Saturday, 28 December 2013

2014- The A* (ok first class) challenge

2014 starts in... 3 days!
and by 10 June 2014 I intend to be on a plane to America having achieved a first class in my degree.
That means i'm going to be putting in a heck of a lot of work over the next few months.

I've just stumbled across : AChic Lifestyle. Sanam challenged herself in September 2013 to achieve straight A*s in her A Levels, having previously achieved Ds and Bs. But she didn't want to go it alone.
That's where I come in.

I have got 6 months to work my ass off and I'll be joining Sanam and a fair few others on the : A* Challenge. For me, that means opening my results in July (upon my return from America) to read that I have achieved over 70% and have obtained a first class honours in my degree. 

Don't get me wrong, I will be over the moon with a 2.1 that's a damn good degree. But why not go all out?

I'm feeling especially motivated today, I wrote 1000 words (not necessarially good words but they weren't nonsense either!) and I am determined to keep that attitude up. I might take my birthday off though.. what do you think?

So, it's written now in black and white. I'll be updating my progress on about 28th of every month and I've already signed up for Sanam's Grade A workbook and started downloading useful apps (and I'm sure I'll use my filofax or two at some point... all in the name of organisation). But I'm also asking that people keep me accountable: nag me!!!! monthly, weekly, daily, hourly ... whatever works. nag me on here or on twitter: @lmgeorge92 and then you can share in my success in July (sorry you can't ALL come to my graduation).

Here we goooooooo

L x

Monday, 11 November 2013

The observation- a reflection

I decided the best way to write a reflection was via blog post. So here goes:

On Friday I had my observed lesson for placement (this was the final step in qualifying me to be a sex and relationships educator)

I was nervous! Firstly, I slept through my alarm! I hate feeling like I'm running late but my housemate assured me that when she saw me I looked like I'd been getting ready for hours! Thank goodness!

I was leading the HIV lesson for year 9s and had seen the lesson lead by a more experienced worker before.
A massive thank you to Gareth for bringing me water- when I'm presenting and nervous I wind up needing to drink a lot more water then normal!

All in all the lesson went well and I passed my observation with high scores (4s and 5s out of 5).

So what did I do well?
I circulated during group activities to make sure the groups were focussing on task and in order to generate discussion. The final activity was getting them to have a go at putting a condom on our smurf penises (they're bright blue!) and the discussion with my half of the class was really good and I felt confident talking to them!
I also felt that I was good at getting them involved and running with their input especially during the drama activity!

What didn't I do so well?
I was intentionally meant to mess up taking off the condom during my demo but I ended up ripping it so I took the bottom ring off and the condom stayed on- I literally don't think I could do that again if I tried!

Secondly, the class were a lower ability set and some of them were really easily distracted- I definitely need to work on how to deal with that for when it happens again! I think the only way to do that really is to observe others in action and develop my confidence!

Confidence is a massive thing for me. (I know some will be very surprised by this!!) I just get really nervous and feel like I haven't done as well as I could have done. However, I've got at least 10 lessons booked in between now and Christmas- by January I should be a pro!

What would I change?
I'd slow down a bit - the lesson itself fit almost perfectly into the time allocated but I could have afforded slowing down a bit and focussing myself. A couple of times I realised I'd skipped ahead a bit and had to double back.

Knowledge is power- Gareth kept apologising for interrupting when questions were being asked but to be honest, it came in quite useful! I don't know if I could answer them all yet. First of all: I feel like it's ok to say I don't know but I'll try and find out for you to a young person (or to anyone really!) secondly, the more I do lessons and observe other people the more i'll learn! Besides, I love learning! Finally, I found an answer sheet afterwards! I guess that's about knowing your resources before you start!

I was also really impressed by the teacher in the room who came up at the end and gave me some advice: when explaining a group task state the numbers for the group at the end of the explanation or they start organising their groups and stop listening! Good advice!

And lastly, I'd make sure my board pen was clearer- turns out green doesn't show up too great!

Overall, for a first time on my own I rely didn't do too bad and I do just need to be more confident in myself!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Heart of Youth Work

It;s been over a year since I last posted on this blog. That's very bad! 
But, this year for placement I've been asked to write monthly reflections so I thought what better way to do it then via my blog? (Which, incidentally I said I'd do in first year.. but third year is my year of doing all the things I said I'd do in first year & second year and never got round to! Like start my assignments 4 weeks before they're due. Anyway, I digress.) 
Also, why does blogger set Times New Roman as default? I hate it.

This summer I really struggled with the concept of coming back to Chester for final year. I had a great "temp" job in recruitment, I felt settled, I love being near my family (and pets) and my gorgeous house. In terms of youth work, excited as I am about my placement (which I will detail more in another blog, later) I wasn't excited to be doing the course any more  I was doubting if I was even meant to be doing youth work any more, if I was even any good at it- was I better off in recruitment permanently?  or expanding my wedding planning qualification? or starting midwifery training now? 

But, I figured that I was already paying rent on my (lovely, like seriously lovely) uni house and I'd worked hard for two years, why jack it in now? So I packed my little yellow car up and came back to Chester.

Week three and I was still struggling. Our Church sermon that week was about work and studies and how sometimes God might be calling us in a different direction (aha!)- so I got someone to pray with me and expectantly waited for a sign.

Fast forward to Wednesday's lecture (I promise the point is coming soon): Professional Practice. One of our tasks was to write a letter to a little person we loved. I chose my nephew, he's 2 and a half and the apple of my eye. Without over sharing, my letter effectively said I hoped he knew how loved he was and would remember that for years to come, I also hoped he's learn from his own mistakes, know how well supported he is and live life to the full. 

ok, now think of a "nightmare" young person. The kind of young person you almost dread seeing each week, who makes your life sooo difficult or who you sometimes wonder if it's really worth it. I thought back to my first year placement working in a Young Offenders Prison, my young person (let's call him Jay) was a repeat offender, in and out of prison for years- spending seven birthdays I believe inside, and only 24! He was pretty cocky and at times real hard work. 

But apply the letter I wrote to Zach (2 and a haf and who's worse crime is the occasional tantrum, not going to bed before about 9pm and stealing your food!) to "Jay"- and your perspective changes. 

I don't know where Jay is now, I hope he's out of prison and his life has turned around. But I do want to be able to speak the same words over him, and other young people as I speak over Zach. Learning from their own mistakes, knowing they're loved and supported (by somebody, anybody!) and living life to the full. 

I was filled with a real sense of purpose again- that's what I want my youth work to be about. Speaking positivity over the lives of young people and watching them develop and grow, learning from mistakes, no matter how big and encouraging them every step of the way.

Today, Professor Green (my alter-ego, but that's another story) posted this on instagram : 

"we should celebrate the youth at every opportunity, growing up is hard enough as it is. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way".

I mean, I couldn't put it better myself. What a man! 

and finally, the sentiments which I often wear emblazoned on my chest (Ok, as a T shirt) and a consistent reminder from my gap year with XLP: "I refuse to accept this is a lost generation"

I'm so excited to get back to the heart of youth work and see what happens next.

Over & out. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

50 Shades of Grey- The Youth Work blog post

Ok, so when I first bought 50 shades of Grey and 50 Shades Darker (2 for £8 in a large supermarket store) I took to twitter, as I do with most things, to let my followers know. Now, this received mixed response: one was to suggest it was an unhealthy choice of literature and the next to ask me to blog my views- both were youth workers.

It follows, that this blog post was born, admittedly a good few months after I finished the series (sorry!) But just a heads up, this is not a literary review; it’s a look at it from my youth work perspective. Moreover, it’s my view and I don’t pretend to know it all. Please feel free to disagree.

Right, first off... I don’t believe anything is inheriently “unhealthy” as it’s read. People have had arguments similar for Harry Potter and the DaVinci Code and even reading other religious books. I totally disagree, I did not go into reading 50 shades of Grey with the intention of modelling my life on it. In fact, knowing that I’d be writing a blog afterward made me challenge a lot of it.

For starters, there is a story in there, amongst the crazy amounts of sex talk... in fact, it got to a point where to be honest, the sex stuff got a bit boring and I just wanted to get on with the story.

Moreover, for those of you wondering; 50 Shades of Grey is twilight with sex instead of vampires. The critique is true. I suspect a lot of young girls have read twilight and in fact, I know that too many young people are searching for their “Edward” or their “Jacob”... I don’t think “Mr Grey” is any different in this sense, except, grown women are also searching for their own Mr Grey!  This is unhealthy in itself and something that really needs to be challenged.  In fact, the entire notion that a guy can fix things needs to be challenged, because we’re still living in a Disney society which says Prince Charming will save you from 100 years sleep/evil watch/white tower/dragon (delete where necessary) and make it allllllllll better. No, just no!
Ok let’s cut to the chase, if we’re honest, young people are bombarded with sex. It takes one look at certain magazines or tabloids to know that they are bombarded with it, take also into account facebook, twitter (i mean, seriously.. someone I followed once posted a picture of their penis (?!) cue the unfollow button) , the internet as a whole and we’re faced with an epidemic. So, even if 50 shades of Grey didn't exist, then they’d still be learning/reading about sex.

Does that necessarily mean their education should come from this series? Absolutely not!  Some of the sex and sexual acts in the book are quite honestly not healthy and the sense of guilt and shame that Ana feels sometimes after them tragically mirrors how some young people feel about sex and sexual acts, and that’s so not ok.  

And also, the description of plain, ordinary sex as “vanilla sex” in an almost derogatory term, is crap. Sex does not have to be kinky to be good and the idea that “vanilla sex” is bad is not something we want young people believing either.

And yes, there are aspects of domination, especially at moments when Mr Grey is so consumed by lust that he actually isn't able to see past that and again, not something I’d want anyone to experience.
So ultimately, 50 shades of Grey is not a sexual manual, nor should it be!  If we want our young people to know about what a healthy relationship and even more so, a healthy, happy, guilt free and respectful sex life, then we need to start talking about it, with them!

Recently, I watched an experience, though not trained youth worker lay down some basic ground rules for a residential. He was pretty clear cut about no alcohol and no drugs on site, but suddenly, when sex came into the factor, it all got a bit cringey. It was skirted round in a: “so erm.. no guys in girls room and erm... vice versa, if you get my drift.. ermm.... “and petering off into the distance. What is that about??

I do not want young men believing its ok to sexually dominate a girl. Or a girl growing up believing that a rich guy with good looks and money will solve everything. Or any of them believing that only sex like in a porn movie is good enough. It’s not ok. So for goodness sake, can we please start talking about sex?  Can we start modelling healthy relationships in our own lives? And can we please challenge young people’s perceptions of sex and relationships- whether in a Church or secular setting,
It’s really that simple.

Opinions are all my own, please feel free to comment or tweet. - @lmgeorge92

Monday, 25 April 2011

Newsletter Number 4

A copy of April's newsletter, becuase i'm too lazy to write a seperate blog!

Laura George
Newsletter #4
April 2011

Hello All!
As per usual, it’s been far too long since I sent out an updated newsletter. I have just finished my Easter Holiday and am about to head back to London, for my last term! Unreal!
Last half term was particularly tough, it was the mid point of the year and it suddenly got really tough. I was home sick, exhausted and unwell, and I think my entire team felt very much the same, which made for some interesting work ethic! Furthermore, my host family was really hit with illness and hospital visits, which was a really traumatic time for us all.
I have really enjoyed my holiday at home, chilling out and spending time with my family. At the same time I am confident that God wants me to be in London for the next term and I am so excited to see what the next three months hold.
I’m sorry I never sent out at Ghana newsletter! It seems so long ago now! For those who haven’t yet been told about my trip please read my blog- or feel free to email me 

Here’s a quick round up of the last  half term:
Schools Work
Following February half term, the first years and Carlie started “in class support” at Addey and Stanhope. This has certainly been a challenge for me, I was placed in a product design class, which is definitely not my forte and for the first three weeks, I felt entirely redundant, although I learnt some interesting things about electricity! However, I seem to have found my niche and I’m particularly working with a boy, who is very capable but will get distracted by just about anything and find any excuse not to do his work. I’m enjoying the hour I get to spend with him and his class mates and I’m really looking forward to them making their LED lights/USB ports next term! They’re a really creative bunch!
Otherwise, schools work is going really well. Lunch club numbers seem to be stablising, though we do always seem to have loads of them at the Wednesday lunch club, which is great and really exciting.
Trinity Tuesday is still my favourite day of the week, even though it’s a really long day for me! I’m really getting to know a particular group of boys, who are just incredible and it’s really exciting to see them coming along to lunch club and live lounge and getting involved. I think it’s going to be really hard to say goodbye to them at the end of the school year!

Estate Work
Due to a few changes and illness, I’ve been helping the Greenwich team on one of their estates on Thursday afternoons. This has been an amazing opportunity to spend time with another team and see the work their doing. “X Factor” is an after school club for 7-11 years old (with some younger ones) in an estate community centre. It’s pretty much silly games, craft, table tennis, board games, colouring, biscuits and squash! But it’s so much fun and I’ve already developed some great relationships with the young people and one parent whose kids started the same week as I did! I’m really excited to be staying there for longer this year as I’m really enjoying the work there!

Church Work
I love my church youth group! We had our second (and last) youth service earlier this half term. The week leading up to it was really, really hectic and stressful, but as per usual, the service was spot on. And I was very, very proud of my youth people. The girl I mentor preached with me, and despite nerves and days of “Laura, I can’t do this, I’m going to be sick” she did an incredible job and I was impressed by her clarity and excitement about the message we were trying to put across, she even ad libbed at one point, bonus points!
We’re also seeing some major changes in the fortnightly cell group, which until recently were a nightmare and stressed me out no end! We seem to have found a really great focus and we’re getting amazing feedback and I’m really impressed with the development of each and every young people.
Again, I don’t quite know how I’m going to say goodbye to my church and the young people and I’m so grateful to be spending Soul Survivor with them all as a proper goodbye. God is truly building up a new generation in Brockley.

Arts Showcase
At the beginning of April, we had the Lewisham Art’s showcase. This is where we audition young people in schools and the best go forward to a showcase on a Saturday night and the top three also go through to the London Final in July. It was an incredible couple of weeks of rehearsals, auditions, organization and preparation. The day itself was busy and long but so amazing. I still buzz every time I think about it, such a highlight of my year and incredible to see how much talent there is in the young people of Lewisham. I can’t wait for the final. If anyone is interested, the final will be July 2nd in a London Theatre. The more people the merrier.
For more arts showcase details. See my blog!

My last course fee’s are due this week. These cover my food, accommodation, travel etc, as well as going towards any costs XLP endure throughout this year and another £200 will hopefully go towards the completion of my NVQ in youth work and theology.
So far this year I have raised nearly £3000 and need perhaps a further, £500 or so in order to raise my total need. If anyone feels they would be able to donate anything, even the smallest amount. Please, please contact me.
I have been so blessed by donations and sponsorship throughout this year and have been totally amazed by God’s provision. Please pray for further providence and also consider if you might be able to help me!

Prayer requests
  • Enthusiasm and energy for the whole team. That we wont become complacent in the work we are doing.
  • Finance- that I will achieve my total funding amount needed.
  • Against illness- I’ve had an awful cold throughout the entire easter holidays. Pray that this won’t cause issues throughout this next term.
  • My host family- against any more hospital visits, and for test results, health and happiness.
Thank you
With love & Blessings
Laura xxxx

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Arts Showcase

As per usual, I've gotten pretty bad at updating this blog!
Ironically, I've started writing a new blog... .. it's more about my personal life and well, me. Check it out if you're interested.

So... nearly two weeks ago (yup, time does fly) we had the annual, Lewisham Arts Showcase.
For those of you that don't know, the Arts Showcase is literally that, a chance for the young people to showcase their arts. So we audition in local schools and the strongest contenders go to the borough showcase and the winners and two runners up from there, go through to the London Final (July 2nd.. save the date my friends)

Ok, so our final was March 2nd 2011 and obviously, I'm a little bit biased, But our young people, nailed it!
The showcase takes a lot of energy, in our case, a lot of stress and a heck of a lot of organising.
But the day itself was so much fun.
we got to spend time just hanging out as a team, chucking a frisbee around, which although wasn't exactly productive it was a really precious time to just, be together! we don't get that a lot as a team.
We also got to spend the day with some of the most amazing, talented young people. Serious love for their enthusiasm and perseverance on that day.
One act got their two hours early, in order to practice and perfect. They pulled out all the stops to have an amazing, slick, energized routine by the end of it. They also had good make up- yes, I am seriously considering a different career choice after my obvious make up skills :P

But i'm not just bigging up my borough because I love it. we genuinely got incredible feedback, from those who paid to come to the show, from the judges and from the young people were involved.
It was honestly such an exciting time to see young people, some of whom we have personal relationships with and spend a lot of time investing work into them, showing their talents off to a paying audience.
I'm not ashamed to admit I shed a few tears of pride, they really were incredible and i'm still buzzing from how amazed I was by it all.

I cannot wait for the final.

Bring it.

Monday, 21 March 2011

One Year in 140 Characters.

So today is my One Year Twitter Birthday. I.e. I have been tweeting for a whole year as of today!
In that year I have tweeted a total of 3,357 times.

Therefore, it seemed only fitting that, since I documented my last year on twitter, I should try and summarise it based on my tweets.

What doesn't help is right now, i'm only able to scroll back as far as Friday's tweets. Think it'll take a while to get me back to March 21st 2011.

So here is hopefully a brief summary of my last year (from memory and from tweets)
18. Partying. Bournemouth. Clubbing. School. A levels. Coursework Deadlines. Malcolm X Essay. Health and Social Care. Judging treatments for mental health patients.

This year I have been involved with people who have hurt me, I've let myself be treated ways that I now realise I didn't deserve. I have learnt there is life after love and more importantly, I have fallen in love again. I have met people who have changed my life forever- even if they were only around for a bit. I have had 6 weeks of pure, movie style love with someone who was, and still remains, very important to me. I've met someone who I hoped to be around for a lot longer then they were, I miss them but also realise why it's better off this way. I have said goodbye to people I always thought would be around. I've learnt to let go. That's been such a learning curve for me, recognising the things in my life which aren't helping me, and being able to walk away and not letting them control me.

I have partied. I have celebrated a load of 18th's, dressed up, danced, eaten copious amounts of TGI's, drunk wine, bought more lambrini then I should ever admit to, done Rum shots with Bella, stayed out til 4 am and then wussed out on an all nighter, I've ended nights crying, i've ended nights disappointed that its over, I've ended nights cuddled up to some of my most favourite people. I've started and ended nights wearing the same set of pyjamas. I have dedicated my bedroom to getting ready with my girls. I have not ended up nights being sick. I've dressed as a disney princes and made myself a hat out of cardboard and the most amazing pink ribbon. I've seen tinie tempah live and been disappointed! I've partied in Bournemouth, I've partied in Ashley X, I've partied in Southampton, I've partied in London and I partied a little bit in Ghana. I've been the designated driver. I've danced to songs, which I now can't listen to without feeling like i'm out, I've danced to songs I now can't listen to without feeling sad.

I passed my driving test. I re named my car. I drove to Harrow. I drove to Southampton. Otherwise, I didn't really drive anywhere new. I became the girl with the yellow car... I call her Beyonce.

I've left school. I got sad about saying goodbye. I dressed up as a 90's kid. I wore the worlds most uncomfortable shoes. I've had a leavers party and wore a pretty dress and false eyelashes. I've paddled in the sea in said dress. I didn't even tweet any of this! I got my A levels and was over the moon- that I tweeted!

I've moved away from home to London and fallen in love with Lewisham. I've travelled and been a tourist. I've got bored with public transport and I've loved public transport. I've met random drunks on buses, I've travelled on trains with boxes of rice crackers. I've kind of got used to seeing random things. I'm still immensely proud of my student oyster . I've done lunch clubs, after school clubs, cooked more food then I ever thought possible, set up the scariest tables, been in lessons and learnt about electricity. worked on estates and had my heart broken. worked on estates and had my nails painted. worked on estates and wanted to not be working. I've moved churches and met an amazing group of young people. I've struggled a lot on Sundays, I've missed my home church, I've been cheered up by my youth group, i've been saddended by my youth group, i've watched awful films about sport with them, and good films about sport or gay marriage with them.

I've eaten- wethersponns breakfast, hummingbird cupcakes, crumpets, veggie cottage pie, chocolate cake, subway, roast dinners, fish pie, nandos and more.. i'm just going on the tweets I can remember. oh, i've eaten an expensive sandwich from the train!
I've drunk diet coke. mainly. and given it up for lent!

I've met some amazing people. and made new best friends who I know will be part of my life forever. I have met people who i'm in awe of and can't wait to get to know more and I've met people who didn't turn out to be what I thought.

I've cried, I've been homesick, I've been angry, I've been let down, I've been sick, I've been heart broken.
I've been in love, I've been happy, I've laughed, I've been passionate, I've been excited, I've tried to be the best I could be.

I've counted down the days and I've missed people. I've watched season after season of one tree hill. I've quoted one tree hill time and time again. I've retweeted quotes that have made me smile, made me sad, made me feel like they were speaking to my mind I've pretty much tweeted every Taylor Swift lyric going.

I've fallen more in love with God and his plans. I've seen him move in powerful ways and in the tiniest details. I've tried to understand more, and I've messed up. I've learnt to find my identity in him. and everything else will come after.

I've gotten lonely, I've loved being single and i've hated being single. I've accepted God's planned and tried to cling on to his timing.
I've done a 24 hour bounce and been without twitter. I've done a 24 hour silence and been without twitter.
I've been to Ghana and been missed on twitter. I've realised a bit of my heart is African.

and generally.. I've vented, ranted, updated.
I've been addicted.

Ladies and Gentleman. Here's to another tweet year!


follow @lmgeorge92

P.s. by the time I had finished this blog I had scrolled to 23rd Jan.. "I guess the honeymoon would be easier with a magic carpet #Aladdin"