Last Night … (Clone Machine Required – Read On For Details!)

Oh man, the tiredness (sorry to keep mentioning it, but it’s a constant companion at the moment!) last night culminated in another headache. That is the fourth Monday in a row where I have had to pop pills. I may need to rechristen my Mondays to Migraine Mondays!

Still, I had been looking forward to the evening.

After a busy day where all the classes got to meet their new teachers for the next academic year, and any surprises regarding staff movement were unveiled, we were to be heading to Lil Man’s school as he had been selected to participate in the school’s Sports Presentation evening!

It was a large, stuffy hall we were packed into, and after introductions, there was a motivational talk from a former pupil, who is now a business man.

All well and good, using language that the kids understood (including a couple of bad language slip ups, and referring to snogging!) until he showed his presentation on the projector and there were… SPELLING MISTAKES and MISQUOTED QUOTES!

I’m sorry but the writer in me got het up straight away! I wanted to go and edit his presentation! And the teacher in me wanted to get a red pen!!!

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The Achievement Formular! Formula!!!!!

I wondered if the Head Teacher was cringing as much as I was!

But no matter, the kids thought it was great!

And then the awards started…

It was a loooooooong night, as they mentioned every team they had and all participants got a certificate, but certain pupils were named and rewarded with a mention for player of the year/most improved etc!

Lil Princess was getting bored… and thirsty! She took several loo breaks, and stated that she now knew what dehydration felt like (guilt trip inducing comments all night as we hadn’t brought a bottle of water!). She lolled around over mummy and daddy all evening in the sticky hall…was not fun. My headache was emerging and tempers were fraying!

After pretty much every team had been mentioned, in EVERY year group, and the presentation had gone on an hour longer than stated, finally cricket was mentioned!

And we came away as very proud parents with an extremely happy Lil Man.

He got his participation certificate and was named Wicket Taker of the Year and Player of the Year!

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The Cricket Team getting their certificates!

Thing is, by then I was suffering from a pounding headache, and just wanted bed!

We all crashed out early last night!

Oh and did you say you wanted to hear what my job has in store for me next year?

I’ll still be working with the Early Years, but instead of restricting me to the Nursery 3-4 year olds, I will be being spread, like jam, across the whole foundation stage, so two days as a Reception teacher (4-5 year olds) and three days with my Nursery babies (3-4 year olds).

On top of this change, I will have joint responsibility for the Eco Team of kids we nominate in school, Healthy Schools, PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) and the School Council! There are three of us who will oversee all that  but my special interest will be in the School Council!

AND – yes there’s more – I have been chosen to be part of the Board of Governors as of September too!!!!

So, new responsibilities, on top of being basic teacher, wife, mummy, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, writer/blogger….

Did I say I was busy?

I believe I may need to really find a clone machine over the holidays!

Educating the Eastern Europeans… #ThrowbackThursday

Another older post of mine…

It’s always an interesting life in a multicultural school….. The way an educational institution changes with the advent of a new culture, a new people entering its walls.  And the differences of why the school has to change to cater for these children.

I feel this keenly, as an educator in the local school.  A huge difference with then, when the Indians flocked over here, and now with the arrival of the many Eastern European families, which other colleagues of mine have echoed, was the ethos of the Indian parents and their children.  There was a hunger to learn, to better themselves, and the parents were there right behind their children, sometimes a bit too much! But everyone wanted their child to be something, to go to university, make a name for themselves, as their parents had done before them.  A child with not much English would arrive at the school but with some help, would integrate, and learn what they needed to, and go on to learn at the pace of the others.

Now, however, the issue we have is that there are all these children from various Eastern European countries coming, with very little basic education, or knowledge, very little English, and parents who don’t have the capacity to help their own children to fit in, as they don’t have the education behind them themselves.  No English, and just the promise from someone, that coming to England will make your dreams come true…

Before you think I might be being a tad racist, no, I’m not. In India and Kenya, I have experienced this very same thing from family members, and their thinking.  We work hard here, save money, and go to spend holidays with our families back home, only for them to see our material possessions, like phones and cameras, or nice clothes, and some money to go shopping, and think that ‘this is it, we need to get there, this is what we can do then, live like kings!’

Ok, yes it might seem like that, but no, we don’t just sit at home, money doesn’t just pour into our accounts.  We plan for months, years even, to go home and have a good trip, slogging our guts out sometimes, so we can relax back home.  In fact, when I look at the lifestyles some of our families have back home, it makes me wonder why our parents came over here in the first place!  There is someone to cook and clean, most of the women I encounter aren’t working, from affluent families, and can afford to lead a ‘ladies who lunch’ lifestyle. And the men have the  money behind them from their own parents who would have built their own businesses from scratch, so their children would have security.

Going back to the Eastern Europeans, I won’t tar everyone with the same brush.  We have Polish, Lithuanian, Slovakian, Hungarian, Czech children amongst others, who do come, they have a great capacity for learning, and after a while, they get there.  They have parents who want to learn too, and are willing their children to succeed here, so they too, can have a comfortable life.  It is the Roma children, those from the traveller communities of these same countries, which are the hardest work.  And again, it’s not their fault they can’t learn well, and integrate.  For as start, they don’t have a written language, so how much reading and writing is going on at home?  These people were often persecuted back in their home countries, treated like third class citizens, and not given any opportunities, so coming here, they don’t like to admit their backgrounds, not realising that at school, the more knowledge we have of a child’s background, the more help we can get financially to cater for these children’s needs.

I have been working in a school that has a high percentage of non-English speaking pupils for 4 years now, and it’s an interesting experience!  I’ve learned a lot, I’ve had to learn a lot, so we can communicate with all these children.  I’ve also got to know a lot of them, as they get older, and it pleases me so much to see one of them grasp a concept that they have struggled with, as much as it pleases me when any of my pupils succeeds, it just has an extra tinge of happiness, as for a lot of these children, learning is a hard thing… school is tough for them, alien words being thrown at them, and concepts which they probably haven’t even encountered in their mother tongue, let alone a new language.

Another thing is that there is no real settling for them.  We get children joining us, and we work hard to help them, and just as the child is adjusting, getting to grips with the school, and learning, the family move as their might be ‘better’ opportunities elsewhere, only for them to come back 6 months later, having forgotten what they had learned previously, if they hadn’t been in school all that time.

For a lot of the parents of these children, school is just a formality for their kids, if they are to live here.  It’s not a necessity, but this thinking only stems from the fact that there was no emphasis on education in their own formative years. Indeed, many of them wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to go to a decent school when they were growing up, and if they did, they would have been segregated from the ‘normal’ children, and treated so badly.

I have well qualified Eastern European colleagues who have lived this life, not as Roma people, but ‘proper’ nationals of the various countries and they tell us of the persecutions that happen to the Roma communities back home.  They only wish for the best for these children, and their families but they echo our frustrations, as they can see the difficulties of educating children who have no support at home.

When I see the children out and about, out of school hours, {and I’m talking really out of hours,} young children as young as 6-7 with no adults around them, lingering about in town, after dark, it makes me wonder what their parents must be thinking… leaving the kids out, alone, at that time. They tell us, yawning, that they were up until 1am, watching some inappropriate films, or playing the wrong kind of computer games.  so when they show they can throw an impressive punch, or pepper their pigeon English with some ‘colourful’ words, you know it’s not mum and dad’s influence, but some Hollywood action hero. Where were mum and dad?

So you see, it’s not just about education, and educating the kids, somewhere, somehow, we have to educate the parents too, to show them they are worth something, and with support, they can push their own children to greater heights than they thought achievable themselves.

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 124

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“Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart.” – Winnie The Pooh

Spidey found this one, and I felt it to be a most apt quote from one of my favourite individuals, that cuddly wuddly teddy all stuffed with fluff, Winnie The Pooh!

I call my son Lil Man for a reason.

He’s little, so that takes care of the ‘Lil’ part and he’s also very mature in some ways, hence the ‘Man’ part!

But besides being quite a grown up young man, he is still a child, and I hope to preserve that childish innocence for as long as I can.

On this weekend, which has become his birthday weekend, Pooh Bear’s quote rings more true than ever. Both Lil Man, and Lil Princess may be growing up but they do indeed take up a HUGE part of this mummy’s heart!

And they will reside there forever!

I’m off to finish decorating his cake now, so I bid you all a fond farewell!

Have a wonderful Sunday Peeps!

 

 

 

Tweenage Thoughts – Special Cuddles and Behaviour Charts!

I love my kids.

Last week I touched on the fact that they were both getting older and, well, quite frankly, there is nothing I can do about it.

I guess it is important to embrace it all, and enjoy the fact that there will be a whole lot more ‘Blogger Fodder’ over the next few years!

Take this last week…

I am having to really accept that my little girl, my baby, my Lil Princess, is no longer ‘little’! Watching a film, an s-e-x scene came on. (It was a tame one, honestly, I am not subjecting my children to porn!)  Both she and her brother averted their eyes, with the usual kid cries of “Eeeeugh! Disgusting!!! Is it finished yet?!”

Admittedly, I think Lil Man may have been watching through his fingers, but I can’t be sure…!

Then Lil Princess said to me, “Mummy, are they having ‘special cuddles’ then?”

She knows.

She’s nine, and she knows.

I was not prepared for her knowing things like that… not yet! She’s not due for that talk at school until next year!

I actually found out that she was aware what sex was in March. We went shopping for my best friend’s baby shower. I was buying some cutesie bits and bobs, along with the obligatory disposable maternity pants and perinneum massage oil, when she giggled and showed me a tube of nipple cream.

Obviously nipple is a funny word for kids of a certain age.

She went on to find several brands, and then nipple protectors too, giggling at every find.

We had a short conversation as to why these items (not the perinneum massage oil!) were necessary for a new mum.

In the car on the way home, she was obviously feeling quite comfortable with being so open with me, so broached another issue…

“Mummy, when a pregnant lady goes for a poo, what stops the baby coming out too?”

A perfectly sensible question… until you realise that your nine-year-old doesn’t actually believe that babies come from a stork, or the hospital, or some other airy fairy idea! She knows they come from, ahem, down below!!!!

I calmly answered honestly, and then followed up on her statement. I was eager to know where she got this info from. I mean, she doesn’t know about periods yet!

So, the font of her knowledge was…. her brother! Really?!! I told him not to mention these things to his little sister, but then, that’s your typical brother! Lil Man couldnt help it.

I asked her what she know exactly.

“It’s a bit inappropriate to talk about mummy, you know that! It’s about ‘special cuddles’!”

(We had been to see frogs in the school pond with my class, and in the morning there was a pond full of frog on frog action happening, then when we took the afternoon kids, the pond was teeming with freshly laid frogspawn. When asked what the frogs were doing, my colleague answered that they were just having ‘special cuddles’! The term has now stuck in my family, to descrive what my kids call ‘innapprpriate behaviour’!)

Then she said, “Oh mummy, everyone knows it in my playground, they all talk about it!”

Really??!! A bunch of eight and nine year olds having conversations about sex?!

Well, we had a short, frank conversation about the basics, so she wasn’t being fed wrong information, and left at that for now.

But since then, she has been much more open with me about any of these issues!

Oh my, the fun of being a mum to Tweens!

And another thing…

She made me a chart.

Me!

A CHART?!?

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Why do I have a chart?

Because on the weekend, I had a meltdown. The kids were driving me insane, Hubby Dearest was out, and they were arguing, winding each other up, not listening, being kids…

I ended up in tears, literally.

Later in the evening, my daughter presented me with the above. My very own chart.

“Mummy, I’m going to keep this chart for you. You don’t get angry, you get a point on the happy side. You shout at us, you get a point on the angry side. It will help me too, you try not to get angry, I will try not to get angry too. We can help each other!”

(Considering half the time I get angry is because of her behaviour, humph! But still, at least she is acknowledging that she needs to calm down too, in a roundabout way!)

So, this is how I have ended up with a behaviour chart. Me. The mum!

And now I must be off, need to get ready to welcome that Lil Man into his final tween year tomorrow!!!!

Have a great day Peeps!

Do let me know if you have ever been made a chart by your kids!!!

Tweenagers – They Be Growing Up!

Last night, one of Lil Man’s molar teeth fell out (milk tooth, thank goodness!).

“Mum! Look! Can I have a pound?”

I love that he only asks for a pound, sweet boy, most kids I know seem to be expecting a fiver, or a tenner even, from the Tooth Fairy!

“Go put in under your pillow. You know the tooth fairy has to come visit!”

He looked at me with those eyes… the eyes of a child who is no longer really a child (he’s turning twelve next week!) …they were saying “What Tooth Fairy? You know it’s you who places that coin lovingly under my pillow, just admit it!”

I indicated towards his little sister, as if to say “Shh! Not in front of her! She’s still little!”

But then I thought… Actually, is she?

This weekend, in the heat, I was even more aware that, even at nine, she was no longer a little girl. Developments are happening. it is no longer appropriate for her to run around with no top on. School-wise she will be due for that talk next year.

Just this week I bought her some cropped vests because she is a very heat sensitive child, like I am, and even a vest felt too hot for her, but as I mentioned, she can’t be without one completely. Modesty is something we have instilled in our kids.

I felt wrong, buying something that felt like I was almost sexualising my child, but I’m not. It’s just a vest, not a bra. And it will keep her comfortable, yet appropriately covered up.

Because she’s growing up.

Why am I trying to keep certain pretences up in front of her still?

Because I want her to remember her childhood as being magical, with a little mystery attached. Reality hits you hard when you grow up. Surely our kids need to be kids for a little longer?!

She says to me Father Christmas is not real, she loves the idea of the Tooth Fairy, but is starting to question her too. And she never believed in the Easter Bunny (except the one in Hop!). Watching things on the Internet (with me around of course!) and the school playground chatter, where those children who never believed anything because their parents never bothered to indulge them, her illusions are shattered daily.

Going back to Lil Man, he showed me how grown up he was the other day. There was an incident at his school, with a child calling him a racist name. My first reaction was “What?! I’ll get in touch with the teachers, school need to be aware!”

But he proved to be the voice of reason (after talking to Dad). “Mum, no don’t do that. I want to talk to him tomorrow. Maybe he didn’t know what he was saying…”

We made a plan.

He was to go to school and chat to the lad,  explaining that what he said was offensive, and that really he should apologise, or things would get sticky, if he had to report it.

All back up plans were in action. If anything else was said he was to ring us as soon as he could so we could report the child. Otherwise everything would be okay.

And we didn’t hear a peep from him all day. He had gone in, and sensibly spoke to said mate, who apologised immediately, not realising what he had said was wrong.

Problem solved!

I guess as mummy, I have to step back now. He is getting sensible (sometimes, anyway!) Anyway, he’s not calling me ‘Mummy’ anymore. It is ‘Mum’! Definitely growing up!

And as for the Tooth Fairy. She forgot to visit! I was so tired I fell asleep!

This morning Lil man came bounding downstairs. “Mum! Can I have that pound?”

I still went and put it under the pillow (habit, I guess) but the tooth wasn’t there.

“Where’s your tooth?”

“It’s in the bin!”

“What???”

I found it. And stored it in a bag full of jumbled teeth. Which ones are his and which are Lil Princess’s, I no longer know… but that sentimental part of me is not interested in throwing them away… not yet… they are still my babies!

When is it time to let go? Not yet… surely!

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