Monday, October 16, 2006

Like Buses

Good lord, it's been a while. Every day I say to myself "ooooh, I must write something on my blog", then stupid stuff like work and life gets in the way. However, I have a bit of time to myself now, so here I am with an all-encompassing round up of all things in the world of michael.

First up, I have turned another year older (as of October 5th). I am now the unremarkable age of 31, a year in which nothing of note happens. The actual day fell on a Thursday - again, unremarkable - and all I did was go to college, came home to a power cut, slept a few hours, watched bad TV, got a takeaway and went back to bed. Such a thrill! Gifts wise, I got a few books, Borders vouchers, tickets to the Rocky Horror Show and a contribution or two to my forthcoming Wii. A good haul, all told!

I celebrated properly a couple of days later with many and various good people at the Perplex City CubeFest '06 - basically an excuse for getting drunkyarded and making a fool of myself without causing massive damage to anyone else. There were pints of Guinness aplenty, ridiculous acting onstage - instigated by His Floppyness, Guy - singing and dancing, LOTS of glitter, singing and dancing, boy on boy action (ahem) and even a kebab. The whole day was a winner, and pictures can be seen here. I even managed to get the lovely people at Mind Candy to donate a copy of their new game to my school's Games Club, and it's gone down a storm. The following day, getting back from London was a nightmare however, taking SIX hours to travel to Milton Keynes - mainly down to the idiocy of the rail network's staff, who wouldn't know the correct answer to a question if it cam up and kicked them in the arse. Still, at least I had plenty to read, so, I was entertained. Also, I'm working on a Top Sekrit Project, which kills a lot of time... hopefully it'll sort of work, and I'll do a big reveal sometime soon.


Oh, I found this a few days ago. Combines my love of the wonderful Ben Folds with one of the best songs ever written, "Such Great Heights". Originally a Postal Service tune, then beautifully covered by Iron and Wine, I think even Girls Aloud could do a version of this song and it'd still sound aces. Also listening to lots of new Deftones and Muse stuff at the moment. Loud and crashy guitars are my current key to happiness, it would seem, as opposed to the usual introspective whiny emo stuff that I normally favour... not that there's anything wrong with whiny emo stuff. Not at all. No. Uh uh.

What else is going on then...? School continues to be hard work but still fun. The paperwork and assignments are piling up in style now, but I'm just about managing to keep on top of it all. Next week is half term, which means one whole week of taking time out, catching up on what needs to be done, and getting prepared for my first official Teaching Practice - three weeks of fully observed michael in action. I'm getting more and more confident in my abilities now, learning new skills and ways to corral 20-plus children into doing exactly what you want them to do. Also, I love the fact that I can experiment in class with how I want to run things. Last week I had a Design Technology class where the children are making cam-toys. Normally they're left to their own devices and told - basically - to be quiet and work. I set my guidelines out, saying they could talk (up to a certain volume) and we'd also have a bit of music - nice calm stuff, a bit of Jeff Buckley, some Sigur Ros - and they loved it. Sure, the occasional dissenter wanted something "less rubbish" (which was met with a stern "who's the teacher here?" look), but the vast majority enjoyed the lesson and are looking forward to the next one. Obviously you couldn't do something like play music in a more academic strand - maths needs to be a lot more interactive and you *must* concentrate, for example, but with creative lessons you can make it a bit more fun.
Oh, I took my Skills Tests today - they're three mini-exams that all trainee teachers have to take and pass before they can become qualified. Many people (including me) panic over them as they've not sat an exam since they were at school themselves, but I just thought I'd give them a shot... and what do you know: I passed all three of them in one go, first time! Numeracy, Literacy and ICT, all shot down one after the other in the space of one hour and fourteen minutes - bear in mind that you're given three hours in total to complete them and you'll see how geeky / proud I feel... In fact, I may celebrate with a beer or two. Or seven. Or even more at the weekend, as I'm off to Manchester in the sunny (hah!) North to visit The Brother...