work

The story of why there might be a God, or somesuch thing

I find it very hard to get to know people.  It’s due to a combination of all sorts of things … anxiety, paranoia, low self-esteem, an inferiority complex, a generally negative view of myself, being a listener rather than a talker …

All of these things contribute to me coming across as totally different to the person whom I really am.  I appear to be stand-offish, arrogant, rude and possibly even (ever-so slightly) narcissistic. 

Once I get to know someone I can begin to relax.  Relaxation takes the edge off me and I can become the quiet, sarcastic, perfectionist with a very dry sense of humour and a need to please everybody … the Real Me.

We had a new colleague start at work in September.  She’s younger than me, and in a more senior position than all but one other member of staff.  She’s my Line Manager and I work for/with her within many of the variances of my position.  I thought I would get to like her.  I thought we would get on.  There aren’t many people I don’t get on with, especially amongst those whom I see on a regular (daily) basis.  

But I don’t seem to be able to relax in her presence.  I think the problem is that she’s very wishy-washy.  Then there’s the fact that I know one of her particular roles far better than she does, and can contribute more effectively to it.  Oh, and she treats me like a Teaching Assistant.  Tsk.  I know I’m only a Teaching Assistant, but I’m a Teaching Assistant with Brains and Common Sense, thanking you muchly.  I don’t need someone to hold my hand or guide me through doing something that I know how to do (and better than she does).

Last Tuesday I started to like her.  We had an appraisal type meeting and it was … nice.  Yes, nice.  Even if she did ask me pointless questions which served only to reveal her ignorance of me and the job and the place where we work. 

Later that day she came and asked me if I would mind moving back to the building I worked in last year.  The new teacher isn’t getting on very well and needs to move to the main building.  I could barely disguise my joy!  I so desperately want to move away from (her) the main building and melt back into the bosom of my family (the teachers I worked closely with last year), where I belong. 

And now that I won’t have to see her everyday there’s the very real possibility that we might actually become friends.  If we become friends, or at the very least more friendly, then I can relax.  If I start to relax I’ll start to enjoy my job again.

See?  There might be a God after all.  And S/He/It might even be on my side. 

please God, thanks xxx Elsabeth

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My Day Off

Sometimes I feel as though there are too few hours in the day.

This always seems to become even more apparent on a Wednesday.  I actually enjoy having Wednesday’s off.  I can do all those things that otherwise I would have to do in the evenings or at weekends.  The house can be scrubbed from top to bottom, the OU course can be looked at (and Tabatha-Cat is surely getting pissed off at me for continually shoving the camera in her face whilst she’s attempting to sleep), the work website can be thrown together (nearly there … thank goodness), appointments can be made, parcels can be collected, long enjoyable phone conversations can be had with people I know and love, recorded tellybox programmes can be watched, spying on the weekday activities of the neighbours is relished …

But when I look at the clock it says it’s four o’clock and my mind instantly thinks, I’d be leaving work now! I’m not ready to fall back into my routine! Where’s my day gone?!

I would like Wednesday’s to last a few hours longer than other weekdays.  That would make my world perfect. 

And this isn’t to say that I dislike my job.  I don’t.  I just wish that my day off lasted a little longer.  Maybe over two days …

Work has been odd since we went back after the summer holidays.  People thrust things upon me and then have meetings where they mention how wonderful I am because I get things done, beautifully and efficiently.  They buy me chocolate. Other people make me exasperated with their silly little ridiculous goings-on.  It’s like being at school again sometimes.  I think working with teenagers rubs off on some folk, till they forget that they’re adults.  But everybody forgets that I want to actually work with the students … my timetable is lacking (I only have three kids, once a week each) and it’s frustrating me.  They can’t afford to frustrate me … if I leave they’ll be buggered because there will be no wonderful person who does things beautifully and efficiently.   

I am not arrogant.  I am just good at my job. 

But even being good is not always enough.

*sigh*

I’m seeing dummies everywhere.

please God bless my job, which I love xxx Elsabeth

Dog Eat Dog

When Human Remains get involved in the shenanigans at the School for Naughty Children, it becomes obvious that changes are to take place.  And not just any changes, oh no.  These must be Big Changes, otherwise my boss would just get on and make them regardless.  She’s not one for listening to anything the county council have to say, usually.

She wants rid.  The nasty R word.  Nastier than rid. 

The teaching staff are safe [in fact, the teaching staff are so safe that she’s been able to employ two new teachers, starting in September.]  Nearly all the administration staff are safe.  Which just leaves me, and the other five Teaching Assistants.  Between us we are three full-time and three part-time.  She needs to whittle it down to the equivalent of two full-time.

She needs to save some money.  She stressed that it isn’t happening for financial reasons, but the fact that she needs to stress that it isn’t just proves that it is.

My head is in a bit of a muddle today. 

The arrogant, egotistical, big-headed part of my brain knows thinks that I’m safe.  Whether it be full-time or part-time as a jobshare, I know think that one of the two positions is mine if I want it.  I know, my arrogance is horrifying.  Ms Hippy thinks I have nothing to worry about, Bubbly thinks the new job description and person specification was written with me in mind, and even Dotty and Old-Hat have admitted they will be surprised if I don’t get it [if I express an interest in it, obviously.]

[aside: if i do express an interest and then don’t get it, please feel free to laugh at my expense – i will deserve it]

Apparently my boss has even told Ms Hippy to tell me that the essential bit about having the ability to travel shouldn’t put me off expressing an interest.  Ms Hippy told her to tell me herself, but then told me anyway, and we laughed because Ms Hippy thinks that my boss is scared of me.  Ha. 

Ha.

I told Ms Hippy that I thought the wording had probably been with me in mind, as a non-driver.  That’s arrogance for you.

But, there’s a part of me that feels sick to the stomach, and panicky.  I work with some amazing people and I’m proud to call them my fellow TAs. We’ve laughed together, grumbled together and even cried together.  We regularly put the world to rights, and we’re very supportive and protective of each other.  I love [most of] them to pieces.  The threat of redundancy creates an air of paranoia and mistrust.  It shouldn’t do that.  I have Guilt sitting on my shoulder telling me that I don’t have children and that my husband earns good money.  Pity bops me on the head [lovingly] and suggests that I just leave because I can’t bear to see anybody else upset and worried.  And Fidget stumbles by to take me by the hand, and guide me along the long and dangerous road of Maybe It’s Time To Move On

I would say that I don’t know what to do, that I’m lost and confused.  But this would be a fib.  I know what I want, and I know think I can get it.  I just don’t want to see other people get hurt in the process, and I worry that Pity and Guilt will cause me to do or say things that I don’t really want or mean …

Why is grow’d up life so bloody difficult?  And why am I so cock-sure of myself right now when usually I’m the first one to belittle myself?  Is it survival instinct? I don’t really like it, whatever it is …

*sigh*

please God make everything hunky-dory xxx Elsabeth

Teenage Dirtbag[s].

There are times when I find myself amazed and horrified and truly helpless when I consider the lives that some of the students at work have.

And there are other times when it all seems so normal

I’ve been working at Naughty School for three and a half years now.  I’ve watched young people become older young people, usually over the course of the two years that they stay with us. And I suppose that I’ve become ever-so slightly desensitized to the issues that befall them and the way that they spend their days.  Beginning this job was a culture shock for me, despite the fact that I’d worked in a couple of mainstream schools with fairly poor levels of behaviour.  I suspect that any move back to a mainstream school will result in another culture shock … What?  You mean that not all teenagers are fecking b.astards?  

These are the teenagers who run away from home and don’t get mentioned in the local [let alone the national] press.  They’re the youngsters whose parents sell them [their bodies] for a quick fix, thereby making them believe they can choose to do it themselves for their own quick fix, that it’s ok.  They’re the kids whose parents couldn’t give a damn.  They’re the hoodies hanging around on street corners because there’s nowhere else to go.  These teens think nothing of grabbing knives and other weapons to attack their own siblings. They don’t care about getting into trouble because it’s a way of life for them.  Police?  F.uck ’em.  What can they do? 

Legally they are still children.  Mentally, despite their outward appearances of being streetwise and hard, they are still children.  They are vulnerable, and many of them are scared, or worried, or just angry, at a family or system which has continually let them down.  Even I forget that they are children. 

I’m not making excuses for them.  I look at some of our kids and wonder what they’re doing with us when they come from fairly respectable and supportive backgrounds; I know that eventually those kids will stop fighting the people who care and will become more mature, and develop better social skills, enabling them to achieve some sort of success. 

But some of our most vulnerable youngsters make me feel so sad.  Is it any wonder that they become so hostile towards any form of authority when they’ve been pushed from pillar to post by parents who neither really wanted them nor who care enough about them to act like a real parent.  When they’ve been brought [dragged] up with a different ‘uncle’ at the breakfast table [or in their own childhood bed] every morning, or drug addicts traipsing through the house, or neighbours threatening [sometimes actually doing] to burn the house down, or the police knocking on the door every five minutes, or dad spending just five minutes out of prison before he has to go back inside for a new crime, or no boundaries, or all of the above and countless more things, can we really expect them to be perfect little angels?

We have one girl at Naughty School who is intelligent, funny, beautiful and caring.  She could go far with her life.  But, at fifteen, she is choosing to escape her baby-making drug addicted parents by falling for the wrong boy [man] and living a life fuelled by violence and crime.  And if we don’t catch her before she leaves us in May there’s a possibility that she’ll never escape the cycle of [chavscum] life created for her by her parents.

And that creates such an overwhelming feeling of frustration and sadness in my belly. 

I sometimes wish there was a magic wand that I could wave in the air to rid the world of appalling parents.  But there isn’t.  And I am truly grateful to have been brought up by a truly wonderful woman who was never short of offering me security and love.

please God bless those vulnerable kids who deserve better in life xxx Elsabeth

I just heard a big swish.

I broke up for Christmas today.  Yay!  After suffering an afternoon of fun and frivolity [pffft] I’m now happily drinking Vodka and contemplating whether to blitz the under-the-stairs cupboard [full of crap unfortunately, which will no doubt just return to the cupboard in a tidier manner] or scrub the kitchen floor.  Not now – in the morning.  Blitzing the cupboard after a drink or two could prove catastrophic … and possibly quite good fun, mayhaps.

We had The Blokey’s company party, in a swish hotel no less, at the weekend.  Everything was paid for, from the Champagne that was dished out on arrival, to the Bailey’s served in chocolate cups.  Also the room, the food, the Goody Bag, breakfast and those funky little toiletries that always come home with me and clutter up my bathroom.  We even had valet parking.  Oh yes.  Dead posh.  Shame that our car was dirty …

But the hotel bed was too soft, and I slept appallingly, so I had to finish my Christmas shopping the following morning in the company of a sleepy hangover.  I long for those days when I could drink bottles and bottles and bottles of cheap alcohol and always wake up feeling refreshed and clear-headed. 

*sigh*

Back in June, my boss explained to a whole room full of her staff that if the thing [I never talk about] failed she would resign.  The thing [I never talk about] is a failure.  It has failed, although it is still continuing for the time being.  Has she resigned?  Has she phuck.  Her reason?  I may have made the wrong decision with the thing, but all my other decisions are always correct, and I’m exceedingly good at my job, and everything else I ever touch turns to a beautiful shade of gold … this place would never survive without me for I am like God, or even – maybe – better than God.  In reality the place could do with a change of leadership, preferably one which is nice and gentle.

And speaking of nice and gentle, what is it with folk who should know better but obviously don’t, thus making you feel wretched and tired because of their mindless shrieking and their flirtatious escapades in the corridors, involving running and wrestling? 

The second part of this post comes from the area of my mind labelled Work, and is brought to you due to the fact that I have barely mentioned work this term and it seemed fitting to have a mini-rant now that the [long] term is over.  Thank you. 

please God bless my two weeks off work xxx Elsabeth

There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.

My day was being a tad miserable.  Some of the miserable-ness was due to work, what with folk biting my head off, and ‘children’ being ridiculously annoying, and Internet connections failing, and paperwork being unforthcoming despite its urgent requirement.

Some of the miserable-ness was due to news of abnormal blood and hospital tests that are yet to happen.

At some point this afternoon The TwoFacedBitch brought someone from another Centre of Naughty Kids over to our humble corner of the workplace.  She likes to show off the very successful thing that I won’t talk about.  She brings people over and gushes about what a wonderful job we’re all doing and the visitors smile politely and nod in the right places.  The TwoFacedBitch has no real grasp of the thing that I won’t talk about and doesn’t seem to notice that it’s not a success and is actually a failure. 

But I digress.

So she and the visitor came over and they’re in the room next door, talking loudly about how successful the failure is, and I sighed and glanced up in annoyance. 

Whereupon I spied a rainbow.

And all of a sudden I didn’t care about the annoyances, and I forgot about my worries, and the world seemed so much brighter and happier.

Rainbow

[not very clear, but there is a rainbow in the picture, honest guv’ – oh, and that’s the view from ‘my’ office.  nice, eh?]

Of course, it only lasted a matter of minutes and then the brightness went away and the annoyances and the worries took a tight hold of my head again. 

We saw Pool at Gym last night and an ex-student [male – friends with students we still have, thus my worst nightmare, nearly] saw me in my swimming costume and gave me a little wave.  Eeek! 

*sigh* 

I love rainbows.

please God bless the failure xxx Elsabeth

I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

We did drugs yesterday.  Lots of drugs.

Drugs remind me of The BullyBoy. 

But whilst we were sitting there, doing drugs, this random little thought ran laughing across my forehead [so, not strictly my forehead, but it always seems that random little thoughts pop up in that one particular area of my head] gurgling, ha! you haven’t really had a holiday,  it was just a long weekend!  again, ha!

Little b.astard thought.

It is odd though.  Within education there’s this long glorious holiday, which whizzes by barely giving you time to breathe, and the moment you step back into the place where you work it’s as though it’s just Monday morning and only a couple of days since you were last in.  Or maybe it’s just me that this happens to.  Oh, and the day you go back is the day the sun decides that it’s time to make an appearance.

*sigh*

Anyways, once we’d had our fill of drugs Ms. Hippy looked at me sternly and exclaimed, I need to talk to you! … then she made A Face.  Yes, A Face.  I don’t like it when people make A Face at me.  It either means that I’ve done something terribly wrong, or that I’m going to hate what they’re going to tell me.

katiefinger: What?
Ms. Hippy: You’re not going to like this.  Actually, maybe I’ll tell you next month.
katiefinger: Oh, ‘k. 
*turns around to walk away*
*pauses and does a little turn-around skip*
katiefinger: So, on a scale of one to ten how bad is it?
Ms. Hippy: About fifteen.
katiefinger: With ten being the best, yeh … ?
*Ms. Hippy makes A Face again*
*katiefinger sits down*
katiefinger: Go on then.
Ms. Hippy: Well, you know your nice new office that’s all yours?
katiefinger: Yeeeess.
Ms. Hippy:  You won’t be spending much time in there.
katiefinger: *gasp* OhmyGod, I’m not having my room?
Ms. Hippy: Oh, you are having your room.  But you’re also having another room and you’re going to basically just babysit while these kids get on with their work for this particular reason [details withheld to protect the innocent].
katiefinger: Oh, is that all?  That’s about a two on the scale.
Ms. Hippy: But you’ll get terribly bored!  It’s just babysitting!
katiefinger: Yes, but I’m getting paid lots of money for being terribly bored/babysitting.  And I know that you’ll find me lots of work to do to stave the boredom off.  And if you don’t, I get to browse the Internet for hours and hours! 

I’m just happy because I have two rooms, and I’m getting a laptop!  I am so jammy!  And I know that all this babysitting nonsense will die a death when it becomes apparent that the naughty teenagers I’ll be supporting can’t actually access the thing I can’t talk about.  And then I won’t be bored because I’ll be doing something proper.  And life will return to something resembling normalcy.

Huz.  Zah.

Next week we’re doing doing sex.

please God bless my job xxx Elsabeth

The Psyching Myself Up Xlog.

I go back to work on Wednesday.  Seven weeks has gone in the blink of an eye … *poof*.  I know that I’m wary [ok, worried] about going back to work because I’ve been having odd dreams involving either bad things [such as car crashes] or really really good things [involving men I don’t – but do – know … *blushes*].  Also, I even accidentally pressed the 3 button on the remote control this morning and found myself transfixed by the hoo-ha on that chavvy telly programme hosted by that tosser Jeremy.  I felt dirty when I finally dragged myself away from the tellybox, and I knew that I was ready to return to work.

So, I have to spend the next forty-four hours getting myself in the right mood/frame of mind for working, knowing that I have a whole year of academia facing me.  Yikes!

I thought I might consider the positives of work.  Then, when everything starts going wrong [Monday, maybe as early as Friday?] I can put my positive hat away and quietly slip the negative one on.  But at least I’ll have started the academic year with an optimistic viewpoint …

So, where to begin?  Oooh, I know …

  • I have some amazingly fandangly friends at work.  I’ve been there for three years but it’s only in the last few months that my friendships with colleagues have really developed into something meaningful.  I love [some of] them to bits. 
  • This year I have my own office, with my own computer and my own printer.  I fully expect this to last just a matter of weeks before it’s decided that I don’t spend enough time in there anyway, and the room can go to someone else.
  • I manage to sort out all the problems of the place where I work whilst having really bitchy conversations with friends.  Of course, these take place behind closed doors and in secret, but we make everything perfect in our heads and that’s quite cathartic.  I never used to bitch gossip before I worked at the place where I work.  I like it.
  • I can be really sarcastic, which makes me feel very much superior to those terribly pesky teenagers.
  • Speaking of terribly pesky teenagers, at least I know that when I grow up I’m going to be nice and shall never end up in prison.  Nor shall I end up on the Jeremy Kyle show swearing like a trooper.  I smugly remind myself of that whenever I have to put up with horrid abuse.  
  • I do like most some of the kids I work with.  They make me laugh when they’re not being terribly pesky.
  • If I’m at work I can’t be wasting time on trivialities such as Xanga or MySpace.  This is a good thing.
  • I can, however, waste time on trivialities such as the TES forums.  Yay.
  • Laughing at not-much-liked colleagues can now become my favourite past-time again.
  • As can grumbling about everything.  And I do like a good grumble.
  • I have routine in my life [get up, get washed, get dressed, stroke pussy, eat breakfast, go out, work, get home, stroke pussy again, make dinner, watch ‘Enders or visit Gym/Filmina, shower, stroke pussy (ha), sleep … ] and routine makes me very very happy.
  • I get paid lots of money.

I think that’s it.  For now.  I do have a lot of negative points I want to list, but I’m resisting the temptation.  Huzzah.

please God bless me as I go back to work in a couple of days xxx Elsabeth

I think I’ve gone insane …

I can’t remember my own name.

Is it Babysitter?  Or Bitch?  Maybe it’s She Can Make the Sandwiches.  Or perhaps some people know me as Coffee Grinder.  I seem to wear a hat that says I really want to be known as Miss Know It All and I obviously have the name Ask Me Anything And I’ll Magic What You Require Out of My Bunny Rabbit tattoo’d on my forehead [possibly in a rather fetching neon pink].  She’s So Super She Can Be In Three Places At Once is another name that may belong to me. 

I rather suspect that I shall soon gain the nickname Moaning Myrtle from my colleagues.  Or possibly just a variation of because that exact name belongs to The Very Obviously Autistic But Not Yet Diagnosed And Probably Never Will Be student.

And I don’t care.  I am not Superwoman and I don’t want to be Superwoman.  I want to make a change to these kids, give them the opportunity to achieve their potential, give them the praise they deserve when everything in their head suddenly clicks into place. 

I don’t want to be stuck out the back making sandwiches when Pink Hair is off sick.  I wish I’d been ill on the day that we had to do that blasted Food Hygiene certificate.

The Apocalypse is fast approaching at the place where I work.  We have a Good Thing going and so it has to change.  Change is Go[o]d and we must worship the Go[o]d.  Change is the new static.  Change is more beneficial than comfortable routine, particularly for fourteen year olds whose only routine and comfort is found at school.  We must dance around fires whilst chanting Blessed Change! Blessed Change! … It’s not broken but we shall still fix it because Change doesn’t need a good reason when it believes itself to be the new black.

I dislike change.  I recognise that it’s useful sometimes and that it is needed, but where I work it isn’t needed, not at the moment and certainly not with the frequency which it occurs.  And especially when students education is going to suffer as a result [long story].  I think that The TwoFacedBitch is so obsessed with being in control that she has to find ways in which she can remain not just two but six steps ahead of everybody else. 

I bet you a few hundred pennies that lots of staff will spend the next few weeks frantically searching for new jobs. 

And they said that morale was low.  Tsk …

please God make it snow oodles, ta muchly xxx Elsabeth

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.

I ought to start a new Xanga, one which is purely for my work-related gripes. I fear that this Xanga will become nothing but a ‘i-hate-the-place-where-i-work’ rubbish bin this term.  Ok, so that isn’t strictly true, I don’t hate the place where I work.  I dislike the TwoFacedBitch who’s my boss, and I’m vehemently opposed to what she does and what she stands for, not to mention the way she treats most of her staff and some of the students.  But I suppose the ‘i-hate-the-place-where-i-work’ statement is quicker to say.

There are certain aspects of my job that I have thoroughly enjoyed this week.  Laminating has provided me with the opportunity to drift off into deep daydreams that involve me being elsewhere, with other people, away from the green carpets and noisy children, who aren’t actually children and get all huffy when called children.  Photocopying has done the same.  Being a gossiping bitch has passed the time.  Joking around with other staff members has been relationship forging.  I calmed down one student and wrestled scissors off another.  I feigned sympathy for the student who was moody because she hadn’t had her daily dose of smokable drug.  I snapped at another member of staff because I was fed up with her stupid, silly little comments.  I managed to miss the tea throwing incident though, which was a bit of a bugger. 

It isn’t any of the above that bugs me.  I can cope with stroppy members of staff, ignorant teenagers, mind-numbing tasks, playing Uno till the cows come home, watching the same film over and over and over and over and over again, being sworn at, sorting out other people’s messes, creating worksheets, researching topics, planning my own teaching, helping others … I just can’t cope with not being allowed a real child-free/work-free break [that I’m supposed to have when one works out hours I get paid for and hours I actually work] and being pulled this way and that way, over the rainbow and backwards through the hedge …  I’ve been advised by a friend that I shouldn’t work quite so hard or quite so quick.  Pffft … 

At least tomorrow we’re free of the dastardly TwoFacedBitch and her no-people-skills tongue. 

Huzzah! 

Oh, and you may well be proud of me.  Little Miss UnAssertive became Miss Assertive, ever-so briefly, on the bus on Tuesday.  Yep, I told a ChavTeen off for playing his music without headphones.  I felt so old … but he deserved it because I couldn’t hear my music, which was much better than his. He argued back so I put him in his place.  Sometimes it pays to work with teenagers …

please God bless the end of the week xxx Elsabeth