Wednesday, 9 January 2008

A slight panic

Realising that interview day couldn't be too far away I became suddenly concerned that I hadn't received any information about it. I emailed the British Council to ask about it and was told I didn't need to attend when I had already been told I didn't need to be interviewed but that I should attend to hear all the information. She also went on to ask if I had sent in my updated references and application form. Application form? What application form? I haven't been told to send a new application form. I've been told to send new references, both of which went a couple of months ago. But an application form was never mentioned and it seemed clear from the email conversation I had about deferring that I was already accepted on for 2008/09 and didn't need to apply.

So a slight panic. I've sent an email saying as much, hopefully I'll get a reply tomorrow.

The interview day is 19 January. I'm looking forward to it, no nerves this time round.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Going to Washington DC

Today's the day I should have been flying to Washington DC to take part in the four day induction program before going on to my placement. I wonder out of the people I met at my interview day who is going.

Now that this year's cohort are all through I must contact the British Council and start the whole thing happening again for next year. I'm trying to find my own placement in the places I want to go to and I believe the British Council have also taken pity on me and have bumped up the location on the priorities list and are trying to find me a partner. If I take part in a closed exchange I think it'll all be a lot easier, my partner and I will have got to know each other better.

So fingers crossed for a more successful year this year.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Finally settled

I will not be going this year. They have not been able to find a new match for me so I shan't be going. It's a huge disappointment. I was so looking forward to it and making plans. If the person I was originally matched with hadn't taken so long to reject the match then I would likely still be going but she did it too late.

The British Council did their best to find me a new partner but it wasn't to be. The have told me I shall be top of the list next year and that I won't need to reapply just send in more recent references. That in itself is a bit of a pain, the reference from the LEA was wonderful last time, it was written by the science advisor who had observed my lessons and been thoroughly impressed. Sadly he's now gone so the new one will have to write the reference, I guess I'll just have to invite him to observe me and keep my fingers crossed that he's as impressed.

I suppose it does all give me more chance to sort my life out a little, such as clearing my debts completely, buying a house and I shall be further up the pay scale when I go so I'll be better off. These are all good things. It does also mean it's going to be a year longer before I can start looking for promotion, when really I'd have liked to be looking already but had already put it off to participate in the exchange.

What will be will be.

I will keep this updated as things happen, though I expect it'll be a while now.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Not New York...

I shan't be going to New York after all. Over three weeks after sending the first email to my prospective partner and not hearing anything despite a couple more emails and an attempt at phoning I have found out that she has rejected the match.

I don't really know why, we haven't even spoken and on paper we were a good match. I suspect it's because I'm in London and she hadn't asked for London but the chances of her finding a match in the places she had asked for are incredibly slim. I wonder if she realises that?

I was getting worried because I hadn't heard from her so today I phoned the British Council. They told me she had rejected the match and that they would try and find me a new match but they didn't hold much hope because Secondary Science was a bit thin on the ground.

They called me back later and told me that there aren't any biology matches but that there are a couple of chemistry. The woman at the British Council sounded hopeful but she has to put the match to the Fulbright Commission. She will propose one then we get to decide to accept or reject. If it's rejected either by us or the other school then she will propose the second which isn't quite as good.

She wouldn't tell me where they were located because she thought it would sway my opinion of the matches but she did say that the two locations were very different from each other.

I've been upset this evening, I hadn't realised quite how much it would affect me plus there's the worry that time is running out. I'm cross that the original match didn't have the decency to contact me herself or attempt to find out anything about the match. She must have got the emails I sent her but chose to ignore them. She also sent her rejection very late which has narrowed my chances of finding somewhere.

I shall just have to wait and see what the next match is like. It will be a disappointment if I end up in Smallville somewhere after being oh so excited about New York. I realise that this is completely the wrong attitude to have and it's just an over emotional response and it's not really the way I think about it, where ever I end up will be hugely exciting it's just how I feel tonight.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Living in America

What on earth makes me think I want to go and live in America for a year? I think I must be utterly barmy. I won't know anyone, I can't figure out how the New York subway system works, I can't even understand the maps, the vegetarian food is rubbish, I won't be able to understand anyone talk, I know my students, I know how to teach them, what to teach them and how to make them behave for me (most of the time, anyway).

I have friends here, good friends. I have a life, a happy contented life.

I want this, I do want this but today it's all become terrifyingly exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Monday, 19 March 2007

First Match Received...

It's another normal day with, it seems, everyone asking me if I know where I'm going yet. They get the normal answer "No, not yet, any day now hopefully".

It gets to lunchtime. Get my lunch from the canteen as usual and head up to the staff room. Plate in one hand I get an envelope out of my pigeon hole with the other fully expecting it to be the normal nonsense from one company or another. I turn to walk to the table while simultaneously turning the envelope over. There's a sticker on the front saying British Council. I get to the table in somewhat of a daze. "It's here" I say rather faintly, "oh my god". A friend and colleague reaches a hand out from the other side of the table.

"Give it here" he said. I start to hand him my plate as there isn't anywhere to put it while I open the envelope. "Not that" he tells me "you're not opening it, give it here". I don't give it to him "no, I'm ok, I'll do it", put my plate down and kneel on the chairs behind me. I open the envelope which is full of papers. The top one says that they've identified a possible exchange partner for me. They give me her name and further down the name and address of the school.

It's in New York, oh my god, I'm going to New York, Bronx to be exact. I turn to everyone, they're waiting expectantly. "I'm going to New York" I scream. There's a chorus of well dones, fantastics and wonderfuls from all around the staff room while a few members of staff who have no idea what I'm talking about look puzzled. I tell them the name of the match, the school and that it's in Bronx. I seem to just say over and over again "oh my god I'm going to New York". Then I start to weep. I weep because waiting to hear has made me rather stressed and highly strung, I weep with joy that I'm going to New York, I weep because it's about the only thing left in me I can do.

As I'm weeping the friend that's possibly borne most of my worries and stress about the whole ordeal comes into the staffroom. He sees me crying and guesses that I've heard. "Where you going" he asks. Someone says Alaska and he looks to me for confirmation, I just nod. He looks disappointed then tries to put a positive slant on it until someone tells him that it's New York. He looks absolutely delighted.

Since then, apart from a little frustration after speaking to my mother, I've been bouncing around everywhere. Went to see the Head, she hasn't yet received the full information on the match. So at the moment I know very little about her except what I've been able to glean from Google, which actually isn't that little. She seems to have had a very busy life.

The school looks like it'll be absolutely fantastic.

Now I need to read the fistful of other papers that were in the envelope. I hope there's not one at the back saying "ONLY JOKING".

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Yet another form...

I got an email a yesterday asking that I fill out a form for the Fulbright Commission urgently and email it to someone at the Commission. The form is simple enough, although having problems thinking about what my "most significant publications/honors/awards/projects or other accomplishments" are. But it's in PDF format. It's been done in such a way that the form can be typed onto and printed out but it's not possible to save the typing. Therefore it's not possible to email to the person. I'm not able to edit PDFs, so not quite sure what to do about this urgent form. They did send instructions on how to make it save but it's not working.