Monday, 14 June 2010

Highs and Lows of Last Week

So, it's another new week, and I thought I'd kick it off with my Highs and Lows for last week. When I was thinking about them, I realised that some items have been appearing on my lists on quite a regular basis...I hope it's not a sign that I'm becoming too boring and predictable lol!! Maybe I should let people decide for themselves, so here's my list so you can do just that:

  • (Almost) free fun with friends: On Thursday night, a couple of friends and I went to the open air cinema at Spinningfields and watched The Italian Job. It was the second time I'd been, and I loved it once again! Although you do have to contend with the unreliable Manchester weather (both times I've been it's been quite chilly to say the least!), the atmosphere is fab, you get the chance to see films you might not choose to watch normally and best of all admission is free! Yes, you need to pay if you want to hire a picnic blanket or deckchair to sit on and if you want to buy any food or drink that'll obviously cost extra too, but all in all, it's a really good value, chilled out evening, especially if you come prepared with a couple of blankets like we did! I really can't think of a much better way to spend my Thursday evenings, and am hoping to catch a lot more of the fims over the summer; maybe I'll even manage to go on a warm evening next time!
  • Cocktails: Now on a night out with friends, there's nothing I like more than a good cocktail, and on Saturday night, I had possibly the best Cosmopolitan I've ever tasted. Now I'm not normally a Cosmo fan, finding them a bit tart for my tastes, but these were amazing!! And really good value when you bought a pitcher to share too (which was great for my bank balance!!). When I get a proper job, I think I'll definitely be going back to the bar in question (Tribeca) to sample more delights from their menu!!
  • Finding out I'm definitely eligible for a tax refund: This really cheered me up this week, particularly as I had had 3 weeks without any real work to speak of, due to the school holidays, and also having a particularly quiet work week immediately before them, and as a result, my money's been slowly dwindling away. Basically, as I worked for 2 agencies last tax year, and part of the one before as well, only one of them had my proper tax code and the other just charged me the basic tax rate (I think it's 20%) on all I earned when working for them. Add it up over the past year and a bit, and that's quite a lot of tax!! So I phoned the tax office on Friday, and after waiting in a queue for what seemed like forever (well, about 15 minutes anyway!!), I got through to someone who did some checks and confirmed that I would be eligible to receive a refund. I'm not sure how much I'll get yet, but I know that I should receive a cheque in about 4 weeks. Yay!! Fingers crossed it'll be enough to help tide me over the summer, when I'll have a long time without any work.


  • Not getting the job...again!!: I had another teaching observation and interview last Wednesday, and once again I was unsuccessful. I have a feeling it may have had something to do with my teaching observation. I had to teach a 20 minute maths session to 8 Year 4 pupils (ages 8 and 9), and decided to do perimeter and area, 2 topics that, according to the maths framework, should have already been covered. Well guess what?! I don't think it had, as when I asked the children what perimeter was and how you'd work it out, I was left with blank looks and some inspired (if slightly misguided) guesses!! Not the end of the world, I don't suppose, as one mark of a good teacher is how you can adapt and refine activities to better meet the needs of the children, and I think I did this quite well given the circumstances. The downside was that I feel that the activity lost momentum as a result, and the children had to be on the carpet longer than I intended, which meant a couple started to lose focus. I tried to manage their behaviour positively with lots of proximity praise and the teacher "look", but didn't know what to do past this, as I was unsure of the school's behaviour policy. All in all, although it wasn't a complete disaster, it didn't go half as well as I wanted and it left me dying to get to the interview part! I think that went better, barring a couple of things that I later realised I'd forgot to mention in my answers. But c'est la vie, I suppose. The headteacher offered me written feedback if I was unsuccessful, which I said I wanted, so I'm just waiting to see what that says, and hoping that it can give me some useful advice for the future (though I'm terrified it's all going to be really negative :-( )
  • The ever increasingly depressing state of my bank balance: I've not been working for 3 weeks, I've been paying the basic rate of tax for over a year and I like shopping, nights out, magazines and Starbucks too much!! Enough said!!

Till next time...

Disclaimer: I've not received any incentive from Spinningfields or Tribeca in return for writing this!! I've been to the film screenings and bought the cocktails of my own free will, and thought they were fab, which is why I'm trying to big them up to you guys!!

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