Time, there’s just not enough of it

Well, it seems a long time since I wrote a post that wasn’t a book review. I’m even finding it a bit hard to keep up that end of things. Not from lack of reading. Or from lack of writing. But time is really not working for me at the minute.

My workload at school seems to have exploded. There barely seems to be a spare minute. I decided to work as a supply teacher for exactly this reason but now I am working three days in the same school, I find I am having to do more than I would like. So any spare minutes are spent editing or writing. The blog, unfortunately, is way down the list.

To make matters worse, the school was inspected last week. It is horrible to see the stress this causes teachers. Pressure pushes down from the management team and everyone suffers. It annoys me that most things are now directed towards what is needed for these inspections, not what is best for the pupils. Of course, I understand that these two things are supposed to be the same thing but I really don’t think they are.

Well, it’s over now until the next time, but the tiredness and stress still linger. It makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. Thoughts and ideas are starting to creep back in though and today, I have been writing already and once I have done my school work, then I will do more.

Books Read in 2014 – 44. Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsey

picnic

Genre: Thriller, School
Narrative Style: Third person, chronological
Rating 3/5
Published: 1967
Format: Kindle
Synopsis: It was Valentine’s day in 1900 and the girls from Appleyard College for Young Ladies are excited about the picnic at Hanging Rock. The weather was perfect for the annual day out. Unfortunately three girls and one teacher would not return from this trip, the repercussions of which effect the entire town.

I liked the style in which this story was told with almost perfect detachment from the events therein. While some of the events described involve hysteria, the prose is never less than level headed and was very easy to read.
The lead up to the disappearance of the girls is nicely handled and excitement builds slowly but steadily with subtle hints that things aren’t quite right, everyone’s watch stopping at the same time, for example. When it is realised that the girls are missing then panic ensues, panic which is heightened when one of the missing girls comes crashing out of the undergrowth at the bottom of Hanging Rock. At this point, I was anxious to find out what had happened and eager to read on.
However, the novel changes not long after this and becomes less of a mystery story and more of a study in human nature – watching the various character’s reactions to events rather than solving the mystery. This wasn’t badly done but wasn’t what I was expecting. There are still moments of excellence – the hysterical reaction of the school girls to the one girl they manage to find is extremely well described but ultimately, I found the change in direction disappointing.
I also found it difficult to differentiate between some of the teachers and girls. They didn’t stick in my mind and I was constantly checking who was who.
The ending of the novel was unexpected and returned a little more to the mystery style and I did find that enjoyable but overall, this was an uneven read.

Chrys Fey’s Writing Challenge Day 5 – Write about a dream or nightmare that you’ve had.

Write about a dream or nightmare that you’ve had. Turn it into a short-short story – Day 5 of Chrys Fey’s 30 Day writing challenge.

I have a recurring dream / nightmare when I’m at a new school (which as I am a supply teacher, happens quite often) and I can’t find the classroom I am supposed to be in. This story is based on that.

How did I end up here? Outside? I don’t remember a door. I’m sure I didn’t go through a door. Ahead of me is only green field. I don’t recognise the view. In my head, I have a vision of the room where I should be, paper flying, noise levels rising as the kids realise there is no teacher. 

As I turn around in panic, I see the school buildings. Running towards them, my heart is pounding. They don’t seem to get any closer. And I am going as fast as I can. My legs are starting to hurt. My breath is coming short and fast. Why won’t the buildings get any closer. 

Suddenly I am inside. Now where is the map they gave me? I begin to pat my pockets. Calmly at first then when it does not appear, frantically, going through pockets again and again. The corridors peel off in different directions. Pick a corridor, any corridor. I shoot off to the left. 

Science. Turn left again. Maths. Right this time. Art. Running again. I pass classrooms for every subject. Food Technology. Drama. R.S. Does this school even have an English department.

And then suddenly, I see it. At the end of this corridor. In large golden letters. The word I have been searching for. English. My classroom must be along here. I look at the doors, 12, 13, 14, yes, 15. This is the one. 

Inside and the class quieten down expectantly. I stare at them in silent alarm. It is then I realise that I have left the work for them to do in the staff room.