A Week In The Life Of A Primary School Teacher- 5 more working days to go!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my life as a primary school teacher. I currently work at a primary school teaching 7-9 year olds. I have worked for two years with 6-7 years, 1 year with 7-9 and now I’m returning to my favourite age! My training posts on this subject were really successful and so therapeutic for me, therefore I’ve decided to continue posting on the topic. I will not be naming any children, or the school where I work. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind! Bookish goodness returns as normal Monday-Saturday!

The tiredness is real. I’m going into the 8th week of this half term tomorrow. I’m glad to say it hasn’t dragged like I thought it would, but I am SO tired. This week coming is going to be very full with our carol concert tomorrow, Christmas lunch, Christmas party, celebration assemblies and general Christmas activity wonderful-ness. Is that a word? It is now.

By the end of this week, I will have had lunch with every child in the class. ❤  It is so important for me to do this because I truly believe it’s having a massive impact on my relationships with the children. Speaking of relationships with my class, I’m going to a professional pantomime today to see two of my class who are part of the dance team. I’m so excited to see them do their thing. I know they’re super excited that I’m going to see them. I think it’s going to make my teacher heart very happy.

I’m looking forward to a fun week ahead, even though I think it’s going to feel a bit like crowd control and not teaching! 🙂

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Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3)

Father Christmas and Me (Christmas Series, #3)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Christmas

Synopsis:

It isn’t always easy, growing up as a human in Elfhelm, even if your adoptive parents are the newly married Father Christmas and Mary Christmas.

For one thing, Elf School can be annoying when you have to sing Christmas songs everyday – even in July – and when you fail all your toy-making tests. Also it can get very, very cold.

But when the jealous Easter Bunny and his rabbit army launch an attack to stop Christmas, it’s up to Amelia, her new family and the elves to keep Christmas alive. Before it’s too late…

Thoughts:

I am super pleased that I had the idea of binge-reading Matt Haig’s Christmas series. I have been absolutely loving it. Before reading this series, I knew Matt Haig was a wonderful writer but this has fully cemented that fact for me. Someone that can write so well for children AND adults is pretty impressive in my eyes. Gushing over with, let’s move on with the review.

Father Christmas and Me centres around Amelia, Father Christmas and Mary (yes Mary, Mary Christmas!) Amelia is living in Elfhelm with Father Christmas and Mary. She’s finding it hard to adapt to life in Elfhelm though. School is different, she looks incredibly different and the weather is always cold. She also becomes a target of a local newspaper and a horrible elf named Father Vogol. Father Vogol is determined to get Amelia out of Elfham. Added to that, the Easter Bunny is feeling pretty resentful… he’ll do anything to spoil Christmas and with Father Vogol on his side, he might just do it!

I absolutely loved this final instalment in the trilogy. Amelia is such a strong character. She’s had a hard life but is still incredibly resilient and is determined to fight evil and save Christmas again. There’s so much to be enjoyed in this action packed tale. It’s very clever and captivating.

I’m going to miss the wonderful characters in this trilogy who I have definitely loved all the way through. I think Amelia is a great character for young people to look up to. Father and Mary Christmas are so wonderfully loving. I absolutely adore The Truth Pixie. Father Vogol is so fun to dislike too. I highly recommend this series, if you’re looking for a fun, engaging, festive read then this trilogy could be for you.

Look out for my review of The Truth Pixie on Monday. I couldn’t resist getting it!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An incredibly heart-warming trilogy!

Talking About ‘Only Child’ with Bibliobeth!

Only Child

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

We all went to school that Tuesday like normal. Not all of us came home.

When the unthinkable happens, six-year-old Zach is at school. Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, he is too young to understand that life will never be the same again.

Afterwards, the once close-knit community is left reeling. Zach’s dad retreats. His mum sets out to seek revenge. Zach, scared, lost and confused, disappears into his super-secret hideout to try to make sense of things. Nothing feels right – until he listens to his heart . . .

But can he remind the grown-ups how to love again?

CHRISSI: What were your first impressions of this book?

BETH: Wow. As soon as I read the initial few chapters I have to admit, I found it a struggle to put it down. It begins with Zach and his teacher in a closet desperately hiding from a gunman in their school with numerous other children and it was so powerful and moving I had trouble catching my breath at points. I have such strong opinions on gun violence myself and to read a book about a school shooting was poignant and troubling. It certainly left its impression on me.

BETH: As a teacher yourself, how was the reading experience of Only Child for you?

CHRISSI: Absolutely terrifying. Absolutely. It is my worst fear. I can’t even begin to imagine something this awful happening in my classroom which I try to create as a home away from home. Like many other educators, our classroom is our home and a place for the children to feel safe. A teacher likes to control their classroom and rightly so. Something this horrific makes you lose control and that is terrifying. I hope I am never in the position where I have to save my children’s lives. I’m not sure I could go back to the classroom if that happened to me. I’m in awe of educators that do return to the classroom. I can’t even begin to imagine how much strength that takes. Gun crime is horrific and I feel blessed that I work in a country where this kind of crime is incredibly rare. It doesn’t mean that dangerous things wouldn’t happen in the classroom. We’ve even had to develop a lock down policy, just in case, which is a terrifying idea. It really would be my worst nightmare.

Excuse my little rant. Aside from the fear it gave me, this book was utterly compelling to read. I was really impressed with Zach’s narration. How clever to tell the story from his point of view. It’s horrifying what children go through when this happens in their safe place. 😦

CHRISSI: Many books have been written about gun crime, but rarely from the point of view of a child as young as Zach. What did you make of Zach’s narration?

BETH: That’s true! I never realised that before. I think writing it from the point of view of a child was an incredibly clever thing for the author to do. In a way, it made it more horrific as you were seeing it directly through a child’s eyes and although in some instances, Zach came across a little older than his years, I think these parts were necessary so we could feel the full impact of what he has been through, how he continues to suffer and how he manages to pull himself and his family through the other side.

BETH: How do you think Zach, his mother and his father differed in their experiences of grief?

CHRISSI: Zach, his mother and his father definitely differed in their experiences of grief. Grief affects us in all in different ways. Zach has nightmares, bed-wetting and feels guilt because initially he feels his life will be better without his brother. Zach’s father retreats into work. He tries to be there for Zach as much as he can. Zach’s mother is initially very shocked and then her shock turns to seeking revenge and justice for her son.

CHRISSI: Do you think this book should have been longer?

BETH: For me, I felt it was the perfect length. I don’t think there was anything else the author could have done or said – I think she got her point across and it ended on a rather hopeful note for the future which was pleasant to read amidst all the darkness and despair.

BETH: Reading the Magic Tree House books aloud “to Andy” helps Zach cope with his grief. Which books have helped you through difficult times in your life?

CHRISSI: One of the most powerful books I’ve read that have helped me is Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive. I was absolutely amazed and how Matt Haig just ‘got’ me. I believe I have suffered from anxiety since I was younger. Matt’s words were the only words that I’ve really connected with. I felt like he understood what was going on in my head which is a very powerful thing.

CHRISSI: Should Zach have returned to school earlier?

BETH: Absolutely not. He had obvious PTSD about the terrifying incident that he had to go through and was amazingly resilient considering how he suffered. I know if it was me, I’d have trouble going back into that situation, especially if I was still having nightmares so a child as young as Zach was certainly shouldn’t have been forced into going back before he was ready. Yes, it’s important to move on and realise that it was a rare occurrence that was unlikely to happen again but the extent of the trauma that people go through in these situations is not realised enough, in my opinion.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would definitely. I was really impressed with this book.

Would WE recommend it?

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon

This fairy tale is all about a man and his wife that were so poor that their children didn’t have any shoes and went to bed early. One winter’s evening, the man heard some taps at his window. He went outside to investigate and it was a white bear. He asked whether he could help the bear and the bear said that he would help the man if he gave him one of his daughters. The bear would make the man rich. The man thought about it but said that he couldn’t give away one of his daughters. The bear began to walk away but he head a voice. It was Eva, the man’s youngest daughter. She said she’d go with the bear if the bear made her dad rich. The bear told Eva to climb onto his back to keep her warm.

The bear took Eva through the forest. Inside a cave was a warm fire and dinner waiting. After dinner, the bear took Eva to a room with a four poster bed and pillows. Just before falling asleep, Eva heard somebody come into the room. She asked if it was the bear but all she heard was a gentle snore.

Time passed and Eva spent more and more time with the bear. She grew really happy with him and began to love him but she did miss her family. He told her she could visit her family with him but not to listen to any of her mother’s advice as that would bring her bad luck. Eva and her family had a wonderful reunion. She told them about the bear and the visitor that came into her room at night. Her mother advised her to light and candle whilst the visitor slept so that he could have a look at him.

That night, Eva ignored what the bear had told her and lit a candle when the visitor came. she was surprised to see a handsome prince lying by her bed. As she leant over him, some candlewax fell onto him. The prince woke up and was annoyed with Eva. He explained to her that his stepmother had bewitched her. He had to love with her for a year without being seen to break the curse. Now he had to marry the stepmother’s daughter who was a troll princess! The prince said he could be found in a castle that was east of the sun and west of the moon. Then the prince disappeared.

Eva set off to find the castle. She walked for days until she came across an old woman carrying a golden apple. The woman did not know where to find the castle, but she gave Eva the golden apple. Eva walked on and met another old woman who was carrying a golden comb. Again, the woman didn’t know where to find the castle but she offered Eva the golden comb.  The next woman that Eva came across was sitting at a golden spinning wheel. The woman told Eva that only the North Wind knew how to get to the castle. She gave Eva the golden spinning wheel.

Eva searched until she found the North Wind. The North Wind took Eva up to the castle and blew her beneath the castle window. The troll princess really wanted the golden apple and Eva asked to stay the night with the prince as a trade. The troll princess agreed but gave the prince a sleeping potion. The next day the troll princess asked for the golden comb, but again a potion had been administered to the prince. By the third day, the troll princess was after the golden spinning wheel. The prince was suspicious of his troll princess and only pretended to take the potion. Eva was delighted to see the prince awake and told him what had happened.

The prince told Eva that she could save him. He told his stepmother that he would marry the girl who could wash the candlewax off his shirt. The troll princess made it filthy. As soon as Eva touched the shirt it became clean again. The prince said he would marry Eva and the stepmother and the troll princess were so angry they exploded on the spot!

Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Uncle Martin

The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Christmas #2)

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

Thoughts:

I absolutely loved this follow up to the wonderful The Boy Called Christmas. Matt Haig truly writes beautiful, magical Christmas stories. I highly recommend picking them up even if you are an adult. We all like a bit of magic at Christmas time, right?

This story picks up during the 19th century and Christmas is approaching. Father Christmas is getting ready to deliver to the world and bring joy, as he loves to do. Trouble happens up in the North and he finds out that the elves are in trouble. He needs a lot of magic to get through it. Meanwhile, the first girl to receive a present, Amelia, is on her own. She has been orphaned. The only friend she has is a cat and even then they end up being parted. Amelia is certainly losing hope and that is the thing that magic runs on. With appearances from Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens, this book really is action packed.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas is so heart-warming. It has some darker themes which I think are important, especially because life isn’t always sweetness and light. It’s so accessible for young children, yet it still utterly appealing for adults too. It barely took me any time to read at all. It’s perfect for curling up with on a cold winter’s day. I think these books are timeless and definitely deserve to be part of a festive collection.

Feel free to come back to visit my blog on Saturday for the review of the third book in the series Father Christmas and Me. 

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I actually preferred this book to the first in the series which is quite rare for me! A wonderful festive read.

This Week In Books #136

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

NOW-

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

I am only 30 pages into this book, but so far so good. It’s about a girl that is struggling with her mental health. She is offered the opportunity to go to Camp Reset.

THEN-

Father Christmas and Me (Christmas Series, #3)

I finished this book last night. I absolutely adored it! This series by Matt Haig is so magical. ❤

NEXT-

The Truth Pixie (Christmas Series, #3.5)

I didn’t intend to read this book this month as I’ve read a lot of Matt Haig, but I can’t resist it.

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie- Bookish Pet Peeves

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week’s Top Ten list is a Top Ten freebie! We’re allowed to create our own list or use an old topic. I thought I’d go for 10 Bookish Pet Peeves that I have, so here we go…

  1. Questionable second hand books– I am not a big fan of second hand books. I like my books to be pristine. I do hate it though when I do get a second hand book and there’s awful stains or horrible smells. Yuck!
  2. Breaking the spine of a book– When my Gran reads one of my books, she literally bends the spine right back. I hear it creak. Argh!
  3. Series that have millions (exaggeration!) of books– I don’t have time to commit to long series. I prefer to read standalone books these days.
  4. Too much detail– I like a bit of detail but I do like to use my imagination.
  5. Whiny characters– My eyes tend to hurt from rolling them too much.
  6. Mistakes in printed books/e-books– I completely understand when there are errors in an ARC, but when a book has gone through so much to be published, I find it frustrating when errors haven’t been picked up.
  7. People that say the printed book is dead– No, no it’s not. I hope it never is. I’m not old-fashioned because I prefer a real book.
  8. Controlling behaviour said to be romance– Ick. Just no. Controlling is controlling and it makes my skin crawl. It’s not romantic.
  9. Cover changes mid series- Why? I want them all to match!
  10. Student-teacher relationships– As a teacher myself this just sits uncomfortably with me.

Do we share any bookish pet peeves? Let me know! Also, feel free to link me to your Top Ten post so I can have a look at what you’ve done!