Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week Three and Kensington Palace

This week has been...well, I guess the best way to describe it is "lukewarm." Nothing major happened on the teaching front - I was back at the Islamic school for the week as a teacher's assistant in a Year Six class so I mostly marked, ran various errands and photocopied. Boring, but hey, I get five days of work and thus five days pay. Can't complain about that.

Speaking of pay, remember the mistakes with my paycheck I mentioned awhile back? To put it simply, my pay was short what I thought was £63. Well, it got to a fun point where I was dealing with three different consultants on the issue: Craig was out of the office and kept saying to talk to Wayne since Wayne sent me to the school, Wayne said to talk to Craig and Sean since I was originally assigned to their areas and Sean said he'd get back to me and stopped answering my calls and texts thereafter. I finally happened to catch Liam - the manager of the whole Northwest division I'm assigned to - one night when I called hunting Sean. Twenty-four hours later (Thursday night, if you want to be specific) he called back to tell me that they'd determined I was in fact owed £194 and the amount would be added to the next week's pay. Oh, and he also promised to put me back in the teaching ring so, yay, no more teaching assisting for me!

Incidentally, the coming three weeks are exempt from my GPS (Guaranteed Pay Scheme) contract because the week of the twenty-ninth is the half-term break. This means that I get paid for what I work, however many days that might be, and nothing more. This makes me nervous - I hate the uncertainty that these weeks will bring - but there's nothing to be done for it but tread carefully on the financial front. I've already been e-mailed by Liam and given work for Tuesday (as a Year One teacher) and Wednesday (as a Year Six teacher) so if I can net just two more days it will greatly abate my worries.

Today I went with a fellow Engage teacher - Nicole, who was the teaching assistant for the other Year Six class for a few days last week - to check out Kensington Palace. The palace is the current residence of Will and Kate and a couple of other members of the Royal  Family and, once upon a time, was the birth place and home of Victoria before her ascension. It had some wonderful artifacts and artwork and included several dresses actually worn by Victoria and Lady Di, among others. Victoria, as it turns out, was rather short. The palace's gardens were extensive and beautiful - but, with the chilly, rain-laced weather they were looking a more than little Autumn-ridden. The pond across the palace was filled with ducks, swans, Canadian geese, and gulls. When we first arrived around noon people were sailing miniature sail boats in its waters but they had cleared out by the time we left a few hours later.

Once again I find I'm looking forward to tomorrow, even as unknown a quantity as it is. I can't wait to receive my assignment - I'm even looking forward to the adventure that getting there will bring. Now that I've settled in, the paychecks are coming in and I have steady internet access connecting me to my friends and family I'm feeling a lot more confident and optimistic about this entire experience. Fingers crossed that tomorrow will see me working!

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