1+1=3

This morning I shall finish procrastinating.

It’s time, I feel, to tackle what is weighing and waiting to be done.

I had thought I would do it on Friday night but I knew I was kidding myself. Friday evenings are not for doing work. That, surely, is a universal given.

I did think I would begin on Saturday. Jump right in and just get it out of my way. But. There was shopping. There were washings. There was cooking. A little bit of taxi service. And a lot of, ‘But it’s Saturday. It’s the freakin’ weekend.’

So, I didn’t.

The worst thing about being a teacher is the volume of paperwork that has crept in over the years.

No, that’s not the worst thing.

The worst thing is the number of subject areas that now have to be taught. And planned for.

My speciality is literacy and numeracy. Every aspect of the two, woven into interdisciplinary learning. You know, plan a theme, incorporating many facets of learning. Drive your lessons through that. Easy peasy, once you know how.

That’s no longer good enough.

As a result of the neglect of some sections of society, and a political scene that will not tackle the root causes – or cannot- it is now incumbent on primary school teachers to incorporate, within their remit, a host of subjects that parents used to do. Some of them still might. But, just in case they don’t, we have to.

This term I will have to make time for the kitchen in school. Yes, the children will be learning how to cut up bananas, make smoothies, try their hands at washing up and, hopefully, keep their fingers intact in the process. They will be charged for this. I’ll have to pay for it first and then collect the money from them. That’s not going to happen. Not doing that. I should go to the shops, buy a variety of fruit that they probably won’t like or eat and then hope they reimburse me? Nope. Cheek.

In addition to exploring the wonders of the kitchen, perhaps using one of the microwaves that now sit on the worktops of what was once the teachers’ conference room, some bright spark suggested that the children would benefit from running five miles per week.

An area in the playground has been duly measured, to the mile, and the panting of both teachers and children can almost be heard, through my window on the ground floor, as they bust a gut not quite belting round the yard. I don’t think I’m going to be doing that. I don’t run. Now and again my nose does. But that’s usually because I’ve not been careful with my fruit consumption and have succumbed to a trivial cold. Bring on the vitamin C. I can peel an orange because my mum taught me how.

Health and wellbeing is the thing, you see. Not content with having teachers supervise teeth brushing – I mean, have you ever! – we should take on the role of parental responsibility in every field.

There is now toast on offer in the morning, a couple of days a week. Why not every day? Don’t children need breakfast every morning? Why not serve dinner too? Get the kids into their jammies, a bed time story and the parents can pick them up around nine.  A good twelve hours at school should solve all society’s problems.

What else? Ah, yes, drug awareness, massage (no fecking kidding!), and the thing that is pending this week for me and mine. The showcase.

On Friday coming, the whole school, together with parents of the children in my class, will gather in the hall while my children take to the stage and perform some highlights from the book study we have been working on. I spent last weekend writing parts for them all and burning music to a disc. It’s been a while since I’ve done that – the disc part – and there was some swearing involved until I remembered.

This week, all the work that adorns my walls from the topic, will be removed to be displayed in the hall for the perusal of the parents. Then it will have to be put up again in my class because, in a week or so, we’ll have visitors – pretendy inspectors from the education department will descend to see if we know what we’re doing.

Quite frankly, I’m no longer sure I do.

Once upon a time, my job was to make sure that the children in my care could read and write and count. I was good at that. Still am, if I get the chance. We’ve always taught P.E., Drama, Music, Environmental Studies, R.M.E., Social Studies, Art, Science and whatever else escapes me right now. But, the focus was always numeracy and literacy. The essentials.

The time now available to do justice to those subjects is being eroded by the additional responsibilities that were once the privilege of parents.

I made lasagne and crusty bread with my two youngest recently. All of my kids can cut a banana and know which buttons to press on the microwave as well as how to turn on the cooker and make something for themselves. I’ve always been under the impression that that was something I had to do so that, one day, I could wave them goodbye knowing they wouldn’t starve or set themselves on fire. So far, so good. Touch wood.

In the interests of not procrastinating further, I will end with one last thought. Why is it that the only subjects the children are tested on is numeracy and literacy? Simple arithmetic, that a moron could work out, but not, apparently, the powers that be, (bit worrying that), makes it plain that less and less time is available for the essential PRIMARY subjects. I’m a primary school teacher.

As wonderful as I am at integrating the essentials into multi subjects – and I’m really not too shabby at that – I’m no wizard with time. There are only so many hours in the day to achieve planned aims. There are just too many aims now.

I shall now go and spend the rest of Sunday planning for the current term and trying to bend the parameters of time. Someone’s got to do it.

P.S. (still procrastinating) I just discovered, this week, that my salary, for doing all of the above and then some, has been eroded in the region of £13,000 in the last six years. So, that’s nice. Very motivating.

Sipping Your Health

I’ll drink your health in coffee at the sunrise

While Nature paints with streaks of grey and blue

Shades of light appearing from the night skies

Rest and sip and think of all to do.

Slowly, as the dawn trails, fingers skyline,

Dabbing daylight daubs, alerting birds,

Listen, think and sip and feeling quite fine,

Silent plans in head, unspoken words.

Reflected glow in windows as the sun wakes,

Bright without and brighter here within,

Sip and think and write and bid your health at daybreak

Good morning, world, a brand new day begins.

Santa’s Little Shopper

In quieter moments, calm descends and peace prevails.

Time slows down, actions terminate and silence hails.

A blessing on an eve of pleasant pastimes,

Moments stretch and fill, a sweeter lifeline

To all the busy days that lie ahead,

Reposed, reclining now upon my bed.

 

December’s come and Christmas days are looming,

Excitement builds in kids, their faces blooming.

Activity so manic, all things pending,

Trees and decorations, all that spending

Time in frantic towns, in busy stores.

I’m really not excited yet. It bores.

 

To think of shopping really is no pleasure,

I’m gonna cheat and really will endeavour

To buy the pressies all upon the ‘net.

I hope I can achieve my aim. And yet,

There is a little frisson of a thrill

To join the hub. I maybe will.

 

But only for a day or two near Christmas.

Until then I’ll shop online and bypass

All the feet and sweating bods and trains.

I’m good at panic shopping! That’s my aim.

Achieve so many stockings full of wonder

But do it from my bed, no fear of blunder.

 

It’s not Bah! Humbug! to avoid

All the bizz and too much hectic noise.

I just prefer a calmer sort of retail

Where I can browse online and never fail

To buy the stuff. I have to make a list.

I’ll even check it twice in case Santa’s missed

 

Any sort of person that needs giving.

With kids, so many friends all need serving.

A token for the neighbours, this as well.

I’d really better start. Oh, bloody hell!

I do this every year. It’s how I am.

I wait and then I rush and try to jam

 

A month of work into a couple of days.

You’d think by now I’d learn that planning pays.

But no, it’s true, I never can be arsed

To start Christmas any earlier. What a farce

I feel it is to bring it so far forward.

I’ll get there just the same. You mark my words.

 

Video reading Santa’s Little Shopper

And now for something completely different…….

You couldn’t make it up.

Most of the public, myself included, find this a charming idiosyncrasy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-24907190

This is what Glasgow City counsellors had time and money to discuss. Boggles the mind.

Planning

Planning has a purpose;

To house a better way,

To make things clear and visible,

A clearly marked out day.

 

It’s laudable, desirable

And helps to show the path,

Notable, remarkable,

Creative, structured math.

 

So, why then, do I make a plan

Then discard the obvious route

In favour of impulsive;

Making planning moot?

 

I like to see the road ahead,

To mark it in the diary,

Then rip it up and start again,

Do something helical and wiry.

 

Within this heart, two different parts;

One sensible and planned,

The other very childish,

Takes spontaneity in hand.