Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It ain't grim up north!

Well, I'm here!
After ~5.5hrs on the road, including a stop for coffee & a lovely lunch at The Poacher's Barn pub in Osgodby, we got to my new house.

My new housemates (Kirsty, Kaye & Amy) are lovely and friendly. There's a lot of pink/sparkly stuff around, but I can cope with that!
The house is nice too, with lots of space. The kitchen's got loads of cupboards, but the freezer's pretty small, which could cause a few problems, but so far it's been ok.
At the moment, I'm sitting in the armchair by the window...

I've had a few issues with the "accent-barrier" so far, but I've met lots of nice people on my course and everyone's very friendly. In some ways, this place seems like another country/planet

I spent Saturday evening getting unpacked, etc. and on the Sunday, Michael came over and we went for a very nice (& cheap!) carvery lunch in the Leeds Hotel to celebrate 6 months together and then went for an exploratory wander around Scarborough.

Since then, I've been on campus everyday. Monday was intro lectures, etc. in the morning and registration in the afternoon (1.5 hours in the queue!). Tuesday was introduction to placement procedures & admin stuff, plus an ICT (computers) induction, followed by an introduction to the play workshop that we're now doing until Fri morning. It's a group presentation based on/following on from the book "Bear's Adventure". I'm working on an activity book as a follow on activity, with textured pages, lift-the-flap bits and velcro stick-on bits! I've spent the afternoon cutting out shapes and painting simple pictures of beach stuff (red bucket, green spade, purple ball, yellow sun, blue towel...). So, yeah, so far it's been loads of fun.

I start on placement on Nov 8th, although I have a few visits before. I found out today that my first placement is in St George's RC Primary. On a direct bus route from the stop that I can virtually reach whilst still touching our front gate! Not bad. :o)

Anyway, I ought to go to get some dinner. Kirsty & Amy are going to Scarborough Fair tonight (yes, really!), and I might go with them. I do have to be on campus at 9am again though... Not sure. Mince & beans on jacket potato for tea. :o)

Hope all is going well in the rest of the world!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Off to the seaside...

I've been on school placement for the past 2.5 weeks, shadowing teachers at Wheatfields Infant School. I've spent time in Reception, Year 1 & Year 2 (ages 4-7), plus an afternoon in the nursery. It's been a bit stressful and hard work, but I've really enjoyed it and I do think I've made the right choice doing this course/job. There have been cute moments ("It's ok 'A', I'll look after you" - said by 4yr-old when child was crying when his mum left), difficult/frustrating moments (6yr-old having a tantrum and refusing to do anything), amusing moments (tail is now spelt 'tayow' and one child had visited Scarborough when she went on holiday to Devon!?), rewarding moments (child 'getting' adding for the first time) and times when I've felt really good about something that's happened (I've given out 2 stickers over my time there to kids who'd been working reeeally hard - and they looked so proud). :o)

But now I'm done. Tomorrow morning, I (once again!) have to pack my life into boxes, load it all into the car and move it all into a new place. I've posted pictures of my room already. I have 3 housemates; all girls and all education undergrads (I think). I'm feeling quite nervous, but it should be ok. And I should get to see Michael on Sunday, for the first time in a month (woot!). :o)
The house has wireless broadband, so I should be online some of the time, but I'm in lectures 9am-4:15pm every day, and when I'm on placement I'll be busy even more. I'll try and keep this updated quite regularly, and i'll try to put some things on Hat Mitre when I can.

My stuff needs to be in the car between 8:30 & 9:00 tomorrow morning, so we can be in Scarborough for lunch. M&D have arranged to hire a car so that they can both come up and see where I'm going to be, etc, as I couldn't get all my stuff in either of their cars and still have 3 seats available. And on that note, I better go and start packing!


Monday, September 11, 2006

Filing & Teaching Practice

Last week, I spent an absurd amount of time attempting to sort out my bedroom as it was starting to overflow with stuff that I'd just never got around to throwing away. I've filled a crate & a binbag with paper & other rubbish respectively. Included in that is my 2002 UCAS directory and June 2003 bus timetables!
I've rejigged my room a bit, and I even found my desk! :o) The main prompt for this was that I had never really unpacked after moving back from Reading and given how small my room is going to be this year, I need to work out exactly what I need and not take any extra! So far, it seems to be going well. :o)

Since Thursday, I've been on teacher shadowing placement at my old primary school, as I have to have 10 days experience in Foundation Stage & Key Stage 1. I've been in Reception in the mornings (nearly 5 years old), but they go home around lunchtimes, so I've been in Year 1's in the afternoons. I've supervised painting, ICT (computers), playdough, numeracy and several other things too. And it's been a lot of fun and I'm really rather looking forward to starting my course now. Plus, Michael's & Chris' pre-course placements seem to be going well too, so all is good there as well. Woot! :o)

Friday, September 01, 2006

What a Belter!!

Greenbelt was fantastic! There were so many events and talks and seminars - most of them good, many of them thought provoking, almost all made you glad to be a Christian!
This year's Festival had the theme of 'Redemption Songs' and a lot of the talks, etc had slavery/freedom at their core.

Among the events I went to:
Sounds of Salvation - Ska Mass (Communion in the Sung Eucharist 'tradition', but ska music, rather than classical!)
Martyn Joseph - Rock, including the superb "Liberal Backslider" song.
Jibe Productions - Dark comedy/satire. Didn't really enjoy this. If you like 'League of Gentlemen', you'd enjoy this.

Jim Wallis & Stephen Timms MP - "You say tomato..." Panel discussion on UK/US politics with refreshingly little heckling and one questioner who asked a stupid/unfair question actually got boo'ed!
Nick Baines (Bishop of Croydon) - "God on our side?" - Talk about who is being prophetic/in touch with the Spirit... those who are keeping things 'traditional' or those who are being 'progressive'. Also a lot about the use of language. [hoping to blog on this at HatMitre]
Greenbelt Folk Club. Open mic, lots of fun, even if it was rather noisy because the sign-up for the speed-dating was in the same venue! :o)
Courtney Pine - Jazz. Didn't stay. Not my thang.
Taize Service - very beautiful and reflective.

Communion Service - 10,000 people sharing bread and wine together. The service had a theme of 'Redemption Songs' including prayers for the 20 million men, women & children who are slaves or, euphamistically, bonded-labourers in the world today (5 times as many as when slavery was abolished in Britain 200 years ago).
Cathy Burton - soft rock, very good. Might even buy her album (making it the first Christian album I own...)
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain - fantastic fun, great songs, silly 'tricks'... just superb!
John Bell - "Whatever happened to heaven?" Reclaiming the image of heaven from 'God sitting on a cloud' and 'children skipping through pastures with Jesus' or even 'a reward for those whose lives are rubbish now' to something that's more relevant, useful... and true!
"Amazing Grace" - Trailer for the film of the story of William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. Looks excellent. Released next March (2007) to coincide with the 200th Anniversary of the passing of The Abolition Act.
Muyiwa & Riversongz - Gospel worship music. Soooo much fun, and awesome to see that many middle-aged white people jumping up and down, singing gospel with their arms in the air!! :o)
mayBe - reflective session looking at the Magnificat. Not entirely my thing, but others seemed to enjoy it.

Jim Wallis - "A moral response to terrorism". How to approach terrorism without bombing the heck out of people or ignoring it. Looking at tackling it from the root causes.
Clive Stafford-Smith & Nick Yarris- "Innocence and the death penalty in the USA". Clive is a lawyer who represents people on death row in America, and also in Guantanamo Bay. Nick spent 8,057days (1981-2004) on death row in Pennsylvania before finally being proved innocent... please read his story!
Rudo Kwaramba - Living in the Margins, looking at enabling disabled people both here and in developing countries.
Dave Tomlinson - "Gut Level Religion" on Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd...)
John Bell - "God bless Adam & Steve?" on the issue of whether pastors should bless gay couples who have got a civil partnership (the UK does NOT have gay marriage). Also looking at what Biblical backing there is for 'traditional' Christian attitudes to homosexuality/heterosexuality, especially compared with other 'issues' (women in leadership, telling lies, slavery, greed...) [HatMitre might get something on this too].
Naima Bouteldja - Representations of Muslims & Islam in the media - looking at stereotypes and how Muslims are seen as Muslims first, and individuals second. (eg. "John is agressive because he's poor... Ahmed is agressive because he's a Muslim).
Muyiwa & Riversongz (again!)

And in addition to that, spent a lot of time in the Tiny Tea Tent (£1/mug!), including lunch with the Laynesmiths.

So, all-in-all, an excellent weekend, despite it being incredibly cold (and uncomfortable) overnight. Next year, I'm taking an airbed! And yes, if I can, I will be there next year. Anyone care to join me? :o)