Silver Jubilee

Twenty-five years ago this week, I was preparing for my first ever “Back to School” as a teacher !! Twenty-five years sounds positively ancient so I guess that makes me positively ancient !!! In those twenty-five years, I guess I have probably done twenty official “Back to Schools” due to time out for babies and for my period working in industry. I still enjoy the buzz of the return to school, with the new classes to discover, the new routines to put in place and to build on over the months ahead. It always feel like sweeping with a new broom and, as the teacher, the onus is on us to establish how things are going to be right from the word ‘Go’.back-to-school1

As a “Prof Principal”, I will be the first contact with the school for the kids on their “Back to School” too. Discovering their timetables, their teachers are all elements that will impact hugely on how the year goes.

First lessons are always an important moment when contact is made between teacher and pupils. Reputations preceed you, as a teacher whether they be justified or not. Sometimes it is perhaps better not to know what the kids say about you when you aren’t listening !!

As the summer holidays draw to a close for the teachers, it is always important to remember that they are drawing to a close for the kids too. Two months of break from school are almost over – hard to believe but it is true. So, happy Silver Jubilee to myself and to my future pupils, and to all pupils everywhere, have a good year !!

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Summer time

The time for the big switch off is fast approaching as July comes to a close. You may remember a recent post about decorating and turning out of my study. Well, it is now done and virtually finished. I am now writing from a magnificent 3 metre long desk with more space than I know what to do with (not for long !!), the tidiest bookshelves in the history of mankind and a cool, subtle colour palette of cream and macaroon-coffee (well, that is what it said on the tin !!).20140730_163702[1]20140730_163641[1] It smells clean and fresh and will be awaiting my return from our family break by the pool. Three weeks of work, on and off – but an immense sense of satisfaction now that it is completed.

Work will be resuming in my new study after the summer break. For the moment, it can remain all tidy and beautifully neat – for the time being.

Happy summer holidays to everyone. Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the chill-time and the relaxation, enjoy the big switch off which is almost upon us !!

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Summer time

The summer holidays are almost upon us and today is my last formal planning meeting for next year. Exam results are out on Friday and so this marks the end of another school year cycle. I have been in the same school since September 1998, so that means this will be my 17th Rentrée in September. I have missed only one in all those years and that was when I was pregnant with Luke, now 13 !!

summerPersonally I adore this time of year, when the promise of two months of summer stretch out ahead of me. This month of July will be studious as I try to prepare as much as possible for the coming year. Nothing is removed from this blog but the ARCHIVES  section will get bigger as I have the big tidy-up !! New sections will appear as preparations get underway for next September. New classes, new challenges – today’s meeting will determine which groups and which classes I will be involved in at school. This will influence what new adventures will be happening in my professional life and reflected here and my other blogs.

The summer is, for me, a time to work my way down that reading pile that I love to make for myself. I have already finished three books since lessons ended in June, so now July is here, the serious stuff can begin. An eclectic mix this year, including The Fault in our Stars, Watership Down, The War Horses (a lovely coffee table book) and The Curious Incident of a dog in the night time (or some title like that). Some old favs will be revisited “The Boy in the Striped PJ’s” remains one of my greats ever. I shall be so busy reading that I shall wonder how I ever found time to go to work !! If anyone is looking for me and can’t find me, I shall no doubt be on my sun lounger under a shady tree somewhere in the garden with my book, a cool drink or a nice cup of tea and my iPod, catching up on my year’s work !! Don’t call me as I won’t hear you !!

Happy summer holidays to everyone reading this !!reading a book

That life-work-life balance thing again

This seems to be a recurring theme for me – how to balance family with work and what percentage to give to what ? I know that I get it wrong most of the time. When you actually enjoy reading about educational issues and experimenting with software and tecchie stuff, this is one of the dangers. It doesn’t actually feel like work to catch up on the tweets about lastest teaching stuff, or to flick through a new textbook as it is actually interesting. But, having said that, at the end of the day, it IS still work.

This picture sums it up quite nicely for life balance I feel it is important to work on those little bridges you can see which take you from life to work and from work to life in this picture. If those bridges are solidly in place, I am sure the rest kind of clicks. But the bridges are definitely the key to success, in my opinion.

On my To Do list for the weeks to come, I definitely want to read a really gripping book, one that you really don’t want tp put down and that you can get totally lost in. I also want to look after my garden. I talked a while back about dealing with the front bed before the weeds took over. Well, guess what ? The weeds did take over and I am going to have one heck of job on my hands to get that cleared !! But I will. And I want to do some furniture restoration. I love tinkering with old chairs and drawers, bringing them back to life. Those are my plans for the weeks to come.

Work-wise, as school starts to wind down for the exam season, it is time to think about the Big Tidy-Up. I haven’t cleaned out my study for years (if ever) and it was originally decorated as a nursery for my son, who is now 13. The teddies stencilled on the walls could perhaps do with an update. Maybe some funky and groovy colours, rather than the baby pastels ???

In terms of tidying, the end of year brings mountains of papers to my attention, that sit there, just getting bigger as the year progresses. They will all need to be filed away and sorted out. I dream of a paperless office – ha ha !!!

Does that sound quite balanced ? Still a little way to go yet, but I am getting this space

A few days off

Road map around Paris

I’m off for a few days to get a bit of cultural enhancement !!! A long weekend and Paris in May – that sounds all rather delightful, don’t you think ? A trip to the Louvre, a bateau mouche along the Seine, up to Montmartre and taking in a show. Does that sound like a plan to you ? It certainly does to me !!


My youngest, 13 years old, is about to embark on the family cultural experience !! Last time we did this, we spent most of the day chasing around after a bag that “got forgotten” on the bus. It only contained all our electronic goods – camera, GPS, camcorder … well, the good news is that you now only need to take your phone with you, so that is progress – and surprisingly, we got our bag back intact !! The time before that, we went to see a show and our car got towed away during the evening as it was badly parked !!! We spent half the night, getting it back out of the lock-up !! Not hard to understand why our kids are slightly traumatized about going to the capital !! Still, let’s be zen and hope we will not have any disasters this time !!!


Time out !

Today is the first day of my Easter holidays. Rarely have I waited so eagerly for the holidays to arrive. In the last couple of weeks of school, the kids were irritable, the staff were irritable and it was a generally grumpy atmosphere. But the magic of two weeks break from all of that will pour calming water onto many of those frayed nerves, leaving us refreshed and ready to start anew on May 5th. Lots to do between now and then – Easter eggs to organise, a garden to give some TLC to, some serious Spring cleaning to undertake and maybe a spot of painting – why not ? For Christmas, my lovely husband gave me a “pampering session” at our local beauty spa. I have been keeping it for a special moment – and that special moment has now come. Two o’clock this afternoon for a “Hawaian moment of relaxation” !!!

So forgive me if I take a break from my blogging too – those batteries defintely need a supercharge. The Easter bunny can take over for the time being !!


A quiet little corner in England

When you are feeling tired and in need of recharging your batteries, I can thoroughly recommend a quiet corner in the New Forest. This lovely little thatched cottage is where we have just holidayed for a week. My eldest son, studying in the UK, was able to spend the week with us and my aim was to relax and to recreate a little home from home. Job done !! I made cakes, read books, fiddled with my computer and shopped !! Oh boy ! Did I shop !!!

Now the batteries are indeed recharged and it is time to look forwards to the coming term. There are mock papers to mark, lessons to prepare and training courses to plan – but the warmth of our little Horseshoe Lodge will remain for a long time. The weather here in Normandy is getting better – the daffs are out in the garden. The sky was a beautiful clear blue as we drove home from the ferry at 8 o’clock this morning. Optimism for the coming week.

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Happy Holidays


Happy Holidays

I think one of the best moments of the holidays is the night before the holidays actually start. The anticipation of two whole weeks with not a lot to do is just delicious.

And this time, with a trip back to the UK and a week in a thatched cottage in the New Forest to look forward to, it is almost too much to bear !!!

Happy holidays to all my students.

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