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source url Frank Chalk is a teacher in a fairly poor inner city school- a school where the kids get drunk, take drugs and beat up the teachers… when they can be bothered to turn up.

ordini programmati opzioni digitali He confiscates their porn, booze and trainers, fends off angry parents and worries about the few conscientious pupils.
go to site Terrifying and hilarious, IT’S YOUR TIME YOU’RE WASTING is Chalk’s real- life diary from the front line of the modern edukashun system.
I haven’t written a book review in years. Eeeek….

iqoption email I have had this book a number of years and it is one of the few books I have read over and over again. I bought it at a time when I really wanted to be a teacher (before I saw sense). It’s Your Time You’re wasting was published by a small book publisher Monday Books, known for publishing real life books. The book narrated by Frank Chalk (not his real name, probably to save his sanity) goes through the tale of his time as a supply teacher at St Jude’s which is based in the Cherry Tree Estate. He tells us tales of sloppy staff and even sloppier school children all of this which is punctuated with descriptions of the Cherry Street estate so you get to understand why the children behave like they do. 

The story is easy to read as it is in a chatty style, there isn’t any chapters as such, there is just one tale after another all following each other (I have noticed this is the style of writing in other books Monday has published). The author doesn’t feel sorry for himself either, you just let the story wash over you as you find yourself laughing and sinking into despair at the naughty children and feeling really sorry for those poor children who are just trying to get on with life.

forexpiattaforma opzione binaria The book hit a chord with me because you can see through Frank’s eyes how the education system has failed the children. This is through two ways. One the lack of support at home. Frank visits a few children homes to tutor them and he see’s the effect of constant TV, fast food, the lack of books and interest from the parents resulting in the children being disengaged with anything that is longer than two minutes. The result of this being children who vandalise school property, not being able to understand school work and being downright nasty to anyone. You could argue that his book reinforces stereotypes, through the names of the children and the description of the council estate. But this is the reality of modern Britain as it is repeated through books like this one and on programmes on the TV such as Tough Young Teachers. So disillusioned is Frank with the school that he tells parent’s of a child to move to a better school. However, I feel that the author is realistic and what comes across well is Frank wants to teach but with the children not accepting responsibility, there doesn’t seem the point.

rencontre femme pour mariage belgique To conclude, this book is well worth a read if you want to while away an afternoon or want some escape. If you truly hate your job this book may also be of use, as by the end of reading you may think your job isn’t too bad ūüėČ

This post is about the second part of the Trek America Westerner 2 trip that I went on at the end of March/ beginning of April. Read what happened in the first seven days here ūüėÄ

Going on a trek but not sure what to pack? Read here.

Day Eight (Death Valley)
The next stop after Vegas was Death Valley. It was an awesome place to say that you have been there but I didn’t really think it was that hot! (we did go very early in the morning so that may have been why!) Not a lot happened that day due to it being another long day of driving. We stopped at a campsite (Lake Isabella/ Kearn River KOA) which was in the middle of nowhere! However,¬†that gave us a chance to chill before Yosemite!

 

 

 

Day Nine (Yosemite National Park, California)

After a long day driving, we arrived at Yosemite and went straight to Mariposa Grove which is home to the giant sequoia’s. These tree’s being true to their name were huge and the whole place had a whimsical feel to it. Afterwards, as it was late, we put our tents at the campsite and just chilled.

 

 

 

 

Day Ten (Yosemite National Park, California).
All morning it snowed. It was so thick, it is quite hard to believe that there was snow in California. I trekked up to Nevada Falls although we didn’t quite get to the falls before we turned back as the snow was falling thick and fast. We stayed in a hotel that night as it was so cold. It was that cold that the next day the camp leader informed us that the coolers had retained there ice! Although it was pretty special that we saw Yosemite in the snow, I wished that it hadn’t snowed because we didn’t get to see the park in its full glory.

 

 

 

 

Day Eleven (San Francisco)
We were all excited as we were heading to San Fran! Before the trip, I had heard others rave about San Francisco however it wasn’t a place I was thinking ‘yeah I really want to go there!’.
We headed over to the IHOP for pancakes American style. It was such a disappointment, as the pancakes tasted really soggy. bleurgh. Once we were all fed we travelled over to the Golden Gate Bridge for the obligatory¬†pictures. We stayed in a hostel which was in the Tenderloin district which is one of the poorest parts of San Fran. One thing which I wasn’t prepared for in san Fran but also California was seeing the amount of homeless people on the street. A lot of them were high on drugs as well and I didn’t feel safe at times. On the first night, my partner and I along with some of the trek decided to go on the sunset cruise around the Golden Gate bridge. It cost roughly $45 dollars each and was really good value for money with unlimited drinks (including alcoholic drinks) and nibbles. It was a really special moment that I will remember for a long time.

 

Day Twelve (San Francisco)
My Birthday! My partner and I went to Alcatraz for the day. Alcatraz in a round about way was an unexpected highlight. The history of the island (I knew it was a prison but didn’t know about the native American Indians occupying the island after). We went on the tour where you are given a headset. Again I recommend this as you learn so much about Alcatraz and the tour was spoken by people who had lived on Alcatraz- this ranged from prisoners to guards to children of the prison guards. I had a nice Indian meal in the evening to celebrate my birthday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Thirteen (Monterey Bay and the Coastal Highway).
This day was quite sad because we all knew we would be leaving soon! We started the morning leaving San Francisco early and heading to Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay is famous for cannery, fishing and John Steinbeck’s famous books such as Cannery Row. It was very quiet and a world away from the West Coast I have gotten to know. Our route was down Big Sur on Highway 1. I had never heard of Big Sur before but the whole route contained stunning sea views. We took a walk across the path to McWay falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The McWay falls were gorgeous. It is essentially a waterfall falling onto a beach which is inaccessible to the public. It is one of those little places where you would never go there as it isn’t a tourist must see you hear about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 14  (Venice Beach and Hometime)
Home time ūüôĀ We got driven to Venice Beach and had a couple of hours around there. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Venice Beach. It was very busy with street groups and people selling items everywhere. On the beach, people were continuously¬†roller blading, running or walking. I also got to see Muscle Beach. I have always been intrigued with the area after seeing it on Don’t Tell the Bride and I can tell you I wouldn’t get married there! We stopped off for doughnuts and then we all bid farewell and got dropped off at our hotels.

 

What did I think of the trip?
I am really glad I did the Trek America trip. I never did the ‘Gap Year’ experience so to have a¬†taste¬†of it for two weeks was fantastic. I didn’t find the camping too bad- at the end of the day it’s camping it’s not going to be comfortable or glamorous. It is camping with tents and not hostelling, Trek America do make it clear on the¬†website, but some people on our trek did not know this.
I definitely felt that I had experienced the west coast.

A couple of things I do wish I saw was the Neon Sign graveyard in Vegas, Had another day to experience San Fran (I was poorly throughout San Fran and stayed in bed the afternoon of the second day) and stayed at the very tacky Madonna Inn!

I will go into the experience of camping in another post but felt that the logistics of the trek were fine. In terms of we didn’t spend horrendously long times in the van or too long in a rubbish place. If you do want to experience Los Angeles properly however I would book either an extra day or two before or after the trek. I didn’t do this and wish I had as we literally drove through LA, Beverly Hills and Hollywood and I wanted to go on the famous star’s home tour and try and get closer to the famous Hollywood sign.

Are you booking a Trek America tour or heading to the West Coast?

 

Before I went on my Trek America trip I spent a while busy googling what I need to pack. Bizarrely considering the number of people that have done Trek America there are not many posts on what to pack so I have added my thoughts below:

Head torches

An idea I got off one of the blogs and I did find the torch extremely useful at night in the tents when I was getting changed or trying to find something (usually my glasses!). An addition to the head torch was a small light that you could hook to the loop at the top of the tent. This provided enough light for the whole tent which was perfect for being able to look at the other person without blinding them in the face with the head torch!

Extension Cable

Genius idea from the other half. Perfect for charging numerous appliances at once at the campsite. All the Brits used ours.

Decent sleeping bags

My last sleeping bag being a purple one from Woolworths circa 2004 wasn’t going to cut it in America. On the Trek America website, there are instructions on what type of sleeping bag you should take. James brought extra large versions which were so big that we both managed to fit into one with loads of room to spare. Not only did we have extra room but we were more comfortable than some others on the trip who had summer sleeping bags.

Normal sized toiletry bottles

Considering you will be sleeping in tents for the majority of the holiday and will be here there and everywhere. You will definitely shower so often that you will save money by buying just normal sized bottles. A toiletry bag that you can hang up is also a plus. I just bought a cheap one from Morrisons.

Baby wipes

An item I nearly didn’t bother to bring and I am so glad that I had. I used baby wipes all the time as they came in handy with all the dust that was around at the campsites. Also at certain stops where there was nowhere to wash your hands hand sanitiser comes in handy.

Walking Shoes

Walking shoes were a must in Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Normal trainers just don’t cut it especially in Yosemite where depending on what walk you do ( I went to Nevada Falls) it is so rocky and parts so steep with no handrail that is safer with sturdy shoes.

Paracetamol, plasters and cold and flu tablets.

I had a horrendous cold and felt rotten on the second week of my trek. I actually used all the cold and flu tablets up and in CVS I found medication to be so expensive so it’s worth taking some from home.

A bag with wheels

My bag was so heavy that there was no way I would be able to carry it in my hands. It just takes all the hassle away from lugging it around.

A pillow

I brought this in Walmart once we arrived in LA. The pillow really helps get the best night sleep you can in the tent.

A battery charging unit for your phone

I forgot to take mine and although there was ample opportunity to get your phone charged at the campsites they are always handy as long days in the van listening to music drains the battery pretty quickly.
There we go all the little extras you wouldn’t think about buying. Has anyone been on a Trek America trip or is thinking about going on one?

The ones I have read however have been a real mixture of good and bad. As you will see below:

Wild- Cheryl Strayed

Wild tells the story of Cheryl Strayed a woman who after her mother died from cancer decided to trek the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) to help find herself. Cheryl had no prior hiking experience and the PCT trail is one of the hardest in America.
Therefore for Cheryl to get through the trail meant that anything is possible. ¬†Her story was raw and didn’t hold back. The descriptions of the wildlife she walked through made me want to go and experience the PCT for myself and by understanding her life story you can see why she made the mistakes she did.

Since I Don’t Have You – Louise Candlish

Possibly the worst book I have read in a while. This book was so bad I have had to refer back to it to remember the main character’s name! ¬†Rachel makes a pact with two of her best friends Jenny and Marial that each other would look after children if anything happened to each other. Fast forward a few years the children are six and at school. One day Rachel’s child goes on a school trip and dies in a minibus crash.
Therefore to escape Rachel decides to fly to Santorina (she has always been interested in Santorina because her mother was born there). To keep her pact she decides to hire a private investigator (creepy I know!) to check up on her friends and their children. The book was just boring I wasn’t interested in the descriptions of Greece, I found the whole private investigator thing really didn’t work and the way it was written, it was a drag to get through. I didn’t even finish the book. One for the Donation box!

The Children’s Act- Ian McEwan

This book follows a QC who has to make a difficult decision regarding a religious woman and son’s young life. The book was better then I thought it would be. Written in Ian McEwan’s signature style where you pretty much have to concentrate through the entire book ( it’s not a light read!) it delivers a book that is a mixture of religion, love and morals.

Tales From The Ringroad- BBC

Ok it’s not a book it is a radio series on BBC Radio 4. Essentially a different ringroad in the country is chosen each week and several people tell their story which has a connection with the ringroad.One episode was about the ringroad in Coventry. A man who was driving on the road one night got hit by a car who was driving in the opposite direction. Another story based in Wolverhampton was about a man who lived on the ringroad in a tent. It’s one to listen when you are on the commute home. ¬†It does sound a bit out there (stay with me on this!) but it isn’t that bad and is quite interesting. If all else fails the soothing voice will put you to sleep.

 

 

I picked this book up cheap in the local charity shop (as a lot of her books
these days are). The book is about with four sisters (Annie, Candy, Sabrina and Tammy) who all come together on the4th July every year to celebrate. All the sisters are successful (as the majority of women in Danielle Steel’s books are) therefore they all live this perfect life. A car accident occurs and their mother is killed instantly. Annie who was in the car with her mother survives but due to her injuries becomes blind, the sisters on learning this decide to live with Annie for a year to help her adjust.

Unfortunately I just couldn’t finish the book. I understand that Danielle Steel’s book is an escape from reality but there are only so many books about TV producers, lawyers and famous models I could take. If you are familiar with Danielle Steel’s books you may well have noticed the repetition of information in this case Annie being an artist and Candy a model. We KNOW THIS twenty times already! To me it shows that she is trying to pad the book out and it got to the point where I felt like I was wasting my time, therefore I stopped reading soon after the sisters moved into the flat in New York. I am almost certain that Annie will find someone lovely to fall in love with and become something other than an artist. This book
just didn’t do it for me therefore it’s one for the charity shop.