Saturday, 31 July 2010
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
- Friendship and support
One of the most fantastic things about the stage society is how it brings people together, so we're not just acquaintances with a common interest, we're friends. Friends who've added each other on Facebook and follow each other on Twitter. Friends who get invited to each other's birthday parties and anniversary celebrations. Friends who are willing to open their houses to the entire society so that we can enjoy amazing after show parties!! People who enjoy spending time with each other so much that they organise social events outside rehearsal periods so that everyone has a chance to catch up on all the latest gossip! But it's not just about the social side; the going out and having fun. It's also about the support we give to one another. During the last show, pretty much all you heard in the wings and ante rooms at the side of the stage was people congratulating others after their solos and dance spots or reassuring them and calming their nerves before they're due to go on stage. And at the end of a solo/duet/small group performance, as well as the applause from the audience, you'd also hear cast members clapping and cheering behind the curtains to show their appreciation. It may not be professional (or so I've been told) but I wouldn't have it any other way. And society members who aren't taking part often come and watch...I got a lovely Facebook message from one of them early last week, saying how much they enjoyed my solo performance and it was just overwhelming. But it's not just on show nights, whenever anyone has a problem or worry, you can pretty much rely on someone from the society to be there for them; asking them how things are because they genuinely care. And that's what I love so much.
2. Opening new horizons
Being a member of the stage society has truly broadened my horizons. Since joining I've sung all kinds of songs that I wouldn't even have listened to before and although they're not all to my taste, it's been a learning experience, to say the least!! And I've also met and got to know people of all ages, from all walks of life. People ranging from age 12 to their early 70s. People who are students, teachers, shop workers, retired. People who I wouldn't normally have the opprtunity, or maybe even the inclination to spend time with, but thanks to the society, I've got to know and like them!!
3. Confidence and self esteem
Maybe it's because I've met lots of new people. Maybe it's due to the fact that I've performed on stage and got pretty much nothing but positive feedback and applause in return. Whatever it is, I now find it much easier to talk to people, and even though my confidence has taken a knock due to the saga of my job hunting and my (very) mixed experiences on supply, I know that there are things that I'm good at and that some people think I'm fantastic just by being me!! And if all else fails, I can use my acting skills to (hopefully) ace a job interview sooner or later!!
4. A chance to be someone else/somewhere else
One of the things I love most about being on stage is the opportunity it gives me to be another pesron. Whilst this is more apparent in acting than in a song and dance show, it's still there regardless. When singing "Will you Still Love me Tomorrow", for example, I wasn't me, I was a confused, lovestruck girl wondering if, and hoping beyond hope that, the man she loved felt the same about her. And when I walk on stage, and the lights hit me, I'm somewhere else too. When acting in the past, I've been to 17th century New England, modern day London and a fairytale kingdom. My mind is free to explore another person's life in another place, and it can be a great escape, especially when real life isn't so good!
So there's my list. Drama has been one of the things I've enjoyed most over the last couple of yours and now I'm interested about you. What are your interests and hobbies? Are you a performer like me or are you a more backstage type of person? Are you into sport or a couch potato? Whatever it is, let me know!! 'Til next time...
Sunday, 18 July 2010
And so to the title of this post...in many ways, I'm currently facing the end of a chapter in my life story. As I've mentioned, it's very nearly the end of the school year. And as things stand, the end of the school year will also bring my time as a supply teacher to a close. Due to circumstances beyond my control (a ridiculous government ruling), newly qualified teachers i.e. me, can only do short term supply for 16 months before completing their induction period (a year/3 terms where NQTs have to demonstrate they meet certain standards and are supported by a teacher mentor at their school). After your 16 months is up (it starts counting down from the very first day you work on short term supply, and doesn't stop...even if you don't work as a supply teacher after that initial day, your 16 months would be up at the same time as someone who had done supply for the duration!!), that's it! No more short term supply (anything less than a term) until your induction's in the bag!! And this puts me in a really tricky position...basically to give you a potted work history, I qualified in June '07, and started doing short term supply from the September of that year. I covered a maternity leave from May to December of 2008, thereby completing a term of my induction, and have been doing short term supply ever since. I found out about the 16 month ruling in September of last year (it's been around for a while but is very rarely flagged up to anyone; I only found out by complete chance), and was able to secure a 3 term extension taking me up to now. Now where I have been unable to secure a long term/permanent teaching post that would let me finish my induction. Now where my teaching career appears to be at an end, momentarily at least. I know that supply teaching wasn't the job I would have chosen in an ideal world...I've been longing for my own classroom and I know that I've definitely had more bad than good experiences of the supply teaching world, but I'm still angry that my teaching career's being taken out of my hands through no fault of my own and there's nothing that I can do about it!!
But with an end also comes a beginning. This hiatus in my teaching means that I'm free to try new things although, for a while, I was at a loss to exactly what they were. Should I try and get a permanent teaching assistant job as the next best thing to teaching? Find some temping work unrelated to teaching? Embark on an altogether new career path by applying for full time jobs outside the education sector (or at least outside school settings)? Go back to uni and work part time to help support myself in the meantime? I considered all of these and more, and have recently come to a decision. My new beginning is hopefully going to be working as a teaching assistant on a supply basis. This has the advantage of still enabling me to work with children, without having all the responsibilty and stress that comes with being a teacher, and it will hopefully allow me to gain more experience of working in the EYFS with the youngest children in the primary age range (3-5 year olds); this is one area I'm currently lacking in and I'm keen to do something about it! Plus I'll still have the flexibility I've come to really value on supply so if I need a day off or get offered a long term post elsewhere I'll be able to take it wothout feeling I'm letting anyone down. Of course, there will also be disadvantages. Pay won't be as good; I'll probably have to work a full week to earn the same wage I'd get for 2 or 3 days of supply teaching, and there's no guarantee that work will be available all the time. Also I'm preparing myself for some awkward questions: Why am I doing TA work when I'm a qualified teacher? How come I've not been able to finish my induction yet when I've been qualified for 3 years? But these are things I'm just going to have to live with. I'm still planning to carry on applying for teaching jobs as I have been doing over the past 18 months so nothing's really changed in that respect, I'll just be filling out slightly different details in the "current employment" box on my applications!! At the moment, I've got a vague idea of giving things another year, but I suppose I'll just wait and see what happens between now and then.
But maybe thinking about September before the school year's even out might be a little premature. After all, there's the summer to think of first. A summer that I plan to spend sleeping in, reading, seeing friends and spending alone time, soaking up the sun (hopefully!), getting out and about but also having some time at home. Time that I'll dedicate to me. Not in a selfish way, but in a useful way. Time that I'll use to plan for the future, time where I can hopefully begin to discover what really makes me tick. At the minute, new ideas are popping up on a regular basis! I'm considering becoming an Avon representative, and am also interested in finding other ways of earning some extra money. Who knows, I might even find something I love so much, I'll know exactly where my future lies! But whether I do or not, I know that I'll have a good summer nonetheless. So here's to a well deserved break (if I do say so myself!!) To happy(ish) endings and new beginnings...I'm going to do my best to make the most of each and every one of them!!
Sunday, 4 July 2010
And relevancy and meaning brings me onto my second proof that I can still be inspired...my morning scribbles. If I'm not prebooked on a given day, once I've had my breakfast and got myself ready, I sit and wait for a call that might not even come. Sitting and waiting isn't quite all I do, however, as that would drive me crazy very quickly. I used to read while I waited, now I write. And I write whatever comes into my head. Often it's lists; to-do lists for the day/week/weekend ahead, lists of blog posts like the ones I mentioned before. Lists that I don't often stick to, but that are somehow comforting as they give order and structure to my semi chaos. But lately, my writing is increasingly likely to be a full blown piece. Something that I'm intending to post on my blog but, inevitably, by the time I get round to doing so, it's lost its urgency and immediacy, its meaningfulness and relevance, so I shelve it and stare at the computer screen instead, racking my brains for a viable alternative. The bulk of this post actually comes from one such example...I wrote it on Monday morning, and looking at my original draft, I got to this point at 8:35 lol!! But although it's taken me almost a week to post, and it isn't quite in its original, first draft, state, I was determined not to let this piece go the way of the others.
So I'm posting this, mainly because mornings are when I find my true inspiration. For me, it seems the desire to fill those dangerous moments between the possibility of a stressful, last-minute dash to work and the (almost) certain knowledge that I'll no longer get an early morning call at such a late stage, has led to something unexpected. My tension seems to breed creativity. I get an urge to write...and I don't want to stop writing until the clock strikes 9 and I'm safe from stress and uncertainty. So out of my cloud, that situation I absolutely hate has come my silver lining...I've found that I can produce writing that's true and honest and straight from my heart. Writing that has meaning and urgency...words that I have to say now as I simply can't keep quiet any longer, even if I haven't realised it before I put pen to paper. So it's those tricky mornings that are, surprisingly, proving to be my inspiration, and I'd like to know...where and when do you find yours??