Saturday, 5 September 2020

School in a Pandemic

 Back to school!


Yes it's that time of year again and despite the global pandemic I'm somewhat excited to be back in school again.  I can say with 100% honesty that I missed my colleagues and really missed the children's smiling faces.  With that being said, I am a bit anxious about what school will look like with it's staggered starts and finishes and its individual class bubbles.


That's one thing I haven't been able to wrap my head around.  How in a one form entry school with countless siblings do you manage to keep your bubble a bubble?  Surely the whole idea is flawed and we should have a whole 'school' bubble but then that's not my place, I'm not the governing decision maker.  I'm just the anxious adult with asthma that has to go in with a smile on my face and reassure 30 anxious children that everything will be just fine.  I know I'm capable of doing that, it's my job.  I look after the mental well being of my pupils and it's one of the things I pride myself in most.  Not only am I great at helping them grasp difficult learning, I'm bloody fantastic (if I do say so myself) at nurturing their minds and encouraging them to believe that they can become anything they desire to be.

However, whilst I'm there working hard to do that, who is going to let me know that everything is going to be alright.  I've already switched off from the news and my social media consumption is mainly based around fashion, books and teacher posts just for the purpose of my sanity.  



I have to admit my school has been rather quick to put someone in place and get them trained up to be our listening ear.  What worries me is that we as teachers are being expected to go way above and beyond what are duties are, some of us, myself included, do this naturally but the expectation to do it every single day for the foreseeable future is causing me and others I know to worry about burning out.  I mean, as teachers, we all love our classes but that hour away from them during the day is an absolute must, even if most of it is just spent marking books and having 10 minutes to chuck a sandwich down our throats and moan to a colleague.

I'm now taking on the role of lunch lady, playground supervisor and cleaner throughout the day whilst setting up for and teaching lessons that will be amazing enough to get me through my performance management because of course, we teachers must only do this job for the 'long paid holidays' and the yearly jump up the pay scale, which by the way is not automatic these days.

All this is just to say, give a thought to your children's teachers this academic year, a smile and a thank you in the playground goes a really long way.


Sunday, 28 June 2020

Emerging from Lockdown

We are finally creeping out of the period of lockdown masked up and ready to face what this new way of life has for us.  I’ve got mixed feelings about emerging from this period, a lot has happened, which has meant changes for me on an emotional level.  Not only have I faced the fear of being in two high risk categories (both from being asthmatic and from being part of the BAEM community) but I’ve also fought with feelings of longing to see family and friends whilst circumstances have prevented me from doing so.

During this period of transition many of us sat in our homes and witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd in America.  It was not just the murder that awakened dormant feelings of inferiority in me, but the reaction from various groups of people (friends included) to mine, and many other people’s, outrage at the treatment of black people systematically across the western world.  The popular T-shirt slogan ‘If you can be anything in this world, be kind.’ Is exactly what those that have taken a stand against systematic racism are trying to convey.  Kindness and respect are free, but in order to be kind, we have to recognise where we may have gone wrong.  Closing our eyes to a problem will not make it go away, neither will belittling the struggles of others because we don’t quite understand them.


Despite the outcries from the few that ‘All lives matter,’ which I don’t disagree with, there are many others who have stood hand in hand with black people to acknowledge  that Black Lives Matter and for too long they have not been seen as important.  I have seen a change in attitude and a sense of community strength flowing from my black brothers and sisters and it has been a beautiful thing to see.  Whilst sitting in our Loungewear or joggers, we have become activists, artists, entrepreneurs and community leaders.  We have awakened hidden talents and exercised existing ones to begin to build on the rich beauty that has always existed in our ancestral history.  George’s little girl said that her daddy changed the world, this is a statement that we want to ring on for a long time to come, one that will be written in the history books signalling a significant shift in equality for those of all ethnicities.  The world has a long way to go making up for the centuries of oppression but we are pushing towards  A time where our community has access to an equal starting point and for this we must give thanks.


     

Items linked/worn in this post were gifted.


Saturday, 22 February 2020

Self Reflection


As part of my CPD I've been doing a course that at times I just find tedious.  The extra workload alongside managing a classroom with challenging pupils and managing a home as a single parent can get a bit much.  However we were recently set an assignment to 'self reflect' using these 10 questions that everyone should ask themselves from lifehack.org

Am I using my time wisely?
Am I taking anything for granted?
Am I employing a healthy perspective?
Am I living my true self?
Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day?
Am I thinking negative thoughts before I go to sleep?
Am I putting enough effort into my relationships?
Am I taking care of myself physically?
Am I letting matters that are beyond my control stress me out?
Am I achieving the goals I set for myself?

These are all very good questions that if I answer honestly in many ways I would find myself falling short.  What is a wise use of time?  If I’m happy in the moment but not productive, is that a wise use of my time?  I would probably argue yes but then the lack of productivity would lead me to feel like I’d wasted time.  Sometimes the drive to get more out of life means I take for granted the wonderful things I already have and have achieved.  I do tend to be a glass half full type of person, which at times can mean I see the best of situations or people when really I should see them for what they are.  One thing you can be sure of is I am completely and unquestionably me.  I’m the woman that goes to church on a Sunday but isn’t afraid to dance around half naked because I’m having a good time.  I’ve gone through so much in life that I’m not afraid to be honest both with myself and with others, even if it hurts.  I wake up in the morning wanting to curl back into my bed but knowing that whatever the day brings I can face it.  Unfortunately, sleep has not always been my friend and I have gotten into bad sleep habits, negative thoughts before going to sleep often surface without my explicit permission but I’ve learnt to silence them, at least sometimes.
Effort into my relationships, now this is a good question.  Sometimes I put far too much efforts into some relationships and not enough into others, I’ve got to work on striking a balance.  Needing to put effort into those relationships that are of benefit to my health is a definite goal.  I take care of myself physically with regular exercise and am learning each day to let go of things that I can’t control.  There are many goals I have set for myself that I have achieved or am well on the way to achieving and some that I know I may have to change for various reason but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.



Sunday, 5 January 2020

Just Be

I'm pretty sure yesterday was one of those days sent from the devil to test me.  I woke up later than planned as I'd been at a friends house the night before having a whale of a time at her PJ cheese and wine night (as most sophisticated ladies do).  It was about mid day and waking up at that time on a Saturday makes me feel super unproductive as I'm usually half way through my first tutoring session by then so that was the 'get out of the wrong side of the bed moment for me'.  

I then proceeded to have a look in my fridge, I didn't even want anything, there was a bag inside that I had noticed and ignored for the past few days thinking it belonged to my daughter.  What prompted me to look in it I have no idea, but I wish I hadn't.  What I found inside it was a 6 pack of 'K'  I was so triggered that I immediately started crying.  

It didn't belong to my daughter, thankfully, one of her friends that had come to celebrate new years at ours had left it there.  I wasn't angry at them, they were not to know that a couple of cans of K could bring a grown woman to tears.  They were not to know that each Christmas is a reminder of doing this parenting thing alone, each new year means another new year without my Scott Disick equivalent. I lucked out with my choice for who fathered my first child in so many ways; we were young, we loved each other, we were dedicated to our families and no matter what, together or not, we had made the decision that we would always work together to parent our child.  Unfortunately, in this life, ALWAYS is temporary.

The amount of times yesterday I was asked if I was alright and chose, "Yes, I'm just tired." can't be counted on one hand.  I often tell myself that I'm just tired but in reality that's code for I want to give up, I want to feel normal again, I want to take a moment out from being positive and just be.  Thankfully this isn't my daily narrative but it's part of my narrative all the same.  Last year saw more loss of loved ones which is a constant reminder that this life is temporal, hence I value my salvation more than anything.  That still doesn't stop the pain of loss.  When my counsellor asked me over the phone if I'd had any recent trauma I said no, the fact is, I've had so much trauma in my life that I don't even class it as trauma anymore.

This post is not a cry for help, most people who know me know that I never ask for help, I just get on with it.  This post is just a release.  It's the best way I know how. Perhaps the only way.  So indulge me a little.


Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Transformation

The start of another new year and the beginning of a decade.  We look back to reflect then firmly place our eyes forward setting goals for the future with the hope of better days to come.  We are grateful for the here and now and we are grateful for the possibilities of tomorrow.

I don't know what I've named my years before this and I can't say what I will name them after but I truly believe this is my transformation year and I don't say that lightly.  I can honestly say I know myself better than I ever could have claimed to before.  

I've always been someone that finds letting go difficult if not impossible so much so that I would find excuses to hold on to things or people even though they were harmful to my mental state.  I don't know exactly what it was that happened for me in 2019; perhaps the strengthening of my faith in Jesus?  Perhaps the loss of yet another loved one?  But what I do know is that what ever happened has lead me to a true understanding of self.

I have a commitment to improving the flaws that I know I have and being the cheerleader for myself as I so often am for others.  I will remain the optimist and see the glass as half full rather than half empty because that is the only way I know how to be but what I will not do is paint people in the light in which I want to see them rather than the light of truth.

I've had some great wins this year and one of the best was taking myself and my children to Barbados to see my mum for the first time in 3 years.  When you have the type of relationship with your mother that I do with mine a hug from her is the best thing in the world; it's like winning the lottery whilst eating toffee fudge ice cream on a Caribbean beach.  There is so much I have to be grateful for I won't list them here but what I will say is God is great, yes we suffer sadness, grief, emotion turmoil but we also encounter love, joy passion and peace.

I am now in a place where I am ready to take all that God has to offer me, I'm ready to build an empire and to slay every challenge that comes my way.  This is now documented in writing so if you see me slacking remind me of my own words.


In this, my year of transformation, I give thanks for all my blessings and I pray that all who read this will find themselves blessed and will take all the pleasure that this life has to offer them and use it to grow and glow.


Happy New Year Kings, Queens and In-betweens xoxo