External Exams

9 07 2013

lamdalogo

As I write this post I have just completed one full day of external LAMDA examinations with my Yr9 students and I still have three days to go.

The course was restarted last year – having been brought to a stop some time ago due to the cost of entering students.

I was informed by the examiner today that it is extremely rare to find a LAMDA course in a state secondary school and I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished with our amazing students. We have created a diverse course incorporating the LAMDA specification as well as introducing students to a wide range of genres and techniques that will prepare them for future study of Drama and Theatre. We do not make it easy for them and include topics such as: Staislavski, Brecht, Musical Theatre and Shakespeare all in one year taught at a standard more typicaly associated with A-Level. The kids respond extremely well and so far they have exceeded our expectations.

That said – the examination process is exhausting!

Spending an entire day with sweaty, anxious students in this extreme heat is in itself a challenge. Taking on the multiple roles of; teacher, mentor, counsellor, friend, ally, to name but a few is definitely taxing.

I have had so many memorable moments already delivering this course. Like the time I let my own T-Shirt to a student who had forgotten to bring his “actors blacks”; or the time when I had to drive a child to and from his exam because he couldnt make it to school. There are several occassions I can recall when I could have washed my hands and declared that it was not part of my job role to resolve the ridiculous position I was placed in but these decisions have never caused me to experience a sense of regret; I want to see all of my students achieve and succeed.

Despite the fact that my students currently think I am the “Wicked Witch of the West”, I am very proud of them although they will never truly appreciate how desperately I want what is best for them.

Good luck LAMDA bunnies – you are amazing; although you will never truly come to know how much I care about each and every one of you you and how much I do to ensure that you achieve the success that you deserve.

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The Future father of my children…is an amazing cook!

27 03 2013

Daddy Chef

I have been reviewing FFOMC’s suitability for parenthood and I realised that it would be remiss of me not to mention his talent in the kitchen, and yes I am talking about cooking!

Before he met me he had several jobs that involved cooking. For example, he worked at The Little Chef when he first quit college, followed by his pub job which included some time in the kitchen, he even held a position  Fish restaurant which offered him the chance of taking an NVQ and other training which may have resulted in him making his role as a chef a more permanent career choice but retail beckoned and has ultimately led him into a 9-5 position at head office at long last!

For as long as we have lived together we have shared the responsibility of cooking. We rotate, taking turns to cook every other night; and I must say he is pretty damn good at it!

While I rarely have any complaints about any of his food, my favourite dishes would definitely be his amazing fried breakfasts, his fantastic roast dinners (particularly his roast pork), and recently he has experimented with delicious dauphinoise potatoes when he discovered I had a liking for them.

It is wonderful that we can share this task and FFOMC definitely has a talent for preparing good food. In fact he takes great pride in his cooking.

When I started my current job and discovered that my boss, who quickly became an amazing friend, did not cook at all and prefered to use her oven as a storage unit for past coursework. She lived alone so FFOMC started to cook a little more than we needed and would make her up a plate for me to take to her at work the next day for her to heat up in her microwave. She always seemed to really appreciate this and he beamed with pride everytime he wrapped up a plate in tin foil and presented it to me to give to her at work in the morning. He knew how much I valued this woman and when she became ill last summer, he scolded me when I made a bolognaise one evening only using half a packet on mince as it would mean there wouldn’t be enough to take her a portion – he was deeply disgruntled to discover that she was on a restricted diet during her recovery and his efforts in the kitchen would have to take a leave of absence.

His skill does not however, come without its problems.

We have different attitudes towards cooking. I tend to cook things so they are as I like them rather than as they are supposed to be. Thinking back to my childhood I remember my Dad’s burnt offerings on the BBQ, the only option for steaks being the ‘well done option’ and vegetables were always overcooked and soggy. I remember this with a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy – a positive one though not memories of food poisoning! When I cook this way, FFOMC transforms into a less likable and more irritable Gordon Ramsey, issuing instructions and offering ‘helpful’ advice that I promptly disregard and continue with my tried and tested methods learnt in my childhood.

FFOMC and I enjoy watching the odd cooking related show together and have particularly enjoyed Hell’s Kitchen, all things Heston Blumenthal and the personable Jamie Oliver’s attempts to resolve all the world’s problems through the medium of cooking on Fifteen – although I was less enamoured with his attempts to FIX education with his ill conceived notion that non teaching, subject specialists could do a better job than qualified teachers.

The problem with watching cooking shows is that FFOMC resolves immediately to sign up as a contestant thinking that he would clearly do a better job than the shortlisted candidates selected to participate and even worse he starts to do weird and unnecessary things when he is preparing food that elongates the process and as far as I can tell does not improve the quality of the meals he serves.

He is quick to criticise my efforts in the kitchen and warns me that our future children will prefer his cooking to mine.

For what it is worth – I am happy for him to never suffer the indignity of choking down another meal I have prepared for the reat of his life if that is his wish. Unfortunately he in turn seems to feel I would benefit from more practice.

We have reached a deadlock.

But I suppose if someone is going to critic my culinary skills it is preferable that it is someone who actually knows what he is doing in the kitchen.

If he does achieve his goal of becoming a house husband I imagine that cooking is one skill that will come in handy for him.

Then again – how challenging is it for a master chef to heat fish fingers, potato waffles and heize baked beans?

 

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