All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Monday, 24 September 2007

The UNITED Nations? Don't Make Me Laugh

Can some please explain to me how a racist thug like Ahmadinejad can step foot on US soil? What the hell is he doing at the UN anyway?

This is a man who continues to openly call for the annihilation of another member state and the deaths of millions of people, whilst developing nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of carrying out his fascist agenda. We won't even talk about how Columbia University could be so incredibly stupid as to allow him the platform to address its students.

If the UN has a crumb of credibility left (UN + credibility = oxymoron if ever there was one), it should impose a statutory ban on his coming anywhere near its offices.

It is absolutely disgraceful behaviour by everyone concerned.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum




I have just seen this film and I am absolutely speechless. I think it could be one of the best thrillers I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot).

The acting is perfect, the set pieces (particularly the chase through the market), jaw-dropping and the script, as sharp as the shards of glass that almost fly out of the screen at you every quarter of an hour or so.

In one word... stunning.

My Rating

*****


Wednesday, 19 September 2007

That Twinge Again

It's been two days since I got "the twinge" and I'm beginning to wonder if it was more of a message from my brain, recommending me to pace myself and calm down.

I am spending most of my waking days doing something school related, be it planning lessons, thinking about planning lessons, wondering whether my lessons are being properly planned, de-constructing the lesson after the planning has gone awry and basically living between classes.

It's got so bad that I'd convinced myself from the moment I woke up that today was Thursday. Please don't ask me why. Just remind me that it is still Wednesday.

It's not that I'm getting anal about teaching (well, ok yeah, I probably am), I just really want to do the very best I can in my new job, aware that next week, I'll be off for two days again for Sukkot and then, a week later, for another two days.

I have just about caught up from the two days I lost over Rosh Hashanah (well, really three, because I didn't do much on Wednesday evening, whereas, I usually use it to plan for the next day or two) and enjoying the fact that I've got a full week of lessons and some time to prepare for them.

I really love being orthodox, but this year, adhering the religion has really hit me for six, granted the amount of time I am currently making up for lost days that could be used for both planning and delivering lessons. I hope G-d rewards me for my dedication!!

Then again, if we're getting spiritual, maybe that twinge was less of a revelation and more of a prophecy!

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Twinge

I remember the exact moment when I got the twinge. I was in the corridor at the start of break this morning and I'd just taught my Year 12's (A Level class). Suddenly, I got the twinge that told me everything was ok and I'd finally found my feet in the new school.

How can one describe that moment of satisfaction, when you know that you've made it through the turmoil that accompanies a new job? It's like, you know know that you're going to be ok. You feel in control of the situation for the very first time. You are aware that although you're still the new boy (or girl) but you can do it - you will make your mark and be part of the team.

Whatever it was, I got the twinge, felt wonderful inside and made my way confidently to the Staff Room.

I'd finally arrived.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

5768 - Happy New Year

It's probably not best form to begin the new year with an apology, but this is the first time I believe, in the history of this blog, that I have not wished you all a Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year).

Of course I have an excuse! I really, genuinely, honestly was too busy to get onto this blog in time to get that wish out to you. My new school is great and the workload is even greater, which I'm not complaining about...enough carping, Happy New Year already!

It's been a busy festival, with lots of people coming and going, coming and staying, staying and going. Three days in and I've finally had the time to read my 117 emails (is that a lot?) and answer the ones that have been sitting there, waiting for the right moment, if that's how you can describe it.

The one advantage of having the festival and shabbat together are that, at least I have Sunday to regain my composure and face the working week with some sort of plan.

And finally, to my Muslim readers, in case you are feeling left out, Ramadan Mubarak and I hope your fasting goes well. Next week, our nations will fast at the same time - may this bring peace and understanding between us both.

To the Jewish folk out there, I have one thing to say to you:

Dip the apple in the honey....

And to everyone else, welcome to 5768. Let's hope its a belter, for all the right reasons.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

A Breed Apart

I'll start with that rarest of things (at least for me), namely an apology.

A number of people who read this blog have approached me and asked me how the new job is panning out. I know I should have followed the original posts with updates, but honestly, I came back so tired from work, that I didn't have the will to compose any reports.

In short, I am really happy in my new school. The students line up outside the door to my classroom (yes, my classroom) quietly instead of rushing in like a pack of deranged beasts and then, to my utter delight, stand, yes STAND(!!) behind their chairs and wait until I tell them to be seated.

These students are actually listening to my instructions. When I tell them to switch their monitors off, they do what I ask. I don't find myself having to wait for fifteen minutes until they can be bothered to be quiet, they do something that I've been longing to experience for two years - they show an interest, in fact, a very keen interest, in wanting to learn.

I don't think I can adequately describe how all these factors are affecting the way I feel about my teaching. I go to lessons excited about delivering the material, keen to do what I do best, namely instruct.

Yes, I still get back-chat, because that is par for the course in any school, but at last, I believe that I can make a difference because the students have a thirst for knowledge - something that I found lacking in many of the classes I used to teach in my previous school. There are and were always students who wanted to learn, but amongst the din of the others, they seemed to be sidelined. This is no longer the case.

My new school has restored my love of, and passion for, teaching. So I guess, this is as best a compliment as I can possibly give to my new place of work.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Crunch Time - The Other Side

I wrote my first blog today "before" I had gone into school and so, I feel it only fair to bookmark that entry with an "after" statement.

It has been a long, tiring but ultimately satisfying day. The people I will work with seem very pleasant and although I did feel, at times, quite overwhelmed by everything, I guess that this is par for the course.

We have another INSET day tomorrow, in which I will be able to crystallize in my mind, exactly what I will be teaching and to whom (we start lessons on Wednesday)...well that's the idea.

I'm the new kid on the block and I can see that I will need to hit the ground running. It won't be the first or last time this has happened and I just have to prove that I'm up to the tasks that will be thrown at me over the next few days, weeks and yes, months.

Crunch Time

Well friends, I guess this is it. After six weeks, I'm finally returning to work and a whole new future lies in front of me.

I'm really not sure what to expect. At this time last year, I was able to walk into a staff room, greet the people I'd worked with over the last twelve months and get back to the routines that I knew so well. Today, I'll be sitting a staff room with strangers, some of whom I'll become friends with, others....well, let's hope they're as friendly as the people I've worked with in the past.

And that's just the staff we are talking about!

As per the norm, I won't be teaching today, as that begins in earnest tomorrow. new children, new classes, new experiences.

It is crunch time, as I launch myself into a new academic year. I hope it will be easier than the one I've just come through. I don't think I want to be assaulted again....or have my car vandalised. Maybe, for the first time, I'll be able to teach the kids, without turning up to a class where I find that someone has walked off with one of the computers (especially if if its the one that I use).

New school, new term.

Things are lookng up.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Comings And Goings...And Birthdays

I can't quite believe it, but Shira is now four years old. She keeps on asking if she's still four, as on Thursday, she was only three! She had a lovely party at home and Dassi showed some amazing skills in her (single) handling of the party and running the events such as pass the parcel, musical bumps and pin the tail on the donkey. I'm very impressed with her.

This morning, Dana and the girls went off, with my mother-in-law for a two day trip to Paris. They will be staying with relatives and having a pretty cool time. I'm not complaining though, as it gives me the time to get ready for my first day in the new school. It also gives me a chance to seriously tidy up the house and enjoy the little luxuries in life, such as unrestricted and un-nagged (there's no such word, but there should be) access to the computer, tv and dvd collection.

In other words, I'm sort of partying, albeit in a rather formal manner. I do miss them all, but the peace and quiet around the house is not at all unappreciated.