Monthly Archives: March 2015’s what holidays should be for…

Okay, apologies to colleagues who have still not broken up for Easter. What do you use holidays for? As a parent holidays have many functions, from appointments catch up so that term time is as precious as can be, for family visits, for visiting places, for getting away…they are so busy. Rest in the holidays is what I need and luckily after a busy day of places to visit yesterday where a steam train timetable set limits on when and where we had to be (meeting the needs of younger son). 

Taking a break in Norfolk where the weather makes us check forecasts every day to avoid the heaviest rain or wind gusts. I am slowing down, I do feel at ease and apart from ringing when someone thought I would run a history revision class school tasks have stayed off my agenda. Well, apart from being a geographer whereby every coastal walk includes, landforms, processes and coastal features. But hey as I have blogged previously I am always a geographer, it’s who I am.

This break is what I signed upto with #Nurture1415 and #Teacher5aday to look after myself and glad to report that overall it is working.


Oh, and apologies, but it’s the spring break so the shorts are back.

The gift that keeps…I just want to give you a hug right now

Dear Eldest Son

Well, my first letter to you has sparked many responses from people online from many countries – it has reminded me how much we love you. Seeing you last week reinforced the difficulty of pulling back from one we love so much. At the same time your recent behaviour towards others is new and scary, but on some levels you have shown an awareness.

Last night you shared your latest new and diagnosis. Mum and I shouldn’t have but couldn’t help but get onto the web and research what it meant and where you may be accommodated.

The diagnosis makes a lot of sense after Mum read out many of the features of a combination of A and B (I am not sharing diagnosis here, not at the moment anyway). Then the possible placement, it started to make sense too, and nearer for visiting – see we really can’t let you go, nor do we want too.

We switched our machines off and watched some TV to take our minds off it – we are learning gradually. I went to bed ready to sleep. I woke recently from a nightmare, I could not face a class, I assume covering as pupils I had not met before. Emotionally I just crumpled and needed to call for assistance.

There is my dilemma this morning, can I teach today? I have had the wracking sobs, lying in the dark. So my solution? Write a theoretical letter to you – my new outlet. Headphones on, Spotify with new discovery Clean Bandit – cheerful music fusion in my ears, cool breeze from wide open window on my shoulders.

I do not want my BD fug to descend, yes I am going to fight it. I am going to work, writing to you has helped me decide. But, I will tell my managers about my dilemma and I will take it an hour at a time because today I will be teetering on the edge when I meet teenagers who don’t know about the sort of hardships that you are going through, a time when being a teacher and father Is hard, very hard.

I love you, I want to envelope you in a big Dad bear hug, I may not want to let you go, I may cry, it hurts seeing you going through this. But one thing I hang onto is that you are safe, cared for and receiving support -‘just engage with it because I want to see you leading an independent life in the future. After all you are only 18, life has so much to offer yet.

Love Dad

A day out…and some photos to use in the classroom or just admire

It’s Saturday, the youngest is off to a Gaming exhibition in London. Well, he is as Mum and Dad will travel up, drop him off and be around at the end of a phone to whisk back if need arises. So, what are Mum and Dad to do while he “geeks”? off to mooch. An original idea was the Museum of London, late change of plan – visit the area around Brick Lane where Dad has taken lots of photos recently. 

 We aimed to do less walking than a usual Dad the geography teacher mooch involves and limited ourselves to 5 miles and 3 distinct eating / drinking stops. 

 We walked from Tower Hill to St Katherines Dock and through the edge of Wapping to Tobacco Dock and then returned along the Thames path, past the Tower. later we saw Brick Lane, some of the markets, Shoreditch and Spitalfields. then a bus return to Wapping to collect a very happy gamer. 

 These are a selection of images from the day – photography, a record, but also a way to observe …

St. Katherine’s Dock and Google + enhanced photo.

Gamers queuing at Tobacco Dock.

Canal side housing in Wapping. 

London skyline looking west along the River Thames.

Keeping up appearances? Near Fashion Street.

Shoreditch BoxPark.

Well earned afternoon refreshments.

Thanks for taking a look.

Positive aspects of my weekend

As a postscript to my last post a moment ago I have taken part in bits of three edchats this weekend on Twitter. On Friday night at 11pm I could only stay awake for the first 10 minutes of #satchatoc. Then I awoke. Around 4 am and read back where I had dozed off,then joined in #INZpired where I was called dedicated – make that a semi somniac. Then this morning a brief visit as part of #aussieED.

Why three chats from the other side of the world?
1) they are at times I am not trying to work
2) the crowd involved are always welcoming
3) I feel at home and part of a community

The oddest feeling is seeing people list me with Australian teachers – did they not see my profile? This global chat is one of my greatest gains from using Twitter. The times for #satchatoc and #INZpired may not suit but #aussieED at 9.30 am on a Sunday is drawing in more UK educators most weeks. The issues for teachers are very similar the world over – open your mind to share a little further afield.

April 11 I get to share my enthusiasm in leading a workshop at The Geographical Association annual conference on Developing global networks, I look forward to who comes along to the session.

The gift that keeps on giving … Visit day

Dear Eldest son… A post which many read and commented on. Well today was visit day. It had built into almost a mental block, would we be strong enough to visit? How would it go? What would it feel like…

Well, to be honest the whole experience itself wasn’t the devil it had become in my mind – what we can accept in the name of parenthood. A new system to learn and possibly reuse in the years to come as I feel that is a strong possibility.

The time span involved can be shortened by knowing when to book in, take time before being called to stage 2 of the visit procedure. What can you take in / leave behind; declarations to sign; I got two wrist bands – one for visiting and one so I could get out as a non-inmate of a male prison.

Grateful for our visit, but the realisation that after an hour of visiting that mention the slightest issue linked to “his” connections with others and the verbals start, the threats, the “I know people…”, how he will resolve matters in the future. We left feeling that this would just be phase one. He is not ready to change, not yet, he knows best…

We know this is not the example we have given him, our way of doing things was not exciting, it involved working for things. Yet still, this is my son and I feel at a loss of how this could have come out differently. We haven’t given up, but we have less and less in common.

Tiredness and low mood have claimed a lot of my non working time these last few weeks, maybe now I can start to rise again. My mind is still jumbled at the moment but I am going to resist him bringing me down again, but it’s hard, very hard.