Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?!

I'm back at home after a night away and it is good to be sitting on my sofa! I'm waiting for Nic to come home so we can have dinner, and I'm enjoying the lights of the Christmas tree.

I had a good time in Leeds. My journey up yesterday was pretty pants - the train was too cold and I spent the entire journey listening to the girl opposite me having inane conversations on her phone and then listening to her personal stereo very loudly. I have written before about my inability to tolerate other people's noise on public transport so I won't go over old ground. I have experimented with using my ipod but creating noise of my own doesn't seem to be a satisfactory way of solving the problem. I suppose it's something I'll just have to suck up until I get a car etc but I will still moan about it from time to time as it is therapeutic. If you're reading this, girl who looked like a pug dog on the train to Leeds last night - when you weren't talking shit you were listening to shit music and I glared at you so hard it made my neck ache. It didn't solve the problem and it didn't make me feel any better.

The hotel I was staying in was very comfortable. My room was enormous and I ordered room service and, as I don't have a TV, watched some very bad TV just to see what is going on in the world. My thoughts on that are:

1. I still love University Challenge, and would definitely have a go with Paxman if I got the chance. The man who calls out the names has gone mental, though. By the end of the episode he was SCREAMING, it was great!

2. School of Saatchi or whatever it was called? SHUT UP.

3. Miranda on BBC2. Now, I liked this a lot. It would have been improved if they had dispensed with the aggressive laughter track, but I loved the format. Also, I love Sally Phillips. She is gorgeous. And I love Adrian Scarborough as well. This is one I'll be watching on the iPlayer.

4. Some I'm a Celebrity... follow up programme about the contestants getting out of the jungle. This was okay actually, but I think that watching Katie Price is a bit like watching a cobra. Also, Gino d'Acampo? You don't talk to your wife for 24 hours if she farts? SHUT UP.

5. Ugly Betty - yes, whatever.

6. America's Scariest Prisons, or something, on Channel 5. I wanted to watch this, but it was too late and I was tired. The bit I saw looked great, but it was on late because they were showing stupid Tears of the Sun. Oh, boke.

So, I'm happy enough with not having TV, all things considered!

The reason I was in Leeds was to man our organisation's stand at a conference run by the TDA. I was mainly just looking after the stand and giving out our publications, but I was also able to sit in on one of the presentations. It was about teacher development and the effect that the variation in performance between teachers can have on students. It was very interesting. As a former teacher, it got me thinking about my own professional practice and the experiences I had while teacher training and while in school. I worked in a department full of good, creative, energetic teachers and we usually worked well together and learned from each other. But this didn't work so well interdepartmentally. It was rare for us to share exciting and good practice with teachers from other departments, and rare for them to share that with us. This was something that we all should have been doing but weren't, at least not as often as we ought to have been. I think that some of this can be attributed to the way in which teaching can become an exercise in personality. I have a friend who doesn't like it if one of us buys something that she already has, and I think that teaching can be like this too in a way - a balance between wanting to share good practice and being very protective of your teaching style, wishing to keep a mystique around it. This can make it hard to accept advice, and means that teaching isn't usually consistent across faculties.

The organisation I work for is undergoing a restructure, and in addition to this, I'm about to move from one department across into another. I'm excited about the move (it means more money and more responsibility) but I'm very nervous about it too. Hopefully with the restructure we will be better at sharing our good practice, but I am certainly nervous about moving to the new department. They're nearly all based in London (on a different floor to where my current department were based) so I don't really know anybody. I don't know how they do things there and how it'll be different. I hope that I can strike a balance between consistency and personality anyway.

Hmm, I didn't link those two thoughts together as well as I would have liked. Oh well, onto other topics... when I got home there was a good lot of post. The shoes I had ordered to wear to Sugar Plum and N's wedding, something that Nic has bought (I think it is a Frank Capra box set) and also, excitingly, one of my christmas presents. Nic and I are getting each other little surprises this year as before, but we also each picked something out and the thing I picked out arrived, a lovely short wool coat. Hurrah! I'm looking forward to being able to sport it in January.

Right now, after spending hours on the train I am really in need of something to eat. Time to go and forage in the fridge!