Friday, October 19, 2012


I'm late, I'm late! I totally forgot to have this post ready for the morning. I was too busy checking the comments my collegue wrote on the kids' bulletins. I'm glad I did and she was too.
So this morning was all about putting together bulletins, letters and comments in the teacher room. Funny sight: all those teachers forming an assembly line. There were a lot of corny jokes, funny stories and some happy songs. I think we're all tired, it makes us act silly. Great fun though.

I love this song, it's so nice to hum along. But when you actually listen to the lyrics, it's quite sad...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Snore of Silence

I'm too tired to even write a decent post. A good friend came over to watch a soccer-game on television, together with my husband. I went to bed early, after a hassle with the dishwasher. The stupid thing stopped working, but I'll deal with that later. In my bed, as my eyes were becoming heavy, the last thing I could think of was hoping that I wouldn't snore too loud.

Only a day and a week to go and there's a week of Autumn break waiting. Can't wait...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Collegues can be worse than students

One of the nicer aspects of blogging, is being able to vent without making a big fuss in real life. Sometimes it's wiser to avoid big fusses.

In general I like my job. I love my job. The job comes with students (which I like most of the time) and collegues (same comment). Some collegues are not really my kind of people, but I think it's quite possible to work well together, each one having his own opinion. Different teaching styles are good for students, and some classes work well with one teacher and not with another. That's life.

But when I arrived at school, after a long and heavy night of teacher's meetings about students, where the first results of the year are discussed with the whole team, one of my collegues 'warned' me. She thought I should make sure the grades I gave got better, or I would be in trouble. I couldn't judge my students on their behavior by making the tests too hard. *sigh*

She got me by surprise. I teach religion, and it's the first year where they actually have tests about knowledge, not just expression of opinions. They're not used to study for it. They think that, as long as they explain something in their own way, everything will be alright. That's not my style. I think opinions are crucial, but not free of responsability. You have to know what you talk about before judging. How can you criticize bible, holy scripture and interpretations of it, without knowing how it is composed, in what context, what the difficulties with it are? Yes, there is some theory to study. And if they don't, chances are little their answers to my questions will be correct. It takes a little bit of effort.

In that particular group, most students hadn't done the effort. They thought remembering what was being told in class would be enough to get them through. It didn't, so the results were bad. And even if it's true they're behaviour is not how I would like it to be, it was one of the most objective tests I made. Another group had the same one and even though they were far from perfect either, the results showed there that having a good grade was possible.

But that collegue just hit me by surprise. She has never been in my class, she never looked at the test I gave, she just assumed that, if the scores were low for everyone, it should be my fault. And the principle, oh yes, she knew him well, he would talk to me about that. And she thought the group was doable and I should be careful not to create an atmosphere against me. *sigh again*

Even though I'm younger, I've had my share with difficult groups. And I work with the same principle for three years now, and traditionnaly results are not amazing at the start. Sometimes desastruous, yes. But my bosses trust me and they showed. I can honestly say I raised the standards in my domain. It was their decision to put me with the younger students this year. I guess they knew very well that the first grades of the year would be shocking to some of the other team members, as it would be to some students. But they also know they get used to it, and in general students and even parents are happy with how everything turns out.

She doesn't have the right to judge me. I know she does. When I was ill, I tried to give some meaningful task students could do in my absence. One of them was watching a movie (animation, for children, yes!) I use in my lessons anyway. Why not use movies if I can plan my lessons around it? These days, children's minds work with images a lot more than twenty years ago. It may seem 'easy' for her, but it was to help teachers who did my replacements: kids love movies, and it's just pushing the play button. I would make the comments afterwards. Of course she gossiped about how unmeaningful my task was. *triple sigh*

I can't stand that sort of behaviour, but I let it pass. I was not in the mood for long discussions. Doing my rant here, is enough. But I know next time she tries to lecture me about how I teach and what grades I give, she might get an answer she doesn't expect...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A special face for each friend

"Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend."

Oliver Wendell Holmes

For the friend who is in pain, I want to be strong and soft. Caring and warm.
For the happy friend, I want to be happy too, share the laughter, enjoy the company.
For the friend who's nervous, I want to be stable and calm. Be the hand on the shoulder he needs to put himself together.
For my dreamer friends, I want to be the one that listens very carefully, letting their dreams grow roots.

I know they do the same for me. 

When I look in the mirror, I don't see  masks. It's just all parts of me. 
No special faces. Just many, many expressions of the same face.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Social Media Masks

While on my blog, I am the real me, totally raw, things are a different when it comes to Facebook. The day I made my account, the whole purpose was connecting with long lost friends. So I used my real name. Ever since, I am very aware of privacy. I protect it as much as I can. I will never add someone I don't know in person. That being said, I cannot put my heart out on Facebook. It's too superficial, too commercial. The newness is gone, and my poetic heart can't find any use for it, except lurking into other people's lives.

Blogging is different. If I would have to choose, my blog would be the only thing I'd use. From my experience, it's far more social than facebook. I don't have a twitter-account, and I have one on Instagram that I never ever use. Guess all those short-version communications aren't really my thing.

I need words to be me.

And sometimes a lot of them.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reflections on Sunday

  • I didn't watch any movies or documentaries last week. Mostly old series on television, to ease a way too busy mind. Or I lurked when my husband put on an episode of Grimm, a series he discovered (he always does) and I happen to like too.

  • Oh wait! I did watch a movie! War Horse, and I enjoyed it a lot. It's the story of a horse that was bought for its beauty by a man who could'nt really afford it. He should've bought a horse to work on the land, but paid way too much, taking pride in not letting his landlord buying it. His son trains the wonderful creature and even manages to get it to plough the field. Little did he know: this will save the life of the horse one day. They get separated when his father sells the horse to the army. Then, the movie focuses on what happens with the horse, rather then with the boy. I like that. It's touching, but honest. I've always liked books and movies about World War I or II, especially the stories about how ordinary people get dragged into it. It's hard to imagine how recently this all happened. My grandparents lived it. It makes me humble. And very sceptical about anything that reeks demagogism.

  • Speaking about WWI. A book that blew me away was one written bij Stefan Brijs: post voor mevrouw Bromley. It's in Dutch, but I know one of his works is already translated in English (the Angel Maker), so I have high hopes for this one too. If you're able to lay your hands on it, please do. It's a very, very good book.

  • At school, things calmed down. A little.

  • Last Monday I had my appointment for the glucose test. Turned out to be an euh... interesting beginning of the week. My obgyn told me my stomach had to be empty. Knowing myself (I just HAVE to eat something in the morning), I went in as early as I could. I figured out that I should be able to make it, maybe five minutes late, for my first class. That was in theory. So I drank that yukkie sweet drink, waited for on hour (knitting, ofcourse), and then had my blood drown. That was not the best experience ever. Because I did not eat, things turned black. A few cookies and sips of water later (lovely nurses!!) I could finally convince the ladies I would make it back to school. Where I came in very late ofcourse. Well...

  • The results of the test were good though. I discussed them with my obgyn on Thursday, waved hello to my little boy who is growing so fast!! She told me to watch my food carefully though, as I'm growing my belly a bit too fast (my own, that is, not that of my kid). Damn you cookies and chocolate!!

  • I finally found I place where I can pick up a crate of ecologically grown fruits and veggies every week. For a very, very reasonable price! I think this might even do wonders for my budget. I love my local greengrocer, but I don't know where theirs come from, and although they are very good quality, they are not cheap. At all. Because I know what will be in my crate every week, I can menu plan with more ease, ingredient-focused instead of recipe-focused. I'm excited to try this!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Away on Saturday: just around the corner

I've been going through a lot of pictures lately, and one folder caught my eye: the last day of October 2011. Many of those pictures already popped up somewhere on this blog during the past year, but because I do remember that day very clearly, I'll share some of them again.

October 2011 was a very rough month for me. For us, actually. We lost our first pregnancy, within a week I went from a happy mother to be to some nervous wreck, all in tears. I had never ever imagined I could be hurt so much over something that was so natural. We had a rough time. My husband saw my pain, but couldn't ease it. I think he was totally caught offguard by what the whole thing did to me. And puzzled about what it meant to him.

That last day of October, we went for a walk in the neighbourhood. We lived there for just about two months and it was a beautiful sunny day of autumn. Although I would like those things to happen more often, we rarely go for a walk together. So I enjoyed it. It was healing.


And the only thing it took was actually opening our front door and start walking.