Tag Archives: Wee things

Wee things….

I started teaching in a school in Glasgow in 2001 and started volunteering with staff and senior pupils on the soup kitchen. Every Wednesday we would make the soup, 300 rolls and take out fruit. We would meet up with a charity who ran the service and would be in George Square from 10-11pm. It was great for staff and learners to work together and to be doing a wee bit to help. During the school holidays I would rope in my dad and friends to help.

It wasn’t a big deal. It was just what we did. I ended up training with the charity to be senior volunteer and run the shift. We did moving and handling, first aid, child protection and suicide awareness. I’ve used every bit of that training.

Fast forward to now, we’re still outside but at 9pm in a different location.

During my time as a volunteer I’ve had a knife pulled on me, worked with suicidal people of all ages, visited service users in their accommodation, arranged for furniture for people in new accommodation, been called all sorts of colourful things, worked with emergency services and so much more. I’ve seen people at their best and at their very worst. I’ve cried with them and I’ve laughed with them. We’ve celebrated small victories and been heartbroken when we’ve lost friends.

I’ve had the odd rant about it but like so many other people, we are just trying our best to help.

We have a great team of volunteers who have been quietly rocking up for over 10 years now on a Sunday night . We rely on each other giving time. Our volunteers range from university professors, students, parents, people from faith groups, grandparents, and people who just want to help-each bringing their time and talent to listen. We have a mental health first aider with us too.

We have an amazing community of family and friends who donate toiletries, clothes and dried goods.

Last night was indeed a first. A couple with a young baby who had been all over the city (and I mean all over) trying to get powdered baby milk.

It was very cold and they were at their wits end. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t decide to walk all over the city looking for baby milk and rock up at the last food provision in the city if you were not desperate! They told me the fresh air helped their wee one sleep. Indeed but at 920pm at night, he should be sleeping at home.

A few phone calls later and out of hours social work helped us. They arranged for a taxi to pick them up, get them milk and get them home.

The family were on Universal Credit and from what I understand, had not had a payment.

To be the 5th stop on their day and being able to help them was a tiny victory.

It’s hard because the easiest thing would have been to get the milk( and believe me if we had not got the result with social work that is what we would have done) but then that doesn’t help in the grand scheme as it just gets “coped with” and everyone thinks it’s fine. It’s not fine. It’s horrific and if it wasn’t for the generosity of time and resources from people, instances of this couple would be MUCH higher.

Note to self: get a tin of aptamil in the bag along with the durex, toothpaste, shower gel and socks.

New term…….new shoes….

When I started this blog, it was as a professional challenge to myself with the three themes of shoes,my daughter and my teaching.
How far I have come in those years still astounds me. So I think it is a good chance to take stock and start again as there will be much more methodology going on and it will be good to get back to looking at that.
My love affair with shoes continues. Few new pairs over the summer…..I’m aware my parents might see this, so I am not saying how many pairs. My boss might also think my wages need looked at if that is what I am spending them on.
However, something that has not changed is my pride and joy my little lady.
Hard to believe she is going into primary 5. I genuinely have no idea where the time has gone. I had another summer of falling in love with her all over again. I know every parent is biased,but she quite simply lights up my life and I find myself making most of my education decisions based on whether it would it benefit her. Her sense of humour is as dry as mine and we have laughed to the point of tena ladies this summer. From travelling in Spain to visits to friends, walks on the beach, getting soaked in the rain to entertaining the ladies of the family at a party.
She is at the stage where she has activities and clubs on and has quite the social life. Part of me is still struggling with how independent she is untill I’m gently reminded that the Apple does not fall far from the tree.
So new session, points cleared to start again.
Even after all this time, I’m still excited for the new term.

It was a braw day…..



And breathe. Well, mad Tuesday has come and gone and had I had the energy I would have blogged but I was utterly done in.
Tuesday’s usually have me running for the hills but I made a conscious decision to really be in the lessons and to turn off the email alerts and give the weans everything I had. I had had a similar conversation with a student teacher recently, in that we have to give the weans the very best of ourselves and those wonderful lessons that we all do for our crits when we are training should still be part and parcel of what we do. The wow lesson…
I’ll be honest, I’ve not had the energy to do even the tiniest bit of taaa daaaaa …..however Tuesday was a hoot,
Started off at 8am with the seniors in for coffee and blethers before big oral exams later this week. The Higher class were lovely and we were working on a topic very close to my heart – the environment.
The mad squad were their usual mad selves but we had a really good lesson as we got to grips with our Argentian film and how we could talk about it. I found myself laughing a lot through the lesson and really enjoying the chat. We chatted about options and why they were choosing particular subjects and now the wee things they did now would have an impact on their future destinations. One of the boys in particular can be a real handful yet he works for the most part really well in languages and responds to just the smallest bit of praise. Wee things matter.
A busy class at lunch and seniors again to finish off the day before primary teachers in.
Various factors made it a lovely day: I was rested and prepared – those two old chestnuts, were the biggest.
I wasn’t distracted or worried either.
The wee lady is coming on and now I find myself checking on her because after 6 years of being able to hear her from the other side of the house I can’t get used to the lack of little ( ok, not so little) snores.
She is coming on a tonne now and getting back to her wee self which is a joy to see and believe it or not, desperate to get back to school.
Everyday for her is a wow day…….and every day with her is a wow day for me.
Even if I did walk the floor with her on my hip last night to settle her.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mammy points 9/10
Methodology points 9/10
Manolos – got to the front door of work tonight to realise I still had my sandals on, cue a swift dash to get the shoes on!

It’s the wee things …..again



Another interesting day that had lots of laughs and even some happy tears. It struck me today that there were a lot of wee lovely moments in it and sometimes we forget just how many of these make up our day…and today feels like a day when the wee ones all happened at the right time!
Waking up to a wee flurry of texts from friends is always a good start to the day, my nighthawk tendencies are not in evidence at the moment
A blether with my friend en route to work where we had a good old go at putting the works
The smile from the boss when he knows it’s better not to ask how you are before you are fuelled by the coffee
But what makes it worthwhile everyday? The wee things from the weans. The seniors getting their orals ready with cups of tea, the mad boys in 3rd year making my day as they managed to get through the work on films and speak some really good Spanish.
My student teacher passing her crit, The seniors sneaking about to set up a surprise birthday celebration for one of our boys.
The look on on my students face when he saw the celebration, and the joy from the rest of the pupils as they shared a special picnic with him. The glee I felt in sharing the good news about a new job for a friend.
You just can’t bottle this stuff.
After an afternoon of working with student teachers and primary teachers, I came home to an A3 card stuck on the door for me by the wee lady and the biggest hug.
My folks were here and dinner was ready.
I laughed my socks off at the wee lady and then just sat beside her in bed a bit longer to listen to her sleep.
Despite some chairs being thrown in my path today (Not literally) there were a lot of flowers in the window ( as Travis would say) and sometimes it’s nice to stop for a moment and look at them.

Can I have a word?



Well it’s been a week full of professional chatting and wee journeys. On Tuesday I had the joy of interviewing with my big pal for the new cohort of student teachers.
Listening to these people who were putting themselves through the ringer for us was just an absolute privilege.
Their enthusiasm for the subject and for teaching was exciting and I couldn’t help but think I would want my daughter to be taught by some of them. Varied backgrounds and experience and lots bringing different qualities to the table.
My darling friend told me that I had very high standards and that not everyone was going to come in with the “ta daaaa” factor.
Well, we all have our own ta daa factor, some people are just really good at hiding it.
I then found myself with tears rolling down my face at one of the candidates. In walked a girl who, I had supported through sixth year many years ago and had grown up into a beautiful young woman who wanted to be a teacher.
We asked her who had influenced her and she spoke about her modern languages teacher then talked about me.
I was mortified, delighted and as proud as punch that she had followed her dream and that perhaps the tiniest wee bit of my madness had helped her on that journey.
After a day of interviewing I took part in an event with other schools and local university to look at widening access to places and university life.
Some of my students spoke about their experience last year at summer school and again, I found myself looking at these amazing young people and wondering just what I had done to deserve them.
The week was a busy one that was filled with lots of wee diamond moments. Then someone comes along and rains on your parade.
Why is it we let all the beautiful moments be overshadowed by something trivial and quite frankly not worth the email space it took up…….
The little lady is not daft and immediately piped up “dry your eyes mum, let’s go shopping”
So we did. New wellies were bought.perspective was returned and
My parade was back on track.
Trust a 6 year old to sort it.

Mammy points – work life balance was all wrong this week I am ashamed to say
Methodology points – some lovely classes this week, even the mad ones. 8
Manolos – 9 pretty much been sparkly trainers all weekend

What a difference a day makes…..



You MUST turn this tune up.
Well I’m certainly feeling less feart than I did last night.friday evening, the house is clean, fresh towels in the bathroom and anything that is lying about has been moved to my bedroom. Yes, time for a party in the house and the oven and washing machine are already full of stuff I am trying to hide.
Who am I kidding? My pals know I am far too busy to care a jot for house work. No Merci. However that might be a comfort zone I should push myself into, NOT.
Lots of prelims today and lots of wee stressed out people. Cuddles and tea were dispensed. Lots of giggles and wee special moments today as well and I tried to savour every one if them. Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic or clingy to something I am going to let go but I enjoyed them all.
I had a meeting in the afternoon and one of my partners in crime was really off form. Not in the professional sense but just a bit done in and with a wee cloud. We came out the meeting bidding goodbye to everyone and walked to head to the office when he asked if we were going for a coffee the response was ” I thought you’d never ask” ( secretly thinking is it gin o’clock?”
You can’t actually beat them, and sometimes it is just good to sit and chat about work, life, wee people and coffee.
We chewed the fat and then the lovely C came to join us.
She is the reason I still have a mix tape from 1996. Nothing to play the damn thing on but I can’t bring myself to chuck it out. ( aye, and she knows too much!)
I was explaining to the weans in school about mix tapes and they were rolling about laughing.
A mix tape.
So this mix tape tonight of Jamie cullum singing what a difference a day makes pretty much sums up today.
What a difference a day makes, and the difference is you. Well quite a lot of you.

You could make a difference……



Sunday night so you know it is going to be a rant. I’ve been turning this one over for a few hours……
One of my service users on the soup kitchen was pretty worse for wear on the bevvy. He struggles with it a lot and we often can go for weeks without seeing him as he is on a bender.
He turned up tonight and was pretty well gone,and it was really hard to try to talk sensibly with him.
I discovered a few years ago that I had taught his wee niece. Last year she was going in for a fairly serious operation so I made a wee gift bag and sent it along with him for her. I hadn’t seen her in year but I had a real soft spot for her.
When she got home from a fairly lengthy stay on hospital, my man from the soup kitchen asked me of I would phone his mums house one Monday night as his wee niece would be there.
I promised to try my best to phone at 7. My own wee lady was late I settling but I phoned at 7.30
By the time I and got off the phone my mobile was full of abusive text messages about shattering a dream and one I hadn’t phoned etc.
He’d gone out at 7.05 as I hadn’t phoned and went straight to the off licence.
The tiny wee thing of phoning and getting it on I time was not only a big thing for the wee lady in question but for this man too.
We cleared the air and all was fine.a bit awkward for a few months then he disappeared for a few months.
Tonight he got stuck into me for not phoning or visiting over Christmas.
I tried to explain that it wasn’t really appropriate to visit or phone etc, and I had done it was a once off when she had been in hospital.
What I took from him after that would make a sailor blush.
“You think you can make a difference you cannae” when what I was dying to say ” will I tell you how hard it is for me? Shall we talk about how hard it is to get through a day sometimes?shall we talk about the appropriateness of me phoning etc.
I eventually asked him to leave the soup kitchen as he was really getting more upset with himself but swinging from aggressive to sad. It’s hard to manage that and make sure he still had his dignity to leave. Argh!
However,some fights you can’t win, but I do have a battle plan.