Monthly Archives: March 2015

First

Just submitted images of tiny mineral-inspired sculptures I made in my evening classes to an open exhibition wooo. Totally different stuff to what i’m doing at the moment, but I like them and they fit the theme. Will hear in a few weeks if i’ve been successful. Baby steps and all that.
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Caught – Slump – Machine

After the Great Bird Mite Infestation of 2014, the company that manages my building put up netting to keep out the avian invaders hellbent on making their way inside the loftspace of my flat. Unfortunately, although it stops Pigeons, the netting is widely spaced enough for Starlings to get in and out and back under the eaves where they have barneys, with the result being one poor Starling marooned and entangled. I can’t reach it as my window doesn’t open high enough, so i’ve spent some time today listening to it flap and flap and flap. It’s quiet now, and, I would imagine, dead. Sigh. I’ve emailed the building managers.

I was feeling a bit better about my lot post-job-rejection come the end of the week, until my Mum called Friday evening. She is almost completely unable to give comfort, and I often come away feeling pissed off and extra fed up after such conversations. I think in future that until I actually get a new job I won’t share.

The job I wanted went to the other candidate I thought I was competing with – her post is now being advertised. No, I don’t fancy it. At least I have discovered that schools that closely align with my educational philosophy actually exist. One in three years, twenty applications and four interviews.

Sigh.

And I now own a sewing machine.

I just want this week to be over already.
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Nope. Again. Again.

A letter greeted me today when I got home after work with a sorry you weren’t successful P.S. here’s some money for your trouble.

At least they covered my expenses.

All the hours of resource preparing, lesson planning, portfolio organising, printing, driving, interviews, social lunching, being “always on” to everyone who crossed my path… FML.

Wine and ice cream this evening

[hunkers under blanket and weeps]
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The Great Wait

Things went quite well on Friday I think; my lesson was workman-like rather than stellar, but the kids were enthused even if I was off my game a bit due to nerves. Seemed like a great school- lovely staff in the department, personable headteacher, good facilities, well-behaved kids; the photography work was a bit dull but there was plenty of scope for development.

Really odd mix of candidates – a PGCE trainee full of nerves and quite dull personality-wise (cheap though of course), an ex-Head of Department who ran her own photography business wanting to go back full-time post-child, and a sloane-y woman from a prestigious private school who applied for a laugh apparently and asked me if I thought she needed to have brought her portfolio as it didn’t say in the advert. To think of the hours I have spent putting mine together! CHRIST.

Head of Department seemed taken with my work – lots of helpful feedback – but then there’s the opinion of the teacher who observed me, the two deputy heads and the head to consider too. I think the interviews went well, and there were no questions I couldn’t answer.

They said they’d call today but i’ve not heard anything yet, so perhaps even though I thought I might be in with a decent shot, or at least it be between me and the ex-HOD, i’ve yet again not been successful. I actually wanted to work there too.
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Interview prep – Trans

Amidst the horror of actually having to work for a living whilst attempting to get my shit together with regards the interview tomorrow – I swear there should be a government fund to pay for a day off when you have a job interview – one of the kids I mentor because they’re in danger of underachieving disclosed that they are just about to start transitioning gender. The life of a modern teacher – i’ve taught gay, bi and questioning gals and guys but never a trans person.

Really fab that they feel comfortable enough at school to tell a few people, but alas their Mum has bought a dress rather than a suit for the prom :( Ugh. Anyway, although it’s very early days, I congratulated them on this new chapter, and they seemed really happy to tell me – some positivity and excitement hurrah!
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Interview Yikes

Interview Friday. Private school in Bath this time, very high-achieving but the department gets almost the same results as where I’m at currently (great for a non-selective state comp). Seems like it has the right attitude in terms of giving a damn about things other than grades, but I guess I’ll see. My application was the first time I described myself as an artist teacher. Gulp.

Fake it ’til you make it.
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Skylarking

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Too early for a Sunday

Wild Clematis
Image: Old Man’s Beard (detail) by Chris Hawes [cc]

Woke up at 6.30am today filled full of anxiety and sadness, chest tight, heart sore. Didn’t sleep well at all. Dreams of watching an ex- get married. Ugh.

Really interesting session at college yesterday – lots of thinking and discussion about what we want, what our work’s about, the practicalities behind being an artist; the head of the Fine Art department at the university came to talk to us, exercise our brains, make us think very carefully. We went on a group silent walk out beyond campus into fields of Skylarks displaying, blanketed horses munching hay, ragged puffballs of wild Clematis dotting hedges and trees, gently trickling streams. Drew verrry slowly to continue the sense of calm back in the studio.

We then had to write about our first memory of creativity and share with another – I wrote about when I was three or four years old I found an eviscerated bird in the back garden, how it was one of my earliest memories, and the first memory I have of something being aesthetically beautiful. How adult disapproval at my interest removed me from it, how a sense of shame seems to hang over a lot of my life. Hard going.

I still find it quite uncomfortable to talk about my work, share details with my coursemates, even though I am getting better. We shared what space we had to make work in, areas we could demarcate for art, and I felt unpleasant bitterness bubble up inside of me to hear that everyone lives in houses/flats where they have spare rooms and tables to work, gardens to have sheds in or schools where they have space and equipment. Suggestions were offered and batted away – I have none of those things. I felt rather emotionally drained by the end of the day, and I wonder if that experience followed me to bed.

To do today: make work, think about optimistic cynicism. “Pessimist by policy, optimist by temperament.”

To do this week: say “I am an artist” whenever I shower.
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Interview relief – The Essay result – course engrossment

So the interview went well but I wasn’t offered the position. I was pretty glad of this.

Really friendly staff, free coffee, biscuits and lunch (pie was great!), well-resourced department and there was nothing I could not answer in the two interviews with the head of department, deputies and headteacher. Lovely looking place, great location. I was feeling pretty comfortable with the idea of working at the school, that is until I was given a tour of the actual art department.

The photography work was poor, the A Level work was poor and the lower school stuff seemed very prescriptive. I asked the head of department whether the appointee would have the freedom to teach what they wanted, whilst ensuring they covered necessary skills and the answer was not very positive – it seemed I would be expected to follow exactly what she wanted me to teach. Fuck that, particularly when the kids were being so let down through this woman’s teaching.

The four other candidates were from a mix of state and private schools, some heads of department, some not (the position was regular pleb); at the end of the day we looked through each others’ portfolios and shared our disbelief at the poor standard of work in the department and prescriptive nature of it all. Will be very interesting to see who they appointed, given that two of the others were as horrified as I was about the place.

Anyway. Good to have another bout of interview experience; feedback was that I interviewed well. Had one of the best pizzas of my life in Clifton with M and spent a few hours catching up which was ace! I stayed at a lovely boutique B&B that had a faaaabulous bathroom (free-standing bath and big rose-headed shower) and a massive spread for breakfast – I got to start the day with scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and sour dough toast woohoo. Shame I had to leave so fucking early grrr.

I found out that I didn’t fail The Essay – no-one did – coming out with a merit woop. Pleased with the result. The course is now onto the practical side of things – no more essays this year yayyyyy. I’m really enjoying things now – the sewing machine is getting a lot of use. I had to write my first ever artist statement which was an interesting challenge – we were limited to under one-hundred words, which, when you’re not entirely sure what the hell you’re doing anyway, was quite tricky to word.

What’s really great is how supportive everyone is – I think I have actually made some new friends hurrah – I know this sounds like i’m a five-year-old, but it’s hard to meet people you get on with outside of your youth, so it’s nice when it happens.

Lots of short sentences here. What can I say. It’s Sunday and I should be asleep.
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