A life in the week of Carla Rudd, PE teacher and head of girls’ cricket at Felsted School in Essex who also plays for Sussex Vipers.
Today starts with a 6.30am alarm and, following a few snoozes, I am up and driving my normal 50 minute commute to work. My Monday mornings are packed full of meetings (five in fact) all of which are preparing me for the week ahead and where important issues are discussed such as the PE moderation happening next week. I really enjoy my final meeting of the morning, which is the learning forum held over lunch where, as teachers, we discuss topics which can hinder or improve teaching. Today’s conversation is ‘stress in the classroom’ which is quite fitting for the time of year with exams looming. I am quite glad that I am not the only teacher stressing on behalf of some students, with their exams less than two weeks away. I taught a lesson in the afternoon, followed by photocopying resources for tomorrow's lessons. My school day is finished but I can’t relax quite yet. I still have to get a cardio session in. When I arrive home, I go for a seven mile run around my local area which I rather enjoy (this is not always the case).
This week, all of Felsted’s year 10s have their internal end of year exams, meaning I have a little less teaching time this week. However, my year 10 GCSE PE class have their exam this morning meaning all of my spare time is spent marking their papers. After a couple of lessons and a quick lunch, I have 35 minutes to fit in a quick arms and core session at the gym. Two o’clock comes and I am out on the cricket field, warming up a mixed U15 cricket team ready to play Gosfield School. It is excellent to see our girls playing alongside, and holding their own, against boys of a similar age. Although it is great to see the talent on show, it is extremely cold umpiring a game for 40 overs. Not quite the cricket weather I was hoping for.
With my year 10s in exams, I spend the first two hours marking exam papers. It is my day to be on duty so at break time I walk around the school site checking students are all happy and where they should be. A curriculum practical PE lesson and a theory PE lesson completes the rest of my morning. Wednesday afternoons are full of cricket coaching. It starts at 1.50pm with roughly 35 keen 8 to 10 year olds. We cover many skills in these sessions, such as bowling, fielding, batting and games. It is so enjoyable to coach such enthusiastic young girls and it is really rewarding to see them progress week on week. I have an hour free before my next coaching session at 4.30pm for the senior elite performers, in which I manage to mark another year 10 paper. Before heading home, I fit in a legs’ session at the Felsted gym. Not ideal as the gym is full of students at this time, but it is essential I stick to my own fitness programme and I guess it is good for them to see me setting a good example.
Today I manage to fit a net session in around my teaching timetable with Jason Gallian, director of cricket at Felsted and a former England player. He throws me some balls and talks me through a game plan for the double header this weekend. I work on scoring options against spin and playing pace at the death. After lunch it is time to coach the U15 girls’ team at the nets. All girls get to have a bat and bowl with a hard ball during these sessions, which is great as it means they have lots of opportunities to practise new shots. After coaching I complete an hour of lesson planning before heading home, where I manage to drag myself out for a four mile run and duly got caught in a heavy rain shower. I am not happy.
Today is the regional round for the U15 Indoor Lady Taverners competition. Felsted girls have already won the Essex round and therefore represent Essex at today’s event. It is held at Harrow Leisure Centre which means an early start to get everyone there for a 9.30am start. We have a quick practice until all eight schools arrive. Only one will progress to the national round. Our first match is against Buckingham and the second straight after against Berkshire. In both games we bowl first and keep the opposition to a reasonable score, but unfortunately panic sets in when the games get close and we are bowled out and lose both games. Watching from the sideline is not good for my blood pressure and I now have very short nails. Our final game is against Kent which we win convincingly. Unfortunately it isn’t meant to be today, but the girls do their best and I am proud of how far they have come in the competition. With the gym not available to me today, I follow a Joe Wicks body weight HIIT session in my living room - a tough end to the day.
Today is rest day, one of the best and most important days of the week apart from match days. With a game tomorrow it is essential that I am fully rested so I am fresh physically and mentally. Today is also exeat at Felsted, meaning it’s a half day so I drive into work and teach my morning lessons but leave at lunchtime due to no afternoon cricket fixtures. This means I get a couple of hours planning and marking done in the afternoon, sort some emails and cricket fixture admin for next week and pack my cricket bag so I am ready to go in the morning.
When most people would be laying in on a Bank Holiday Sunday, I am on the road at 7.15am to Brighton for my first county game of the season against Warwickshire. At 10 degrees, it is a bit colder than I am hoping for, but even in the cold I am excited to get my season for Sussex started. We win the toss and bowl first, which proves to be a good choice as we bowl the opposition out for 165. I am pleased with my performance behind the stumps, taking two catches and one run out. It is then our turn to bat and, after two wickets fall, I am in at number four. I add 33 runs before being bowled with Sussex only needing five runs to win. We reach 165, winning by one wicket. It’s a great start to our season. I manage a relaxing evening before heading back tomorrow for our game against Nottingham on Bank Holiday Monday.
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF