Superdash – the Superteam: ThunderDan

Thunderman

Hi, I’m Rachel, the Supertown Reporter. In a flying visit, Thunderman has kindly taken the time to fill us in on his Superdash escapades. To my amusement, he also spent most of the time checking himself out in the mirror…

How did you find the Superdash Dan?

The Superdash was a fantastic experience for me, I took part in the walk, 5k and the Leeds 10k. The most challenging for me was actually the 15k walk, I spent most of my day napping with the TV on after that!
To my surprise the 10k for me was the easiest of the 3 events I took place in, however I feel this was more to do with a fantastic atmosphere and amazing support from all involved that kept me going, needless to say I’m definitely signing up for another next year!

Why should people donate to Supertown and Help for Heroes?

You can’t go wrong helping out heroes – you never know when you’ll need us!

click here to donate! Half the money goes to Help for Heroes!

This is the Supertown Reporter, over and out!

Supertown reporter

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Superdash!

supertown full cast

In order to raise the funds needed to put on a show at the Fringe, the Superteam have been taking part in a physical challenge to walk, swim and run the distance between the site of the World Premiere of Supertown and our performance venue at the Fringe.

All the money raised will be shared between the Supertown fund and Help for Heroes – to make sure we reward the real life heroes as well as Supertown’s finest!

supertown 4 heroes

As a member of the Superteam – I was worried (terrified). Exercise is NOT my thing. Ever since primary school when I chosen near to last for rounders (how anyone is supposed to hit the ball with that tiny bat is beyond me), to secondary school when I would do anything to get out of cross country running (a form of torture to all overweight girls with boobs anywhere) to Uni where I dabbled with the gym and then would have a takeaway as a reward, exercise has been my nemesis.

Yet, when I heard about this idea, I was determined to get fit for the fringe! I embarked on an enthusiastic and ill-informed training regime, including returning to swimming (the only place where you can’t hide your wobbly bits with strategically skimming clothes), long walks with my parents dog, and even the first ever run of my adult life (I won’t go into too much detail – suffice to say that even my brightly coloured trainers bought in good faith didn’t make it anything other than a grim trudge with pitying looks from my neighbours).

The first event was the swim, and I surprised everyone (mostly me) by swimming a whopping 2.5km in 2 hours:

Superdash swim

(Apologies for subjecting you to me in swimwear – however I am still very proud! My arms ached for days afterwards, but I didn’t care! This was the first time I understood why people enjoy exercise)

Many of the Superteam do enjoy exercise (who can blame them when some of them have physiques like this):

Thunderman

(that’s right ladies – I am reliably informed that there is no padding in that suit)

and on the hottest day of the year (the hottest for almost 2 decades!) they took part in a training 5km run starting and ending at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds:

Emma Stirk took part and said:

Having done some filming to advertise the show we were ready to start. With a dramatic countdown we were off. Myself, Dave and Poppy the dog were bringing up the rear with a sedate (not very) walk while the rest of the team ran ahead. We headed down towards the market following the directions given to us by the app Matt had requested we download. It wasn’t long before we were checking the map but we were soon on the right track and the distance we travelled started to increase. We had a few issues where our route was blocked but we managed to navigate our way round even stopping to advertise the show to one unsuspecting lady who wanted directions to the canal and ended up getting the hard sell for coming to see the show (she let slip that she lived in Edinburgh). We even managed to get a donation towards the show, whoop! By this point we were 3k into the journey and nearing the finish line. We could smell victory and some nasty garbage smells. By this point we were walking through some on the less nice parts of town and I was glad to have company. Pushing on we were on the home straight. We picked up the pace especially when we could see the rest of the team cheering us on. We had made it! Time for a well deserved drink in the pub.

The challenge I found the hardest was the the 15km walk.

Superdash walk

Equipped with lots of bottles of water, my Supertown t-shirt and hoodie, and of course my trusty walking boots, I was feeling quietly confident. In the run up to this event I had taken part in lots of long walks to make sure I wouldn’t let the team down. What I hadn’t anticipated was the cracking pace set by Supertown’s loveable Supervillain, Dreadman. (Give him a boo at the Fringe for me!) Nonetheless we had a good day with a variety of weather conditions, and with a rather horrifying amount of blisters (I had a million, to the nearest million, and no don’t worry, I won’t show you, and I won’t be wearing sandals in the near future):

As you can see, I didn’t quite meet the 15km challenge due to unbearable blisters, but we endured nettles, blaring sun, and even torrential rain.

Finally, tomorrow – the big one. The Leeds 10km. I will be there (no! Not running! NEVER RUNNING! Helping out with water and cheering on my cast mates of course!) so look out for me in a Supertown t-shirt, come and say hello, and most importantly, help up to get to the Fringe!

http://www.gofundme.com/superdash

The people of Supertown will thank you!

supertown chorus

‘Game of Thrones’ – or how to land your dream job

game of thrones

You work hard. You always do the right thing. You deserve a promotion (obvs). But for some reason, you’ve never quite got the attention of the right people. Maybe you’ve even watched others rise above you, and thought ‘why not me?’

Shockingly, hard work, determination and appeasing your bosses isn’t always enough. You’d think now in this enlightened day and age that we wouldn’t have to resort to office politics. Power games seem to be a relic from the 80s, along with shoulder pads and frizz, however we might see the evidence in our places of work (not of shoulder pads and frizz, unless you work in an 80s roller-disco, then soz).

Ranging from slight sucking-up to full blown seriously sly and sinister tactics, I’ve put together a guide on how to get your dream job using ideas from one of the sneakiest TV programs around – Game of Thrones.

The key here is to back the right ‘House’ – pick your key power player at work, and provided you’ve made the right choice, untold riches will be yours (probs).

House Lannister

Lannister

The current boss, holding all the power. You could pay some compliments, do a bit of casual schmoozing – but they may need you to do more than you’re comfortable with for you to prove your worth. Just be wary if there are relatives around also vying for promotion – they do like to keep it in the family, but the amount of back-stabbing (toilet-stabbing) they do between themselves could be exhausting and potentially dangerous to keep up with.

House Baratheon

baratheon

They have fallen out of favour in the past, but maybe, just maybe they could be the next top dog. This is opportunism at its best – as we know from any film ever, backing the underdog means you’re sure to win. They may now have the means to put up a good fight for the leadership, but it might take more than a box of Black Magic to win them over. (See what I did there?!)

House Stark

stark

Really? You need me to explain why this is bad idea? You’re hardly going to get a-HEAD with this house (may Ned Stark rest in peace) and linking yourself to them won’t be a MARRIAGE made in heaven (tenuous reference to the red wedding) (soz not soz) Yes, we all loved the values Ned held dear, but he paid for these with his life. How much would you put on the line to do the right thing at work?

House Targaryen

targaryen

Perhaps they’re outsiders, but they’ve got a secret weapon they keep banging on about that will be sure to topple the status quo – so they keep saying…They seem good, and make gestures to make life better for their underlings – probs like upgrading the tea bags from value range to Twinings. Just make sure they know how to use it so that you’re confident it won’t blow up in your face.

House Tyrell

tyrell

Charismatic, charming, and influential – these are leaders who inspire loyalty and devotion, but have a poisonous undercurrent – this is power and treachery at its pink and fluffy best. These are the trickiest type of boss to impress – do you just try and be good at your job and hope they will notice you, or do you try to stand out by making a clever but potentially risky move?

Of course, you could just work hard, be nice to everyone, and eventually get noticed by your bosses for the right reasons. After all, it’ll probs work out for Brienne of Tarth…

Breeann

Which of the Houses would you back to get that much desired promotion? Or do you think office politics are a thing of the past?

 

How To Be A Social Media Simpleton

social media fail

We all know ‘those’ people. The ones who seriously make us consider leaving a particular form of social media for all of about, ooh, 5 seconds. The ones who make you look up how to block/mute/hide/ignore, but then decide against it as you are far too nosy. The ones who we deride for their poor social-media skills. In the unlikely event that you would ever want to become one of ‘those’ people, simply follow my guide below:

facebook

1. The cryptic status 

This, in my opinion, is the worst. The sort of status that is BEGGING for attention. You know – ‘Some people need to keep their noses out’ or ‘I’m so upset right now – how can people be such dicks?’ It’s letting whoever ‘people’ are know that they are annoyed, without confronting them directly. It’s about as passive-aggressive as you can get. And then, when all their concerned/nosy friends comment ‘OMG – are you OK?’ and the poster replies with ‘I’ll message you’ GAH. Because deep down, we all really want to know what they mean.

2. The game invitations

They’ve started playing a new game, and they’re hooked. They’ve used it to procrastinate instead of doing something useful, and suddenly they discover that to be able to do another level/task/quest they need to pay or add a million new people into the game. In an addiction-hazed fog, they turn to Facebook and try to add their friends, resulting in far too many unwanted notifications that you annoyingly mistake for a real gesture of friendship or human contact.

3. The quizzes

How many quizzes can these evil fiends think of?! I’ve done 100% of quizzes that are a poor distraction from the pressures of the real world, and most of them seem to just use randomisers to get their answer. How can knowing my favourite colour determine what career I’m best suited for?! I wouldn’t mind, but at least don’t pretend that this quiz will serve as any more than a very brief form of entertainment.

4. Group and comment notifications

Ooh, I have 300 new notifications – I wonder which of my friends are trying to get in touch with me, and what they’re wanting to say?! Oh no wait. I’m part of a group from some event and some people have spent all day writing on it about a private in-joke or a subject entirely unrelated OR just posting stickers. Alternatively I made a comment on someone’s status and now all their friends are also commenting and turning it into a full on conversation. Sigh.

5. Grammar Nazi

I turn into one of these with every post – the constant and flagrant misuse of your and you’re, their, there and they’re, and been and being make me furious to the point of unacceptably correcting a poor person going about their daily business.

twitter

1. The over share

Must tell all of my followers that I just had cornflakes for breakfast. Two seconds later – oops too much milk! Just on my way to work. Raining – sad face. I wish it was dry – I do like walking on crunchy leaves! Mmm lunch. Here’s a picture of my lunch. Here’s a picture of my friend’s lunch. I wonder what you’re having for lunch? Can’t be bothered doing work. Must instead spend all of my time telling twitter every dull non-event and thought in my life.

2. My life’s better than yours

I’m much healthier than you – I can prove this by tweeting about my morning workouts. I’m much more positive than you – here’s a retweet of an inspirational quote. I’m much funnier than you – here’s my sarcastic quip usually using some sort of swear word about a topical issue. I’m much more socially aware than you – here’s a link to a charity for which I do tireless work. How do you know that I do tireless work? Why, I tweet all about it of course!

3. Twitter is a great platform to complain

Hello company that has a twitter account – I shall name and shame you with a damning review of a recent service or product in a way I never usually would dare in the real world because here I’m safe and protected by the faceless mask of the internet. Oh, some poor person who works for this company has taken the trouble to reply and is extremely polite and apologetic – now I feel more than awkward for kicking off – argh should I reply? Probably will just say thanks like the true coward I am.

instagram

1. Selfie

I definitely want to see a photo of you after you have spent hours carefully applying makeup, doing your hair, and probably some crunches, just in case. This is likely the result of contorting yourself to ensure you get the best lighting and angle, and I can guarantee it isn’t your first attempt. Oh, and will have a hashtag along the lines of #natural #nomakeup #nofilter #LIAR

2. Holiday snap

Hotdogs or legs? Breadsticks or arms? Coffee or skin? Can you tell I’m on the most amazing holiday ever and yet instead of enjoying it I’m spending my time uploading loads of insanely flattering pictures?

3. Atmospheric location shot

Oooh pretty flowers with an unfocused filter – I’m so arty and interesting. A meadow in only sepia tones? Yeah, I can see the beauty in everything. I must be a fascinating and complex person that you want to get to know.

 

The worst thing of all? Worse than Facebook fumblers, Instagram annoyances and Twitter twats? I am guilty of every single one of the above!

Have I missed any of your social media pet peeves?

How to Survive Parents’ Evening

Parents’ evening is a rite of passage all teachers have to go through, from your very first ‘Ooh you look too young to be a teacher’ comment (sigh – I miss those days – I even used to get ID’d in supermarkets, now the cashier takes one look at me and flinches), to the time when you’re recognised by ex-students bringing their children in. With a few years of learning the hard way under my belt, I thought I’d share some of my mistakes with other teachers in the hope that it will spare at least someone some embarassing blushes/potential ‘ground swallow me up’ moments. Make no mistake, this is my guide to surviving parents’ evening – for teachers. For any parents reading this, I can only apologise – and promise that we do actually care about your child and their progress!

Remembering student’s names

Perhaps for my primary colleagues this is slightly less of an issue, but for a secondary teacher who can teach up to 250 different students in one year group it can make parents’ evenings a bit of a minefield. The non teachers among you may wonder ‘why not just ask the parents for the name of their child?’ but what you may not be aware of is that some parents bring their child with them – something I’ve always been a fan of as it means you can all have a discussion about progress, but it can cause more than a little awkwardness when you look at the child in front of you, draw a deep breath and…nothing. Below are some tried and tested techniques by myself and my colleagues which I’ve rated for success and how professional they make you look:

  1. Class photos

Some colleagues like to have their class photos in front of them – just a quick glance and they can speedily identify the child in front of them – however this does flag up to parents that you don’t know all your students.

Success rating: 2 (good)

Professionalism rating: 3 (requires improvement)

2. Find the surname

I have used a surname approach, ranging from the ‘remind me of your surname’ query to allow me to hastily scan my data to the risky ‘how do you spell your surname again?’ approach. With the latter question I have been subject to funny looks as the child awkwardly recites ‘J – O – N – E – S’. Overall I have found this useful once I tweaked my opening patter.

Success rating: 2 (good)

Professionalism rating: Ranging from 4 (inadequate) to 1 (outstanding) depending on your smoothness and charm.

3. Just ask

‘Remind me of your name again’ said with a smile could work – but I’ve never had the (Ed) balls to try it…

Success rating: potential 1 (outstanding)

Professionalism rating: 4 (inadequate)

Suit up

I find that dressing smartly (or as smartly as possible after a long school day full of inexplicably laddered tights and somehow rubbing off all my makeup til my skin is a dull grey colour) helps me feel more professional – until the moment when a) I look down and realise that I have toothpaste all over my black top from this morning or b) I catch sight of myself in a mirror after talking to several parents and I realise that I have lipstick on my teeth. But in all honesty I am a big fan of slapping on the makeup to avoid looking like the crypt-keeper, spritzing a bit of perfume and giving my teeth a good brush – not, I hasten to add, in anyway trying to give off a ‘come hither’ vibe to an unsuspecting hot dad, but in a way that helps me feel confident and presentable. I’m sure there are some of us who have a staffroom suspect for deliberately trying to put off parents with a less than attractive outfit, or sour odours, in order to speak to them for as short a time as possible – but let us remember, innocent until proven guilty.

Fuel up

Ensure your table/desk is piled high with cups of tea/coffee/water (other beverages are available) and biscuits (custard cream, thanks) before starting. Parents’ evening is particularly taxing on the voice, so keeping your throat well lubricated (not a euphemism) is a must. My top tip for avoiding spraying poor parents with crumbs as you scoff your much-needed sugar? Rummage around in your bag as you down your chocolate hobnob in one go (still not a euphemism).

Be organised

Before you start, make sure you have all the relevant info on your students to hand – recent data, work examples if necessary. There is nothing worse than ‘flying blind’ to a parent who is clearly wise to your sweeping generalisations, or the narrowing of their eyes as you turn to the students and sweetly ask ‘how do you think you’re doing?’ while trying to hide the panic as you manage to forget EVERYTHING you’ve ever taught this child.

Schedule breaks

Parents’ evenings can be really long, and in a rush of goodwill to try and fit all your students in for a chat you may suddenly realise (when it’s too late) that you’re going from 4pm – 8pm without a wee. Couple that with the umpteen cuppas you’re drinking, and that time can become very uncomfortable indeed. Yes, of course you shoudl try and see as many parents as you can in the time, but do remember to book the occasional ‘stretch the legs’ break, and hotfoot it to the bog.

Teachers – recognise any of the above or have some tips of your own to share? And I ask the next question very tentatively – parents – recognise any of the above? Or have some ways in which you think we could improve?

 

 

How to Procrastinate

Everyone thinks they are a determined procrastinator, however in reality procrastination is a delicate balance between achieving nothing at all and finding something else entirely to do. I would go as far as to say that true procrastination is an art – and without being big-headed, it is one that I have perfected. Many think that procrastinating is simply doing nothing – but a faithful procrastinator knows that it involves much more than that. For all you perfectly productive people, I have provided a point-by-point ‘Procrastinator’s Guide’.

  1. Making a brew

In general, making your circumstances under which you are expected to do work is of vital importance. Temperature, hydration and fuel are all key to being able to get into the work mindset. A good procrastinator can spend a healthy amount of time fiddling about with heating, blankets, and food provisions, before declaring the situation ‘just right’ to settle down to work. And of course, getting up to make a cuppa is a perfect way to put off an unwanted task – especially if you’re particularly thirsty. After all, you can’t possibly work without a warm drink on the go.

  1. Having a lie down

A good pianist friend of mine once confessed that when a whole day was set aside for rehearsing with his band, he would spend approximately 30 minutes practising, and the rest of the time split fairly equally between having a cuppa and lying down on the floor. Whereas I’m sure he could procrastinate even further by extolling the virtues such a position has on his shoulder muscles (and between you and me, he does like to wang on) but the truth is that this is a form of procrastination. On the spectrum of procrastination, it is in a grey area between actively procrastinating (finding something, anything other to do than what you’ve been asked) and just being lazy and doing nothing at all. However the truly avid procrastinator would be able to justify a little lie down before cracking on with their work – as below:

“I’m really tired, so if I lie down for a bit first I will be well rested enough to start my work/job/task.”

Legit.

  1. Checking social media/emails/texts

These can put off ANY task. I can spend hours answering emails at work seemingly without achieving anything. There is always a friend to text or email which takes vital importance on my to-do list and MUST be done immediately despite looming deadlines. I can loop various social media sites endlessly – thus putting off any form of productiveness at all. I think the time to end doing this endless looping of social media only comes when you are doing it so often that nothing new has happened since the last time you checked it…but then there is always a new form of social media to get involved in…

  1. Tidying up/cleaning

I like things to be tidy before I start work. Not just in some semblance of order tidy, but TIDY. Monica from Friends tidy. This provides an excellent excuse to postpone the start of a work task – binning various useless pieces of paper, taking empty cups (from all those cups of tea) down to the kitchen, then obviously using the time in the kitchen to decide to clear out all the old spices in the cupboard that have been there for years, (why, oh why are they sticky?!) before returning to your work area to sharpen your pencils and test all your old pens. An ideal way to make sure that work isn’t done any time soon!

5. Doing life-admin

Isn’t it funny how as soon as you settle down to do some work you remember that bill you wanted to set a direct debit up for and you decide to do it there and then? Or you decide to do some essential research into a new energy provider (after all you could probs save some money). So vital to do these tasks straight away, rather than anything else. Or you could even spend some time that you definitely have into dreaming up a new career…

How do you procrastinate? Which method do you favour when you have an unwanted pressing task?

A Very Teacher Christmas

Today when I was at the checkout in M and S (I know, I know, get me, I’m such a big shot etc – I was only getting a Dine In For £10 meal-deal jobby ok?! I’m still a Tescos girl at heart) I was asked what I do for a living (this wasn’t a random question – I’d done my usual of making friends with everyone in the shop just because I love a chat). I always hesitate before I answer this question, as I know for a fact what the response will be. Sure enough, it came:

Cashier: So, what do you do for a living?

Me:….I’m a teacher

Cashier: When do you break up? Lucky you with all those holidays!

You see?! What on earth do you respond to that?! ‘Erm yes I have a holiday coming up but on average I work a 60 hour week so actually over a year I don’t get any holidays at all?’ Not the best way to breeze over a comment from a stranger as you try to cram all your shopping into your handbag so you don’t have to pay for a carrier bag (I know it helps the environment but I cannot justify five whole pence to conveniently carry home a bottle of wine – my Northern roots won’t allow it). So I’ve decided to compare a very merry Christmas to a very teacher Christmas – and let all the skeptics know what teachers will be doing during our ‘holiday’.

The First Days

You’ve just finished work, you have a few days off – time to relax yes? Not for the teacher. We will be spending the first few days recovering from various colds, coughs and sore throats. But surely lots of people get ill this time of year? Oh absolutely, and I know lots of parents who have to not only dose up themselves with Lemsip (other cold remedies are available) but also have to look after equally suffering partners and children. What you need to remember is that teachers are exposed to around a million (to the nearest million) germs a day. We will be on our knees after being coughed on by little darlings for several weeks, and after working those 60 hour weeks, most teachers spend the first few precious days hibernating, propped up by cold remedies, cough medicine, tissues and chocolate.

Christmas Shopping

Unfortunately, as teachers we can’t book a day off work to go Christmas shopping during quiet times. Imagine just being able to ring in and book an afternoon off, leaving 9j4 to their own devices…Impossible! So we unlucky bunch have to brave Christmas shopping on the weekend, fighting through the busy crowds, making tricky decisions about whether or not furry handcuffs are appropriate for a staff secret santa present (hint – they’re really not!) and trying to avoid bumping into students when buying knickers in Primark (‘What’s that you’ve got in your basket Miss?’). Just awful.

The Work Days

Christmas has been and gone, and we have entered the weary days of ‘Crimbo Limbo’ – there are still endless boxes of chocolate to eat, and the temptation is to give into lethargy and sit about watching festive TV stuffing ones face, vowing to go on a diet in January. Teachers however will start to feel the dread of returning to work unprepared, and will be using these days to mark and plan and remind themselves that in all too few days they will be going back to a world of few wees in a day and even less opportunities for a hot drink or a lie in. Sigh.

Banuary

I’m sure teachers aren’t alone in feeling the effects of a cold, bleak, joyless January. People nationwide will be experiencing the long dark days, the fights with frost and snow to get to work, and above all the grumpy colleagues as everyone grows quickly fed up with their January diets and pledges of no drink (Banuary at its best.) Now imagine throwing equally grumpy teenage hormones into the mix, and the threat of upcoming exams when all our senses are begging us to hibernate and eat pie and gravy…Worst ever.

So there you have it – a very teacher Christmas. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, but whatever the reality, I’ll let you in on a little secret: we still count down the days til our holiday starts! (5 get ups to go!) What’re your worst things about work around the Christmas period?