Wednesday, 30 November 2011

On Strike and Working From Home

Oh what a day. I've been on strike today. I watched the news this morning and wasn't really surprised to see that we aren't exactly gaining ground with the general public. I hadn't realised the extent to which we are just child care to them. Not once were we considered irresponsible because we were neglecting children's education. Oh no, it was all about how people couldn't go to work. As it turns out, I'm just a child minder with an over inflated student debt to pay off. 

The other thing that surprised me today: the bins were emptied. I guess they weren't out on strike but it wasn't just teachers. Most of the public sector was affected. Not that anyone seemed to notice that on the news which seemed to me to be mainly complaining about all the irresponsible teachers. You know the ones. They are the 'morons'  who would like to earn a fair income and be permitted to retire before they keel over dead. 

On the plus side, I didn't spend the whole day angry. There really isn't any point so why bother. Ang and I got out with Tom after dropping Beth at the preschool (which had I not gone on strike I may never have seen so that's a kind of positive outcome). We enjoyed a McDonald's breakfast which I enjoyed with a one year old boy on my knee whom I don't see enough of. Secretly, thoughts of a career at said establishment did cross my mind as I enjoyed the king of hash browns. 

I also managed to get Christmas shopping done for all family members not in this year's Secret Santa. Well, that's not entirely true as there is one little girl left and I need to speak to her Dad as I think I have never successfully managed to buy her something she would want. This year will hopefully be different. 

Finally, going on strike allowed me to catch up with work. On a day which I am most certainly not earning a penny from my job, I have somehow been forced to spend about 3 hours doing it. Goodness knows where I found the time to write this. 

New career needed. Suggestions on a post card (or below) 

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A Jolly Difficult Week

It's been a long week. The past 168 hours have included sick children, alterations to the usual childcare arrangements, a particularly poorly timed course and, joy of joys, parent's evenings.

I didn't even make it to church on Sunday. Don't get me wrong, I've missed mass more time's than I should and without fair excuse. This week it was the impending parent's evenings that saw me handing my children over to their grandma at 0715 on a Sunday morning and headed to work. There's just no other way to get everything done and when parent's evening is coming up and everything has to look good, it has to be done on time.

After 6 hours at work I headed for home. The fog was thick, not unusual at this time of year. It was nice that for once I was riding in daylight. The 35w/35w headlight on the YBR250 just isn't up to the job anywhere other than the urban jungle. All too often, thanks to my 11 hour day at work (usually 7am - 6pm), I find myself riding each way in the dark and wishing Yamaha had fitted something significantly more effective. On this occasion I was fortunate that the dense fog coincided with me coming home in daylight and the only price I had to pay was to work on Sunday.

At least when I got home I was able to take time to walk to Mum and Dads from ours (5 or 6 miles and the most exercise I've managed to fit in in weeks). Then there was time to eat and play with the kids for an hour or so before bed at which point my (doubtless one day sainted) mother helped me with yet more work.

Anyway, this is dragging on now so I'll whine in brief. The week went on with me working to more like 8pm three nights. I did manage to leave at the slightly earlier time of 5pm on Friday. The late finishes were thanks to parents evening (seems many of them work as well so it's fair enough that they run till late) and staff training in between the two parents evening nights (which is anything but fair enough though apparently unavoidable).

Today I finally got to spend time with my two children. My 1 year old son seems to be largely over whatever was up with him earlier in the week (which I saw little of because my long suffering wife has gotten them up, looked after them and put them to bed in my absence all week). My 3 year old daughter was her usual loving and mischievous self. We went to the coffee shop where she shied away from Stefano as she always does. He gave her several biscuits as he always does and looked slightly hurt by her fear of him as he always does. Then we went swimming as we always do.

Life is returning to normal. Back to 60 hour weeks and the same old at home. Next week I do something I've never done before. I'm going to strike. I know we all need to do our bit (and by 'we all' I take it we are talking about public sector workers) but making me me pay more into my pension for less pension amounts to a pay cut. My pay and pension is what I signed up for and it's what I work like a dog for. I can't let the government cut my earnings without a fight. However, in 32 parent interviews, only one parent asked me about the strike and in response I asked this question. "Would you want a 69 year old me teaching your child?"

The parent looked at me and after a short pause said, "No."

Actually, I cynically think it's worst than that. I'm in my mid 30s now and have many of the aches I associate with getting older. I have little or no time to do the physical exercise that my doctor assures me is vital to my continued existence. I suspect if I try to do what they want and work all the way to my 70th birthday, they won't have to worry about me drawing the damn pension. I'll be dead long before I qualify.

So, if you want to know why I'm going to strike, it's just because I don't want to die.

Begin Blogging

I want to do blogging. I really do. I'm not sure why but there is this sort of wish to write. Unfortunately, I hardly ever get the chance to write anything much and worst, I haven't had the experiences I really want to write about. That's the truth of it. I'd love to write all about travelling the world on my bike and perhaps diving. I don't really get that chance.

So what could I write about I ask myself (and for some reason choose to write the thought in a blog as if I'm thinking in print)? Well, I'm not hugely different to so many other people. I have a family to take care of, a job to fund us and a bike to commute with. That's not to say that I in any way feel like anyone else. I'm a primary school teacher like so many others but I'm not sure that many of us come into the profession after a career as an armoured vehicle mechanic in the army. I use my bike for commuting as do many others though I seem to be one of very few who chooses to run 250s and 125s. Although I'm just another Joe, living the dream, I do at least feel fairly unique.

This blog could probably go in a few directions and it's probably best not to speculate. I'll just have to see. The real question will be whether or not anyone will take the time to look at it. We shall see. Can't promise it won't be full of complaints about how hard life is. If I was going to make that promise, I would probably be about to break it as I now fully intend to post this post and then get on and write one all about my week, which was pants. Really pants.

Note: I had promised myself I would practice what I preach in terms of writing (which obviously I am required to teach) but I have now already used the word 'pants' and I wouldn't let a nine year old write that. Clearly standards are slipping. Oh dear.