So long summer….

Well I went quiet for a few weeks on account of it being the summer holidays. We managed a second camping trip to Pinecones campsite this time with the doggies in tow. It was fantastic! Really friendly, great park and dog friendly too. Their individual shower rooms were amazing with radio piped in day and night …. Made a 4am trip out of the sleeping bag a little more enjoyable. So yes we shall go back their.

The rest of the holiday has been spent catching up with friends and family. In the last few days I have decorated and organised my study as, alas, I’m back to work tomorrow. I love teaching but this year I already feel pressured to justify exam results where students didn’t put the work in despite our effects, didn’t attend extra revision sessions despite our efforts as ultimately the powers that be will want me to explain what I didn’t do to get that child the grade a computer program decided they should get. 

I’m also dreading the curriculum changes. This year sees 2 different GCSE being taught in my subject with the new one not really being given the teaching time needed (school decision not mine) and the 2nd year of the new A level being taught for the first time. Doing the long term plan for my dept is a nightmare and shows I can’t fit it in but I somehow have to! So the plan isn’t ready to publish.

Education has been my life for 16 years. I love seeing that light bulb moment or that kid who says they can’t go it getting the grade they worked so hard for. Unfortunately the last few years have turned into the most demoralising. I mark each classes homework every week, a level classes can take up to 3 hours per class and with 5 a level classes that’s a lot before you account for the 3 GCSE classes. I only work 4 days a week as I’m part time! Over the past few years we have been beaten up by the government for being lazy ….. Most of us aren’t, we give up unpaid lunches to do revision sessions, help kids or run clubs. Most of us work every evening (for me that included Sunday evening and during the day and evening of my day off). Powers that be tell us we should all mark in a certain way, pupil dialogue (I’ve you mark their work and wrote a question, they respond to it and you mark that as well as the next homework next time you take in books!). 

All in all teaching is not what is was and in a few years I will leave the profession as the stress is already taking its toll…. I truly love my job and that is being in the classroom helping kids to learn new things.

So tomorrow spare a thought for those hard working teaches who will be supporting future generations and who won’t get a break from working til next summer (yes we may not be in school during half term and holidays but I guarantee we are working at home trying to catch up). And on that note I’m off to read my work emails, goodnight y’all.

Decamping and the aftermath

So tonight is our last night at Woodhill Park. I have to say I will be back, it’s such a wonderful family place and we have had a truly fantastic time. Now starts the process of decamping, dirty washing packed in a bag, clean clothes (yes we have a few items) in another. The children’s rucksack is packed and bedroom area looking the emptiest it has all week. Tomorrow the tables, pots and pans will be packed up all ready for the end of August.

The kids have had a great time, running free, no tv and lots of fresh air to blow those cobwebs away that form over a long half term at school. For them a week of no school does they world of good. The eldest read his new book within 3  days and then discovered old comics in an old book shop so started on those. The youngest has been working his way through ‘Alice through the looking glass’ and is enjoying it. Just disconnecting for a week from the constraints of a house works for us as a family.

Tonight we will end the week as we started … Yes a fish and chip supper, glasses of prosseco and lots of laughter in the chill of a summers evening (probably with blankets over our legs).

Pitter patter … I can hear the rain

Since Saturday we have had glorious weather for camping. Yesterday it rained at 6am briefly but the afternoon proved to be a warm and wonderful day fitting for a pub lunch and a few ginger beers followed by a stroll to the beach to look in the rock pools or rather, in the case of my youngest, an impromptu paddle resulting in a stroll home in pants! Today we strolled back to the beach, spent a few hours looking at rocks whilst the sun played some elaborate game of tag with the clouds before heading to the local tea room for lunch. Unfortunately they couldn’t seat all of us (2 families) so headed but to the same pub for more delicious food. If you ever happen to be in West Runton I can thoroughly recommend The Village Inn, the fish and chips was amazing, as was the crab and fries, beef rib and the children were full to the brim with their generous children’s meals.

Walking back we played race the black clouds and I’m happy to report we won with mere minutes to spare. Now, after a quick trip to the super market, we are sat listening to the soothing sounds of rain on our tent, having some quiet time and for me a Crabbies ginger beer whilst the smell of the roast chicken we will have for tea, fills our tent.

Happy Thursday 

Getting our camp on

Just over 3 years ago we purchase our first tent. Both of us have good jobs but with mortgages, bills, childcare etc there isn’t much left for expensive holidays. Let’s face it school holiday prices are stupidly high, some people spend all year saving for a break in the sun. So one year we came to the conclusion that we had to rethink holidays if we really wanted more than a short weekend break once a year. Tent, after much extensive research by husband, basic one grill cooker, air beds etc purchased and we headed off to Cromer for our first camping trip. We loved it. Having 2 hyperactive boys, the fresh air and freedom was fantastic. I was bought up on caravan holiday so trips to the showers and toilets weren’t a huge thing and the boys (including the oldest one aka hubby) all adjusted within minutes. And thus begun our camping journey.

Since then we have changed the tent to something a bit bigger, unfortunately as we forgot to air it last year it has some mound spots now which I can’t remove …. I’m trying to convince the hubby to change it now. We also purchased new self inflating mats. The Outwell 10cm dream catcher is amazing! This year I purchased,in the sale, a little coffee pot as I’m a coffee person and instant just doesn’t cut it for me.

 So I’m sat listening to the light rain showers with hot coffee. My boys are wide awake already and happily scoffing breakfast. The campsite is wonderful, the play area is amazing! There is no bar so it’s quiet. I’m feeling recharged! If you’ve never tried camping before just go for it.

Hose pipe fun and camping

So boiling hot today! My classroom was stuffy by midday, thankfully I had no teaching this afternoon so I got the rare treat of picking the children up from school on a Monday. 1 came outer school complete with jumper on! Anyway a quick trip to the barbers means they look smart and the thick mop of varying shades of blonde hair, that was beginning to resemble straw, was swiftly cut to short neat styles more appropriate for the warm days (yes it will now probably snow next week because of that comment!). 

Anyway it’s madness here preparing for the pooches to go and stay with their aunt at the weekend whilst we got camping. We love camping. I use the Royal we here as I believe we do all enjoy it. I love the amount of fresh air, the ease of sleeping under canvas instead of a stuffy house when it’s warm. I love sitting outside with a breakfast coffee and brioche. I adore seeing my children run free, the limited distractions (we purposefully pick site with limited wifi) but mostly I love just being together. Being in one room to sleep makes me feel so close to my children, when I wake I look over and see them, if one wants a cuddle we are within an arms reach. I love the slower pace we have when camping. As with many working mums I spend my mornings frantically preparing lunches for me and hubby, filling eldest child’s pack lunch box with everything accept sandwiches, that’s dads job, ensuring breakfast is eaten by the children and pooches, drinking 2 cups of coffee and eating my breakfast (either eggs or bacon as I don’t do cereal and milk), getting children partially before walking the pooches and then getting children to breakfast club and all before 7.45am. That doesn’t include the days were washing can go on the line instead of the tumble drier. Evenings are no less hectic. Pick children up anywhere from4.30 to 5.30pm depending on who’s going to get there first, getting tea sorted which usually involves 2 variations to suit all, trying and squeeze in homework, shower time, reading time (always with us) and eventually sleep time. My evening then involves a few hours of marking after that whilst hubby washes up and chills. So for me camping is getting away from the manic life we lead. I love my life but I need this shut down time to realigned myself and to ground me again and to reconnect to my children and husband.

So camping we go at the weekend and I am more than ready for it. Fingers crossed the weather is kind.