Wednesday, November 18, 2015

So. It's been a while.

It's been a while.

I've had a difficult set of death-anniversary, funeral-aversary, and then Timehop decided that for the first time ever it would show me the posts from 7 years ago when Rich went Abroad to the Land of Sand.  Then we had Remembrance Sunday, and that was full of emotion, and then we had Armistice, and even at school I bawled my eyes out during the 2 minutes silence.

I think it's just one of those years.

That's ok.  It is.  It's damp and tissue filled and headachy (I always get a headache when I cry) and quiet in many ways.

It's also full of new gearbox for the camper, lots of camping, the He-Ex has a new job which has changed everything but he is loving it, which is fab, and the AC has joined the Cadets.


Monday he gets enrolled after 8 weeks of Training-Flight, and he will have uniform and there will be blues and greys and greens and boots and parade shoes and all that in the house again.  He's loving it.  Absolutely loving it.

It's all good.  You have to find the shiny side.  If I ever can't, I only have to look at the boy, who finds the shiny side over and over again.

Monday, August 3, 2015

6 years ago....

Six years ago, right now, (9pm ish) I was sitting by the river in a pub garden, with a fair few mates, who were carefully and cautiously watching me get accidentally drunk. Accidentally, because I had 3 pints on a stomach that hadn't seen a proper meal in weeks. Drunk, because it was worth a try. Nothing else was taking the pain away. Drinking because that's what you do at a wake.

Earlier today, six years ago, we held Rich's Celebrations. They were a proper celebration of the man and the life and the love. There were terminally weird bits, but they were bits I had nothing to do with, like his picture. The music, the order of service, everything else, was brilliant.

The RAF were fabulous. The bearer party were superbly turned out and I felt for them because it's not a nice job. They were all men he worked with, and afterwards, when Sam had given up and just wanted to be carried, I took him to say thank-you to them. He asked why, and I told him that it was the right thing to do.

We all chatted, and had a bit of a joke about how Rich hadn't eaten much of what turned out to be his last dinner with us because they'd all gone for McD's on the way back from somewhere. I predicted what he'd had, and we laughed that I had it right. Later on I was accused of being insensitive and uncaring, for laughing at his Celebrations, but I was CELEBRATING! I wanted Sam to know that death was grim and painful, but life was beautiful and amazing and should be laughed about and death should be laughed at.

I spent the day with my family, with friends, with his mates, with people who knew and cared and loved one or both of us. I spent the evening in the same way.

That night, my friend and her husband brought me home. We chatted and had a brew. Then they left.

Sam was at his father's place. My parents had gone home with each other. My friends had gone home with their partners. Suddenly I was the only person in the world.

Even the cat was out.

I cried.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Monday, July 27, 2015

It's the holidays....

How do I know?

I'm not at work.
I stayed in bed until 6am.
It's raining.
T-Boy is here.
I don't have the feeling of "Oh my word how far behind am I and what desperately needs to be done for today?" that accompanies my school day - and apparently every other teacher's school day as well.
I'm reading quilting blogs.
I'm blogging.
I'm spending too much time on other people's blogs.
The house is tidy.
I've found a new-to-me, utterly rubbish, American tv series to watch. (Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders - Making the Team 8)
I'm thinking about Rachel and Lori more. (I always do at this time of year, but I'm allowed to wonder about Rachel and how she's doing with school and whether she's found something to focus her great potential on)
I have cats around me, permanently.
I've started writing random streams of conciousness type blogs.
I'm living in jeans (I need to get a new pair today)
I'm thinking about the packing for the Scotty lodge - 2 weeks to go until epic road trip and seeing Nanna-in-the-window!
I'm starting to relax and to think about who I am and what I need and what I want.

Right now the answer to the last two is a large cup of chai.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

And out the other side

We made it though.

Again, I am left with the familiar feeling of emptiness that ebbs away as time passes and life gets busier again.  I determinedly focus on the things I have in my life, the beautiful people, the excellent relationships, the joy and the laughter.  I try and avoid looking at the elephant in the room.

Right now, I am sitting at the dining room table.  The patio doors are in front of me leading to the windswept and wet garden.  The doors need cleaning and I must put that on my list of things to do.  I have recently discovered, (although I think it is rediscovered) GoogleKeep and it is being a great help.  Sometimes I feel as though I am thinking through a fog still - yesterday on the bus I couldn't remember where I was going, and I don't mean where in the town, I mean, which town!  I got to the meeting in the end and had a very professional time doing very professional planning for school trips that other schools will go on, with resources that we are developing.

Through the window I can see the rain falling, as it has done for the last 18 hours, just continuously coming down from the grey sky.  The trees are waving in the wind, the leaves shivering at the end of never-still twigs, attached to undulating branches, giving the whole a feeling of urgency.  The garden is a mess, prolific weeds bursting through, and it is typical that the first day that I could be doing anything about them is one in which I cannot do anything - not even spray with weedkiller.

The house is never silent, but it is at it's quietest. The ginger cat sleeps next to me, on the table, which I'm sure I have moved him from several times.  Today I am turning a blind eye to his being there, as he is still unwell, and is just seeing companionship.  The other cat is in bed upstairs, with J, who drove to the Midlands and back to collect T-boy yesterday.  T-Boy and the Ac are still in bed as well, but it is only just 7:30 on a Saturday morning, and they were all up late last night.  I was up late as well, I think we went to bed at around 2330hrs, but I can manage.  There are things that must be done.

The dishwasher is swooshing away to itself and the tank pump vibrates the floor next to me.  The rain drops onto the plastic of the patio door sill, and I am minded to check the camper and make sure it is dry.

I want to write every day now that I have the time.  I have had one rejection letter, and so that story needs work and then resending.  I'm not ashamed of the rejection letter - I'd be more ashamed if I had never tried.  So I am off to try now.

This kind of stream of conciousness post is very freeing as a writer, but probably quite dull as a reader.  I would apologise, but very few people read this these days.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Almost 6 years....

..... and it hurts like a massively massively hurty thing.

I feel like I can't do this any more, like I can't do another 17th of July. Obviously that's rubbish, and I will do it, because itwillallbefine and I know that.

The AC is having some not-counselling at school. He's ok, he just wants to talk things through with someone who isn't me or Jack or his Dad. He says to Mrs B that he doesn't want to talk to me about it at this time of year, because he can see in my eyes that it hurts. He doesn't want to talk to Jack about it, because he loves Jack and doesn't want him to feel unloved. He won't talk to his Dad about Rich because, well, it's his Dad. So he's been by himself. School have been fabulous though and supported him right from the first email that I sent.

I feel very rambling tonight. I haven't blogged for a while because I haven't had time/energy/inclination. I've been having some weird abdominal pain that I'm studiously ignoring on the grounds that I will go to the doctor in the holiday about it all. I want to leave it until after the weekend so I know if it's stress related. My Dear Reader doesn't need the details, but stress is a stomach thing in my family.


I'm leaving this here because it feels as though I'm sitting on a plug, and the second I start to loosen it I'll be typing for a year.

The numbness is coming again. Grief is a bastard.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dear So-And-So, the children's edition

Dear Adorable Boy-Child,

We're heading into rough waters, you and I.  Every year has been uncharted territory - you are the oldest child I've raised, the oldest grandchild, I am the oldest of my family and I had never thought of having children until suddenly and surprisingly you were there. Your younger years were amazing, your middle years were survived through the grief, and now we are heading into your older child years.  I have never seen the teenage years up close.  This morning, my up-at-0530-child was still in bed at 7am and had to be dragged out.  Who are you?  Where is my boy?

On the other hand, you are brave, bright and strong.  You have played for school teams and will again.  You've been selected to represent school in sports you've never done, just because they think you can do it.  Your teachers tell me how lovely you are and your friends hang out at ours.  You have survived so much, with a beautiful smile and a gorgeous attitude.

Even on our worst ever day, your first thought was for someone else.

That's how I know we will survive this.  We'll work out the teenage hormones and spots and so on.  We'll get through the angst and the trauma.  I'll stand on the sidelines of your games and support you all the way, even when I don't know what the rules are!

Love you my boy,



Dear Beautiful Girl,

I wonder how you are.  I wonder what you are doing, and how school is going for you.  This year I cried on your birthday because I don't even have an email address for you or your mother any more.  I know your birthday, I know how old you are, I know that you are bound to be gorgeous and that you always have had your father's eyes.  It is almost 6 years since we had a picture of you, and only slightly less than that since I heard from you.

It's almost ten since I saw you, crying at the airport as your mother took you away.

I still blog to you, randomly, but I know you don't see it.
I write to you in my head, and sometimes actual emails, but I know you'll never see those either.
I think about you, pray for you, love you in the depths of my heart.
I am here for you, just like I always have been, just like I always will be.

One day we will find each other and I will tell you all about your daddy, all about the man he was.

Love you beautiful girl.



Dear T-boy,

We aren't getting on at the moment.  I keep making you do homework because I am evil and hate you.  You keep not doing it because you need the attention that you get from us when it needs doing.

Except I don't keep making you do it because I'm evil and hate you, I'm doing it because I want the best for you.  Even the German homework, which I hate because I don't speak German.  Even the maths online homework, which doesn't give second chances.

The trouble is, it's going to get worse.  You'll head up to GCSE levels and I'll do my best to help you and encourage you to get homework done.

I want you to achieve.  You are not a child of my blood but you are a child of my heart.  Your future matters to me like the Boy Child's does.  I want the best for you, a life full of choices and chances, not a life with a dead end job and no hope of anything, or worse, no job and no hope of one.

I can't explain this all to you though, because you are full of anger and the unfairness of the world.

I won't give up on you though.

Not ever.



Dear So and So at Mummy from the Heart

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Michael Rosen wrote a post....

..... and it was on Facebook and called "A Guide to Education."

It was, as is usual with a Michael Rosen post, bang on the nail. I apologise for the screenshots, but I had to share it.

But then I started thinking about my classroom, and I wrote this in reply.

"A guide to education (in Miss Cook's Class"

You get education in Miss Cook's Class
To find out how much education you get,
You need to think of a question.
If you don't know the answer,
You need educating. Easy.
And then we find the answer.
The government tests are done and dusted
And we didn't know we were doing them
Because we did them early
So Miss Cook knew what to teach us for the rest of the year.
We are on the right tables
Because they are our tables.
Except when we aren't on our tables,
Because we are on the floor
Or in the playground
Or in the park
Or at the Art Gallery or the War Memorial
Or Parade or anything else she can find
That might be interesting.
When we went to the park to have symmetry installed
To meet the old and new objectives,
We used mirrors
And looked at plants and bricks and animals
And anything else that was interesting.
(We could have done it on a worksheet,
But we don't like worksheets!
We like real life!)
Education is getting better and better in Miss Cook's class,
We have LearnPads and soft blocks
and counting things,
And clay and paint,
And games from the charity shop because the budget is small,
And time to read whatever we want
And time to think and time to be us.

She even has a soup machine that makes soup whilst we wait!
(She made us cut all the veggies up though.
With knives.
Sharp knives.)

But that's because Miss Cook doesn't like that Education Secretary.
She likes children and teaching,
And learning something every day.

Because tests don't matter.
Children do.


I won't be changing for any government. My children come first, last and every step inbetween.

Not because I am an enthusiastic NQT - I've been teaching for 16years - but because if they don't, then what is the point? If my class are not my work-everything, then why am I even doing the job?

(For my other recent anti-boring lessons and pointless SATs poem, please read Dear Mr Gove)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Broken hearted? That sneaky grief!

This is a cup. It's not a lot of use any more really. It's broken.

I remember when this cup arrived at the house, amongst excitement and a little mockery. It was a birthday present for Rich, and it's a Terry's Old Gits mug from the days of Terry Wogan's Radio2 breakfast show. Rich loved listening to him, and so I treated him to a mug and a calendar.

I suppose, to be fair, the cup has lasted nine years. It's had countless coffees in it and a fair few teas. It's been a 'go to' mug for when I wanted something of his to hold and cherish and drink from and feel like we were sharing something.

And now, through lazy thinking from a child, it's broken and I want to cry and wail, but I'm not. I'm calmly helping him with his homework that he doesn't want to do and is moaning about every sentence.

I am a saint. I must be...

But sneaky grief is a pain in the heart.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dear So-and-So

Dear Frank,

I know you love me. But it's 0309. As in, just past 3am. I know you like sleeping under the duvet, preferably with your head on my arm and your paws on my belly, but please stop snoring in my ear. And I know you have to go to the loo as soon as you hear a noise, but your feet get really cold!

Love you though,



Dear Kevin,

Yes, you love me, you big hairy ginger fool, and I love you. You've made me smile so much in your six years with us. Your part-Burnese self needs to put a sock in it though. You are sleeping in the crook of my knees, alternating purring and snoring and I can't move without disturbing you. And I have cramp.

So...... Sorry, but you're the cat and I'm the human and I win. I am going to move...... In a minute.....




Dear J,

Cuddling is lovely. Snuggling is lovely. Sleeping with your arms like a dead weight on my chest is less than lovely because of Frank and Kevin.

But you aren't snoring, so it could be worse.

Love you more and muchly,



Dear Insomnia,

Bugger off.

I don't love you and I have a busy day ahead. If I go to sleep now I can score at least another 90mins.

Bye bye now,



Dear Me,

Do not give up and just go and do work. No.

(If you are still awake at 4:30, you can start on the RE planning!)



P.S. Put the so-and-so badge on here tomorrow. Well. Later today.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Friday, April 3, 2015

How do people with no faith manage?

This isn't a post about Christian smugness, although I've known several that need a good slap with a reality haddock to wake them up. It's a question.

When Rich died, I knew everything would be ok. I didn't know when, or how, or what would happen, but I knew it would be. Rich used to tell me "itwillallbefine" and I believed that. I also had a belief in God, that this GoodFriday of mine would eventually come to the Sunday. I'm not equating Rich and Jesus, although I suspect both would laugh at that, I mean that my sadness, like Mary's sadness, would turn to joy. Not because Rich would rise again, but because God loves me, he loves Sam, and He would fix it. Somehow.

My question is though, I relied so heavily on my faith, that I wonder how people without faith do this. I don't mean, people without Christian Faith, I mean without ANY faith.

Just wondering.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dear Old Me....

Dear Old Me,

For reasons best known to myself, I've just read back over July 2009.  For reasons best known to blogger, this is done backwards.  I'm sitting here in my front room now, listening to the dishwasher, and reading, and thinking.

I know it seems hopeless Old Me.  I know it seems like nothing will ever be sunshine again.  But you know what?  You get through it.  It doesn't get 'better' and time is *not* a great healer, but it gets better and more liveable with.  You'll learn to manage and then one day, our of the blue, you'll fall in love all over again.  It'll be unexepected, and if anyone had asked you earlier that day if you were ready for anyone else, you'd have said no, but you didn't turn your back when the time came, so well done.

I'm proud of you, Old Me.  Through it all the job was done, the child was fed, there was no need for misery to be on the outside, and you made it through.  What you don't know yet, is just how long that will take.

Right now, it's 2084 days since you got The News.  5 years, 8 months, 15 days.  Right now, you are just about back to the You you used to be.  You've applied for an Assistant Headship (you didn't get it, but it's ok!)  You've got really good friends and more importantly, the AC has made it through in fine form.

You got there.

Well done.


Now Me.


Dear Now Me,

You've got work to do, even if it is the holidays.  Well done for making chicken stock from last nights bones, doing the dishwasher and tumble drier before 7am.  School work beckons.  Chop on.

You'll thank me later.


Now Me.

(P.S .  Don't forget to buy cat litter)


Dear Future Me,

How are things?  Hopefully you did get the Assistant Headship in the end and you're living on Easy Street.  More likely, the AC has discovered lots of new places he *needs* to go, and you are brasic as usual.

Did you get through the menopause ok?  You've been through tougher stuff, so that should be a doddle.  It'll be early for you, apparently, but that's not a bad thing.  One child was all you were given, and that's the way it is,  He's gorgeous.

How many sphynx are there now?  Currently you have one and plans for 2 more, plus Kevin The Hairy One.  They are the loveliest animals, but I do hope Frank has grown out of his habit of biting feet to get people out of bed.  It is effective, and he only wants me up so I can feed him and then he can get back into my warm bit, but it's a shock at 4:30am (Can he work out the clock changes yet?)

I hope everything is as lovely for you as it is for me now, if not lovelier.

So far, we've done ok.


Now Me.


This blog is part of a linky, that you can find the rest of here!  Do go and read and look?

Dear So and So at Mummy from the Heart

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When the soaps are like real life....

J is an avid watcher of soap operas.  Things like Corrie, and Emmerdale.

Emmerdale has, this week, had me in tears.  (Bear with me if you aren't a soaps watcher.)

One of the female actresses is pregnant and has to go on maternity leave, therefore her character needs writing out for a little while.  Fine.  The premise is that she has got this amazing job in the Arab Emirates somewhere and off she is going.  Her husband in the soap doesn't want to go. It's only 6 months, he'll wait here.  However.

There is a child.

A smallish one, about 3 or 4 years old.  Female.

Mother wants to take her.  Father doesn't want her to go.

Emotionally, this week they went to the airport and the dad dropped the child and the mother off.  And I cried.  I bawled.

There is no way of ever explaining what the drive was like when Rich took his wife and child to the airport to go to the States.  She was going, taking their three year old.  She was determined.  He asked, begged and pleaded.  Originally the plan was for the child to stay here until her mother was settled.  That got changed.  I remember being there with them, with the AC and watch BG on her reins, waiting to go through.  And then we got in the car, and we came back.  Rich drove in silence all the way, his heart breaking.  He held himself together long enough to get us back to our house, and then he drove to his now lonely and empty house.  I didn't see him for hours.  We spent a while where he'd just turn up, not talk, go again.  He lived for the infrequent phonecalls.  Some nights he stayed on the sofa.  Some nights he stayed in the spare room.  Some nights I'd know he'd gone when I heard the door click at 3 am.  Some nights we stayed up talking all night, and then he went to work and I looked after a toddler.

And then, one day, it was all too much, and I knew what I had to do, and I did it.  Whether he hated me or not, it had to be done, and I went to the Padre and I told him everything about the situation, and by the end of the day he was under watch at a very nice place for those who need time and sanctuary to heal a nervous breakdown.

What happened when he came home is another story.

But this week, art has been like real life.  The pain on Jimmy's face reminded me of Rich, crying in my arms for his little girl.  The difference is that Jimmy's wife came back, left him the child, and went, knowing the child had a better life with him.  Rich's wife didn't do that.  His little girl was gone.

And as it turned out, he never saw her again,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's all going well so far....

Well, I've done it.

I've applied for the job I never thought I would apply for, I've filled in the forms, got the references and done it.  I have had an acknowledgement of the application.

All I have to do now is wait.


We know I'm not good at waiting Dear Reader.  The closing date is 2/Mar/15.  The interview date is 18/Mar/15.  Then I'll know, one way or the other.

But it's all going well so far.  My children can walk around the Maypole and make the right pattern if I call it for them.  This is a good thing!  They are only little.


This isn't what I want to write about.  I can feel something bubbling under the surface of my mind, waiting for me to let it out to be written about.

This post officially makes no sense.  Well, never mind.  There is a post here.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sea change? All change.......

There is a change going through my house/life/soul at the moment.

Several things are going on which I am completely happy with.

One I'm not mentioning until I get somewhere.  If I get somewhere.  It involves a job application.......

The other, more important change, is in me.

I have kept a Bullet Journal for ages.  I find it really useful, but I wasn't using it the way it should be used, it was more of a task list.  This week, I think I've cracked it.

I'll put photos in another post, but I have one page for tasks, and the opposite page for other things.

Initially the 'other things' were

Boring things I achieved today
Things I did today for me.
Up and Bed
Things to buy

Over the last week, partly due to lots of thinking, partly due to reading 'One Thousand Gifts' AGAIN,  my "Boring things I achieved today " has changed to "Things to be thankful I can do - not boring but necessary" and finally to "Ways I choose to bless my family"

Nothing else has changed.  It is this change in attitude that is important though.  Yes, I'm the one who always does lots in the house.  I can choose for it to be a chore, or I can choose for it to be a way I bless my family, and show them I love them.

I'm not always going to get it right, but it feels nicer, and I seem to have a lot more done!

Pictures to follow!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

You know sometimes....

.....when something really speaks to you?

I want to put this up in my classroom where I can see it. It came from the Methodist Church website and is the prayer for today.

Be a light, O Lord, to our eyes, and music to our ears. Be sweetness to our taste and contentment to our hearts. Be sunshine to our days and food at our table. Be rest in our night and sufficiency in our hour of need. Be liberty in our life and everlasting glory at our death; through our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

John Cosin (1594-1672)

Loving that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dear Parent, I know...

This morning I was stooging through Facebook. It was 4:30am, and whilst I would usually be getting up to get some prep done before work, I am off on the sick for another week after this so I stayed in bed until the super-naggy cat got me up to feed him.

One of the things I read was this.Dear Teacher, please notice him and I saw the comments and I wanted to say something in reply. So I have. Read her post first - I get it, I really do, but it would be true I've had a fair few negative responses in my own head this morning. I've dropped my own son off, he's gone through school where I teach and he's now at a school where I don't know what he does all day, but I trust his teachers, my colleagues at a different school, to do their best for my son.

Anyway, here's my reply.

Dear Parent,

I know all my 30 children.
No-one gets to be invisible in my class, even if they want to. I know what they like and don't like. I know who eats a hot lunch and who wants to, but it's beans today and she doesn't like beans. I know who can count to 50, who can count to 100, and who still struggles to 20 because their parents didn't count with them, ever. I know who was 'hot housed' into doing everything before any other kid at trendy play group, I know who has a bedtime story as a matter of habit. and I know whose houses don't have any books at all. I know who is friends with who and what happened in the playground on Tuesday that has made that friendship stronger - or weaker. I know who will always have swimming kit, their reading book, spare gym clothes and who won't have any of those things.

I have taken spare gym stuff from home, spare books, extra lunch for me because I knew one of mine wasn't getting fed at home and had half a pasty for lunch. I have spent my evenings reading medical articles about developmental problems that I didn't know existed before and couldn't imagine - who drinks so much in pregnancy that their child is permanently mentally damaged? I've managed to complete various different professional development courses in my own time, (but I don't have the time or money for the Masters I want to do so badly.) I have researched different ways of learning for different children, I know the signs of autism, of global delay, of petit Mal syndrome and how not every child shows all of them because once you've met one child on the spectrum, well, you've met one child, you haven't met them all. There are no cookie cutter kids in the classroom.

I know whose books need marking with them because neither of us can read their writing and I know the despair in a child's eyes when he's forgotten what he wrote in his 5 lines of wobbly letters that are not words. I know who'll get a pen licence by the end of the year because they can already use paragraphs at age 6.

I am proud of my Emeralds, glowing at the top of my class, achieving at everything they do, not always putting in maximum effort, and then stressing out over tests because all they hear is "Tommy is so clever, his reading age is nearly 12, his writing level is a level 3a you know!". I rejoice in their laughter, their telling of jokes at inappropriate times, because it means they are being children and not automatons.

I am proud of my gaggle of interchangeable girls, all blonde, all blue eyed, all smiling, all pleasantly working as hard as they can, all cheerfully achieving. I am proud of my muddy boys, all cheeky grins and dirty shoes and genuinely not noticing that they have tracked dirt all through our classroom for the third time this week, but who just as cheerfully go and get the brush and do something about it. (I still fear for the one who used to flinch if I mentioned dirt, all those years ago, still see the look in his eyes as they flicked towards the door, checking he had a way out if he needed it. What does that to a child? What kind of man does it make him become?)

I am proud of my Diamonds practically dragging themselves through their education, battling uninterested parents, poor nutrition, medical problems that have names I can't pronounce, undiagnosed mental blockages that we try to unpick without pressurising them in any way. It's a fine line between knowing you've got the answer wrong, and feeling like you'll never do this. Sometimes it comes out in tears, or refusal to work, or in doggedly carrying on with the part of the method you remember, but it's only part and you don't know what to do after that and you don't want to ask because everyone else can do it, it looks like only you can't.

I know these are stereotypes, and I am being deliberately general, summing up 500 children in a few paragraphs, but I also know my children are 30 small people. I know whose hand will always go up, desperate for attention and approval, and I know whose hand will rarely go up, afraid of being wrong and relying on invisibility to get through. I have a randomiser though, and anyone could be asked to answer. I could carry on for pages and pages about my children and I used that possessive pronoun deliberately. During the day, I care for them like my own. In loco parentis means something in my world.

I get up in the morning, knowing that 4 hours of my 10hr work day will be unpaid. (Let's not even talk about the weekends) I get up expecting something else in the papers that slates my job or my children. I get up expecting another day of government interference with what I do, policies written by people who have never been in a classroom except for a photoshoot with the clean and tidy children. I get up knowing that parents will bitch about how much holiday I have, how I've lost their child's PE kit, how I don't pay enough attention to their child, how the education system favours the rich/the naughty/ the poor/ the good and is against the rich/the naughty/the poor/ the good, depending on the axe they have to grind on that particular day. I get up knowing that them not being able to go on holiday in school time is my own personal fault, as is the uniform policy, the homework policy, and the fact I want your child to have a coat if it's cold, even if they come in the car to school. (Ok, I'll admit to the last one. That is my fault and your child missed playtime in the cold/rain/snow because they didn't have a coat. Completely my fault...)

I know that there is an army of mums out there who know better than me - my own Prime Minister said so, on a day when I was lambasted for being a selfish teacher and going out on strike to try and make the government keep to the contract that they made me sign. (Except I didn't. I had autistic children at the time, and they need routine, and I had naughty children and they need boundaries, and I had hard working children and they need exciting activities and I had parents who rely on me being there so that they can go to work.) I know that I am replaceable - my own Education Minister said so when there were complaints about yet another new curriculum and an assessment system that makes life so much hard for the children and the teachers and the parents. I know that everything I do is under scrutiny from Facebook and MumsNet and ParentTalk and any other forum where it's fashionable to slate teachers.

There are days I go home tired, and dispirited and facing at least 2 hrs of work in the evening - the evening I'd like to spend with my family, my son, not filling in paperwork. There are days I go in dispirited, knowing that it's a test day, or that I've got a difficult meeting ahead, or maybe it's just one of Those Days. Those are my best days though. They are the days I shut my door with all of my 30 children and we just get on with being us and we know that inside our room it's ok to be us, and we all like us and we all have each other's backs and we will get through this together. Somedays there is cake, and those are also good days ;-)

I love my job, I love my class, I've loved every class for the last 16years and every year I've said "Wow, this is the loveliest class I've ever had, these children are amazing."

So what's the point of this diatribe? The point is, we both want the best for your child. We could achieve that if you'd let him go a bit, let her grow a bit, read with them a bit, listen to them a bit more, talk a bit less and try a little differently. Maybe you are doing a brilliant job of raising your child. Let me do a brilliant job of knowing and educating your child for the hours I have him. Maybe you think you aren't doing a brilliant job and all you ever hear is "Miss says this, Miss says that, that's not what Miss would do!" and maybe it makes you want to throttle "Miss" and I understand that because I'm a parent too and I don't want to be replaced in his affections or his hierarchy by someone he'll see for 30 hrs a week. Let me help, let me pick up the pieces of a bad morning and reassure you that you are doing a great job, that your child has lovely manners and excellent attitude towards work and if he doesn't want to read the scheme book then read something else, don't battle!

But if you have an issue with me, with the way I do my job, talk to me. You never know - I might have a good reason for what looks like an odd choice to you.

You see, I think we're in this together, the three of us, you, me, and the child. I think you and I want the same thing. Let's get there, together. I know all 30 of my children, and they know me. Maybe you and I should try knowing each other.


A Teacher.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I am Mary f***ing Poppins

So I did one of those test things on facebook. It told me I was Mary Poppins. This made me laugh, out loud, because a long time ago, I was told that I was 'Mary F-ing Poppins' because I thought I was so perfect. It's still my favourite insult in terms of those that I've been given.

But I wanted to know when that was, so I searched 'Mary' in my blog.

It comes up with a range of dates, before and after the accident. It comes up with a range of attitudes, topics, feelings, and just shows how I've been so changeable.

It also comes up with a post that has this quote in it.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying "I will try again tomorrow." Mary Anne Radmacher.

I'm going to paste that into #embracehappy

That's how I am today.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!

Monday, January 5, 2015

I have two knees....

This is true.

This is something to be happy about, having watched things like the Invictus Games and so on, programmes about those indomitable men and women who have come back from The Abroad (as we knew it) and yet left part of themselves behind.

Shortly, both knees will be working.

This is something to be happy about, seeing as I have spent most of the last year falling over, being unable to stand up, standing up and finding I only had one leg on the floor and the other was just dangling there, getting stuck in bed, in chairs, at work.  This class have never known me to sit on the floor with a group (a place I feel some of our best learning could have been done) because the one time I did it I had to have an adult in from next door to get me up.  This class haven't been out as much, because I couldn't take the chance of falling over with them and having 30 lovely children looking at me and unable to get back to school.  This torn and flapping miniscus of mine has a lot to answer for.

Apparently it was a large tear.  The flapping bit was going into the joint and stopping it working.  The surgeon has trimmed it off and made it a 'lovely round shape again.'  Not any old round shape, but a lovely one.

This morning, three days from the op, I *walked* to the bathroom.  On the way back I made myself a cup of tea and carried it through *myself*.  Friday and Saturday I've been stuck to the sofa like fur to velcro.  Sunday I could carry my own cup of tea, but only in a travel mug.  Today was that moment that I've been waiting for, when I can feel that it has worked and that I am going to be walking normally by the end of 3 weeks, maybe 2.  I know it won't be for any distance to start with.  I know that takes time, but today was the day when I got up and felt like it *would* happen, and soon.

I have done all this before you see.  3 years ago, I had the other knee done.  Exactly the same problem.  That time I didn't know what would happen, I pushed myself too far too fast, I ignored the physio because it hurt so badly that I didn't do as much as I should.  I won't be making that mistake again, although I think it all hurts less this time.  However, 5 days after the op, I had the feeling I have today - that it was fixed.

Yes, my fixed for 3 days knee is still swollen.  It has a range of colours to go through, much like the backs of my hands where a trainee anaesthetist struggled to find a vein.  I still have some post-general-anaesthesia fog to work through I suspect, which has been dire the last few days but then I had a very unenjoyable reaction this time.

The difference between last time and this time is that I *know* this will work.  That is making all the difference in the world.

Friday, January 2, 2015


This year, my word of the year is productive and I want to try and think about what productive things I have done in a day.

Today, however, I seem to have done nothing except the bins and make tea for the evening because of this.....

It's not the best and I had a revolting reaction to the anaesthetic which I've never had before. Anyway, it's done now.....

Sleep time (I know it's only 4pm!)

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!