New Year – New Challenges for Justgiving

31 12 2008

Tomorrow (New Years Day) I will be completing (hopefully!) my first challenge of the year to raise money for the school I worked in in Malawi.

I wish to raise money to build a teacher’s house in the village so that there can be another qualified teacher employed in the school.  At the moment there are 7 classes, with only three qualified teachers and 3 volunteer teachers.  These qualified teachers include the head teacher and the deputy head teacher.  The PEA (Education advisor for the area) would also like Gwengwe Primary and one or two others in the area to be extended to have the full 8 stage classes they should have so this is another reason for needing another qualified teacher.  With these schools going up to St8 this would also mean the possibility of a secondary school being built in the area which would be of benefit to many.  I believe then that the building of a teacher’s house would be a sustainable thing to do for the village and surrounding area.  Teachers do not generally like to work in rural areas and female teachers are often tied to what/where their husbands are working but a teacher’s house being available does help to encourage them to rural areas.

Castlefield Primary have just established a link through the organisation Link Community Development that I was in Malawi with and they will be helping with some fundraising but it is a relatively small school and I would neither want, nor expect, that they would make any more than a contribution. 

I am going to try out a couple of new challenges this year to help raise money, and one or two that I have done before!


1st Jan – Edinburgh Triathlon

25th April – Highland Fling (53 mile ultra marathon from Milngavie to Tyndrum on the West Highland Way)

31st May – Edinburgh Marathon

12th August – Devil of the Highlands (42 mile ultramarathon from Tyndrum to Fort William on the WHW)

There will also be an autumn marathon (not decided which one yet), possibly another triathlon and whatever else I can think up.  Ideas welcome – but please not anything that involves heights!  I have never done a triathlon or ultra marathon before so these are brand new things for me – and a bit scary!

I am going back to Malawi to my school and village this summer and would love to go to Tanzania and climb Mount Kiliminjaro afterwards as one of my challenges but I do not know if I will have enough cash to go (a new kitchen in January is going to eat into my travel savings!)

20 miles on the WHW, training for the Fling

20 miles on the WHW, training for the Fling

My training for the triathlon has been patchy to say the least, some would say non-existent but I am still determined to do it as it is the first thing I am doing to raise money.  I have got into a bit of a habit of swimming first thing in the morning but have had no practice in a 50 metre pool.  Cycling training in winter has been really hard, as I am never home in daylight so it is only really weekends that I would have had the chance to practice and I was not very good at getting time for that.  The last few times I have tried to go out my chain has burst and got stuck  halfway out each tme so that involved some walking with the bike, phonecalls and some help on xmas eve  from a nice man on his bike stopping to help me.  And then the bit that should have been easiest could turn into a nightmare!  I have not run in 3 1/2 weeks as I had been having pain behind my right knee and have been to the sports pyhsio at Hampden who said it was a weakness in my right glute and hamstring, gave me exercises to build up the muscle and told me not to run!  I kept quiet about the triathlon.  So hopefully the pain will be gone when I run tomorrow!  I won’t even go into the traumas of what to wear at various points!  Not the best preparation all in all but hopefully it will be a laugh – and not too cold in Edinburgh!

I have set up a justgiving site, follow the links/RSS feed on the right hand side, and I would really appreciate any donations through the year, as I attempt to reach a total of £2000.  I have never tried to raise so much before, although I know there are many people who reguarly raise much more than that.  I am not very good at asking though!


10 12 2008

The Thursday session of my blogging and wiki twilight went much better.  Most people came back again which I thought was admirable for a second twilight and considering the mess I thought I had made of the first one!  I explained what I thought I had done wrong the first night and gave them the chance to look through wikis and blogs before we went on to actually doing a wiki.  I also explained how I had blogged about it so using mine as a form of self-evaluation.  I also went through the various instructions in smaller bits and gave more time for trying them out. 

The evaluations and comments that I got at the end were good and this made me feel a lot better.  I am not sure they would have been good after just Monday but I changed my practice and this made a big difference for the second day.   I also enjoyed the second day a lot more as I knew I was doing it better.

I passed my first assignment for my first management and leadership in education module with nothing stated that needed attention.  I may post it at some point.  Even better though my sis-in-law passed both her crits for her first placement in the PGCE course, and passed them brilliantly with lots of effectives and not a thing to work on or any points on her action plan.  And that is with a 15 month old son!  I don’t know how she is doing it as the PGCE was hard enough with no-one depending on you!

Teaching blogging

3 12 2008

I feel like I have something to self-evaluate on for the first time in a while.  On Monday I ran a blogging and wiki twilight and was not really happy with how it went.  First of all I thought I was doing this same course to different people on Monday and Thursday so was trying to squash everything in to 2 hours and only realised about 1/2 hour before we finished that they were coming back on Thursday!  So I did not need to rush! 

This would have meant that I could have spent a lot longer on letting them look through blogs and discussing what they might use one for before actually starting to set one up.  As it was I just went through mine, a primary one and a secondary one when I should then have given them time to see what other people use them for as I realised later that some people did not really know why/how they would use one which was not their fault.

Apart from that I probably did the best I could with the range of abilities there were in the group.  Each person got one set up and was able to add in a post with a picture.  I showed them all how to manage their posts and add tags.  I then showed those who wanted it how to add in some of the easier widgets etc so it was very like having a class and giving the ones who were able to do it more activities to do and going round giving extra help to those who needed it.  I found it difficult though and although glad to be getting the chance to change my practice on Thursday and do what I should have done on Monday I am also worried I made it too difficult for some people.