Thursday, 31 March 2011

Day 2

Morning had the same routine; Ms. Fisher and I battled against the Sisyphean weight of her book bags and planned the day ahead; maths (well, adding up), more english (well, copying sentences) and then the afternoon spend doing P.E. (well...actually no, just P.E.) First period went well; while it was intermediate-level adding up, most of the children were able to get through it with time to spare, and the last few got out to break on time with a little help from yours truly. Nothing's quite as rewarding as actually passing on knowledge. The look of slow, dawning revelation on a little girl or boy's face when the problem before them reveals an answer? Amazing. I love this job.

English went the same as yesterday. The kids copied out the sentences. You wouldn't believe how hard they find this; getting the letters legible, getting the syntax right. It's mostly handwriting training but it really helps their grasp on writing, and on reading.

P.E. was actually really fun to watch. They were playing dodgeball in the main hall, but a weird variant involving benches and a kind of goalkeeper setup. Here's a diagram: 
Also there's only one ball. The best tactic, as far as I could tell, is to have two layers of people facing either way, one to catch from the advantageous position of the goalkeeper (who can't get out and is thus invulnerable, but can only stay on the bench they're standing on) and the other to catch stray shots from the floor team. Neither team managed to figure this out and it essentially became "anyone who gets the ball will get an out". Anyway, the kids all seemed to have fun, although they got VERY competitive. I certainly had an active goal as the referee...

Afterwards, I met up with Simon and some other friends. One of our friends is an ex-Jehova's Witness, and this is her first birthday with a party. Her girlfriend and another girl (she bakes. It's what she does. How she's not fat is beyond me) made her THIS:
It's a gay cake! Because she's, y'know, gay.
Yeah, I know it's kind of off to define her by one attribute, but that's how we roll. She's the gay one, her girlfriend's the ditzy one, I'm the ill one, Simon is the ginger, pretentious, inappropriate, poorly dressed one with the terrible diet and the unsavoury relationship with his computer. It's a delicate balancing act ;D (Love you lots, honest!)

Anyway, that's all I've got today. Bye all!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

First Day at Motcombe

Interesting day...

So I showed up, on time, at 8:30. Waiting for me in the car park was the teacher I was assigned to. Greeting me as she dragged her laptop bag and rucksack full of lesson plans and registers and the like out of the back of her car, she introduced herself as Ms. Fisher. Once she was fully upright I saw she was a pretty woman, in a soft kind of way. Brown hair, a warm smile, and a summer dress which would unfortunately come back to haunt her when the rain started up in the afternoon. She was one of those women who seemed motherly, even when they don't have kids; caring, sweet and infectiously enthusiastic. I figured, in retrospect, I should have worn something more feminine than my customary black jeans, t-shirt and hoodie. Giving her a hand with her bags, she led me into the Year 2 classroom. A large, open space with tables and chairs around most of the room and a carpeted corner for the kids to sit on as a whole class. Ms. Fisher has a utilitarian wooden desk in the corner, the wall around it dotted with drawings. We spent fifteen minutes talking about the day ahead, getting what we'd get done sorted out.

At about 8:50, kids started gathering. Some played in the playground, some lingered on the edges of the field with their parents. After ten minutes, they trickled in and sat in their places. I guess I was expecting them to be more boisterous, because they were surprisingly well-behaved. They were the sweetest little things you've ever seen; playful, talkative, every one of them a character in their own right. The register was taken, and I made my introduction. The kids treated me with curiosity and warmth; one said that "It's like Ms. Fisher's the mummy, and you're the big sister." I love kids <3. They got to work copying out sentences from a sheet of paper. There were about five of them, yet it took concentration from almost every one of them. After an hour and a half, they were let out on break. Wanting to get to know them, I went to go play with them. I ended up playing football with the boys in the group, and while I have basically no athletic talent, compared to seven year olds I'm damn near competent. My side won, though, depressingly, not so much through my efforts.

After break, the children were set a task; to make a small presentation to the class about their parents. They got to work, with crayons and felt tips to draw pictures of their parents and with me helping them decide what to write. After lunch, the presentations began. Most of them were fairly routine - parents were everything from doctors to shop managers to scientists. However, one stood out. One boy, whose name I'm not sure I can put on here but who, for the sake of reference, I'll call Joey, got up and talked about his mother. When he got to his dad, however, his eyes lit up. "My daddy is the biggest, strongest man in the world. Mummy says he went away but he never really goes. Sometimes he stands in my room, watching me while I sleep. Sometimes he stands outside the window. My daddy doesn't say anything, but I know he loves me." He showed a picture of his father; a tall, thin bald man in a business suit, with long arms and legs, as tall as the tree next to him. Despite how he drew pictures of himself and his mother, he apparently didn't get round to drawing a face for his father. I felt uncomfortable. Couldn't put my finger on why. Ms. Fisher hurredly stepped in; "That was lovely, Joey. Now, Melodie, your turn." And the show went on.

After class, once the kids were gone, Ms. Fisher confided in me the troubling thing about this. Joey never knew his father. He's been talking about this "father" for a few weeks now. His mother doesn't know what to do. His classmates are beginning to ask questions. Teachers have been put on alert to keep an eye out for a man fitting this description. And no-one knows where he got this character from. Ms. Fisher sighs. "At this rate, we're going to have to send him to a therapist. He's...he's not well. I'm so worried about him. He's a good kid."

She thanked me for my work today and I left. Weird first day, huh? Something about this whole incident made me really uneasy. My head aches faintly.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Took the long way home from college. Got photos of the bits of the park. Illustration's always nice.

You see what I mean about tall bushes? (Though I think they were taller in the dream)

Hill with stone tablet on left of this, path into "forest" on right

This led to a woods like...well, like the Forest of Dean, I guess, is my best reference point.

The seagull? Not in my dream ;)

This bench...well it seemed important. Less so now...
Just thought I'd give a visual reference.

First post

Hey all, Kari here. I'm creating this blog to act as a diary of my time as a teaching assistant at Motcombe primary school, which I will be starting tomorrow. I just thought I'd get the blog started now, because, well, never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, right?

I'm not looking forward to it, actually. I feel like crap at the moment. If any of you read my boyfriend's blog, you'll know that I have a pretty shitty record with my health, but last night was a new one. I had this dream.

I was in a park, near where I live. It's night and I'm trying to find my way around using the flashlight function on my phone. I should know how to get home, but nothing's the way I remember it. I start down this long path lined with tall bushes until I come to a very steep, very tall hill with a stone table at the top. There's a path behind me, and as I turn to shine my light down it, I hear a crackling sound. I go to investigate and I come to a small clearing an a forest full of trees, tall enough that their branches block out the stars. Nothing like this exists in the park I was dreaming of. The crackling continues. I walk towards it, and my head starts to ache. Another step. The aching intensifies. Another step, the ache gets worse. My light sweeps across to the space between two tree trunks. A leg disappears round the back. Someone's here. The ache becomes a sharp, piercing pain, enough to make me double over. I get back on my feet and run. I drop my phone, and the light with it. Scrambling through the forest in the dark. The crackling gets louder. The ache gets worse. I reach the path again, and rush into the light from a lamp by the side. My arms have grown massively. They're long, thin and bloodied. Bone sticking out. They look like they've been stretched so much all the muscle and bone has been shredded. Long enough that I must have been dragging them behind me as I ran. Someone steps out from the forest area.

Then I woke up, but here's the thing: my head still hurt, worse than anything I've ever felt. This deep, piercing ache. I've never been in so much pain. It ground to a halt after about an hour leaving me with a low throbbing sensation. I cried myself to sleep in the end.

So yeah. Not in a child-care mood. Wow, dark first post. It'll get better, honest!