Wednesday, September 16, 2009


It's been such a long time since I posted. I feel like a boxer - thrown against the ropes each day just to stagger back in time to face another. Teaching is such an all-consuming job, keeping people entertained and supplied with suitable handouts all day, every day. And then there's the marking.

The garden blooms on, unseen.
At the end of last session I decided that I would no longer teach an evening class in addition to my full-time job. Somehow I seem to be doing it again. There were no other volunteers. I do get paid extra for it and actually it's my favourite class. The marking is a killer, though. There are 29 people in the class - far too many - and if they all write something in class and also do their homework, that's 58 pieces of work to mark each week, just from this class. When you consider that each piece can take up to 15 minutes - well, it adds up. I just hope some of the students aren't too diligent.
So I teach till 9 o'clock on Tuesdays and I stayed at work on Thursday last week till 9 also, just to try to catch up a bit. And of course I bring work home too. Yes, I know: teaching's a part-time job. Ha.

Daughter 2 went down to London last week to see her actor boyfriend on The Plinth. British people will know about this - one plinth in Trafalgar Square hasn't got a statue on it, and the artist Antony Gormley has invited people to occupy it for one hour each, 24 hours a day for 100 days.
The actor boyfriend applied for, and was allocated, one of these hours. Unfortunately for him it was between 2 and 3 in the morning but astonishingly, about twenty of his friends were there to support him as he sang his own satirical songs and accompanied himself on the ukulele. Daughter 2 supplied the banner and lots of cupcakes for the spectators. I'm torn between thinking the whole thing is ridiculous and telling myself that he's young and this was a bit of an adventure. (And he has nothing much else to do because he's largely unemployed.)

As usual, last weekend was a rush, too. There was the usual dusting and tidying to do. Then Daughter 1 and her husband got home from holiday and came for a meal on Saturday. She turned 30 while they were away (what happened to that 30 years and how am I so old?) and so on Sunday they came for a birthday tea and we had a cake and sang to her.

"It's just as well we cycled over," said Son-in-Law, surveying the 30 candles burning away, "to offset that carbon footprint."

Our son came over again. I think we need to have a crisis or a birthday every weekend to bring him home. (The photo of him arriving is in the wrong order but life's not perfect.)

And then the week began again. Ten classes, each with 20 to 30 students I've never seen before, many of them called Kerry Ann or Carianne or Lee-ann or Lianne or some such confusingly similar name.

I plan to work for two more years. About 375 working days to go. I think that might be manageable.
Just about.

I apologise for any typos here. Normally I type in Word and then copy and paste but Blogger wouldn't paste tonight so, having spent ages doing the photos, I then had to retype it all on to the post. And now I must go and mark and then get up to my mother's house


  1. I'm so glad the photos posted! They were all lovely! And I am now tired just thinking/reading your schedule! Wow! :) Subbing may not be so bad without the planning and grading... :) I hope you and your mother are doing well! :) Many hugs, Isabelle!

  2. Lovely to see your photos and garden! It's lovely having family around for birthday celebrations. You are right, when I look at our grown up children I wonder too where the years have gone.

    I'm another one that was tired after reading that. How do you do it!? To think I'm now job hunting, just when life was meant to be winding down.

  3. I honestly do not know how you keep up the pace, my friend. And evenings too, and believe me, I am well acquainted with the marking lark as well.I empathise.
    But how lovely to have all the children home together! I am so glad your boy is closer now. Just please take a few hours now and then for yourself too, and enjoy that lovely garden of yours before the colder months creep back.

  4. whoa. what a busy time. Made me exhausted just reading about it.

    when I saw the plinth, ther was a cranky old man sitting there reading a book. when people asked him what he was up to, he grumpily answered

    'reading a book"

    Thrilling entertainment.

  5. I think teaching is one of the hardest jobs known to man - and twice as hard for women. A woman's work is never done! All power to your elbow, Blogpal.

  6. Anonymous2:35 am

    Oh, I feel your pain! This year, I have 3 Megans and a bunch of Sara's, siblings of students I have taught before that I keep calling by the wrong name, and some Sydney/Lindseys that I cannot get straight.

    But I have way more years to go til retirement. All that marking still ahead of me. Gardens that go untended and world events that go on around me and me oblivious, with my marking pen in my hand. Sigh.

  7. Oh Isabelle! I don't know how you do it! I think on your break, you need to come and see me. It's not very exciting here, but we have a lovely guest room and I would pamper you and wait on you hand and foot! You could take long bubble baths and I would serve you breakfast in bed and you could just lounge around all day reading and relaxing all day!

  8. Marking? Ha! I wrote a whole post about marking the other day. I feel your pain. I wish the damn kids would stop being such keeners. (is that wrong of me?)

    Lovely family pics. Must be so nice to have them around to visit! And don't say "How did I get so old?" You have to say, "How could I possibly have a 30-year-old when I'm still so young?"

  9. There's something wrong about a profession that my very capable daughter, and her very capable boyfriend, have trained for and yet decided firmly against practising - even in a recession.

    In France, teachers' conditions seem very different. Less money, but much less teaching time; less personal and professional freedom, but guaranteed income.

  10. Thimbleanna - can I come too? I don't work anywhere near as hard as Isabelle and my garden is a mess, but your "spa" sounds irresistible!

  11. I feel bad for you Isabelle, but I couldn't help chortling at the idea of you in your boxing silks! Put up your dukes! Here comes another day.....but after that....the weekend!

  12. What wonderful photos they are too!
    Happy Birthday to Daughter 1.
    Your garden is so lovely & those flowers so beautiful.

  13. Hugs Isabelle. If you are tired you have every right to be. As an ex teacher I know what a demanding job it is when you are dedicated - as you are. I hope the satisfaction makes it all worth while.
    Your flowers are delightful

  14. Teaching is a thankless job, IMHO. Bless you for doing it.

    Your garden is looking well. I have reached "garden fatigue", the condition in which one is tired of weeding and watering and is ready for the whole works to die down for the year. Unfortunately, now it's time to start up the fall/winter garden!

  15. Isabelle, I don't know how you do it. I have the utmost respect for teachers (the ones who are serious about their role, that is) and I know from the two friends who ARE teachers, just what they have to contend with. Not only students with attitude (read 'bad' attitude), but the time marking stuff, and all the extra time needed to just do the job properly.
    That you still have time to write a beaut blog, take photos and post them, spend time with family, and mind your Mum as must be one of the Angels that live amongst us mere mortals.


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