What an Incredible Year!!! 

It has been a while since I have posted anything and this is because I have been on the most incredible journey, experiencing different things I can blog about and making new friends along the way. 

This post is, perhaps, a generic one because it doesn’t focus on one aspect and is more of a summary of what I have been involved in this year.

September 2016 I left my teaching job of twelve years to embark on a new journey.

 This new journey was supply teaching among other things but more importantly, for me, to have quality time with my beautiful daughter. She needed to come first for a change. 

The first couple of months from September to mid October was difficult. I was so used to being busy and have always worked, from the age of 15 and paid my own way. Probably younger than that if you count the pocket money for helping around the house doing chores. 

It was a shock to the system to not work and it really did have a negative impact on me for a while. The house, however, has never been sooo clean!!! 

I had a few days work here and there at the start of September thanks to a wonderful friend. The rest as they say is history.  I have had steady work with her school for the rest of the year. General cover, Pe (my subject) and secured seven weeks work in science.  She got me the foot in the door and I did the rest according to her.  I have been asked to come in time and time again and we will see you again next year. The feedback I have received from this school has made me feel so valued. Loved working there. 

Along side supply I became a Tiny Soccer Star coach, and I have loved every minute coaching 1 and two and half year olds and 3-4 years. I have loved watching their faces when the learn a new skill or do it better than they have ever done it before. 

I also decided to start a small business, Mighty Minds Book Shop by becoming an Independent Usborne Books organiser. It doesn’t bring a huge amount of money unless I build a team but I love doing it and it something different. It gives me a little extra pocket money and keeps my mind busy.  My daughter and nieces will never want for books again. 

This year has also made me realise how much school ptfas do. I joined my daughters school  thinking it will be a few evenings and daytime events here and there. I was overwhelmed at how much they do. The events, the organisation of events to help buy things for the students in the school. The list is endless.  I am in awe of the amount they do. It has been incredible to meet so many amazing and inspiring people. The time they put into the school is amazing. 

I consider myself to be Christian however my faith for various reasons has been well and truly tested for a few years. These are different stories to tell another time. 

My dearest and best friend who has been by my side for 17 years of my life, including being my maid of honour and accepting to be my daughters Godmummy, has seen me at my worst and at my best, I think.  She  asked me if I would like to volunteer for a Christian weekend called Shine UK. This is a weekend for girls to explore their faith, take part in different activities through the weekend, from slient discos to arts and crafts and fitness activities to name a few. 

I reculantly said yes. Knowing her faith was incredible compared to mine. However, it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have been volunteering as a Shine Angel for two years now and the team that organise the weekend, have asked me to become their activities coordinator this year. To say I feel blessed and humbled by this is an understatement. I, of course, said yes and this year I will embark upon the next chapter of my Shine journey. I can’t wait. 

I will definitely say I was more confident this time around and it was very noticeable. To the point of I was told you need to realise how good you are with young people. This coming from the lady who organises the weekend!! 

This will be my 3rd year. 

To say I admire the lady and team who organises Shine is the biggest understatement. I am in awe. They ooze faith, a peace and calmness I have known but been searching for again in my faith. Each and everyone of these incredible, phoneminal ladies, again having their own fights and battles while still remaining in God’s grace.

I must have proved my worth because I was asked to help out at Spree West Midlands this summer, by the lady who puts these weekends together. Again another Christian weekend for young people with football tournaments, laser tag, bushcraft, slient discos, work shops to name a few! 

Again, being the insane one, I agreed to do early morning circuits and jog at 7 am on both days, stretch and relax and core stability on fitballs on Saturday afternoon and some fitness sessions on the Sunday. Yes you read that correctly!!! Zzzzzzzz by Sunday evening ready for work Monday morning. 

By Saturday midnight I gave myself a target to beat from Shine. What’s the target I hear you thinking? Well it was to complete over 39,500 steps I managed at Shine!! 

Did I do it?

Well, not only did I reach that I smashed it completing 40,500 steps. I blame it on the silent disco and partying the night away. So I need to set a challenge for Shine in November!!!

I have now finished my first year of supply and nearly completed my first year of Tiny Soccer coaching as well as being an Independent Usborne Books organiser and being the PTFA at my daughters school. 

Am I happy?? The truth; absolutely yes. I may not have the steady income but it has taught me a valuable lesson- live to your means. The other lesson I have learnt, everything happens for a reason- God has a plan for me I didn’t know existed until now!! 

The time I have with my daughter is to be cherished. I no longer need to work all the hours to get data recorded, spend hours writing lessons plans and deep marking or writing reports. I go into the school do my job and come home. My mental health  is once again, good. I no longer feel I am rubbish at being a mother or teacher. I have the work life balance I always wanted after having my daughter. 

I am right where I should be at this moment in time. 

After all life is about making memories and cherishing every moment. Those that take your breathe away and those you need to learn from. 

I am a warrior princess. 

Teaching Antics: Karate Kid 

It feels me with pride when a student or students of mine excel at a sport and this story is no exception, apart from some aspects fill me with dread when I recall this particular one.

The student in question had been taught by me for a few years, and had kept a secret well hidden until year 11. She approached me to inform me she wouldn’t be in my GCSE PE lessons for at least two weeks. When I asked why she said she was off to Italy. I was a bit taken a back at first! A student being taken put on holiday in term time! The story then unfolded as to what she was actually doing. 

With pride, I can tell you that she was representing Great Britain at Taekwondo, along with her twin brother. 

However, the reason for telling this story will unfold and the reasons for fearing for my life but also the funny side.  

This particular lesson was in year 11 core PE time and we were doing basketball. 

Now, my love of this sport is an understatement. Any opportunity I get to play I will. I decided to join in and make up the numbers. 

On this particular occasion I wish I hadn’t. The Taekwondo girl was playing well so I stupidly decided to mark her. 

I cheekily used my basketball knowledge and experience to gain the upper hand! What a big mistake. 

I used my body well to box her out and grab a few rebounds. She hated this. Keep in mind I am only 5ft 2 and she was around 5 ft 10 maybe 11.  Well to me she was that tall!! I was quite chuffed I finally got some rebounds. 

However, the next part of this story sums up how short I actually am. 

So, we both go in for the rebound this time. She manages to get around me and grab the ball. However, I am trying my best to get it too. 

The next thing I know she has the ball and her tactic to do this was to lift her leg up into defensive kick technique right at my head!!! Yes, you read correctly. Her knee was pretty much directly in line with my head. Thank goodness she didn’t kick. My head would have come clean off. 

I must point out that this wasn’t done maliciously, it was done as she went to balance. I think and hope. 

I feared for my life and I saw what could have happened. 

She bent her leg luckily. 

The next part of this story was when she was in 6th form in year 12. It was an enrichment lesson. So, basketball was the sport. We both went up for the rebound. I managed to land with the ball somehow. 

What happens next?? I dribbled the ball down the other end of the court and dunk it on her????? No of course not. I am 5 ft 2. Ha ha ha ha. 

No, what happens next? Well let’s say this. It hurt and hear is why. 

I didn’t stay on my feet long. The next thing I know my legs were swept out from underneath me and I landed with a thump. Flat on my back. That’s right. I was pretty much horizontal in the air for a few seconds. Like the slow motion falling in film when the person arms and legs are moving around when falling from a building. All for getting a rebound from her. It was done in gest as I knew this student well and the rapport I had with her was good. 

It took me a few moments to realise what had happened, regather myself and make sure nothing was hurting. Oh apart from my pride.

 I looked up and noticed her smiling with a hint of ha ha I got you. 

A bit similar to this. 

If you have ever seen the first karate kid film. I feel like the dude that had the major ass kicking from one kick right at the end of the film!!! 

To this day I speak to the student for a catch up every now and again and these two stories always come up in the conversation. Miss remember the time……  

After all it’s about making memories. Even ones that hurt sometimes. 

Teaching Antics: Michael Jordan

After playing basketball for 25 years this sport is like second nature to me, most of the time or so I would like to think!! Ha ha. 

This story could sum up the workings of students minds or maybe not!

I would like to set the scene by asking you to imagine a group of 20 plus girls, some who have never even picked up a Basketball let alone played it before. As well as the getting people mixed up. Being called mum instead of Miss has to be a good one. One of the best, I think is in this story. This will become more apparent as it develops.

All I can say is they are soooooo used to netball from their previous teacher. The art of leaping like stag to get the ball and showing the correct footwork was done with artistic flair. They had played so much netball!  A term used by some to describe said sport was”I hate f:#@ing netball”. It was time to try a different sport to engage them. 

Skills and drills were done through out the lesson to help develop their dribbling or bouncing of the ball as well as their shooting. “Miss how useful is that backboard?” “I know it’s great isn’t it!” “Why don’t they use one in netball?” my answer to that question would be answered with profanities that would cost me a lot of money in a swear jar!!! I like to play many sports and like playing netball a bit. I think its too rigid. You can’t go here or there if you play this position. The defending. Don’t get me started on that. You should be able to guard a player. I am sorry but in many sports contact is always going to happen! If the ball is shown to you take it off them! No not in netball. 

Towards the end of the lesson  I put the girls into a game. The netballness (if this is even a word) was very evident along with the lack of coordination to dribble the ball and move at the same time for some. The other area of the game they struggled with was the fact any player was allowed to shoot and go anywhere on the court.  This was one thing the students loved about the game. 

This comical moment has to be one of  my favourites in my 12 years of teaching. The confusion students can have astound me sometimes. 

The lesson ends and the girls were asked to put the basketballs away. 

One student decides to show off her dribbling skills with expertise comical timing. 

She was running around dribbling the ball and then decides to get my attention! How? I hear you ask. Does she fall over? Does she bounce the ball into her face? 

Well the answer- no. You could say she goes one better! 

As I watched her show off, dribbling the ball around she decides to shout ” Miss, Miss look at me I’m Michael Jackson” it confused me slightly for a few seconds. I was expecting her to stop dribbling the ball and break into the moonwalk or thriller dance! 

When this didn’t happen and she ran around, still dribbling the ball and kept shouting it. It was evident who she meant!

Michael Jackson for those who are unsure.

My one and only reponse was “don’t you mean Michael Jordan???” with a smile on my face.

Michael Jordan for those who are unsure. 

The biggest difference is one has had the number one selling album of all time to date and is known as the King of Pop. He is surely recognised by a few more people who may not be into their sport! The other is said to be one of the greatest basketball players in history!

Oh, the look of how embrassing and the laughter from herself and the group said it all. As for me, this made me smile, giggle and laugh for the whole day and most probably, even longer than that. I still recall this story with a smile and giggle. 

Could you imagine if I had also got who she meant wrong too! 

I mean really, how could anyone get these two famous celebrities mixed up? Honestly! Apparently it is quite easy!!!

In another lesson of basketball, years later, Michael Jordan also apparently resembled Dwanye ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Yeah, that famous wrestler with the tag line “smell what the rock is cooking” He is quite a famous wrestler apparently!!! Or maybe not. Face to palm moment. 

They don’t look anything alike! All three of them. I hear you saying how is that possible? Well in the inner workings of young people’s minds catches me out, still! 

This is why many teachers love our job. To see the look on students faces when they finally get what they have been taught. The look of achievement, confidence and feeling proud. Or the moment they think oh why did I do that??? 

After all it’s about making memories and cherishing the moments that make you smile, laugh, cry and feel human. 

Teaching Antics: Tag Rugby

I want you to try and imagine teaching Tag Rugby to a group of thirty girls who have no idea about how to play it. The very idea of passing the ball backwards to go forwards!!!! What nonsense. Thank goodness no tackling!!!

Trying to teach the rules was also bad enough. The idea that once the player with the ball has their tag taken you are only allowed three extra steps before you have to pass the ball, BACKWARDS! The fact the defending player has to give the tag back to the player they has just taken it off from! UTTER NONSENSE!

tag-rugby

Well, this particular story leads to, what I think, is one of my funniest memories in teaching so far. In fact after twelve years of teaching it has to be in my top ten.

The student in this story  had a good level of ability in PE, especially Football. She had raw talent and could turn her hand to most sports and perform them well.

A number of skills and drills were taught to try and teach the ladies the rules and they way the game was played. Oh my, it was interesting. ” The ball isn’t round Miss”.  “Yes, it’s because it’s a Rugby ball. It’s a completely different shape. It’s oval” was my only response. “Why Miss?” asked another. Other than the fact that a football had been originally used and over time it changed it shape would bore my students. I decided to go with “because it is!!! Lets get on with the lesson”

It is game time! Where all they had learn from the lesson could be displayed. Or not!

Truth be told I wasn’t holding  much hope of having a game that looked like Rugby let alone Tag Rugby, but all the same I gave it ago.

I decided to introduce the rules one at a time to try and make it easier for the girls. What a mistake that was or was it?

The carnage that these games looked like were enough to hold your hands in your head. Many still couldn’t grasp the concept of passing the ball backwards to go forwards. The MOST important rule. The game time was spent stopping and reaffirming this vital rule. Students were calling the rule stupid. Why pass back to go forwards?

Now, the next part of the story could sum up how mental or funny teaching can be.

Remember the student who had raw talent in PE? Well, she was well known for causing some issues in classes. This lesson was no exception. She started testing the boundaries by challenging decisions I made when I was refereeing  her  game. She started to loose her temper, as she could do when things were not going her way.

I reminded her of the three step rule after her tag was taken. The rule explained earlier.

What happens next could have gone either way. It could have really made her flip out and loose the plot completely or for a number of students and myself, made the lesson one to remember.

Now remember I said the ball was oval.

In fit of rage the student starting swearing about the game, myself and the rules, even the other students. Things that really should never be repeated. EVER!!!!

She became so enraged that she threw the ball down with such force. Remember that   the ball is oval.

What do you think happens next? Did it just roll off in every direction as a rugby ball can do? Did it bounce higher than expected?

The answer to this story is told with a smile on my face as I recall this memory.

The student threw the ball down with such anger and strength that it bounced straight back up. Straight back up into her face and sent her flying! Yep you read it correctly. Full smack, bang in the face!

 

funny-rugby-moments1

very similar to this!

I would like to add at this point her fuse was coming to an end, to the point of an explosion. Much like a firework, without the colours! It was nearly time to duck.

I can hear you asking what happened next? Did she loose the plot even more? Did she break her nose? Did she come out of it alive?

The answer- no one including myself knew if it was OK to laugh. We didn’t know whether to check on her in fear of having heads ripped off. It lightened the mood of the lesson I am pleased to say. The student burst into laughter and all the tension was gone. This meant that the response from everyone was allowed. The students fell about laughing, I had a big grin on my face  and couldn’t stop the tears. Tears of laughter.

The student and the rest of the group, after a few minutes of pure laughter and tears, were able to regain their composure to get on with the rest of the lesson. By this point there wasn’t much left!!!

I would like to add that this student was always reminded of this story. When she started to loose her temper again in my lessons this was the in joke. I would ask her if she needed a rugby ball. This was usually enough to bring her back into line with behavior. You have to like the in jokes.

This has to be one of my funniest memories in teaching so far.

After all it is about making memories and cherishing those moments that make you laugh, cry, smile or maybe pull your hair out. At the time obviously.