Tag Archives: Support

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.


Smiley lady, nice shoes.


First term of visits to my student teachers are over and it was quite the joy. Lots of absolute superstars and future legends in the making. No matter how old or experienced we are, observations are never fun. Many people also use observations to go scatter gun on a teacher…..quite often it is a bit like the way many of the modern languages teaching family mark a piece of writing….we mark for everything. Stand back and watch the red pen inflict misery.
My first observation as a student teacher still haunts me. 3 sides of A4 in red ink about everything I had done wrong. Now that was way before growth mindset, so if you were told you were mince, that was pretty much it. The observation from my university tutor was different of course…. very formal. Useful but formal. There was a certain air of nae messin. It wasn’t red pen but black and only two pages of suggestions of moving forward. The ” what if” and “have you considered” approach was much gentler than you are mince approach.
It’s a bit like having that difficult conversation….you don’t need to be a dragon to do it but you do need to be firm and know what you are about. I had to develop that skill and I think it is still a work in progress. Being gentle but leaving no misunderstanding of what is expected and needed.
Seeing in students in placement is lovely for me quite often they feel just as precious to you as a class from school is. You are willing them to do well, wanting them to pass. I find it very hard to sit on my derrière and not get involved. I want to chat to the weans and get to know their likes, dislikes, what they have been learning the like.
I’ve seen me pulling the visitor card and talking through gritted teeth when I’ve had to but most of all I’ve enjoyed taking part in the activities, drilling the language and just watching wee people come alive as the teachers weave their magic.
Being supportive to the class and teacher is part of what I am trying to do….must be working. I was described as the smiley lady with the nice shoes.
I’ll take that.

You win some……



A tough one on the soup kitchen tonight.
It had been going so well for so long……
We work really hard at getting to know our service users and to be honest it is a very sociable evening with lots of chat and laughs as we catch up with people. There is a real sense of camaraderie between groups of our service users and they look out for each other.
So many stories to tell and no doubt shared history that I often wish I had more than an hour with them.
We see lots of people on the soup kitchen but there has been a bit of a swell in numbers again.
When I first started on the soup kitchen all the years ago it took me a wee while to realise that not everyone is what they seem and when people are desperate for food or money they will resort to desperate measures.
I learned that quite often all people wanted was someone who was interested in them, who would listen, who remembered their name and cared. Building up trust with people was a huge thing and we have been able to share in their joys as well support them when they have needed it.
Yet, it only takes for one evening with a bit of a different atmosphere and it feels different.
One of the regulars presented a new service user to me who was very vulnerable. He told me he was just doing his bit, this man often does. He brings the new service users to me to see if we can help. I had a chat with her to see if we could at least get her off the street for the night – sometimes we are lucky and we can get people in for the night. She went off on one and became very abusive and aggressive.She didn’t want to listen and reacted really badly to the offer of help.
Immediately I was assessing as to what I had done wrong,what had I said, what had I missed?
I called street services only to be told that she was known, was not homeless and was generally abusive to anyone who mentioned engaging with support.
Sound familiar?
Turns out she knew where to access help, had a place to stay but had actively decided to disengage.
I admit to being a wee bit relieved. I hate admitting defeat especially when it comes to helping people on my shift.
We then had another two service users get a bit loud and argumentative over something and nothing. Again, things that are not really worth raised voices over become huge. It was de escalated quickly enough but it’s exhausting.
Honestly, it’s like being in school. Refereeing, pacifying, caring, listening, trying your best.
Not always getting it right, but trying.