Since most blogs seem to have one of these somewhere, I reluctantly comply…
My name is Claire ‘CJ’ Waller, and I have many fingers in many pies. I am a fantasy artist and write fantasy (dark, urban, adult and YA), horror (cosmic, Lovecraftian) and sci fi. My published novels include Predator X and Nine Eyes, published by Severed Press. I am also a secondary school English teacher by trade and a mother of two beautiful little girls.
I also roleplay (Dungeons and Dragons, Shadowrun, Dark Heresy, Pathfinder) and can quite happily while away many hours playing computer games.
My favourite authors are HP Lovecraft, Terry Pratchett, Tolkien, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Robert Rankin, Robin Hobb, Stephen King, Laini Taylor and JK Rowling.
I am represented by Sandra Sawicka of Marjacq Scripts
Hi Claire, For me it wasn’t even OFSTED, it was all the pre-OFSTED in-school crap that passes for “continuing professional development” that put an early and undignified end to a 33 year teaching career. It’s a decision I have not regretted one bit, although getting to the point of making the decision took three very stressful years.Things appear to have got much worse since I left last summer; I’m horrified at what is happening in education. You make it very clear in your article. Thank you and good luck with your career break. I’m starting a new career in my late 50s and I love it!
Hello Aline – it’s sad, isn’t it? My former school are now having half-termly Ofsted QA inspections on top of SLT observation weeks and ‘drop in fortnights’; I am not kidding when I say they get about 2 weeks a term when they are not being observed by someone. I simply couldn’t cope with all of that, I find it so destructive. I was very lucky in that I have a supportive husband, a small house and inexpensive tastes, so we’ve been able to re-budget quite easily to live on his wage, which means I now have a chance to have a real crack at one of my passions: writing. I’m not doing too badly so far – one indie published novella, a 3 book deal with another indie publisher and I am querying agents with 2 other novels, so it’s not all doom and gloom. I’m just hoping that by the time my youngest is in school (she’s 2 and a half), all of this madness might have settled down a bit (I’m trying to ignore the possibility of it getting worse…)
I read your comment about being a teacher and then saw that you were also a writer and thought you might like my poem!!
Can you assess my state of happiness?
Can you score it out of five?
Can you really pass or fail a test
That tells if you are truly alive?
Is joy a quantifiable trait?
Can you plot it on a graph?
Do you score a special funny point
Every time you laugh?
Is empathy a transferable skill?
Can others give feedback?
Telling you if there are any traits
In which they think you lack?
I don’t think you can pass an exam
In love or contemplation
I don’t think you can get an NVQ
In passion or in meditation
Hope cannot be learnt from a book
Grace cannot be easily taught
Peace cannot be summed up in lesson
Just because you think it ought
You cannot have a kindness target
That everyone must reach
The attainment of gentleness
Is not something you can teach
The fruits of spirit/soul
Need space and time to grow
They cannot be cultivated in league tables
Or seen in “tell and show”
Spirit cannot be marked and scored
Even if you wanted to
Because human experience is not an exam
Only YOU can A* you
by Viv Chamberlin-Kidd
*Waves* Hello Claire/Mistress Elysia! It’s me, Yin Harn aka Silmarien. About a couple of lifetimes ago, we worked on the BG2 Fade mod together. I’m glad to see that you did successfully get into teaching, though sad (and not at all surprised) that the state of school governance has made you decide to leave. I know something about Ofsted and Michael Gove and the UK education system now, having spent the last four years here – am still here, btw! Congrats on the birth of Emily (I remember when we last spoke, Lucy had just been born), and on the story sales and publications – yay. Hope you have a brilliant day – so pleased to have managed to get in touch with you again.
Wow! Hello, Yin Harn! How are you?! I remember you very well! I’m sorry it took a while to get back to you – I’ve been busy querying, writing and looking after my husband (he recently had stomach surgery… talk about having another kid to look after!). I will probably go back to teaching (I do love it, despite how hideous the bureaucracy is right now), but not whilst the kids are young. It was a difficult decision, but I think, for the best – they will always come first 🙂
What are you up to now? I know you were coming to the UK the last time we ‘spoke’ – what’s happened since then? xx
Thanks for getting in touch 🙂 Hope your husband is better and things are less hectic for you at home! I’m currently in Cambridge finishing up a PhD on copyright and mods, and life has generally been good so far 🙂