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Well, after thinking about the issues raised in my previous post, I decided to go ahead and get some more ferrets anyway - I've just got back from picking up a pair of silver jills, age approximately 6 months, so hopefully there won't be too much trauma for a while. Famous last words, I know!

Now I just need to think about names. My previous lot were the hobs with no name right till I needed to register them with the vet and these girls will need naming by Christmas, when they're due to be spayed.

Other than that, I'm just trying to get back into some semblance of a routine for work starting again properly next week. I'd been quite lazy before I went away, in terms of going (or not going!) to the gym, and I really felt it when I was fencing this week, since I was puffing a bit when I really shouldn't have been.

I also need to go and enrol for my course on Monday, reconciling myself to the thought that I am halfway through it now and also that a good chunk of this academic year is independent research, so if it's dull the only person I can blame is myself!
graculus: (Default)
I really don't know. I can see a bunch of folks resolutely declaring that they have no intention of shifting off LJ and others moving over here, but maybe this isn't quite as much of a devastating blow to fandom on LJ as it would have been five or ten years ago. The days of the massive communities which were the heart of any given fandom seem to be in the past, unless there's stuff going on (which is quite possible) in fandoms I'm uninvolved with to give the lie to my opinion.

For myself, I really don't know either. I'd backed up to this account so my personal stuff isn't an issue, but I'll probably end up going over to LJ and having to agree to the TOS one way or another - I have a couple of communities which are slash-heavy but also not active for years, so perhaps it's time for some housekeeping. And then there's Danielpix, which I stopped posting to in January but feel differently about because of the significant part it played in my life for so long and the sheer size of it. Because it's picture-heavy rather than written, I doubt it's in such a vulnerable position unless LJ decides to start going after people for copyright violation, I guess. I'm tempted to just archive it, by removing everyone's posting rights, because deleting it seems wrong somehow.

In other news, I have escaped being saddled with the most annoying guy on my course as we get ready to do small group presentations. Just a couple more sessions of tedium and then I'm done for the year! And an observation tomorrow, which naturally comes when I'm tackling how you plan writing, possibly the most dreary part of the curriculum. Pah.

Better news came around when I told my boss I was probably going to need some more Saturdays off because I wanted to do some competitions - I've entered the first proper non-beginners one, which is in July but on a Sunday - I was pleased that her immediate response was 'well, I believe in work-life balance' and then she suggested we just list the course as less classes overall for the year and adjust the dates as required. Naturally, the competitions are not quite spread out evenly, because I'm roughly looking at one in early November, another early February and one late March, but that's also not too close together either. We're starting to plan next year's classes, so at least I should know within the next month or so what I'm likely to be asked to do from September, even if the exact Saturday dates may need tweaking once competition dates are finalised.
graculus: (Default)
I have an assignment due in tomorrow, so of course I'm dicking around online instead. ;)

It's not too bad, I've done most of the work but just need to pull it together and then find some references to back up why I've done what I've done. It's all about using technology for learning, so I've been running an Instagram group with one of my classes and that's provided a lot of source material to talk about - they also gave me some written feedback about their experiences, since I'd deliberately chosen one of my smaller but more adept classes to do this with!

From conversations with other folks on my course, the general feeling seems to be that pretty much everyone is bored, not just me, so that's kind of a relief I guess? A number of the sessions seem to be 'research this while you're here and tell everyone else about it' which seems kind of lazy when used as a method repeatedly. Do some bloody teaching, earn your money! We're almost at the end of the first year, thank the elder gods, though I still have two observed teaching sessions to get through. Those are a pain, not because of doing the teaching but because of all the paperwork I have to provide justifying why I'm doing X rather than Y or Z, with references of course!

In terms of work, I'm rapidly heading towards the Easter break with just 2 weeks left - one of my classes finishes next week but the other two don't and I've also got exams to do for my own class and a few for other people. And then a couple of weeks off, coincidentally when my fencing club is also closed! *runs around waving her arms in the air*

I think I'm also about to make myself a little unpopular with my boss as we're heading towards the time of year when she timetables the classes for September onwards. As I'm sure you can imagine, there's not a massive queue of people wanting to teach on a Saturday morning and I'd kind of felt last year that it was my turn to do it. It didn't make much difference for me in terms of any other commitments, so why not? Because fencing competitions often seem to put women's foil on the Saturday, that's why not! Aaaargh. In the coming academic year there'll be at least 2 extra Saturdays I won't want to work and that means either finding extra dates to accommodate the replacement classes or finding someone to cover those dates but also hoping I don't have to cancel any because of sickness. Naturally, those competitions have also not yet finalised their dates for 2017-18 because why should they?
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I'm currently in my 4th trip around academia, having started a teaching qualification last September which is (alas) going to continue for another 18 months because it's technically 'part-time'. Which would be fine if I wasn't already bored out of my gourd by pretty much everything to date. I managed to get a student loan to pay for this course, since I'd never had one before, which pretty much means that it's free since the chances of me ever earning enough in the future to start paying it off aren't great.

Anyway, the course is run by a local college in conjunction with a local university (so at least the piece of paper I'll get at the end has a nice header!) and the first part of it at least seems to be serving as subsidised in-house training for their teachers who've been employed cheaply to teach a variety of (mostly) non-academic subjects. Most of it has been deeply mind-numbing, except for one exceptional session where I ended up being that gobby student who corrected the person up front because he'd come out with such utter BS I just couldn't not say something. And I know, yes, this is in character for me but I'd been trying so hard not to keep my trap shut and I couldn't help it. *sigh*

At least there's only an 80% attendance requirement, so that means if I get really hacked off (see last Monday) I can stay at home and binge-watch TV instead, thus using my time much more productively. As long as I pass the assignments and get a decent grade on my observations, neither of which should be a problem, it's just a case of doing my time. I'm reduced to crossing off sessions, like a prisoner scratching lines on a cell wall...

I have a tutorial today - another example of make-work sessions that actually don't really do anything productive but can count as 'face time' or whatever inane term is in vogue this year - and have had to fill in ridiculous amounts of paperwork in preparation for 20 minutes of a lecturer's time. I wonder if she will ask me what I was doing the other week instead of coming to class? I wonder if I will tell her the truth? ;)
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Okay, what's been going on since my last post way back in September? Well, the weasel is still alive, though I swear he gets scrawnier every time I look at him - still, as long as his quality of life is okay, I'm not going to complain.

In work news, we got a bizarre email last week going 'oh, btw, you should have got a pay rise 18 months ago but we forgot, so you're getting it and your resultant back pay in the next pay packet' which led to a few raised eyebrows. I'm still teaching 3 courses, though the second of my 6-month courses (which is due to start in February) may well end up being whatever level is needed for demand. I'm also hoping to negotiate a slight time change so that I get more than a 30 minute turnaround to get one lot of learners out, shove some lunch down my neck and be ready for the next lot to come in the door. Fortunately that only happens one day a week but it's a real pain.

I also got my first plagiarism of the academic year this past week. I'd asked for my folks to write something about an interesting place they'd been, only for one of them to give me something that was very obviously culled from Wikipedia. So I made a few choice comments to the group as a whole and also gave her some written feedback and hopefully that won't recur. Full marks for trying, though!

I've also just started at a new gym, which is based in my local high school. It's not open all day but the location and not having to pay parking charges makes up for that. I've had a year's free membership with the council gym but wasn't going to any classes other than Pilates once a week, which I want to continue, so I've saved money from not paying parking and just the sheer aggravation of driving into town. I'm a little annoyed that the people who're supposed to be supporting me from the council scheme apparently forgot I exist a few months back and I'd had nothing to say what should happen next, so I think a terse email will be heading their way next week. I didn't really need it, but I hope other people who need more support than me get a better service!

In college news, it's all a bit tedious at the moment, interspersed with the people who know the least about teaching apparently being the ones with the most opinions on the subject. Naturally, when faced with the prospect of a 2,500 word assignment, my response as a fic writer was only 2,500? - I've started work on it and it's already past that but I figured cutting it back would be easier.

Finally, I'm still making progress with the fencing lessons. Passed Grade 1 Foil a few weeks back and I understand the coach is keen to get those of us who're currently having lessons through Grade 2 before Christmas so he can then take on a new lot of learners in January and use us as examples as and when required. Or something like that. I have a continuous set of bruises on my leading thigh but am about to order proper fencing breeches (thanks, unexpected back pay!) which I hope may reduce that a little. My only regret is that, because of their location, I can't show off my bruises to the folks at work! :P
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I'm now a couple of weeks into the routine of the academic year, so I'm getting used to regular times and days once again. Two of my classes are nearly full, which is excellent, while the other is struggling a bit so it's not currently clear if that will continue or not - half-term is the date for a decision on that, so we'll see what happens. In other, work-related news, I've been freed from the tyranny of the time-sheet at last and so don't have to account for myself all the time, just in time to deal with the college course!

That's going to properly start this coming week, after a couple of introductory weeks where we haven't achieved a great deal and I've eyed up the folks I think are going to struggle. Shortly we have to do a 20-minute teaching session that's observed and for peer feedback and that could see the wheels come off the wagon for a couple of people. Personally, I just want to get on with it since I have 4 teaching observations and various assignments to do and can't be bothered with endless ice breakers and the like.

Meanwhile, in the land of pet-owning, we've had a bit of drama. I'm now down to the last, elderly remnant of my ferrets - I did the maths and think he's 7 now, which is positively geriatric for weasel-kind. Recently, he's developed a lump on his neck which he's now had a good scratch at, so I took him off to the vets earlier this week to get an opinion on said lump and options for removal. The view overall was that the lump was eminently removable but that he probably wouldn't survive the surgery - I'd been asked to starve him in case the vet decided to go ahead with the operation and he was very poorly looking when he was there. We discovered that he also has quite a large cyst in his innards, which the vet drained at the time but I wasn't even convinced he'd survive the rest of the day. And then he perked up suddenly and started eating, so who knows?

In slightly cheerier news, I'm still learning to fence and have the bruises to prove it! Last practice of the month is always Fight Night, where we get the electric scoring kit out. I got to fight 5 different people last night, including one left-hander (which is always a source of entertainment) and the U15 regional silver medallist (who usually fences épée so it was fairer than it sounds and I took a couple of points off him). In the former match, I managed to slap my opponent's sword down onto my own leg and now have a 6" x 2" bruise as a memento of the occasion.

September 2017

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