Thursday, 30 June 2011

Teacher's Strike......

...or rather NOT in the case of J's teacher who does not belong the the union(s) which are taking action today. J is distinctly unimpressed by this as his class is one of just 3 which have to attend school.
Anyhow the strike and the publicity with regard to teachers has got me thinking about things. I am not a teacher and don't think I could be either, to hold a class of up to 30+ children in your care and keep them interested in whatever subject you are trying to share is a skill and talent.

So.... can you put a price on a good teacher? I don't think you can and J's teacher is the epitome of what I would call a "good" teacher. It's not just the knowledge she imparts but the way in which she does so. Teachers don't just coldly "teach" or at least J's teacher does not, In short she is lovely and J has thrived in her care this year.

Below I have listed just some of the ways in which J's teacher AND his Learning Support Assistant have helped J this year.

1. Going out of their way to welcome him into the Junior school and putting him at his ease.

2. Taking the time to get to know him really well in order to identify triggers for distress. These triggers are then minimised.

3. Learning how to use some software which enables J to write social stories using visual symbols. J then brings these stories home so that we can share them again.

4. Attending training to enable them to support J's ASD behaviours in the classroom and really get the best from him.

5. Not being afraid of moving away from the National Curriculum to help J (and other class children) at times. I am thinking here about how they supported J through the loss of Bramble our hamster.  ALL the children had an opportunity to talk about loss and grief. J was then able to choose a flowering plant to put in the school garden. He was encouraged to write his pet's name on a large lolly stick which went in by the plant. Now he has a space in school to remember her.

6. By getting to know J and supporting him they have enabled my very insecure little boy to raise his reading age by 2.5 years over the last 9 months and to go from below national Curriculum level in Maths to achieving virtually on a par with his peers.

7. They have maintained regular contact with me and asked advice where needed about any of J's issues.

8. They have given J his self esteem back - how can you put a price on that? My little boy who always thought he couldn't "do it" when it came to academic work now has the confidence to know he CAN. This is wonderful to see in J and he is definitely easier in other areas as a result.

In short - I LOVE TEACHERS.  They are unsung heroes in my book and this is why I support them today.

So thank you to all good teachers today, whether striking or not I think you are great.

Ditto to good schools where staff pull together as a team to support the children in their care.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

For my Aunties.....

For my Auntie Margaret and Auntie Theresa

Beloved Aunt oh so dear

I wish that you could still be here

To share your sage advice so true

You were always wise and always YOU

Such laughter and fun

We always shared

I know as well that you always cared

I miss you more than I can say

I’d love to spend another day

Laughing and chatting over tea

Being with you inspired me.

Sadness now that you are gone

Without you we have to carry on

I know you are in pain no more

And that’s a blessing I can’t ignore

But I miss my aunt oh so dear

And wish I could still hold her near.

Auntie Theresa with her beloved granddaughter.

Auntie Margaret with Uncle Johnny

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

This post is dedicated to my Auntie Theresa Mary Moir.

Remember me when I am gone away,

gone far away into the silent land;

My Auntie with her silvery blonde hair before
she was afflicted with cancer
when you can no more hold me by the hand,

nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

you tell me of our future that you planned:

only remember me; you understand

it will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

and afterwards remember, do not grieve:

for if the darkness and corruption leave

a vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

better by far you should forget and smile

than that you should remember and be sad.

--Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

My lovely Auntie on her birthday in May 2011

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Duck Walk!

Following my rather angsty and moaning blog posts of recent I decided to be POSITIVE and get a grip!
So in the belief that sometime all little boys need a walk I took J (and my Mum) for a little trek round Langdon Wildlife Park at the Dunton Plotlands.

This walk is a favourite of J's not least because halfway round there is a pretty impressive lake with many geese, ducks, coots and moorhens who are always pleased to see a human holding a bag of duck feed.
J always has a bag of duck feed when we visit.
As you can see it was a beautiful day yesterday.

J confidently sounds out the words.
J really enjoyed following some of the signs hung in the trees which gave information about the variety of birds who call the nature reserve home.

It was also another opportunity to see how far J's reading skills have progressed since starting his medication.

Yesterday we managed to see Canada Geese, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks, Coots, Moorhens, Magpies and Jays.

I got a real boost from hearing J confidently sound the words out on the cards.

The lake birds realise there is company with FOOD.

J encouraged the birds to come closer so he could get a better look.

Beautiful Basildon (yes "really"?)

 We all had a lovely walk around the lake and enjoyed the nice weather and the countryside views. J really loved seeing the ducks in pairs, the males with their shimmering green heads snuggled up to the warm brown feathers of the females.

The sky was very blue with just soft wispy clouds streaked across the sky - it was a glorious day.
We walked past masses of wild flowers which lit up the paths and verges.

After the walk we went into the wildlife centre for ice lollies and then a wander round the gardens attached. J bought an insect magnifyer and enjoyed capturing, observing and then releasing tiny insects. Meanwhile I spotted an eldery woman on a bench  my Mum relaxing amongst the wild flowers.

Old lady sat on seat (My Mum)

All in all a lovely walk and a beautiful day. It was so good I have found myslef volunteering to go back next week to help when an Infant school visits to do some Pond Dipping. Can't wait... just hope the weather is as good as yesterday.