Hello and welcome to February’s instalment of Educating Roversi’s Featured Blogger!
This month I’m really pleased to be featuring Stacey from Teaching Mum. I’m lucky enough to know Stacey personally as we trained to be teachers together. After a few years of just being Facebook friends, we now are in contact fairly frequently as we both try to progress in the blogging world. I’m very proud to have been an influence in Stacey starting Teaching Mum as I find her a funny, honest and humble writer – she really doesn’t realise how good she is! I also admire her for teaching full time as well as being mummy to The Girl and The Dude, especially as she gets very little sleep!
One of my favourite recent posts from her is A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks? which tells the hilarious tale of her birthday and a more serious post from a while ago, An open letter to my Dad, as I can relate to it.
So here she is…..
Right – Let’s do this!
1) Tell me a little more about your family…
My name is Stacey and I live with my partner Rob and two children Grace, who is four, and Zach, who turned one a couple of weeks ago. Rob and I are both teachers and our lives are very busy, often stressed, but mostly happy. It’s true when I say that I can’t really remember what life was like before we had our children – it’s like they have always been a part of our lives.
2) What are the main themes of your blog?
I can’t really pin point the main theme of my blog. I always say that it is a light-hearted look at life and parenting through the eyes of a very busy teacher, and yet rarely write about my job. I think you have to be very careful about what you write about when we are in the profession that we are in so I ensure that I remain professional at all times when it comes to writing about my career. I initially wanted to recall comical stories from my pupils (some of the kids I teach are hilarious), but then I didn’t think it was right to write about other people’s children, so that’s when I thought about writing about my own children. I am very conscious of how I come across though and don’t want to complain about my children. I am well aware of how lucky I am to have two healthy children – so that’s why I think I write my own short comings and imperfections as a mum. I write my blog posts so they read like a narrative – a bit like a story of my day. If something funny happens on a day out I think: ‘Yes, I can write about that later.’
3) Why did you begin your blog: Teaching Mum?
So, last April, I was sitting on my sofa (on maternity leave) when I received a message from you on Facebook. You told your friends that you had started a blog about parenting so I read it. I had also started reading a lot of other parenting blogs and found them both interesting and informative. I wanted to try and do something a bit different. (I have since found out that lots of other people write the way I do and are a lot better at it.) I wanted to show a real picture of what being a mother was about. So…my first blog post was about me going to the local tip and throwing away a load of old toys and rubbish from the house. My children were hardly mentioned in it at all. I first published anonymously and set up an email address, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram account that did not have my name on it. I then published another post about a treacherous trip to a local sandwich shop. I read my posts back to myself and chuckled a bit so I plucked up the courage to tell my best friend about the page. She read my posts, gave her approval and I plucked up the courage to invite other friends to ‘like’ my Facebook page.
4) What’s your favourite thing about blogging?
I adore writing. I have loved writing all my life. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be in a rock band and used to write loads of song lyrics and poems. I never showed them to anyone, because if you know me, you will know that I am somewhat lacking in the self confidence department. However, my mum used to read them and she said they were good! Anyway, I digress…it is my absolute dream to write a book one day (isn’t it everyone’s?), but lack of confidence, lack of time and lack of an original story idea means that I will probably never get this opportunity. So, what I like about blogging is that I can tell a little story in just a few short hours. I’ll tell you what though, since starting writing, I think about it ALL of the time and start to get a little stressed if I haven’t written anything for a few weeks. It can get a little obsessive!
5) What is your favourite book and why? (Difficult question for an English teacher!)
‘Of Mice and Men’ for the memories it has given me. We read it at school and I have a vivid memory of turning around (I sat at the front as I was a geek) in class and seeing all the pupils crying at the end of the story. I have taught it countless times, but never made a class cry. (Probably because George and Lennie are given broad Yorkshire accents as opposed to Californian ones – I can’t do accents!)
‘The Catcher in the Rye’ because in my late teens I completely identified with Holden Caulfield and, at times, felt a little lost.
‘The Lovely Bones’ because I thought it was exactly that – lovely. Apart from the pretty traumatic beginning. The film also ruined the memory of the book for me a little.
I am currently obsessed with the ‘Game of Thrones’ series, which is very unlike me as I don’t tend to read fantasy stories. But, the detail in the story telling is outstanding. How can one mind invent so many multi-layered characters and mystical lands?
Ultimately though, I love horror stories and psychological thrillers and have read hundreds. ‘It’, ‘The Stand’ and ‘Gerald’s Game’ by Stephen King stayed with me for a long time. I love something a little dark and twisted.
6) What is your opinion on Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate it?
I don’t really have an opinion on Valentine’s Day to be honest. We don’t buy cards for each other. Rob might buy me a box of chocolates, but I wouldn’t expect any grand gestures or anything like that. I wouldn’t really want any either. Valentine’s is all a bit commercial for my liking. Ooh, I am so cynical!
7) What’s your favourite topping on a Pancake?
Sugar and orange!
8) Will you giving up anything for lent?
No. I once gave up Facebook – which is a pathetic thing to give up. I think it can be all consuming though. I have a real love / hate relationship of the site. I think it is easy to compare yourself to others, when a lot of what you see on Facebook isn’t real life. I have now made a conscious effort to use my Facebook page to make other people smile by sharing the funny and naughty things my children say and do.
9) What do you love most about your job?
I love the fact, even if you’re having a rough day, a pupil can make you laugh so much it brings tears to your eyes. Only yesterday, a year 8 pupil had me in stitches; I couldn’t get my words out for laughing (I also couldn’t get my words out because we were studying Shakespeare…) I love how proud my pupils make me – I think teenagers are often tarred with the same brush and people always roll their eyes at me and ask me ‘how I do it’ when I tell them I teach 11 – 16 year olds. ‘They’re mostly awesome’ I tell them. I was beaming with pride a few days ago when one of my pupils was awarded some chocolate for reading over four million words in a term. He had to stand up in assembly and collect the award. I work in a school located in a working class area and Rugby League is very much the beating heart of it, so a teenage boy receiving an award for reading was probably not seen as the ‘coolest’ award going by the other pupils, but in my eyes, he was the coolest little dude in the hall that day.
10)If you weren’t a teacher, what other job would you like to do?
I have just read this question out to Rob to answer for me. His answer: Hairdresser or Dinner Lady! My answer: Rock Star or Novelist. I don’t know if I am honest. I think teaching is the only job that you can love and hate equally. I hate the stress of it, the endless marking and the fact that it takes me away from my children, but I couldn’t imagine my life without teaching because it is exciting, unpredictable and it allows me to be passionate about two things I love: Literature and correcting other people’s wrong usage of ‘Your and You’re’ on Facebook…!