Trojans (New Job & Copenhagen)

Another trip has been and gone 😦 Since my last trip, I fully started working at the private all-girls’ school. It’s been alright, but it’s also been a lot of work. Sometimes, I truly miss supply teaching (and I never thought I would say that!). Starting with the very first week back at the school, I had to do weekly parents’ evenings – the first week was year 9’s, then year 8’s, year 11’s, year 7’s, and year 10’s (and with year 10’s, I had three classes – so 67 students!). Every Thursday, I would sit in my chair from 5:30 to 8pm and wait for the next parent to come and interview me (even though it was ACTUALLY supposed to be an interview about their daughter). When I had the year 9 meetings, I had only met the girls twice because I only see them once a week, so it was very difficult for me to give feedback when I really only had their test scores to talk about. Some parents were quite nice, many were quite intimidating, others made slightly rude comments (“Bit young to be a teacher, if you ask me…”), and most quizzed me about where I studied, what my REAL area of study was (“ummm..biology?”), what school I had worked at previously (“I was doing supply teaching all over the place.. but my behaviour management is great!”), if I would be staying until the end of the year (“well, I’m signed on until Easter…” *parent rolls eyes*), if the time comes when I’m given the CHOICE of staying until the end of the year, would I (“Ummmm… I don’t think I’ll be able to make that commitment”), why I was the third teacher that the girls have had (“Well, it’s kind of a complicated situation…”), and many just went on to inform me about how distracting it was to have the girls constantly go through different teachers and blablabla (“I’m sorry; the school is doing the best that they can). The school never once pulled me aside and told me how I should be answering these questions and since most of it is supposed to be kept confidential, I had to do the best I could. THANK GOODNESS I’m done with that! By the time my second parents’ evening came around, I expressed my concerns to the biology technician (who is somewhat the mother figure in the biology department, who everyone goes to for advice). She was also shocked that I hadn’t been coached on what to say during these parents’ evenings and she brought it up with the head of biology. I think the realization hit all of us that Easter was only about ten weeks away so if I decided not to stay longer, they’d have to find someone else. Not only that, but it hit me that I only had about six months left in London, which meant I had little time left to travel. They both started to ask me (on a daily basis) whether I’d stay after Easter and I constantly replied, “Well, I’m still not sure.. I might not teach until the end of the year so that I can travel some more.” The Head of Biology talked to the Deputy Head and said that he needed to set up a meeting with me, so they could start sorting everything out. A couple of weeks went by and I still hadn’t heard from him. However, knowing the way that I work, I KNEW I wouldn’t be able to say no unless I had a valid excuse. That weekend, I booked flights and hostels throughout the month of June so that I wouldn’t be able to commit to the rest of the year (I know, I felt like somewhat of a traitor). Finally during another parents’ evening, the Head of Biology told me that I had to write the Deputy Head’s secretary to make an appointment with him (pretty sure he should be the one making the appointment with me, but okay). He said he’d give me the secretary’s information so I could set up my meeting. Later that week, the Head of Biology asked if I had set up the meeting yet, to which I replied that I still didn’t receive the secretary’s information. He said he’d just send the email himself and CC me in, which he did (I think he was feeling the pressure more than anyone else, which is understandable). Later that morning, I received an email with no greeting, no words, but only a picture of a day calendar, with a slot for our meeting the following day. That day at lunch was Chinese New Year, and the school had a Chinese lunch and gave everyone their own fortune cookie. When I cracked my cookie, I just about died when I read my fortune. A definite sign!

My fortune!

I’ve placed it in my phone case and I carry it with me everywhere I go. The next day, I finally had my meeting. I was really nervous, because I didn’t know how it would go and I felt bad about letting the school down. Before I went, I had conversations with people about how I would make sure to get HIM to steer the conversation, and I’d wait for him to make an offer before I agreed to anything. Neither of those things really happened.. I left the meeting feeling more offended than anything. The meeting started off with him making the statement, “So this must be the longest you’ve been at a school over here now…” Me: “Yes, I guess it would be. The longest I’ve stayed at a school was 7 weeks, so this is just past that point.” Him: “So, the Head of Biology wanted us to set up a meeting about whether you’re staying with us after Easter or not. Tell me how you’re feeling about that.” Me: “Well, I know that I won’t be staying with you until the end of the year.” Him (looking somewhat shocked): “Oh. Well when would be the definite date that you could stay with us until?” Me: “I could stay for another half-term, for six weeks longer – until the end of May, if you need my help.” Him: “Can I just ask where you’re hoping to get to in terms of your career?” Me (this time I was somewhat shocked. And offended): “Well, in Canada, we don’t have opportunities to move up on the career ladder. You start as a teacher and you end as a teacher. We don’t have head of biology or head of science, or deputy head, or headmaster. Whether you’re a teacher for 25 years or for 2 years, you’re considered an equal. The only opportunities to move up is to be a vice-principal or principal and you need to go back to school and get a Masters for that. So for you to ask me that question, and I know I’ll end up back in Canada, my answer is to be a teacher.” Him: “Well, don’t you think it would look better on your CV if you were at a school for a longer period of time?” Me: “Most likely, but that’s not my main concern right now. I have the rest of my life to build that up.” Him: “Well to be honest, that’s what made it so difficult for us to hire you – because you were just jumping from school to school.” (!!! But they DID hire me! And it wouldn’t have made any difference to me anyway..) Him: “So how do I know you’re not going to change your mind and suddenly decide to leave earlier?” (Because I gave them my word?) He continues: “I think we’d benefit  from putting a contract forward to make everything official.” (But would I benefit from it, really?). Him again: “So, have the Head of Biology and Head of Science observed you yet?” Me: “The Head of Biology has (because the Deputy Head told him he had to), but not the Head of Science.” Him: “Well, she’ll be coming to observe you sometime soon. I’m going to give you some incentive – if you decide to stay with us until the end of the year, I’ll offer to pay for all of your holidays. So think about it for the week, and let me know by Friday.” Me: “Okay, thanks.” I get up to leave and as I open his door, he adds in, “Oh, I should also add in that all of this will ONLY be put through on the assumption that I get positive feedback about you from the Heads of Biology and Science.” I grimace as I shut the door. I couldn’t believe the meeting I just had. Nothing about, “We really appreciate everything you’ve done for the school,” and nothing about, “The girls and the biology department really like having you here.” Just a whole meeting basically telling me about how I might not be good enough, and making it sound like THEY’RE doing ME a favour, and not the other way around. It was then that I realized that I will never see eye-to-eye with the people who put their careers over everything else, and vice versa. I feel like I’m living my life to the fullest and I actually look at people who only live to work and I feel sorry for them, and I’m sure they feel the same way about me. But there’s no way we’ll ever see things the same way or even be able to compromise, because I will never live my life trying to improve my CV. I never have, as I’m sure many of you have realized. I’ve never kept a job for longer than a year and during my whole job history, I’ve never done a job that would help me with education or with biology (other than au pairing and tutoring). My way of working has always been to get me money so I can travel, not to move up the career ladder. And I’ve never had a job that I didn’t like. And I’ve had some pretty darn AWESOME jobs: working at the Enchanted Forest, being a Blades Ambassador for the hockey games, working the Froster Truck, countless serving jobs – I may as well be in public relations or business because that’s all I’ve done for work. While going to university, I watched many of my friends try to find jobs working in a lab so they could get experience, and I didn’t understand why. Maybe my mind just works differently, but I know it won’t be swayed. Maybe it’s a downfall, or maybe it’s a gift. Anyway, I went upstairs (feeling pretty pissed off) to tell the Biology Department about my meeting. I think the Head of Biology realized that I wasn’t there because I HAD to be there: “So, do you have a contract here right now?” “No.” “So, if you decided not to come to work tomorrow, you could technically just not show up?” “Well yeah, but I obviously wouldn’t do that…” “And if you decide not to come back, would you get work pretty much everyday somewhere else?” “Yeah, and even if I didn’t get work, I’d still get paid for the day.” “So… you really have no reason to actually be here, do you?” “Well no, not really.” “You’re not in it for the money or anything?” “No, I’m here cause you guys need me.” He started to pick up the pieces that the Deputy Head had thrown away, “Well, I just want you to know that WE’RE really thankful that you’re here, and the girls really like you and you’ve been a huge help, and we’d like you to stay but if you want to travel as well, then we completely understand. If you can at least stay until half-term of next term, that would help us out so much and we’d really appreciate it.” So I emailed the Deputy Head back right before my holiday and I declined his offer to stay until the end of the year, but I said I could stay until the end of May to help out the school (once again, putting it back on him that I’M helping THEM out and not the other way around). I still haven’t heard back from him, but I also still have to get observed by the Head of Science next week and then I guess he’ll make his decision. So that’s pretty much everything in my school life!

In terms of my social life, January was quite a busy month! Kim and I went out nearly every weekend. The

Tea with cats!

streets of London were SO quiet because 1) It was Dry January for many people (not us), and 2) Most people were still broke from Christmas (probably us, but it didn’t change anything). It was crazy being able to walk down the sidewalk and not have to bump into anyone! Or being able to go into a bar and find an empty table! Since I’ve moved into my new flat, I’m now directly connected to the night tube (it’s open 24/7), which has opened a range of possibilities for me! I no longer have to make sure I catch the last train before midnight in order to get home. However, that’s also come at a cost – me getting home at 3 or 4 in the morning, and more than once being woken up at the last stop (which is my stop anyway) by a random stranger, telling me to get off. At the beginning of the month, I went to The Nutcracker (the ballet) with Kim, which was great! We also went to a Cat Tea Emporium, where we got to sit in a tearoom with 12 cats for two hours. It was nice, but the cats weren’t very interested in hanging out with anyone, which is understandable considering people are in their faces for 8 hours each day. I also went to a couple of cinema shows – Pretty Woman and Frozen. The cinema happens in a bar, and then they turn it into a dance floor after the show, so both were a lot of fun. Ron also came to London, so I got to see him after almost

Me and Ron with the London Eye

two years! While our visit was short, it was really nice to see him, especially since him and Yang have been living in Shanghai. I went to a Travel Show, where there are a lot of different travel companies trying to give you good deals, which inspired me to do all of my upcoming trips (and NOT work until the end of the year). And I got to meet up with a couple of people who I met in Cologne during Christmas, which is always one of my favourite parts of travelling – meeting up with people again!

This last week was half-term break, where I went to Copenhagen for four nights. I’ve been avoiding the Scandinavian countries because they cost so much money, but the flight was so cheap on Skyscanner (36 pounds), so I couldn’t resist. I arrived on Saturday evening and as soon as I got to the hostel, a guy from Belgium was in the room and we started talking. I was starving so I asked if he wanted to go for dinner, and we went to a bistro for sushi. Afterwards, we went for a couple of drinks but smoking was still allowed in the bars, so we went back to the hostel and stayed in the bar there. On my way to the bathroom there (I know, lots of detail), I walked past a table and overheard that they were from Canada so on my way back, I stopped at the table and asked where in Canada they were from. Only one person was from Canada and he was from Vancouver, so when I said that I was from Saskatoon, he was shocked. He exclaimed to the entire table that I was a gem. A diamond even. Finding someone from Saskatchewan is so rare and they should probably all take pictures with me because they’ll likely never run into anyone from Saskatchewan again (I mean, he WAS right – With 1 million people in Saskatchewan and 7.5 billion people in the world, you have a 0.015% chance of meeting someone from Saskatchewan, and a 0.004% chance of meeting someone from Saskatoon. Crazy eh?!). So I went back to get the Belgium guy and we

joined their table, where there were people from England, Australia, and Spain. It was a good night! I’ve been meeting many awesome people lately! I used to find it so difficult to find people who I just vibe with and recently, I’ve been finding them everywhere I travel. Maybe I’m sending good vibes out into the universe and it’s rewarding me with equal vibes from awesome people. I totally believe there’s something about energy in the world, cause there are certain people who you just “get,” and who you feel that energy from. Either way, I’m glad I’m finding all of these people! The next day (Sunday), I went on a free walking tour and met up with the guy from Spain there. After the walking tour, we went to see The Little Mermaid statue, had coffee, and then went to Christiania. Christiania is a freetown, which is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood. They refuse to be a part of the EU and therefore have their own rules, laws, and schools. It’s well-known for cannibis trade, but they don’t allow cameras inside, in order to keep the traders safe. It was an interesting place, and really cool to see! After that, we went to the Meat-Packing District, to a restaurant called War Pigs, which is a craft brewery. The drinks in Copenhagen were so expensive! The beer that we got were 65-70 krone each, which is about 8-9 pounds (12 or 13 dollars!!). However, they were higher in alcohol content – about 7.4%, so we only had a couple. When I went to get my second beer, two guys beside me asked to pay their tab, which was 775 krone (89 pounds, or 145 dollars)!!! They were British and were shocked about how they had just spent 70 pounds on drinks, and I sadly burst their bubbles even more, saying that 775 krone was closer to 100 pounds

than 70. “What?! No, you divide by 10 to find pounds…” “No, you divide by 8. You guys have been very considerate to yourselves though, dividing by 10.” One looks it up on his phone, “Yeah, she’s right…” I think they may have skipped dinner that night. On Monday, I went to the Round Tower, which is exactly what it sounds like – a round tower. There aren’t any steps; it just goes round and round like a ramp. It was cool! After that, I met up with the Spanish guy again to have lunch at Paper Island, which reminds me of Granville Island in Vancouver, if anyone’s been there. It had food of every country! We had to eat really fast, because I had booked another walking tour (but the “alternative walking tour”), which I had already paid for. He was leaving that evening so we said bye, and I went on the walking tour. They showed us all of the alternative things – the Red Light District, the Green Light District, etc. Afterwards, I was absolutely freezing so I went to Paper Island to warm up and then I had dinner. On Tuesday, I decided to go to the Carlsberg Brewery. It

was a good tour, and I got two free beer at the end. I became addicted to their cider (which is called Somersby Cider) because it’s cheap, but also because it’s probably one of the best ciders I’ve had. That evening, I did some souvenir shopping and sat in coffee shops. On Wednesday, I went back to London so I spent the morning doing one last walk around the main city and then headed to the airport. I arrived back home at about 6pm and since then, I’ve just been catching up on my TV shows and planning the next six weeks of school (so I can focus on marking). I hope everyone’s been doing well! Love always

Trojans – Atlas Genius
P.S. This is what makes me happy – the viewers from my last blog post. So awesome to see where people are reading from, so thank you for all of the support!

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