Tag Archives: Family

Sans Pom poms

I was recently at the Scottish Eduction Awards as a guest and it was indeed a lovely day with lots of happy memories of being there before. I had the chance to catch up with lots of friends from near and far, and one of them pipes up” Och it’s yersel – wee day out? Do you just go to awards ceremonies?”
Yep. Opening of a packet of crisps and I’ll be there.
Was tempted to tell her I’d been dealing with emails since 6am and was going straight back to do staff training. Then when the wee lady was in bed I would do a few hours again.
Because that’s just how it gets done.
My family have always celebrated the wee things. From the gallery of paintings in the kitchen we would bring home from nursery, to Christmas tree decorations, to the wee joys of school. Dad sat through dancing displays when I am sure he would have rather poked his eyes out with a fork. Mum would listen to constant music rehearsals and was always delighted. ( demented more likely)
The wee things being celebrated and acknowledged are HUGE.
This time of year it is the school shows, the award ceremonies and all the wee things that are so very important to the wee people.
So I have been to various shows and ceremonies as I have been asked to. Getting home late is the norm for a few weeks. It is important because it is my way of showing that I value all the work that my friends do. And all the work the wee people do.
I have laughed, cried and been genuinely blown away by the dedication of the amazing teachers I have the privilege of working with every day.
To support people is the least I can do when they are as amazing to me. I may not have the Pom poms but giving time is still the best form of cheerleading as far as I am concerned.


Keep calm and dae wan…



When my precious little lady was born I did things as a mum that I had seen my mum do. Some things I did because I had read about them and some things I did because it just felt right. Particularly when it came to well being of the wee lady. I was feeding her myself and of course she was nowhere near the wee point on the graph she should be and I started to get real heat from my health visitor to move on to the bottle so that the wee lady would gain weight more quickly. That stressed me out even more.
I asked for support and was referred to the most fabulous feeding advisor who took one look at me and one look at the wee lady and asked if I had any concerns about my daughters progress.
Someone asked me……
I didn’t have concerns but I had begun to doubt my ability to make the correct judgement. All I needed was someone to give me that wee bit of confidence and keep me on the right path.
She didn’t dress it up, she didn’t use terminology I had no clue about: she listened to me ( not on a time frame) valued my opinion and helped me to plan how to best manage my stress levels to make sure I was still being the best mum I could be.

We are constantly surrounded at the moment with jargon, must read articles, pressure to constantly be better as teachers, to be better leaders, to be better blah blah….
Do you ever feel like telling people to keep calm and dae wan? Even just for five minutes.
I love being a mum and I try my very best to get it as right as I can. I still ask my mum her advice, I still read things but most of all I do things with my daughter because they just feel right,
I love being a teacher and I try really hard to make it as enjoyable for the young people or teachers that I work with.
I do things because they feel right, because I have observed them and sometimes I read things and want to try it.
This constant rally call of get better quick jargon busters makes me want to poke my eye out with a fork.

I studied the theories about communicative methodology, good teaching,child development etc,- there is the reading bit. I have observed some of the most phenomenal teaching and it’s had a massive effect on my classroom but most of all, I have developed a set of skills for teaching and learning because they feel right and work for me.

I’ve decided that the best I can be is me. I try my best to get it right, to encourage others to do so and create the climate where they can be themselves. Being a manager is a bit like being that brilliant woman who took me in hand and asked ME If I thought there was anything wrong with my daughter as she wasn’t progressing the way the paperwork said she should. The woman who asked me if I needed help and if so how could she tailor it for me? The woman who called up my health visitor and told her to calm down and support me rather than stressing me out.And most of all? She listened.

What a difference she made. Leadership – empowerment – belief.

Mammy points 9/10
Manolo points 7/10
Methodology points on hold

The longest time …..



Well the day finally came for the wee lady to go into hospital for the tonsils and adenoids out.
She’s been bothered by them for years and between the recurrent strep throats, tonsilitis and sleep apnea, she was constantly shattered and coughing.
The pre op assessment was an interesting one with me asking if we really needed to do the op….and when an older nurse announced “it’s a pure sin, listen to her breathing – those need to come out” The decision was made.
We hadnt told the wee lady what was happening until a few days before it and she was ok then would get a real sense of fear. She kept saying “dont let them hurt me”
Eh, they would need to get passed me first.
I had that same dread that I had on her first day at school, when you hand over your littlies to the care of others.
I know the procedure is a standard one,I know that she will get the best care ever and I know she needs this to help her breathe, sleep, and grow.
But she is my wee girl and the very thought of a general anaesthetic was driving me to distraction. Not having slept for some time deprived me of my ability to rationalise what was going to happen but I think most parents are like that when it comes to their wee ones, no?
The day arrived and we had a great morning in hospital: all of the team met with the wee lady and myself, she asked questions and they were great with her.
She was in the playroom for a few hours and was beautifully distracted by craft activities. As were many of the parents which was no bad thing.
I was with her as they gave her the anaesthetic and that is something I don’t want to see again. Ever.
That was the point when I had to trust other people and that is hard when it comes to your baby. ( albeit she is 6)
Total time she was away from me was 40 minutes but it was the longest 40 mins of my life.
The tears flowed and I felt like an eejit. But she didn’t see that and that was the main thing.
When they brought her back she cooried tight into me and we sat wrapped in a blanket as we have done since she was tiny.
It was interesting to see how the other parents were interacting with their children: some parents sat on their phones as their wee ones slept or looked idly about them, some slept over their wee ones, some cuddled in and some children were on their own.
We had gone prepared: books, colouring in, fabric painting, stickers.
Must be the teacher in me. Eh no, it was the mama in me.
The wee lady had a rough night with buzzers going off, observations and meds,but she was wrapped round me like a coala bear. I fully waited on super nanny coming to give me a telling off and believe you me, if anyone had tried last night, it would have been a glittery trainer to the face.
The care and attention she received was first class ( I love the NHS) and I cannot op raise the staff enough.
My best friend is a nurse and we are often to be found discussing work, training and young people. I always have been and still am in awe of the work she does. We were chatting one night and I told her I just could not do her job, when you make decisions about life and death, and how much I admired her. Her response to me was that she might save lives but teachers gave lives to children through education.
We are home, and the wee lady is just grand. Lots of meds, cuddles and ice cream.
So I am off work with her for a few days and I was getting myself ina real state about being off amd thinking how could I get back for that class or how could I squeeze something in.
The I gave myself a mental kicking. I love teaching. It’s a way of life and a privilege to work with young people, and when I am there, I give everything I can.
When I am not, I have to trust other people.
My little lady comes first and I will not be the parent that puts work first.

Mammy points maximum points for not crying
Manolos points, I have been in bare feet for two days – bliss

This is the one…..



Cannot believe it’s Hogmanay. Here you are 2014’voici la Porte. Aye, we’re done.
Bit the bullet and went to the docs today and more meds than you could sell at an 80s rave. The last few days have given me some time to catch up on my reading and the bloggers that I follow. It’s proper serious blogging and very well done. Educational theories and political commentary, it does make for some very thought-provoking stuff. I’m amazed at the time people take over theirs, but I am glad they do as I have found to an invaluable source of professional reading. This one, was more a challenge to myself to have the discipline to do it and musings on trying to balance it all.
2014 : ooooft you were a bitch.
Lots of lovely things happened this year and professionally it was one of the most satisfying of my career so far. I’m not saying it was easy, but it was a hoot. Some very challenging situations professionally which either kill you or make you stronger. Guess what? I’m still here.
I’ve learned a lot about people, politics and the most important of all, weans.
I’ve taught the most wonderful weans, trained some of the most gifted teachers and had the chance to learn from some seriously talented educationalists.

I’ve also had the joy of sharing lots of special moments with fellow mammies where we talk of our daily battles keeping it all going. This may or may not have take place over a bottle of bubbles and I don’t mean irn Bru. And the ladies that are aunties, who remind us that it’s ok to still be yourself. It’s been a year of realising who are family and who you know well enough for them to be honest with you.

There have been tough times. Times where I’ve not known how to make it ok and no amount of superwoman cape was every going to make right, easy or less painful for some of my closest friends. We’ve resorted to type: lots of chatting ( even virtually) laughing, crying, cakes and well, pink fizz.
There have also been the times when these mammies and Manolo wearers ( and bringers of the jakey bags and green and blacks dealers)have been the ones to pull me out from under the bus when I was thrown under it or fell under it. It happens…..

But the highlight of this year? My wee lady without a doubt. The most wonderful thing is to say I am her mammy. I’ve laughed with her, danced, painted, baked, chatted and hugged like my life depended on it. I’ve had a riot with her and she is the best tonic for a cloudy day.

Oh aye, I’ve been on holiday. Back to the methodology on Monday…..bring it on 2015. You are shaping up to be quite and adventure and I have the perfect shoes…..

We’re just here for the banter…..



Last day of term yesterday and it was a wee hoot. The wee lady is still struggling with the sleep at the moment so it’s been a bit difficult getting up!
Arrived into school and got the coffee on. Cannot beat fresh coffee in the morning and I love that the weans come in for it too. One of my boys brought me I. Some green and blacks and a wee bell to ” ring for coffee” we sat and blethered and the rest of the department appeared in. We popped on some Christmas music and it was a morning of drinking coffee and eating chocolate. The pupils were in and out and I loved that they were quite happy just to sit and chat. Some of the girls were talking about how they like maths as it’s logical and they just get peace to work.then they commented that they love our corridor and classes for the atmosphere and that they feel welcome. Every time I have the conversation about health and well-being, this is what’ve talk about. H&WB is not about running about, it starts from the minute the kids arrive in school. Do they feel safe, welcomed, happy………..
Our department is beginning to become a bit of a safe haven for children who need to get out-of-the-way of the traffic in the morning and at break. I don’t think there is a bigger compliment than that for health and well-being, or as the weans see it – just there for the banter.
At the end of term service, one of the seniors told the assembly there was not place he’d rather be as he was with his family at school.

Looking forward to a wee day of H&WB with my own wee lady.

A quick winch up a close…..



Today was a Tena lady day. I mean really. Proper laughing till I could’nt stop.
We had our associate primaries in visiting today and it was a joy to be able to chat to the weans and their parents. It was good to dispel the myths about language teaching and have the parents working too. The tinnies ( that’s not Australian beer – just to clarify for a certain person- that’s the wee people) were full of energy and up for the chatting!
I love the reaction to our corridor and classrooms. They are so vibrant and colourful and while there is of course paperwork I should do, I would far rather have the work on display!
The seniors were very pre occupied with the awards ceremony tonight so some of the classes were a write – off and sometimes it’s just knowing when that is the right thing to do.
A group of us headed off to the Glasgow film theatre to see a French film as part of a transition project to further and higher education. I was so proud to be with my kids- they really are a joy.
Met my smashing pal I and her kids and got the chat. We were with a big darling of a French pal of mine who takes the banter very well. I don’t see nearly enough of either of these to people but the weans had a wee treat of le banter.
We had a wee chat about coming to the cinema and how watching films are a great way to help your language skills. I also spoke about how coming to the GFT should be something they should enjoy. C was introduced as my big French pal and was very good with the kids. He works in higher education but a keen supported of the work we do in schools and I have been lucky enough to work with him for quite a while. I’ve spoken before about messages I keep on my phone but one was from him a long time ago before I went for an interview and it wed ” just go an enjoy it, people always enjoy listening to you, I even ran after you the first time I met you to give you my card.” And there was me thinking it was my stunning good looks and banter.
Anyhoos, I sat at the back and announced to the weans I was up the back row with a big French man. Cue the weans exploding with laugher and me having a ” did I just say that moment”
The film ( picture above) was absolutely brilliant but the thing that got me the most was the music. Some small tears and a genuine desire to see it again. I wasn’t sure how the kids were going to react to it but they loved it.
We did a wee discussion after it and they loved the fact they had been in the room just on their own with another school.
We talked about the differences in cinematography and of course, had to get in the fact that I thought the main character was heading for a winch up a close with the Japanese man before she was hit by the dry cleaning van.
This of course makes no sense unless you’ve seen the film.
At this point my weans exploded. Well, a winch is a winch, up a close or not. So I am told.
The French make it look so much better no?
Really enjoyed doing my double act with C – and of course when we said see you after and did the French bises the weans asked me if I had actually winched a French man……..
I mean really. As if. …….

Mammy points 0/10 as it was too long a day but I was the lingo mammy tonight at prize giving and did actually tell a parent that I was the day time mammy and thanked her for loaning me her wean.
Methodology 9/10 felt like I had been run over by a bus.
Manolos- still not into anything more adventurous than the click three times shoes. Hoping for heels tomorrow…..7/10