No, your eyes are not deceiving you...It is snow! Real live (well, not anymore but it was this morning) snow! Woke up this morning and had my bowl of Coco Pops in the kitchen as I looked out the window and thought "It's a bit lighter this morning, yay" but didn't really pay much attention. It wasn't until Karen opened our front balcony window and yelled "Look Bubble" that I had any idea that overnight, London had become a winter wonderland. Even though it was freezing cold (I can say that because it literally was freezing), and the tube lines were stuffed and it took me 2 hours to get to work, I had a smile on my face the whole morning. What a wonderful scene to wake up to. You can tell who was an Aussie/NZ/South African this morning because we were the ones laughing and smiling. The Londoners were not happy at all.

Another week and another school. I am working in a Church of England School teaching a Year 2 class this week. I got offered the job for a block of time and thought "Great!". What I should have thought was "What's the catch?" because there was definitely a catch. The normal teacher has gone out on indefinite stress leave and the class had had three relief teachers in the space of three days. There are 9 boys with severe behaviour disorders in the class. I was not impressed at all. More so with the fact that the agency didn't warn me. I wouldn't have been so angry if I had had a chance to prepare myself. I've been there for 5 days now and things are slowly getting into a routine. Although I have had one boy threaten to cut my throat twice. Another kid stabbed a child with a pencil. A child was rushed to hospital after an altercation in the playground resulted in him getting his hand sliced. Today the playground was shut down because two Year 4 boys had tried to drown a Year 3 boy in the toilets. It is a very "special" school that is for sure. Sue Grose from St Martin's once told me that sometimes you just need to survive the day. If you can do that, then it has been a success. Any teaching that occurs that day is a bonus. Well, everyday I try and survive. It takes us 30 minutes to walk from the hall after assembly to our classroom because we have to stop every 10 metres. The kids walk with ther hands on their heads so that they can not hurt anyone. I think the word "challenge" doesn't really cut it here. But then again, at least I have had the chance to experience it (that's what I am telling myself).

There are some light moments though too. Even though it is a C of E school there are quite a few Muslim children in the class, although I still have to teach them C of E religion. We were talking about Christian symbols today and I asked one kid what the Easter Egg meant and he replied "That's because at Easter the egg hatched and Jesus came out and had a new life". What a crack up!

Karen and I finally moved into our flat in Chiswick last week. We signed the lease and opened the door only to find that the landlord had left a heap of his stuff still in the flat. Things like mountain bikes, camping chairs, old tiles, used linen etc. My personal favourites were the dirty crockery hidden in a plastic bag under one of the beds and the wet carpet roll that was full of weevils, also under the bed. Was absoluetly disgusting. We have spent all of Sunday and the evenings since then cleaning things that should have been clean before we got here. There is a property manager who has really gone into bat for us and managed to ornagise cleaners to come in this week and fix the bathroom (it leaks) and clean the carpets (to get rid of the weevils that I couldn't get out myself) and to take away the 8 (yes, 8!) bags of crap the landlord has left. Karen and I bagged it all, now they just have to come and get it. Oh, and the two mountain bikes and camping chairs.

Despite my weevil friends, the flat is pretty good. The location is great and it only takes 5 minutes to walk up to the tube station. To get to school I change at Hammersmith and it only takes (on a non snow day) about 40 minutes all up. We have a 3 bedroom place on the second floor. There is a lift and the garbage man and post man come up the stairs. We don't have to take the garbage down the stairs or bring the post up. We are trying to find a person for the big bedroom. Karen and I have the two smaller ones opposite each other. It makes yelling across the hallway a lot easier. The loungeroom has two large leather lounges. Our balcony looks out of the common park area (see top photo - taken from balcony window). The park area is in the middle of all of the flats. It will be a great place to strike up a game of cricket when the weather gets warmer.
You wouldn't believe it but I am in the middle of making a Ned Kelly costume because we have dared James (Aussie teacher at work) to wear it all day for Australia Day on Friday. There are 3 Aussies (including me) working at the school. James wants us to make a big deal out of Friday and get dressed up. I think I will break out my "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi,Oi" t-shirt if I can fit a long sleeved shirt underneath. Bit too chilly otherwise.

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