Chai And A Chat #153 #ChaiAndAChat

I’ll barely squeak out a hello, today, my voice is not it’s best… sore throat…

However, a soothing chai will help, as we recap my week. You got yours?

  • If we were having chai I’d tell you that Hubby Dearest has been busy this week, chasing up various jobs that need doing around the houe, getting quotes for different things, looking at some of the furniture we need to order, etc. Thankfully we haven’t had any more silliness, apart from the boiler having a funny turn one night, meaning the hot water stopped for half an hour! Cue panic stations, until all was settled. fingers crossed, that is it, now!
  • If we were having chai I’d say that school has been a bundle of laughs this week, too (not). We have had staff shortages, due to illness, Covid, and other matters. Nothing that is the fault of any of my team, but unfortunately, something that impacts upon the children, and the wellbeing of the rest of the team. The children were in for lunch as well as the morning, last week, so it was interesting to see how they coped. Last year we found that many children were. unable to feed themselves, or use cutlery, and I worried that this year would be even worse. However, they have surpassed our expectations by miles! Aside from one child with huge anxiety about the canteen, and being out to play with the bigger children, the rest were more or less a dream. They lined up fantastically, ate well, and finshed fast, so much smoother than anything I have seen over the last few years, to be honest! Of course, it helped that three of my children who have needs weren’t staying for lunch as they are unable to feed themselves, and one can’t eat anything but puree, so they went home, but I was so proud of them all. They are showing, well, the majority are, that they are ready for the more structured learning, and they really want to learn. My much reduced team worked so well, with us all juggling things to make sure all children had all they need, and we finished the week happy, but exhausted!
  • If we were having chai I’d have to say that I was extremely excited to get this bookmail, too, this week. My fave author’s first ever children’s picture book, illustrated by her brother! And, the best part, Amanda will hopefuly be coming to my school to read to my children!
  • If we were having chai I’d say that not much else has happened in life, aside from school. There was only one cricket match, on Saturday, which was Hubby Dearest’s duty, phew!
  • If we were having chai I’d tell you that we did have a couple of visits to the orthodontist, one planned, one not. It was tightening time, and that was fine, except they left a wire that was digging into Lil Princess’s cheek, so thankfully they could fit us in, and that was solved, too!
  • If we were having chai I’d leave you, again with an image of Sonu Singh, showing you all exactly how I feel as I type this!
Bitmoji Image

This week, at school, the kids come in full time! I know I’ll be tired by the end! I also know I won’t be fully staffed, but fingers crossed, we cope, this week, and hopefully the week after we are in a better position. We also have to carry out the Reception BAseline Assessment, a statutory baseline that the DfE want all Reception classes to do, to see where the children are starting their academic carreer. Feels pointless to me, but who am I, anyway? We don’t get any data that helps to support our own planning, just a waste of time, and it takes an adult away from the rest of the class, too! Stsill, I shan’t complain…. much!

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Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 341 – The Power of Rest


“When you get tired, learn to rest, not quit.”


Think I needed this reminder, this weekend, Spidey, thank you!

I have fast learned this over the last few years, you know, putting my physical health ahead of everything else.

I just recently read a post I had written several years ago, about how, as a teacher, I, along with many of my colleagues, find it hard to admit being unwell, slogging away, for fear of getting behind, evenif we desperately need a day in bed, to recover from an ailment.

But now, I am of the firm belief that self care comes first.

Now, I’m not talking about taking random days off to get my nails done, but knowing when I really need to stop, recharge my batteries, before continuing on the constant treadmill that is life.

School isn’t going to stop. And I can run myself ragged, being there every day, in sickness and in health (yup, it’s like being married to my job!) but, if something was to happen to me, school won’t suddenly cease to operate. they will just carry on with a repllacement Ritu in town, because they have to. (Well, it won’t be a new Ritu, as such, there’s only one of me, but you know what I mean!)

So, if I am to give the best to my job, as well as to my family, my writing, and my own interests, I have to know when to stop, or slow down, and rest.

THis past eighteen months, the whole pandemic, on top of moving house has meant that I have barely enough enercy for the basic daily life tasks, and school, meaning much less time for me to write. But I realise that I could burn the candles at both ends, and end up with words that are filled with no passion, and myself suffering from burnout.

I am not willing to do that. Whichever words flow from my fingers, need to be words that mean something, so, until I feel on an even keel, they are there, in my mind, and ideas jotted down as they come.

And with work, I have realised that I have to draw a line somewhere, too, and not bring my stresses home with me, if I can help it.

This, on top of feeling a bit unwell this weekend. Those lovely little mites in my class are filled with bugs and germs, and because we have all had less exposure to a lot the last few months, our immune systems aren’t as hardy as the were before. I have a really sore throat, and am tired, obviously.

So, I made sure I did my grocery shopping on Friday evening, so Saturday meant a little lie in. The laundry was done, the house cleaned, leaving the evening, and today free for me to rest up, ready for whatever the next week brings.

Here’s hoping I manage to listen to my own advice… you know me!

So, what about you? Can you recognise when you need to rest, not give up?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Chai And A Chat #152 #ChaiAndAChat

Hello, all! ISo, I survived week one of school, just!

Did you grab your drink? I hope mine won’t go cold, as I regale you with the tales of the week gone by…

  • If we were having chai I’d tell you that the house woes decided to follow us into this week, too! We had a boiler and Water tank service booked, as it needed doing. That was completed, but in doing so, we found out about more incompetence surrounding the previous owner! The service engineer recognised the property. He’d been there before, not to service, but to attend an insurance call out. He knew this, because there were still markings he’d left, with recommendations, around the boiler! One included the replacing of a part costing a mere £10 that would avoid the risk of toxic gasses entering the environment. This hadn’t been done, yet that huge boiler was in a cupboard in the room that was the previous owner’s child’s room! And he just left it! He also insisted that he had had the boiler serviced, the year before, but was unable to provide the certificate. The engineer confirmed that this boiler had not seen a service for several years… Still, it’s all rectified now, along with the radiators all being checked, and the new remot Hive system all being set up, too. That, however, wasnt the end of the house giving, and giving, and giving… On Wednesday night, the elextricity went off in one area. This switch has tripped before, and even though I did report it to the insuranc,e it seemed to reset itself. Well, on Wednesday, it wasn’t resetting. So I arranged another emergency call out, as we had no lights, and no ppwer in the kitchen. Long story short, we got an engineer the next evening, and he was gobsmacked at the way the place had been wired. To start with, you couldn’t open the fuse box without removing the door to the fuse box cupboard! Once open, there was so much cross wiring, and overloading, he just mumbled and tutted for two hours, as well as hummed and laughed at his own comments! So, two main faults were found, that he, I think, has rectified, with no need for any follow up. Let’s hope the week to come brings no more house shaped emergencies!
  • If we were having chai I’d take a deep breath, and say school… We had the children in for the first time. They were only in for half days, but I can tell you now, that the exhaustion I felt by Friday was unreal! Honestly, I have a lovely bunch of characters in my class. Many who are truly ready for school, but a lot who have reallt felt the effects of the constant lockdowns, with nerves, and delayed development in certain areas. I also have a lot of Special Educational Needs, so, we had our hands full, dealing with settling the whole class, as well as being hands on with the children who needed the additional support. We had things thrown around, tantrums, a few behaviours that I will need to squash early on, pooey nappies timess two, a child peeing int he playground, one eating Playdough, as well as a runaway! So the doorhandle is being moved higher to prevent the runaways! The rest? We will see what happens. But, honestly, they are lovely. They are already sitting beautifully for circle and cafrpet time, most are tidying up a dream, there is amazing imagination, and many are fantastic with numbers already, too! It will be a challenge, this year, but I feel I have already set up the foundations of good relationships with parents, so fingers crossed, this year will be a good year! Fingersw crossed for no more lockdowns!
  • If we were having chai I’d tell you that my own two children were back for their first week, too. Lil Princess has a spring in her step, again, despite having to get up a little earlier, and Lil Man, who is not so little, has been fantastic, too, even sitting up, studying in the evenings, which I didn’t think he would do. There is some conscientiousness there, I believe! And seeing him in his suit, every moring, oh, my heart swells!
  • If we were having chai I’d mention that I was bracing myself for the late evenings due to cricket training, but in the end I didn’t have to worry, as the club is closed for work to be done of the grounds! He did have one match, though, on Saturday, which Hubby Dearest took him too, and he played really well, again! Three wickets for twelve runs off eight overs! Boom, Lil Man!
  • If we were having chai I’d say that I think the weight loss thing might kick back in, now, as gthe routine of schoolis set again. I can’t sit at home grazing all day, and I am hitting my step targets every day. Again, fingers crossed!
  • If we were having chai I’d sigh with relief and tell you that Sunday, I was able to have a full day of rest, after making sure all my tasks were completed on Saturday. Grocery shopping, done, houe cleaned, laundry up to date… Perfect! Just us at home, and me with my books!
  • If we were having chai I’d leave you, again with an image of that furry baby of mine, Sonu Singh!
Bitmoji Image

This week, at school, we will be having the children in for lunch as well, so I will get a weeks work to f school dinners, as well as seeing how the children cope at lunchtime! I’m pretty sure I will be knackered, but I am hoping that cricket practice, and games are now well and truly done for the season!

And while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list? I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 340 – Inclusion


“Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or in the same way.”

George Evans

Thanks, Spidey, for this thought provoking quote, today.

I have completed my first week with my students, and though they are only in for half days, I finished the week mentally, physically, and emotionally drained.

I have been blessed with a lovely class of children. I can see myself falling in love with them all, as I do, every year.

But, for the second year, in a row, the Special Educational Needs, or SEN, is on the rise.

There appears to be a lot more early diagnosises for children on the Autistic Spectrum.

Within our cohort of less than sixty children there are seven, possibly eight, children either already diagnosed, or on the path to being diagnosed with ASD.

That, in itself, isn’t a problem. The Government and DfE promote inclusion, and ensuring learning for all, within mainstream schools, but, when the needs are severe, even us mere mainstream schools struggle.

Some of the children we have will be able to benefit from small group work, and simple interventions. Some are high functioning, so with a little guidance, will be able to access the learning we are providing.

However, there are that handful of four or five who require one to one help, and even with that support, will never access the curriulum we teach, at the same stages as their counterparts.

As teachers, we really want to incude all children in our learning, but what if there are children who really can’t cope? What if we can’t provide the envirmnment that they need to thrive, at their own pace?

It’s tough as a parent, for someone to tell you that your child may have difficulties learning, and that maybe, mainstream school isn’t for them…

But, equally, in the right environment, that child can reach the same destination as the others, maybe a little later, but they could.

I often say to parents who are wavering on accepting that their child may be a little different from the others, that sometimes brains are wired a little differently, meaning they need an alternative way to learn.

My SEN SatNav analogy is that most of us are able to program our learning SatNavs, and get the majority of our class from A to B, via that motorway route. Some children need to use an A road instead. We can still travel with them, even though there might be a little delay in getting to that destination. Then, some children have diversions from the Motorway and the A roads, and they can only take the B roads. They will take longer to arrive at their destination. The road is narrower, so, taking smaller steps to reach the end goalpost, means that it will take longer.

As a teacher in a mainstream school, I can travel that Motorway journey with the class. I can even accompany some of them that need it, on the A roads, but sometimes, the B road needs a different driver, as in a special provision. Somewhere tailored to suit the learning needs of that particular child.

It’s not inclusion, I grant you, but there are children who will not benefit from being pitted against the rest of the class, in an environment that could prove toxic for them, if the right support isn’t in place.

Inclusion is great. But unfortunately, it isn’t for everyone, as much as I’d like it to be.

There, we have the problem. Instead of having places available in special provisions, the powers that be are shutting, or have closed down many of these schools that could cater for the children that need the B road journey. Sure, there’s funding available for the possibility of one to one support, but you have to jump through so many hoops to get it, and even then, you can’t guarantee that you will just find a suitable candidate to support that child. And then there is the fact that many school don’t have the space to create separate areas for children who may need more sensory stimulation, or less, than the others…

So we, as mainstreams schools, are caught between a rock and a hard place. We want what’s best for all our children, and there are times, we simply can’t provide it all, or we can attempt it, but to the detriment of the rest of the class…

Can’t win…

Still, I love my class, and will endeavour to get them to the destination, one way or another…

So, what about you? What do you think about inclusion, or special provisions?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

#SoCS Sept. 11, 2021 – Where – 9/11

Today’s SoCS prompt from Linda:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “where.” Use it any way you’d like!

It’s inevitable, today, isn’t it, to think back to that day, twenty years ago?

A day that is burned into the memory of all those who were around at that time.

I just sepnt time telling my thirteen year old daughter about it all.

Where was I?

I remember being unwell, and had called in sick at the bank I was working in, at the time.

Laying in bed feeling sorry for myself, I was dozing, when Pops rushed into my room. “Quick! Switch on your TV to the news!”

As the screen turned on, all I saw were repeated video clips of an airplane flying into a building. Reading the scrolling headlines at the bottom, I came to know that something had happened in New York. One of the Twin Towers had been hit.

Was it an accident? Or…?

As the speculation spread, we were watching, live, as the second plane struck.

Horrified, we didn’t konw what to think.

Then I remembered that one of my friends had been visiting New York, and was planning on going up to the roof of the Towers. In fact she had been the day bofore and mere hours before the attack, had posted photos of herself and her friends, up there.

Was she okay? Was everyone okay?

The news continued to get worse, with the Pentagon attack, and a fourth plane crashed, after brave passengers fought the hijackers. That one was believed to have been headed for the White House.

Panic spread across the world, not just the US.

The began to mention Canary Wharf in the UK, in London. That’s where Hubby Dearest worked at that time. We were counting down the two months until our wedding, at that time.

I was frantically calling him, to make sure he was okay.

There were reports of suicide bombers in the area, but they were unfounded.

Thankfully, he was safe.

Unlike so many others in the US. Almost three thousand lives lost.

Terrorism is a horrible thing. It achieves nothing for the masses, just breeds fear and hatred, instead.

I wish we could say that the world learned from this awful incident, but sadly, it hasn’t.

We are still surrounded by situations, across the world, where terrorists reign, in some areas. People are living in fear of their lives.

Sitting here, remembering everything, my stomach still churns at the memories…

That’s where I was, twenty years ago…

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