Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Back in the saddle..

Still tired today, the problem module had me on my knees last night as I received the lecture slides for this mornings lesson. I had to teach myself standard deviation, correlation coefficients and interquartile range; Until last night I didn't even know what a distribution curve was.

Yes I'd heard these terms before but as I've never had any call to deal in statistics they meant less than nothing to me. Mathematics was the bane of my life at school - 20 + years ago I just about scraped a D at GCSE and I never touched it again so you can probably imagine how I felt after 5 solid hours of self teaching through the power of the internet.

This means it's probably no surprise that this morning I tore my class a new one when they failed to show me the slightest courtesy as I tried to share this hard won knowledge with them for the sake of their assignment. Yes, I snapped and you know what - I'm not sorry.

It's hard to believe that these are degree level kids; that they are over 18 and legally classed as adults. There were only 4 adults in that class today and I was one of 'em. Kind of scary to realise that these are the managers of the future. *sigh* no wonder our economy is gasping for breath and society is tumbling into hell.

On the plus side, after this class (and a HR meeting) there was a module team meeting which ironed out (hopefully) all of the module issues we've been having - fingers crossed it's now plain sailing here on in...

THEN I had a mentor meeting and my day went south again. Seems I need to learn to create a ton of documentation for each class - I have to create a ridiculously detailed scheme of work that covers every nuance of every single module I teach and a lesson plan that not only covers the activities in each individual class but is a full A4 document (landscape orientation) detailing the learning outcomes of each activity, the class differentiation and numerous other things that quite frankly I was too tired to really take in.

So today I was in work for 7 hours but I only get paid for 3h15m of that - and they say teachers are overpaid and underworked! My time sheet for this month shows 57hrs - I've easily done double - possibly triple that with all the meetings and lesson planning that I can't claim for and I'm supposed to be a part timer! I really have no clue how the full time teachers cope with the workload - it's inhuman!

..so yeah, no shock I crashed on Friday; thank god next week is half term; I can finally catch up on my admin. (because yeah, having an actual break would be too much to ask for when I'm not getting paid to work eh?!)

Look at me whining *grin* nearly 2 months in and you'd never think I'd been unemployed lol I'm officially a worker now, got a gripe on and everything ;0)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

crash average update

2010 2011 2012
Amount of crashes in January88unknown
Amount of crashes in February99unknown
Amount of crashes in March1379
Amount of crashes in April10510
Amount of crashes in May11146
Amount of crashes in June15104
Amount of crashes in July8910
Amount of crashes in August1674
Amount of crashes in September1093
Amount of crashes in October1415tbc
Amount of crashes in November818tbc
Average crash per month:1110tbc

So far this month only 5 days wasted in bed with this; although one of those was a work day which sucks, but on the whole less than 10 a month is a result as far as I'm concerned. So far this year only 6.5 days a month lost to ME/CFS.. Ok, so it may have been more if I'd had the data from January and February to also calculate the average of, but even so - it's continuing the downward trend and having a pattern to my days and a goal to focus on really helps with the pacing.

..at least that's what I'm telling myself... 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fed up.

I had to miss my first class due to the ME/CFS on Friday. I guess I knew it was coming, the Menieres has been slowly getting worse and I've had to up my meds for that to 6 a day instead of 3 in an effort to combat the nausea and dizzies and I'm finding a few things a tad difficult on the brain fog front by the end of the week because one illness always kick starts the other - they're nice like that...

The last couple of weeks I get to Friday afternoon and the work based learning class and my brain is practically mush; I'm so tired that I get through it (just about) and I'm on the bus home and in bed already praying for the following weekend. I definitely work better in a 1-2-1 situation than in front of a group when I'm like that; less stimuli to process makes it much easier to function.

It wouldn't be so bad but one of my modules is turning out to be rather stressful - every time it seems the issues are ironed out someone throws some kindling back on the fire and we're just fighting a rearguard action and never getting ahead - that on top of the ongoing 'landlord selling our flat' saga is doing my head in.

I've been sat in a puddle of misery and dread since Friday morning when I realised I couldn't move or speak and I was supposed to be taking Bella to nursery and getting the bus to work. I finally managed to move but it was a full on crash - just rolling over in bed took 10 minutes to recover from and it was a good 30 minutes from finally being able to sit up that I eventually managed to communicate in more than grunts.

I immediately called work to tell them I wouldn't be able to make it in before the ability to communicate left me again and (of course) ended up balling my eyes out in misery and frustration when Donna was nice to me because I couldn't even get the words out necessary to explain properly - this bloody aphasia sucks great fat donkey bollocks! I'm just lucky that I've had a conversation with her about how the crappy illness affects me and she could read between the lines (and my hateful sobbing) to finish my sentences for me. I must have sounded like a complete moron stuttering and grasping at words between sniffles.

I honestly think I'd still have been OK again this week if it hadn't been for the assignment feck up with the 1st years module. Instead of having Wednesday off I was panicking about a class on Thursday that should already have been sorted; going over and over my options regarding the lesson plan and trying to ensure I'd covered everything - then to top it off I had an email from 2 people about 2 websites I'm supposed to be helping with which just added to the stress head I was building over falling behind.

I really don't want to lose another module this semester, if I can just make it through until semester B I'll ensure I only accept at the most 2 modules and as I won't have the website stuff to worry about then things (should) be peachy. I knew it would be a slow process figuring out my limits but I didn't realise just how shitty doing so would make me feel.

I'm back to feeling useless again. I know how overworked all the staff are in there, I know that my issues are likely to be adding stress to at least 2 other people and I hate being that person, I hate causing problems - I'm supposed to be the person who fixes things and makes it all better not the one adding roadblocks!

Meh, self pity will get me nowhere. Time to suck it up and crack on.

I'll get the LUF site out of the way tomorrow and do my Tuesday lesson plan. Stef will just have to do everything for the kids Halloween party on Monday while I recuperate and think of some way to make it up to him and then if I can just get through next week I'll be able to get the vegepa site up and running for Lynne next weekend THEN I can just concentrate on the marking I'll have coming in without the stress of those 2 unfinished jobs at the back of my mind.

The housing situation... well, there's nothing I can do to alleviate the worry of possible homelessness is there? Our situation will not magically change and I have to just live with complete strangers tramping through our home and the uncertainty of whether we will be given a months notice or a rent increase with each visitation.

Sucks to be me right now. I just hope the work stuff levels off so I can concentrate on actually teaching, right now I feel a bit of a fraud as I'm barely catching breath between classes to refresh my knowledge on the things I'm supposed to be teaching before the next email of doom comes through ripping apart all my carefully laid plans...

Next year will be better - everyone says the 1st year of teaching is the worst so if I can weather this with all my health crap I'll be bloody awesome next year when I know what I'm doing and exactly what's expected from me. Especially if I can use the summer to create some E-learning resources to help bolster the days I feel like this...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Still feeling positive...

I'm actually looking forward to this week; possibly helps that I'm starting off with something fun as I have a beading group meeting on Monday - missed the last 2 so REALLY looking forward to this one.

My slides and documents are already prepared for Tuesday and Thursdays business applications class (was up until 3am last night doing that) I'm being 'unofficially' observed Tuesday morning so hoping it goes well,  but just knowing that I now have the Wednesday to prepare for the Thursday/  Friday lessons has taken off the stress and panic of last minute prep; not to mention saved me money and cut out some lengthy bus travel; I can now relax into my job and find a rhythm so that I can PACE!

It's all good!

I'll even have the time (and energy) to play with my wee lass when she asks now because I'm not playing catch-up with my work (at least I hope that's what will happen) it's amazing how just one day can have such an effect! Losing the FE module has seriously improved my chances of avoiding the usual November dip (ok, mini-relapse) I'll admit, the worry is still there and I'm trying to be more optimistic; it helps that I've got a sense of control this year - just in time too!

I really think I have a shot at making this a career instead of just a job, things are looking up people! From here the future has a slight rosey tinge around the edges now and I intend to cultivate that colouring!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

How d'ya like THEM apples?!

feedback so far from my new colleagues has been overwhelmingly positive. my class management is ok, my lesson plans are fine; not bad for someone with no formal teacher training in the bag eh?!

Thankfully, I'm mostly liking the job.
It's really just an extension of the way I worked while studying; helping other students with the material and finding resources to aid in understanding - except this time I'm actually creating some of those resources myself; for one module the 4 of us teaching it are starting totally from scratch so it's quite a challenge.

But it seems I took on more hours than I can really cope with.

I’ll be honest, I only took into account classroom hours when I agreed to my timetable – I naively didn’t realise there was so much more to being a lecturer than just tweaking my slides, showing up to impart knowledge followed by the odd bit of marking: there's student monitoring, seemingly endless meetings, millions of daily emails, course admin - and that's before I even THINK about looking at a lesson plan or my resources!


I ended up having an ME/CFS incident after my first class last thursday and had to go lie down in the medical room for an hour to stave off the shakes and imminent crash so I'd be ok to teach in the afternoon. Brought home that I need to be careful at this early stage though so it was either lose 2 HE groups or the one FE unit, thankfully it’s the FE unit I’m to lose so that’s going to free up a lot more time to allow me to pace myself; would be a total pisser if I finally get a job and get off benefits only to end up back in bed and on ESA for good.

The really annoying thing about losing the FE class though is that I nearly killed myself 2 weekends ago getting into London for a one-day passport appointment for the CRB check; cost me a sodding fortune as well! I don’t need a CRB for HE teaching so all that money and effort turned out to be unnecessary *sigh* always the way eh?!

Nothing has happened on the 'landlord selling our home' front since the agents came round to take pictures and measurements so thankfully that stressball has yet to hit; just praying it waits until i'm a little more settled at work; getting to grips with this workload AND trying to find somewhere to live would probably kill me!