Friday, 23 April 2010

Bums on Seats!

When I decided to open ACT I knew what I wanted and what I didn't want. I suppose I had a vision of what I thought I could achieve - even though, in hindsight, it was a rather altruistic vision.

I didn't want a bum's on seat mentality. I wanted to 'see' my learners not a £ pound sign sat in class. I didn't want to wave goodbye to the learner at the end of their course. I wanted to offer an all round service that would see them progress through courses and training until they were equipped with the right skills & confidence to gain employment....Did you know I recently bought a Bridge?

I suppose the Teachers who read this will be defending my dream but the business men among you will be shaking their heads in disgust and muttering 'stupid cow' under their breath. It's a good job I have thick skin.

Last week I had a visit from a Business Link advisor (we'll call him Bob for the sake of anonymity) and my life changed drastically as a result of his visit. I'm not going to moan and complain about Bob even though he took my dreams, shook them and then threw them back in my face.

Was it cruel? Undoubtedly...Was he right?....Definately......Was it the wake up call I desperately needed?....Yes, yes, yes....Thank you Bob (you know who you are).

So now I've had my wake up call and I've had to rethink. Am I now a hardened business woman who envisages £ signs sitting in class? I don't think so. I still retain a slight blush of pink to my glasses. But, I have taken on board what was said and have spent my time more pro-actively this week.

I grew a pair of you know whats! I now say NO and mean it. We have opened a charity for the altruistic side of my nature ( or my expensive hobby as Bob called it! I have learnt to say NO....and mean it. Bob will be proud. I bit my tongue and did the necessary networking (which I hate). I smiled, chatted, handed out leaflets and even gave an impromptu presentation.

It has made me reflect on what I've been doing since January. Teachers are always taught to reflect, learn and improve and I do, where teaching is concerned. Why did I not carry it over to the business side?

Has the well aimed and executed kick in the ass worked? Well my inbox is full and so is my calendar for the next couple of weeks.

Thanks Bob - keep up the good work x

Friday, 15 January 2010

Not Enough Hours in a Day

I suppose I should start with Happy New Year. I don't think I said Happy Christmas either.

It was all an inconvenience this year. The centre opened on January 4th and I spent nearly all of the holidays covered in paint wasn't all on my clothes either. I've been washing gloss and emulsion out of my hair for weeks.

But, we opened. no grand opening (not yet anyway), It was freezing cold without the ceiling tiles so my teeth were chattering for a week before the new tiles arrived. The centre is now cosy. I spend so much time there that I've made it a home from home. I have taken things with me from various parts of my life. A wood and stone calendar from Cyprus, a picture created by Fluffy (my friend) and a mouse mat from Trina(CYprus)cold, ...I feel at home. Personally I think students like this as it is welcoming and not intimidating.

The weather interfered with the initial opening days. It was murder getting to work as our street, even now, is covered with ice....of course I live on a hill.
However, potential students have arrived at the centre asking about various courses. I was quite impressed as I haven't done any advertising yet.

I spent 3 days this week writing policies (note the use of a plural)..yes POLICIES...not one, not 2, not even 3...I wrote 14 policies.
How time consuming. How boring. What a shame that society has developed into a race that has to 'cover their back'. So I typed away while mutter 'Camel Crap' under my breath, (Anyone that knows me personally will know that I was muttering much more than that and that most of it is a lot stronger :)).

So the policies are in place but I'm bound to have missed one and will just have to plead ignorance if and when I get inspected. Although I am considering getting a Critical Friend in first. Obviously there is a price attached but don't get me going on the subject of money, fees, business rates etc etc etc

As you can no doubt guess it is very expensive running a training centre and especially setting everything up. Costs and invoices are still flooding in. I had all the fire extinguishers put in place this week. This was something I forgot in the cash flow forecast...along with a handful of other costs. But, I have a fire inspection on Wednesday and at least I will be legal!

I'm up early today to fit my personal cleaning of my home and ironing of clothes into my ACT schedule. This implies that ACT has taken over my would be correct in thinking this. Am I bothered? No I'm not. I love it. It is not busy and buzzing with people yet but it is getting there.

I must slot the Blog into my timetable..yes I have a timetable. My life now revolves round appointments, Initial Assessments and of course hospital visits too. I haven't been discharged yet although I do feel miles better. I've also stopped smoking with the help of miracle drug Champix. I feel OK and am not climbing the walls with the need for Nicotine.

I have tried to balance work and my disabilities. I shut the centre early on a Tuesday and Friday. This early closing was supposed to be time for me to rest but Tuesday has turned into private tuition time. I now have 3 dyslexic university studentsand have had enquiries about GCSE tuition too. Friday ios still free (POETS day). I sleep the afternoon away but I don't think it will be long before Friday is kidapped from me.

I know I have a disability but I can still work. Unfortunately too much is not good and ,of course, I never did anything in moderation. I am an 'all or nothing girl'. Andrew tries to moderate my activities but I somehow I always end up doing something that puts me on my bum...literally! Do I have something to prove? I think I do but not just to everyone else but to myself too. I have a disability but I don't think that makes me disabled....or am I in denial?

Disable or not I've still got to do the ironing....I hate that will be my Saturday morning chore...enjoy your weekend people.