Cookies

We made those cookies…crisp, juicy, tender…

It was our perfect symbiosis. Coming together as the butter enveloped the sugar folding endlessly inside the chocolate speckled flour.

I kept myself at bay. All for this picture perfect momento.

Watched gummy dough carelessly flung onto unreachable walls. Smiled. The multitudes of utensils used once and slammed down wherever sticky side first. Grimaced. The sugar glittering from abject surfaces, the wrappings thrown off in rapid disarray, spittle smeared fingers wiping…

Painful.

Puncture.

Perfect.

Advertisement

Letting go…

Christmas but comes once a year…

Trying to make it special, trying to meet psycho social, emotional, dietary,financial, needs, trying to enjoy, following my heart…

It all seems to contradict each other at the moment.

The happier I am, the more unhappy my family seem to be.

I just dont get it.

I think I just need let go. Let go of my control. Let go of my role.

Just see what happens.

If I free them maybe they won’t come back, maybe they will.

I need to let go…

Threats of Failure.

After witnessing something close to shell shock, when my students had to do an assessment…I decided to drill down and find out why…

We had a little ‘family chat’ in between analysing some Steinbeck and their feelings and views bit me to the core.

They believe that if they fail their GCSEs- their life will be over.

It’s as if they have one shot at success and that’s it. Do or die.

One teacher told them that they’d end up homeless if they didn’t get their gcses. Other teachers constantly threaten them with failing their exam in over 2 years if they don’t memorize yet another key bit of information.

They said their assemblies focus on GCSEs the whole time and they’re already fatigued by this incessant threat of possible failure years before the real thing.

As they’re in a lower set, they already feel inferior to their peers and many just expect themselves to not understand or write very little. (Here in lies the issues around setting.)

I know this is how most children feel in Secondary school and the clear pressure they feel from school to get it right NOW is turning more and more children off. This immediately negates a nurturing environment into a monolithic, minimalist definition of success.

I told them straight that you can restart your life at any given moment. There’s no finishing line! That GCSEs or anything else do not define their worth.

After doing some intensive timed work to acclimatise to exam situations, I then sang a couple of verses of an Adele song and they left happier and more confident than before.

Exams Kill.

I have some beautiful students.

Beautiful souls. Eager, delicate, in need of gentle guidance.

We debate, we reveal parts of our personalities, we experience time together…growing older together. Appreciating genius words, colliding with notions, crashing into history and showering us with emotion.

Don’t think for a second that my classroom is idyllic- it’s far from it. I get seriously wound up and so do they. I admit I’m a smothering Matriarch.

But it’s safe. I really work hard to make it emotionally safe.

Until we had to do out first assessment today configured loosely around GCSE exams.

Some of them literally crumbled before my eyes. They wilted. The stress was palpable and they’re 2 years off the real thing!

As teachers we act as a conduit for the extreme expectations of the management. The kids feel our intense burden of how do their books look, are they making adequate progress, are they engaging enough…how that makes Us look.

The current education system makes us care about our career and professional prowess over forming young minds.

It’s agonising to watch. Supremely painful to watch their bravado, their insight, their brilliant inference meld into a quivering wreck.

My bouncy, intuitive student couldn’t find a word to put to paper: despite my empathetic nudges, she had to leave the room, cry and tell me how much she cant cope with getting it wrong. I told her to chill and read a book.

Another boy, spent the whole lesson in sick bay after some sorry attempts of mine to prompt him.

So many students couldn’t remember their quotes and were flummoxed. Any hurdle tripped them up.

Others needed constant reminding sentence by sentence after weeks of prep.

We talk about building robust future citizens. I think this new exam heavy curriculum is creating a massive chasm of the haves and have nots.

The few who can do tests and the many who find the order too tall.

Yes I learnt some important pointers today about their low self esteem and the need to practise the complex requirements of exams in tiny swallowable chunks.

But this kind of pressure definitely takes the joy out of Learning.

Free at forty…

I had the best night last night.

Just what I needed after a terrifying session at court and drowning in yet more admin around future court cases, benefits,police requests and the like.

Hanging with great people who were foot loose,fancy free and forty plus!!!

Just like me…

I must say…as a recent divorcee with children to care for, life is taking off,taking shape, taking me….

I love it.

I love picking and choosing, musing, ignoring whatever I want with no one to answer to. No muse, mentor, oppressive authority figure.

Just me and my conscience.

It’s invigorating and enlightening to learn how capable I am, with none of those voices of the past telling me how incapable I am.

It’s the best high to see my children slowly coming to life as I am too: resurrected from the religious prison we were dying in.

And it’s super special to bond with other single parents living, loving and hurtling toward our 50s.

The conversation richocheted from cows methane, to fatherly roles,to mixed race politicking, to work stress to mental health to …laughter reigned.

All over Malaysian delectable and wine. Cheers to the first of many.

Blessed bonding.

My babies…

Yes I’m proud of my achievements and of course the phenomenal contribution of my Black South African brothers to Victory…

But I just need to take a minute and remember the amazing contribution to humanity of my children…

They have been through so much as I walk this journey of abuse, depression, homelessness and recovery.

Yet they’re strength of character literally confounds me…

My daughter’s passion for trampolining humbles me. Her dedication and resolve to improve is the stuff of Great athletes.

The way she and my son care for her therapy rabbits brings out the loving, caring side that they’ve buried for years, to protect themselves in an abusive home and church.

The conscientious way my son tutors his pupil Maths and English is so inspirational. He is finding his voice and learning to speak up and that’s a massive achievement. The way he happily and enthusiastically sorts all things electronic and gadget like in the home- is a massive support as a new single mum! It’s the way he shows love.

They’re moving on and I’m so proud…

In time I hope my eldest son and I will be close again. I hope…

But We Are moving on…

Rabbit’s Christmas dinner.
My daughter’s cookies!!!!