Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 333 – Appreciation

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“It’s the little things, that matter.”

Ritu Bhathal

Today, Spidey and I decided to have a little chat about appreciation…

Friday marked the end of one of the most surreal school years in my career, and indeed, the career of many other educators. Last year was weird enough with the whole term long lockdown, but, dare I say it, it was easier, in many respects, because there were no real expectations, besides getting through. We did what we could to help our children, and hoped for the best, after all, none of us had been through a situation like this before.

This academic year, however, put fresh pressure on the whole sector, because, all of a sudden, we were meant to, overnight, become experts in remote learning; with no training or guidance, drop our usual techniques, and set learning in a whole new format. We were to, at the ping of an email or text, down tools and disappear home, if our bubbles burst, and embark upon that remote learning process, just hoping our pupils were able to access everything they needed.

We ushered in another lockdown and almost big term of full remote learning for all. There was the constant threat of OFSTED still planning drop in visits… Seriously? Maybe they would have been more welcome, had they been visits of encouragement, and thanks for doing all you are doing?

We were tirelessly trying to teach new things, as well as ‘catch up’ on lost learning time, to bring this generation of lockdown learning kids up to speed.

All this, coupled with, for me and my team at least, coming to grips with being a Phase Leader, managing a team of seven, and implementing a new framework for our Early Years department, as early adopters.

It was tough.

But we made it.

There were many up sides to the year too, though, and I can’t forget that. This year, the relationships we developed with the parents, were unrivalled, compared to other years. During lockdown, we spoke to our parents weekly, if not more, allowing them to be open about any worries or concerns they had about their children.

I’m not saying that we don’t have these conversations usually, it’s just that the lockdown ensured a more one to one personal connection, regularly, as we wanted to make sure our children were accessing their learning. In a typical year, we will see parents daily at drop off and pick up, and there will be snatched conversations, if needed, with the parents evening chats, too. Unless there was a specific reason to speak to the parents, outside of this, that was it.

This year it was so different.

They shared so much with us, meaning teachers sometimes became councillors for the parents, as well as educators for their children. I have walked through this year, virtually holding the hands of people who have been going through relationship troubles, those coming to terms with their children having severe Special Educational Needs, losses in their families, including miscarriage, having to relocate somewhere, meaning they won’t be with us next year… Dare I say it, they were almost friends…

And this end of year, as I hugged each child on their final way out of my classroom, (yes, I hugged them. They were a part of me, this year…) I was greeted with a round of applause by the collected parents. My already moistened eyes brimmed full of tears.

Some parents hung back, until my little classroom, one they had never been able to see inside this year, was empty.

One approached me, with her own eyes watering. “Mrs Bhathal, can I please give you a hug, if you don’t mind?” Me? Queen of hugs? Well as that is one of the biggest things I missed during this pandemic, threw my arms around her. She whispered the sweet nothings every teacher wants to hear in my ear. “Thank you so much for everything you have done for my child, and me. We will all miss you so much!” This was followed by several other parents stepping up wanting to do the same.

By now, my tear dam was fit to burst. And it did, once I got back home, that night.

These parents had been so generous with gifts, to top it off, as well as my wonderful colleagues. I read the accompanying cards, and the words touched me, deeply. (I’d not be lying if I confessed that as I type this, there are tears, rolling down my cheeks.)

All this, after reading something on a Facebook Group, I am a member of, as well as on Twitter, about certain people who were ranting about why teachers should even get a thank you card, seeing as they had barely worked this year! (Come, live a week in my shoes during term time, then try saying that to my face!)

I’m an exhausted, emotional mess, right now, and looking forward to switching off from school for a couple of weeks, at least, but I am feeling so, so appreciated, right now. Below is what I posted on Facebook, and the overly generous gifts that I received.

If you swipe the picture, there is more!

So… tell me, has a shower of appreciation ever brought you to tears?

I’m attempting something today, with a voice recording of my post. It isn’t highly edited, but I’d love to know if you enjoyed hearing it, as well as, or instead of reading it!

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Delayed Chai

Just popping on to say chai will be served a little later today, or even tomorrow… it’s been a crazy one. I’ll fill you in, when we sit for that chai…

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 332 – Backlash

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Marcus Rashford racially abused on social media – Channel 4 News
Picture of quote by Mrcus Rashford, England Football Player

Spidey felt this was pretty important to discuss, this week, after all the drama of the last week, after the final.

Now, you now I am not football’s biggest fan, however, when there is something big to support, I am there. As I was last week, at the Euro 2020 finals.

The tension was palpable, as we cruised through the first half, then ended up on the edge of our seats in the second half when Italy equalised. A tough half an hour of extra time gave nothing, ending the night in that craziness that is penalties. All that hard work, of playing a whole match, essentlially left to the luck of the kick for the players chosen to take the penalties.

And we started them so well… Then the first England miss happened… followed by two more.

Is it not a sad thing that as soon as the realisation hit, that the three that missed, were black players, many of us already dreaded the backlash of abuse that would pour from the mouths of the racists fans who just need an excuse for their hatred and racism to show?

We weren’t wrong, unfortunately.

Whereas many of of us applauded our lads for reaching the final, and giving it their best shot, there were those rcist trolls who took great delight in spouting their hatred and opinions about those players who missed, callingn them all manner of names, threatening them, and using their skin colour as the anchor for their abuse.

Marcus Rashford, who I quoted above, was one of the unfortunate targets.

Do these peope have such short memories? Because of this young footballer, and his tireless campaigning, many impoverished school aged children were provided with food, over lockdown and the school holidays. And you can beet your bottom dollar that many of those who were speaking ill of him, had children who benefitted from Rashford’s good work.

Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were also targetted, yet even they, despite their age, have done so much for their communitites…

All this forgotten, because they missed a penalty?

It disgusts me, and I know it disgusted many others.

But what will be done to curb the loutish, racist behaviour of these football hooligans?

The turning on the players of their own team was the icing on the foul tasting cake, served by them this tournament, with England fans disgracing their team and country, by jeering the national anthems of other countries, lighting flares in the stadiums, shining lazers into the eyes of the opposition’s goal keeper, general violence and shameful behavior, is inexcusable.

I, for one, am so proud of this team that worked so hard to get further than any other England Mens team, since 1966. (I won’t mention that the Womens team have been kicking it during that time!) They handled the defeat with grace and aplomb, yet had to hang their heads, due to the behaviour of their supporters.

Supporters like that? I think enemies would be better behaved!

Come on, England Supporters. We need to get this right. Why colour the reputation of your whole county? Show a little pride in yourselves.

So… tell me, what were your thoughts on the happenings after the Euro Final?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 331 – Is it Coming Home? Part 2!

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Come on, England!

Most of England, today!

Spidey and I apologise for having football hijack the post again, this week, but, come on, who could blame us?

England are playing in their first MAJOR football tournament final, since 1966!

So, you know I am not that interested in sports. But, on Wednesday, I ended up spending 120 minutes of my time (plus injury time) watching the semi final against Denmark, on tenterhooks, along with most of the nation. I actually had a book in my hands, but didn’t read more than a few pages.

Even my colleague who HATES footy with a passion ended up joining in with our WhatsApp group chat, as we second guessed how the match would end.

And, as you all know, it ended in our favour, with a 2-1 win. (Not without scandal, though, as the England team were fined £25K for the behaviour of their fans, jeering during the Danish national anthem, and allegedly pointing a lazer beam in the Danish goalkeeper’s eyes during a penalty. What a shame a team who has done us proud has to bear the scars of a bunch of nooligan fans who are hell bent on causing trouble!)

So, I hyped up my class the next day, because, if you remember, we have England as our class team, in the school sweepstakes. Sure, there are some kids who have no clue what I was going on about, but we have some die hard fans, too, who were so excited!

And on Friday, as we left, I popped on the Three Lions Song and we all sang “It’s Coming Home!” together.

Who knows.

What has made me giggle, though, is that some people have asked the Government for Monday to be a national Holiday, because they fear the amount of people who may not even be in work, or school, due to a late night filled with drinking, shouting at TVs, celebrating (or commiserating) and the inevitable hangovers!

Still, tonight we find out whether it is actualy coming home, or popping off to Italy, instead. But, we are definitely hoping for a positive result, in our favour, of course!

So… tell me, Team England or Team Italy?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 330 – Is it Coming Home?

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Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

Pele

Many thanks, Spidey, for channelling my surprising football interest this week! Pele is a true football (soccer) legend, and his words can be applied to everything, not just good old footy.

If you live here in the UK, or anywhere in Europe, you can’t miss the fever pitch that the Euro 2021 football tournament has reached, so far.

I am not a footy fan.

Infact, I would go so far as to say I almost ‘hate’ the sport… Well, maybe hate is a rather strong word to use, but it’s not my cup of tea.

No sport is, to be honest. You’d be fooled by some of my posts. Yes I watch cricket. I ferry my son around to all his matches, and I watch them, because it is him playing, but it’s nothing I follow other than his games, and my brother’s when he plays for Finland.

But, this weekend, we had England in the Quarter Finals. I have seen the England flags hanging from so many houses and businesses. We have aschool sweepstake going, for each class (not financial, just to support!) and my class was handed England as their team. So, I also have a vested interest in this tournament. For the class, obviously!

Aside from wanting our class to be the winning class, I realised how important the idea of it ‘Coming Home’ is, right now, to the whole nation. We have all had a sh!tshow of a year and a half, haven’t we? The whole world. And the handling of this pandemic has left many with no faith in anyone political. But Sports seems to be the way to go, to get morale up, spirits high, and happiness flowing.

I went to pick up a takeaway last night, just as the match started, and as I pulled up to park, it was outside a pub. a huge cheer welcomed me into my parking space, and initially, I thought I was being applauded for my (not so) fabulous parking. Then I noticed the marquee in the car park, and the large screen, and the fans going wild. A goal scored, four minutes into the match.

Just that one positive start, lifted the mood around the area. Smiles passed round as freely as the pints were flowing. Other customers waiting for their food were exchanging excited banter. People were communicating in a away that has been lacking, recently, what with social distancing and masks. Okay, so there was still distance, but there were smiles (it was outside, so no masks needed!), and positive exchanges.

I watched a little but I’m afraid the gargantuan task of ironing oer a weeks worth of laundry was calling me, so, after the first half, I melted slightly, in the warm temperatures, as I pressed umpteen shirts and cricket whites, while listening to the fantastic Sacha Black and Dan Willcocks on the Rebel Author Podcast. I had my ear tuned to the reactions of the two footy fans watching downstairs.

And I heard that the match was going well.

Very well.

Lil Man had predicted a 3 – 0 win, and he wasn’t wrong, until they surpassed his expectations and finished with a 4 – 0 score.

Go on, England!!!!!

Semi finals, here we come! (I suppose I’d better be more excited with the kids in my class, now that our team have a real chance of coming out on top!

So… tell me, are you following the Euro Matches this year?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

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