Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013:



A *much* better year.

Work

Positive

  • My tutor group did (on the whole) very well in their exams, and were all suitably fab at their leavers ball. Over the five years I had them I grew rather fond of a great many of them, so I was proud of their achievements, but a little sad to see them go.
  • Received some positive feedback for once from both my form (hooray for good kids with good sense) and the senior leader observing.
  • New form group seem to be pleasant creatures, more-or-less, in contrast to my previous bunch.
  • For the first time in six years, I applied for new jobs. I made a teaching portfolio from scratch, applied for four jobs and made it to interview at two. Although the experiences were quite difficult at times, they were good experiences, as the more often I get rejected, the more confident I grow (!), and I have a better idea of what schools are right for me.
  • I am now technically Head of Photography – I say technically, because it’s basically the same shit that i’ve been doing for years, with a sprinkling of senior leadership dialogue. No more pay attached of course.
  • Successfully made it through the pay threshold. Finally.
  • Started on the Wellbeing Project, helping me further identify what I do and do not want.
  • Managed to properly negotiate some protection for staff alongside the other union rep.
  • One of my exam groups I had sole responsibility of did very well, despite the large group size.
Negative

  • Members of the form who had been shitty towards me for five years continued to be so, all the way up to the goddamned end.
  • Continued lack of support from management with regards tutor group.
  • It is very frustrating to receive feedback that employers think I would be well-able to do the job offered, but they have decided to go with someone with more experience.
  • Looking back, I am glad I did not get offered the jobs I interviewed for, as both of them were not the best fit for me. But of course, not finding something new is not-the-best.
  • Continued lack of career growth in my current school.
  • Post-grad art teaching course cancelled due to lack of applicants.
  • Didn’t get all the concessions I feel were needed with union stuff.
  • Ever increasing admin and data demands leading to decreasing time free to actually teach and think about teaching.
  • Obsessive focus on what Ofsted are looking for rather than what will help kids succeed and feel valued leading to increased pressure and stress. Ugh.
Personal

Positive

  • It took a long time, probably a whole year, but at last I felt fully recovered from the post-Coppell fall-out. I learnt much about myself, and my choice of partners in the process, and the time passed helped me realise that for a good chunk of 2012, I was really very unwell mentally. This year, I got to the point where I felt very happy both in my own skin, and happy being on my own.
  • I started (and continue with) pottery class, which is something creative I do that is not linked directly to work, and helps me feel better about life.
  • The Wellbeing Project at work has helped me look at situations differently, both at work and personally. I’ve done lots of questioning as to what I want and have given thought to how I can achieve things, but there is still plenty to ponder. I hope to get less caught up in work-related shit, especially around exam time, as that is a huge source of stress to me.
  • I finally put my Expedit shelving unit up – that which had lain in pieces for over eight months. Progress!
  • I visited Cornwall for the first time since I was a teen, and had an excellent time in Falmouth, where I got to spend time flopping about on a beach – wearing a bikini top no less – and dancing to jungle in a formal dress at (the beautiful and inspiring) Betty’s lovely nuptials. The Eden Project made me get my rage on at its hideous cost and twee, shallow approach, but spending time near the sea was a much appreciated change.
  • I spent three amazing weeks in beautiful Colorado. I’ve never been anywhere quite so gorgeous, and the time exploring, hiking and generally living as a local was wonderful. Seeing glaciers, rivers, torrential rain, thunderstorms, deserts and sand dunes in one holiday was so, so brilliant. I went most places solo, drove an automatic car for the first time and talked to people I met, rather than withdrawing as I once might have.
  • Whilst in Colorado I saw hummingbirds. They blew my mind – I giggled like a very excited, very oversized toddler the first time I saw one, and they continued to hold my attention throughout my time there.
  • I got to see My Beloved Texan for the first time in nearly ten years; it was great to catch up and hear about all the changes and similarities that had happened in our lives, and it was reassuring to see that we could pick up where we left off ten years earlier. The sign of a good friend indeed – situations might change, but fundamentally the good qualities remain.
  • I got to spend seven glorious days in the company of the quite remarkable Petrichor, the most interesting, most wonderful man I have had the privilege of spending time with. He fascinated me. In those seven days I got to experience so many new things in terms of companionship and intimacy; I wasn’t looking to meet someone, nor did I think i’d be so enamoured of a person so very different, but I found that he fulfilled me in ways that no other partner managed to do. I felt he understood me, particularly appreciating my qualities where past partners had barely scratched the surface, and I greatly appreciated his complexity and individualism. Our time together was a glimpse of brilliance that could actually be, which meant so much to me as I know good connections are such rare happenings.
  • Spent a lot of weekends doing something, whether that was seeing art or meeting up with friends. This is a change from the past, where I might spend very many weekends doing fuck all and feeling sorry for myself. I went to the Ceramics Biennale at the old Spode factory in Stoke which was ace.
Negative

  • The illness and eventual death of Leia Ewok Village’s Mum. I am so, so glad I visited the two of them before her Mum died, but being relatively far from her made things difficult. I felt I didn’t offer enough support.
  • Spent a lot of money on my car, be it servicing or fixing problems (windscreen, alternator etc); I hope that this means I won’t have to spend much in the coming year…
  • Getting to spend such a short amount of time with Petrichor. I miss the furry bugger. Ug.
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Home. Grateful for food, presents and company, but glad to be back somewhere I have control over my living arrangements, to a space where I decide whether or not to socialise. Hooray.
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Christmas

Up North visiting family for a few days. It’s hmm, day three, and the enforced socialising has started to get to me. It’s that or my Dad going on about how equality is ruining the country or dealing with my Mum’s anxiety displayed when she fusses over me when I do not wish to take part. Ugh.

I’m ready to go home.

Home is where I will put my onesie on and/or make a nest of duvet and blankets and excitedly read my new book on the biological roots of crime. Reading about serial killers and how society fucks kids up is my kind of festive period woooooo. Home is where I will curl up and ignore New Years and feel good having steak and ice cream all to myself. Home is where I can be me.

The only plans I have are to meet up with Leia Ewok Village and see some art with Number One Aunt. The rest of the time I am going to sleep, absorb the internet and ponder upon what I want with regards the future, both career-wise and personally.

At the moment, I’d very much like to have a stimulating new work environment (preferably set in beautiful Colorado), a one bed flat and a bajillion hours of kissing, hand-holding and sexual exploration with an equal. Oh and also a dog.

Not that any of those things is achievable.

Perhaps I could start on my pile of washing up… :D
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Nearly there.

This week finds me exhausted. Tired from the kids seemingly losing the plot as they approach Christmas, tired from not getting to bed early enough, tired when I wake up and look out into a dark and gloomy morning, before coming home from work in similar conditions. Tired due to hormones. Tired of Christmas everywhere, and it hasn’t even got here yet.

All the plates are dirty, the sink stacked with glasses “temporarily soaking” and there are clothes strewn here-and-there about the floor.

It’s been a three-McDonalds-in-ten-days sort of time.

Ug.
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Photoshop Vandalism

Rokeby Venus

Years of practice etcetera.

Rokeby Venus
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Defaced/Re-branded

Tate Britain
The new staircase at Tate Britain, as imagined by me in moonlight

Recently went to see Art Under Attack at the newly extended and re-branded Tate Britain accompanied by Favourite Aunt #1; I learned things ooooooooo :D

Specifically, I didn’t know about the systematic destruction of “idolatry” under Cromwell’s reign – the stained glass panels re-cobbled together from shattered pieces were particularly beautiful; I was also unaware of the attacks on paintings by the Suffragettes.

Their idea was that by defacing images of women portrayed as objects, they drew attention to the living, breathing women who were denied a voice and were brutalised by the state.

The issues raised seemed very contemporary, and were all the more interesting for being so.

Escape Plan update:

No-luck on the job in Bristol. They “had a very strong field” and thanked me for my “serious interest” in their school. At least they sent a rejection letter to my application – this is most definitely welcome. Well done, private girls’ school.

I continue to scan for jobs, and am trying to register for another agency, but getting the ridiculous number of references required (four!!) is proving difficult, as I do not trust the management at my school to provide a positive reference, or one that accurately reflects my abilities as a teacher.

Non-management colleagues all rate me, and I receive feedback from both kids and parents as to how supportive I am and that I do a decent job of things. The kids tell me that I am inspiring, and explain things really well, so that they enjoy their art lessons, which is just one aspect that senior management will have fuck all idea about. SIGH.

Back to Favourite Aunt #1: Over a very long and gossip-filled lunch of overpriced sandwiches in the new Tate Café, she told me that she couldn’t understand why, if we got on so well, me and Petrichor wouldn’t want to spend more time hanging out. Shrugs all round.

I said I was asking to spend more time together at Christmas, not asking for a twenty-five year commitment up-front, but that I still felt sad about the situation, as we hit it off *so* very well chemistry-wise, and I experienced so many new, wonderful things that I miss in my life. I admitted my regrets in how I handled some aspects of what happened. I talked about how brains with ADHD apparently handle fear differently. Both of us agreed that life is too short, and that when you make a connection it is a rare, rare thing, and so everyone involved should go for it. She said that he’s an idiot.

Favourite Aunt #1 has been making plans for some time now to make an exit from her deeply unsatisfying, unsupportive, at times abusive marriage. She asked me flat out what I thought the state of her marriage was, and I said that when she’s around her husband, the vivacious, strong, independent and generally fabulous woman disappears. She agreed with me.

I find my Uncle makes me uncomfortable whenever I see him (thankfully very infrequently). He creeps me out, as he’ll literally look me up-and-down and assess me when we meet. He is also very controlling towards my Aunt. UGH.

Anyway, my Aunt is being extremely sensible about it all and has made arrangements to protect herself financially when the moment comes, but that is extremely daunting to her, as she will be telling her husband that their marriage of over thirty years is dunzo. She is very worried about his reaction, in the sense of his anger and how he could direct it.

A very difficult situation.

She’s such a fab, ridiculously smart woman; I hope that everything works out for her, as she really does deserve SO much better…
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