crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maternity Leaving

Yesterday was my last official day of work. Yay!

I could probably have worked further into my pregnancy, but since it's best for me to return from maternity leave (if I return) next September, I had some time to play with. It's also easier to change-over to a new teacher during a break, and today marks the start of half-term break. Plus, it'll be a relief to not HAVE to do things, like sleep. I found myself not sleeping often over the past few weeks, then I'd get stressed about not sleeping because I knew I had to get up and give 'er for a full day the next morning. Then I'd not sleep even more. It's a vicious cycle. But now, no pressure. Ahhhh...

That said, as is usually the case going into a holiday, I have a pile of marking and catching-up to do over the next week. I want to ensure all the loose ends are taken care of for my replacement, including moving out of my old desk in the office. And of course, I feel responsible to give my best to the kids even until the bitter end. Ah, the kids. I love teaching.

I had one class I found a particular challenge this year, and for the most part, I will not be missing them. Certain individuals especially. Another of my classes was trying at times because they were such a low-ability group: I'd have to remind them every lesson just to write the date on their exercise books; and if they brought in a pen it was a miracle, let alone their homework! But they are not as flagrantly irritating as the above-mentioned group - I'm not even going to go into details there. Nonetheless, these were two out of my seven groups this year, so that's pretty lucky.

Then there were my good groups, my lovely groups. My 27 year sevens got OMGSOEXCITED when I played the radio during 'independent' writing times; they also LOVED when I read to them, and I loved reading to them. Setting homework was an adventure with this group because some were bound to come back with amazing, creative and over-the-top results! Year sevens still know how to think outside the box.

I was daunted when I learned I'd have a group of 30 year tens at the beginning of the year, and even more daunted when I learned their projected grades were entirely A and A* (no pressure!), but they have been by far my favourite group this year. They at once took words, ideas and lessons out of my mouth because they grasped things so quickly, and ensured I was always on my toes with planning and subject-knowledge. But they seem to have gotten the impression, however, that I am an expert in everything and were constantly engrossed in my every word - great for me and my attention-seeking nature! Yesterday, upon saying our goodbyes, one boy who has recently been fitted with a sling from a basketball accident asked me to sign his sling. This sparked about a dozen others to seek my 'autograph' on their personal copies of the text we are studying. I laughed, reminded them that I'm not a celebrity, and promptly signed away! Hilarious. I'm going to miss being astounded every day by their enthusiasm to learn and do well. We did paired research presentations on themes surrounding Shelley's 'Frankenstein', for example, and one group created an on-screen 'interview' with animated Eskimos during their talk-show version of the task, presenting Arctic exploration in the last 1700 - early 1800s. Their little animations actually responded to the questions they asked them, live, during a segment lasting at least 4-5 minutes! How do you not give that an A?

So when I second-guess my return to teaching almost a year from now, I'll have to read this post and remind myself that amidst all the bureaucracy and administration, amidst the 55-hour+ work weeks and the nerve-grating discipline issues, there are good reasons to return to teaching. At least 30 of them.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I am a mountain, you are the sea...

I'm pretty sure the writers of Biffy Clyro's (awesome band!) hit, Many of Horror, did not intend these lyrics to be taken literally; however, it is true: I am a mountain. And just like a mountain, I grow a little every day.

I love my bump. I love dressing it up in the new maternity clothes I got to buy for it. I love having a rub now and again (okay, it's really more constant than that). I love feeling Grape have a wiggle or a jab, and because I'm obviously going to be that sort of mom, giving a little jab back.

At this stage, pregnancy is pretty cool. There are currently no new negative symptoms, and I'm somewhat used to the old, on-going ones. Though I get tired easily, and have plenty of aches and pains, the extra attention and getting treated like a princess definitely make up for it (Thanks, honey!)

And right now I'm looking forward to two really cool things: the first, of course, is Grape's official debut in around 2 months. The second is maternity leave... just 5 more get-ups and 20 more lessons to go!

What's actually been going on then, besides the heightening of Mount Grape? Well, I placed my order for the baby furniture. We'd bought some in a local baby-store chain, but then decided it was too expensive and cancelled the order; this new set we found online and is virtually the same for 300 quid less. My parents-in-law are coming over for 10 days in November to help us paint the nursery and put the furniture together. The bedding has arrived, too, so after their visit we'll be ready to rock. ha.

As Riccardo has to be in Germany for work at the end of November, beginning of December, my lovely friend Ashley has agreed to come over from Canada to babysit (er, entertain?) me in his absence. This is also a safety precaution in case I go into labour! - hope not! I am sooooo excited for her visit, and hope I am up for all the bits and bobs I'm already planning.

Riccardo and I are attending baby courses at our hospital. They are excellent - probably because we're so uneducated in this whole thing. Last time we got a tour of the delivery ward and the birthing centre. I will likely have to have the baby in the delivery ward (the hospital part) rather than the birthing centre because of my thyroid condition. This is crap: the delivery ward is old, stuff, stinky, impersonal and lacking in privacy. Conversely, the birthing centre (which is midwife-lead) is like a bloody hotel. Grrrr. I'm going to ask my doctor if I can start out in the birthing centre, since my pregnancy has gone to smoothly. I mean, it's only down the corridor from the delivery ward if there were any issues. Which there won't be. Definitely not.

The pictures are me at 26 and 30 weeks, respectively. I'm now 31 weeks. Yay!


    • At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Danica said…

      You look as cute as can be. You should definitely push the birthing centre issue. I'm sure you can get your way if you make enough fuss. It sounds so much better, and you'll be in good hands with a trained midwife.

    • At 4:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      WOW! You look wonderful and you are glowing! I am so very happy for you and Riccardo. I am glad that everything is going two will be the best parents to the little grape;-) Miss you and love you


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