Reaching out of my comfort zone…

I’ve been trying to decide what to do once this academic year has finished as my job is only temporary. H starts school in September and I want to be able to support him as best as I can through what will be a big transition. Lots of things have crossed my mind; I’ve been looking into retraining as an Early Years practitioner but I’ve struggled to find a night course that will fit around our life and I’ve been told I’m over qualified! As a PE teacher, I have a love for sports, and have previously trained as a Gym Instructor and Netball coach, so I’ve looked into training to become a Personal Trainer, but decided against this (for now anyway). BUT after having a conversation with my sister in law back in December, she said something that got my creative juices flowing and a few weeks ago I decided to take the plunge ! After some research into my options locally and further afield, I finally settled on the course I wanted.

19th February

After 1hour and 40 minutes, I arrived (late!) to Hick’s Lodge, Ashby-de-la-zouch for my course; a Level 3 Forest School Leader course! (Well there you have it)

Im really looking forward to getting suck in. It will open a lot of doors for me both as a teacher or possibly as my own business venture; anyway……

As with all courses, the first hour or so was spent getting to know the rest of the group, and wow, what a lovely group we are! Now, I love a bit of banter and thankfully Dave our trainer has truckloads (http://davechurchward.wixsite.com/littleacornsoutdoors), he made the minutes whizz by and the learning fun! On the first day, we learned how to build a fairy house, I say learned, it was all my childhood imagination brought out in 10 minutes.  I can also now use a bowsaw AND a pair of loppers (including tool talks, these are fun to say!), do a clove hitch knot and I created this beautiful star which is now firmly on our front door.

20th February

After being frazzled on day one, the fun was set to continue again. Today we started the day with woodland pictures after learning loads yesterday, such fun to get creative using the resources around us.  Today was BILLHOOKS and more knots.  Billhooks are initially a little bit terrifying as your partner is whacking a massive stick down onto the thin blade you’re holding, but we got the job done and managed another tool talk with minimal mistakes (I hope!). My knot repertoire is building: clove hitch, timber hitch, trucker hitch, alpine butterfly (although now renamed alpine bunny by the lovely Ruth!) and a quick release knot for putting up shelters.

21st February

Wednesday, hump day; the most exciting day so far: FIRE and KNIVES! The day started off recapping the high, low and kit shelters we almost managed yesterday, but as the group were so frazzled yesterday it was like flogging a dead horse for Dave (sorry!) So after shelters, we moved onto sheath knives.  Not as daunting as the billhooks, but fun none the less.  Another tool talk to master (although I think we’re all pro’s now!). After learning how to use the sheath knife and making my own tent peg, I can firmly say that whittling is just not for me! I tried, but I just don’t have the patience, I think its the sportsperson in me, I need instant results! After some foraging in the woods (who knew there was so much stuff to find!), we MADE FIRE.  I really enjoyed building up my little fire, and obviously starting it successfully was real good fun! I’m looking forward to getting my own fire starter and searching the woodland for materials (I’ve already spotted a bunch of silver birch trees with my name on!).

22nd February

We’ll just call this OVERLOAD day.  Lots of reflection and some overwhelmed ladies today, but cook out Thursday helped.  Ruth’s delicious sausages, Heather’s yummy cakes and some incredible looking chocolate orange brownies from Livi and Lucy, although foolishly I gave up all the good stuff for lent, so no cakes/chocolate for me today. Donna and Lois were the fire queens today manning the cooking almost all afternoon (thanks!). I attempted to make some pancakes, but didn’t quite manage it. Next time I’ll keep it simple.

Tonight I stayed in a local hotel as I was shattered from the long commute, unfortunately it wasn’t the idyllic evening I had planned, but I did manage to make a start on some work on the portfolio and sneak a wee 3 miler in as I need to get back on track with my challenges (see previous post here: Challenges).

23rd February

Our final day 🙁 we got the Kelly Kettle on for a cuppa (or now renamed BREW), I foraged for fire making materials, and then we had a wonderful reflection activity on how we’ve felt the week has gone, and how confident we felt when we were doing all the activities.  An interesting task, one I could see working really well with Year 7 and Year 11 students.

On the whole, I can honestly say that I haven’t done a course as tough as this one, nor have I done a course with such a lovely bunch of people.  I am really looking forward to completing the course especially as I know my other 12 lovely ladies (and Dave!) have got my back (Abi, Donna, Heather, Heidi, Jacqui, Jen, Livi, Lois, Lucy, Mandy, Ruth, and Sally). Looking forward to seeing you all again soon and if not, good luck with your portfolio and assessments. You can do it!

4 thoughts on “Reaching out of my comfort zone…

  1. Cat this is amazing!!! Such a fab idea for you, you’d be brilliant at it. I can imagine that it’s a tough course but you’ll do great, good luck (and please move up north so we can come to your forest school 😉 ) xx

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