Friday, 30 September 2011

Il y a un singe Qui vole dans l'arbre (there's a flying monkey in the tree)

I'm procrastinating... Well I was, now I'm writing my blog for the week.

I'm sat at Zoes house as she is off on a surprise weekend for her birthday (first weekend without the kids ever!!) and so I'm house/dog/chicken/children sitting. So I'm on my usual spot on her beautiful balcony looking across the French countryside and trying to play with the dogs at the same time. Except Dobby who wants cuddles so I am obliging and trying to type this one handed

Aaaaaaaaah dobby being a love

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Been quite a lot going on this week but the main event for sure has been the weather! It's been amazing probably the hottest week I've known all year so I've been out in it catching a tan.... Well, working, honest (allegedly)

It's meant I could be outside at le stade so I have spent my days chasing the children round the track in the sunshine and in-between classes sunbathing on the steps and watching the lizards cgreep round me. Heaven.

Okay these are super blurry but here are some pics of my little lézards! (pronounced 'lazerrrrr, the French don't do the letter 'd')

The brown blur...

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blurry little lizard face or an out of focus velociraptor...

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Hideous place to work and not a cloud in the sky:

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Anyway I guess I'll go back to Monday which seems an age away! It's been a particularly long week as this week the extra workshops started so I now have an extra 4 hours dance and drama on top of my daily teaching schedule. So Monday saw me doing my PE lessons nothing new there same ol same ol and then there was drama... I have to say there are a minority of children in the school who would make you look at the list of enrolees and make you think...oh no.... I had them ALL across all my workshops. Whoop ;)

Anyway drama, this was definitely not the easiest as I had a couple of boys I'd particularly like to lynch at the best of times let alone ones who are in a class that is extra curricular and that their parents signed them up for. The class actually went really well but by god did I have a headache when I got home! Its tough teaching kids anyway, but children who don't speak your language doing drama? It was interesting, so I chose lots of physical exercises which were easy to comprehend by demonstration I spend a lot of my week miming and asides the noise levels...I think they went pretty well!

Tuesday was a fairly bog standard day nothing out of the ordinary here and then it was Wednesday! I only work a couple of hours on Wednesday but had to go in earlier this week to cover a class for one of the teachers. So here is where I would like to publicly apologise to my colleague, roomie and lovely friend Michelle for letting her painstakingly get the children in and quietly settled in their chairs knowing full well I was going to ask them to stand up again.

I don't know I'm going to be allowed to forget this one for a while.

I did an hour of active English games with them which went down a treat before taking a couple of hours out which gave me time to plan for the afternoons dance workshop. 3 hours and a smooth criminal routine later my dancers were good to go!

All work and no play and that I had a different evening lined up this day... I dashed home, changed and headed off with the Chief (Shawn) for a spot of golf at the Disneyland course and we spent the evening in the beautiful sunshine on the driving range and it was just amazing I really enjoyed it (better at golf than throwing an American football anyway) and it was such a relaxing way to spend an evening!

Me killing a golfball!

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To the smart arse who upon seeing this pic remarked I had next to noooo torso rotation I will happily remind; I BROKE MY SPINE IN 2 PLACES!!!! I'm lucky to have got thorough it with nothing but a little flexibility issue ;) it's nice I'm technically a cripple but you'd never know so I clearly do an awesome job of hiding it

Shawn about to properly murder a golf ball with far more style!

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We played until it was too dark to make the golf balls out much anymore (he does have fluorescent ones though for night time playing but not much use when you can't see the holes haha) and had a few practises shots on the putting green...I got very excited about the putting green as instantly recognised it was in the shape of the main mouse himself! A mickey mouse face shaped putting green AWESOME it's the little things.

Talking of things that are good in France I had to have a medical this week to prove I was fit to work. This was held in a little van in Esbly and was an interesting experience as I had to deal with a receptionist who was blatantly put out by my lack of French and didn't help me one iota by speaking as fast as she could and even though I used the French alphabet to sound off letters to her to help her spell things I had said that she didn't understand; I swear to god she was deliberately spelling it wrong and it was exasperating, she absolutely didn't want to listen and if there are 2 things I have no problem with in French, it's my alphabet and my numbers! I knew I wasn't just being paranoid when i called Michelle into help. Now Michelle has been in Paris for 2 years and her French is really good... But even for her she was ignoramously misspelling everything she said. The woman also kept changing the words she'd use to describe things which didn't help. She asked me one question several times over and i just couldn't understand her. When michelle came in she rephrased the question totally differently and it was always using a word I understood!!! Why do they do that???? Its so frustrating I'm really struggling with the language.

When michelle went in for her check up and i was in the waiting room this woman sat opposite me and proceeded to babble away to me in French. I apologised and said i was english, didn't understand her and didn't speak french. The woman paused a second, told me she didn't speak english and proceeded to just babble away in French to me anyway, laughing at her own jokes. I just smiled, nodded a lot and pretended the sign which just said 'please be seated and the doctor will see you soon' was reeeeeally interesting. Anyway after these two characters the doctor however was lovely with his big curly grey Einstein style moustache, he spoke clearly so even though he said everything in French I understood all questions! And the one i didn't get he said "ah google is mah frrriend" and got google translate up on his laptop!

"did I ever feel faint...."

Afterwards Michelle sat and marvelled at my fitness results because they were superb (but then I'm the sports teacher, would have been a poor show if they weren't)! Mind you I think it is well worth mentioning that the French diet is rather good for you. On paper it doesn't sound it I mean I have been living off eggs, the odd salad, fruit, ham (so far so good) cheese, pate (hmmm not top of the brilliant fats list) butter, a variety of sauces and wait for it; White bread and pasta!

Most my PT mates are probably shaking their heads in horror right now however, I sleep easily, I sleep well, I wake easily and well, indigestion is but a distant memory, no IBS problems at all stomach feels really good, my blood pressure is a little higher which is AWESOME as forever it has been dangerously low, my resting heart rate is back to where it was when I was at the peak fitness for marathon training (aiming for a 3:30 finish) and I have dropped weight. To be fair I'm chasing children all day but asides my little virus the other week I feel awesome and I can't quite believe how my body is doing!!! I very rarely do this but for the folks who are probably envisioning me turning into a living skeleton... Nope.

Happy with that (pure vanity!)

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I haven't even really trained asides the odd jog for about two months now! Hmmm maybe there is a lot to be said for sticking to the same training over and over again (go in, do weights, do cardio, go home...) so always dare to be different!

I had to shoot back to school after the medical and leg it straight back to sport (there's been a lot of dashing round this week!) this didn't change when at the end of the day I had my English enrichment lesson (children are doing really well so I ruined their day by telling them I wanted to do an exam next week to review unit 1) then soon as this lesson was over (quick boys v girls game if hangman to finish)I had dance so once again i ran back to the English classroom as I had 15 minutes to change this:

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Into this!

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Voila a dance studio!

Dance went really really well, the children were hilarious I mean out here they love Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson so I picked stuff I hoped they would like...I have been down with the kids and downloaded some Justin Bieber tracks and much to the disgust of my two colleagues we are now all walking round humming "baby baby baby...." I only have to walk past Chris and do a quick "woah woah wooooah woah" and when he has finished swearing at me we all sit there and go "actually it's quite catchy" but it got so bad it got to the point when we were sat in the classroom together working then one of us would just start humming it and we aren't even aware we are doing it till someone in the room either tells that person to shut up or throws something at them.

Guilty pleasures, a bit of NKOTB found it's way onto my iPod this week, I was walking through Montry on my own on my way home the other night when "step by step ooooh baaaaaabbbyyyyy" burst into my ears. I just stood there and laughed out loud. I probably looked incredibly insane but I was tickled.

Anyway the First few tracks went down well with my little ones then

"oh I don't liiiiiiike Usher"

uh oh fail.... Until the hypocrites started singing along to it at the top of their voices. Don't like him eh?

Same for Justin Bieber, so much for oh they will like this...

It was like a classroom of mini Andys from little Britain.

"I don't like it...."

Then the chorus kicked in and I was deafened by...


Then when it finished all I got was "karrreeeennn Caaaan weeee hav-a tat song AGAAAAAAAAAAIIINNNNN PLEEEEEEAAAAAASE?!

Oh i dont know, you guys don't like Justin Bieber.....

OoooOOOOOOOOOoooooooooh pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaase.


Fickle bunch.

But the workshops were a success (bar the girl who sat in the corner and cried for the entire time because her mum signed her up for it and she didn't want to do it). She's one of the children that is what I would class as 'away with the fairies' or a bit of a space cadet. Lovely lovely children but some you can call their names till you are blue in the face and they will still be staring at that same spot on the floor, circling it and giggling to themselves. Theres one child i have nicknamed Taz because basically they have to be a relative, I mean we were sat discussing this when on lunch duty and turned round to look to see where said child was only to find them with their head cocked to one side, mouth open as wide as they could, eyes crossed and trying to fit their spoon in their mouth sideways.

There's never a dull moment! Mind you I have got to report back to Michelle who thought this child might be colour blind (they are a particularly tricky little student but if there's a genuine problem it cannot be ignored) so I had set up a colour recognition exercise in sport today and warned my assistant we thought their may be a colour blindness issue so wasn't going to penalise them for it (the game involved basically being 'out' if you ran to the wrong colour...) and I have to say there was absolutely no problems with this child picking out the right colours whatsoever. That's that little problem solved...

However I'm still working on two very tiny ones though who are both definitely not quite with the programme and stick together like glue. I had an entire 2 hours today where I could call the entire class to me, explain the Rules, the class would all run off to prepare and I'd turn round and sure enough; those 2 would stil be sitting there on the floor huddled together stuffing twigs up their nose.

These children provide all the moments of hilarity in PE although more often than not when they are they having their little moments in another land they happen to be at the front of the line for the activity in hand and when you finally finally break them out of their trance they look at you go huh? Uh.... Aaaaggggghhhhhhhahahahaha and run off in completely the opposite direction. First couple of weeks my forehead was very red from the amount of times I'd slapped it with my own hand but now I know who is who and prepare for it by knowing their flight path (basically the exact opposite way to the rest of their classmates) so my shins are a bit bruised from acting as a crash barrier but it's working! Some kids I literally have to lead round by the hand even after I have demonstrated it several times and their other 20 classmates have done it before them and they can still stand their with a 'huh me? Well what do you want me to do?' expression.

Anyway back to dance workshops...this little space cadet was one of my students. If dance involved spinning round with your arms out and head lolling back for half an hour gazing at the ceiling then she'd have probably been super happy...but it doesn't and she wasn't. It's tough to leave a child crying when you really want to try and involve them and make it a positive experience, but I had 12 other children who all wanted to be there and so they had to come first!

It's always nice when at the end of the lesson though when you say it's finished and a room full of kids go oooooOOOOOoooooh start pouting and then throw themselves at you for a hug.

It's a lovely school the children here are children. They scratch around the playground like free range chickens scratching around their paddock, collecting insects and conkers and leaves... (I'm actually talking about the children again here not chickens that was merely a visual reference). They play conkers, they play marbles, British bulldog is not banned and the biggest craze out here right now is something called beyblades which are basically, wait for this, spinning tops. SPINNING TOPS! I mean seriously??? They have interchangeable heads and compatible parts which make them more efficient at spinning...I was a bit fixed by this initially but now I think it's quite lovely. It's great to see children being children.

Anyways back to the days of the week, the medical was Thursday and also at the end of the day was our meeting regarding the England trip. This is happening next April and I am one of the staff accompanying the children to Bristol/bath for a week so a meeting was held to let the parents know what is happening with it. I am very excited at the prospect of this trip although know it is going to be damned tiring and it'll be hard being so close yet so far from all my family and friends! But I still cannot believe I have this job! 2 of the French teachers are going but otherwise it's me, Michelle and Christian. I LOVE these guys they are brilliant one thing I'll never ever discuss here though is the conversations we have in the classroom. Asides Christians seriously bad jokes we have a warped sense of humour. Now I know how teachers cope with the stresses of their jobs, you gotta have that slightly sick sense of humour to cope! But I couldn't ask to work with two better people they are simply awesome. I think sometimes it's illegal to laugh so much in a workplace. Long may it continue.

Anyway it is now Friday and I have a crazy weekend ahead of me with the aforementioned sitting.

Just taken a break from writing this to feed the chicks, do their waters, check on the chickens, water the new lawn and have some dinner.

All peaceful here.

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Good night John boy xxx

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