#SoCS October 9, 2021 – Lid

Linda’s prompt for SoCS this week:

YouYour Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “lid.” Use it in the literal sense, use it in the metaphorical sense, use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

Shhhhh! Can you keep a secret? Can you keep a lid on it? Lips shut? Schtum?

Well, my little secret is that I am writing this whilst a little tiddly, to say the least! I haven’t had a drink for quite a while, and tonight, I have consumed a whole bottle of Gin Fizz… Oops! A WHOLE BOTTLE!

Now, it’s not often that I indulge.

To be honest, we teachers may say we are going to drown our troubles on a Friday night, but I know that I, for one, am so shattered, that a drink would just send me to sleep, early, and I can do that without the liquid assistance!

However, tonight, I felt the need to. It’s been five weeks since we went back to school. I have a wonderful, but very challenging, class. Three children who require one to one support, but who don’t have it, yet, because of resource. Another who has medical needs on top of other needs, too. All of them are loveable children, who need specialist provision, but the world around us thinks they need to be part of an inclusive education.

I’m all for inclusion, but sometimes, it isn’t the right thing for those kids.

I find my inputs interrupted, every time, as one of my lovelies walks through the rest of the class, like a bulldozer – no spatial awareness – to come and sit on my lap, or to take my hand and lead me to whatever they want, at the time. Or, in groupwork, my group is left unattended, for a few moments, as I deal with a meltdown, or an issue with one of the children who have these needs.

You see, these kids find it hard to conform to what the rest of the class are doing. They dance to the beat of their own drums, right now. They are still exploring the environment, and can’t follow instructions. Yet, in their own way, they show their own brilliance.

It’s not easy, but the rest of the class have been angels.

They are aware, already, at the age of four, or five, that there are children who have very specific needs, and there is barely any fussing. They just let those children get on with whatever they do, whilst waiting for Mrs B to get back to them.

These kids are superstars, seriously.

All of them.

With needs or not.

All children are blessings.

Did you know that the Cockney rhyming slang for kids is saucepan lids? See, my ramble did have something to do with the prompt, I promise!

And now, I shall sign off, as the words are starting to swim in front of my eyes!

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

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

Banksy

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?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 340 – Inclusion

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“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?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Chai And A Chat #44 #ChaiAndAChat

Well hello again, Peeps! Monday flies around so fast!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say I am sitting at home, enjoying my Monday, for a change!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that I actually spent every weekday of last week in school! Yes. There was so much to do. Some the kids could help, some I just needed peace to do. But aside from the one piece of furniture I am waiting, for, a cupboard, I think everything has been done. I have some posters at home that I want to put up, and a couple more soft toys for the Reading Area, but I think I’m done! This is my little star chart for the class, which I hope they will enjoy trying to fill for a class treat!
  • If we were sipping chai together I know you would be pestering me for details of the new book corner… well, here it is! My Winnie The Pooh themed reading area! Let me know what you think!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that for the best part of the week, school took over, but I did take the kids out to Bluewater for lunch, and started a bit of uniform shopping for Lil Princess, who starts secondary school soon enough! Eeeek! We had a lovely Nando’s meal, and I took advantage of the Paperchase teachers discount as well, finding some supersize Post It notes for my desk!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that the weekend was peaceful. Lil Man and I went to pick up his new bike on the Friday, which he has been saving up for, and he wanted to be able to ride it around, so the whole family walked down to the prom, where Hubby Dearest and I had lunch (don’t worry, the kids had eaten at home, I didn’t leave them starving!) while the kids rode their bikes. The children enjoyed a little stone skimming action and then we walked home, and had a very chilled out day, reading and cooking dinner.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d let you know that Sunday was a cricket day for Lil Man, a whole day of inter-club tournament matches, while I got cleaning done, and the shopping, because, finally, Hubby Dearest can drive!!!!! Lil Princess and I joined them in the afternoon, in time to watch the final match, in which Lil Man’s team were playing. They didn’t win, only lost by 7 runs, but he bowled amazingly, and considering it was a mixed team, from 11 up to adult, he did himself proud. There was lots of back slapping and well dones to him too as he got a wicket. And he got to show his Dhol playing skills there too, as someone brought a drum out, not really being able to play… whereas my boy can PLAY!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that I have actually been pretty good with my #RiNoEdMo personal challenge too. I have edited a good few chapters, reworked my chapters and introduced a little extra twist! The only day I didn’t edit was Sunday, as I ended up with a tiredness induced headache. I hadn’t slept much on Saturday night, because I wasn’t tired, and them morning came too soon!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d have to mention that Lil Man has discovered Reggae! It is quite funny hearing him listening to Bob Marley, or UB40 (I kid you not) in the shower! But I get to sing along with it, because I do love a bit of Reggae!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d tell you that today, Hubby Dearest is facing his first long drive in 4 months, with his first day back in the office. I know he’s a little nervous, but I’m sure he’ll be fine!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies as I mentioned before, I am not planning on going into school again until maybe the end of the holidays, unless a call comes to tell me that the cupboard has arrived, in which case, I’ll be there in a flash, to get that last bit of my room set up!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d excitedly say that I am going to Brum! It’s only a quick visit, as we have a function there for my cousin’s grandson’s first birthday, but a great excuse to go and see Pops for a couple of days, before he joins Mum in Helsinki! That there might just be my summer holiday!

Let me how your week has been!

One Liner Wednesday – #1LinerWeds – School vs. Holidays

The love I have for my job is measurable by the amount of my vacation days that I have already spent in school… Vacation days – 3 (excluding weekend) Days spent at school – 3!

Ritu 2019

Yup, the school holidays are here already and I, for one have been so looking forward to them, but so far, have spent each day in school because I have a shiny new classroom to set up!

Well, not quite shiny, as it is in the oldest part of the school, and some say there is a friendly apparition that has been seen there too… ooer!

But it is new to me, and I am trying to make my mark, as best I can.

The only frustrating thing is that there is one piece of furniture I am waiting for, and it hasn’t arrived yet. possibly not until the end of the holidays.

It means I have a huge pile of boxes in the middle of the room, whilst I wait for the cupboard to arrive. Still, I have moved the majority of the furniture around to my liking, and displays are pretty much done. I have sorted the art cupboard out and set my stationary station (see what I did there?!) up too.

My next task, today, along with Lil Princess, is to set up the reading corner. I want to transform it into a little Hundred Acre Wood section, with Pooh Bear and all his friends!

Winnie the Pooh
I’ll be putting that up in there too!

I will share pics when I am finished!

For Linda’s #1LinerWeds challenge, though that was a bit more than a line!

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