Monday, 30 January 2012

Communication How AREya?!

Twice today I had to phone parents, and the results on and see!

(By way of context to the first story, we have a rather virulent bug going around school and certain families can not afford to be exposed to it due to long-term health issues.)
The first phone call, therefore, was to find out why a child was absent. I spoke to the father...and received a ten minute diatribe about his child's date of birth and reading skills. Ummm, yes, riiiiight...eventually solved that one, with the class teacher standing at my elbow in kinks of silent giggles!!

The second call was to request a parent to come and fetch her younger child because he was unwell. Half an hour later I discover she has been in and brought extra lunch for her older child...

Obviously my communication skills are sadly lacking. Should I be wondering whether this really is the job for me??


About that great idea? The people who have my well- being at heart convinced me that it was a dud, a potential money pit, and really not something to be considered at this juncture. Yes, I am very upset and bitterly disappointed. It is difficult to have ideas no one has faith in, its difficult seeing opportunities and not being able to grab them.

And yes, I drive my family and friends utterly insane much of the time; be thankful you are only on the other end of the ether and not here in person!

Monday, 23 January 2012

When is a Great Idea a Dud?

So you have this great idea for a business, a 'serve the community' sort of business with a bit of a money maker on the side (possibly). You reckon if you lose money it'll only be your own so hey! why not? And you discuss the idea with a few people: your family members are very doubtful, negative, and afraid of you sticking your neck out (for your own good), and your friends say yes! count me in!

So what do you do? Lots of sums...its still your money....and then you start thinking 'well I guess its not such a great idea', 'guess its an awful waste of money', 'I wouldn't be any good at it anyhow', etc etc

Next thing you know you are dumping all that paperwork and dreams in the fire, just like all the other great ideas before it. You grit you teeth, put your head down and get on with 'real' life, which does NOT include daft notions, throwing hard-earned cash to the four winds, or talking to strange people.

But if 'they' always prevent you taking risks, how can you ever know whether one of those great ideas wasn't a brilliant one? And if you want to measure success through engagement with people and helping them to learn new skills and make the best of things, who is to say that isn't a worthwhile thing to do? Just because you don't make a million Euro in a fortnight who is to measure your lack of money as a failure?

I suppose what I am trying to say here is this- how does one judge between good and bad ideas? As long as its legal, and you're not doing any damage, why not try something out? But HOW do I decide when the people who mind about me think I'm just wasting money and time?

Any pearls of wisdom?

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Nifty Thrifty Notion

Yesterday when I was collecting used Classroom towels and laying out clean ones, I realised that hardly any of the sinks had cloths to wipe up spills. As a result, the surrounds were all fairly dirty, between paint, food rinsing, mud, dirt and all the usual class messes. Unnecessarily gross!

Later in the day I was out getting school supplies in the Cash and Carry so bought a pack of cloths to start everyone off, and distributed them this morning. Then I remembered that in the Staffroom there were some old, worn tea towels and hand towels. I had bleached and washed them before Christmas but they were so worn there was no rescuing them to a state of respectability! So I pulled them out and brought them home.

This evening I cut all the old tea towels in half and zig-zag hemmed the raw edges to make child-sized classroom cloths. Hey presto! Eight new sink cloths for next week, soft and absorbent and ready to start a new life!

Now I just need to persuade the teachers to bring in a few more old towels for cutting down, and we will have three week's worth of cloths for each class sink. Two of those weeks for free!!

Howzat for a nifty thrifty notion?!!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Void!

Once upon a time (like about two weeks ago) between the red brick building and the river, there stood a school. It was a nice little school with five classrooms, also built from red brick. Many, many children passed through its doors, and over the thirty five years it sat by the river, it grew considerably until there were more temporary classrooms than original rooms. But over the years its health grew poor, with mould and leaks, poor drainage, and an even poorer heating system, until one day the Department of Education decided to retire it to the Great Schoolyard in the Sky.

So now there is a Void where our little school used to be. It is very odd looking across the river and seeing....nothing. Middlest's room is one of the windows you see in the red brick building, which is the boarding section of our Secondary school, and she too finds the void strange, having spent half of her primary years in the little school.

But the moral of this tale is to not despair!

Even as we speak, the ground works are being prepared for our new school, a bigger, better, modern, two-story building with space for everyone and everything which a school could possibly need. People are making detours across the river to moniter progress and the plans on the wall in the Principal's temporary office are being studied and admired. I don't know how long we'll have to wait for the new school, but in the end it will be worth it, it really will!

Monday, 16 January 2012


On Saturday evening I had to nurse the Noddy car home as somehow I had let it run out of petrol....again....BUT....I managed not to do so all over Christmas! Anyhow, I carefully chose the least hilly way home, and the approach to the house that meant I could roll downhill and in the gate if necessary (it was necessary!!!) and I made it, giggling and praying all the way, since it was near on ten o'clock at night!

I think when I reach Heaven God is going to have strong words with me about the real meaning and uses of Faith!

I poured the lawn-mower petrol in to the tank to get me to school this morning, and then, would you credit this for lousy memory, was HALF WAY HOME again before I remmembered that I needed to fill up.

Anyhow, and this is the real point of this story, it cost me 40 blinkin' euro to fill the car- 25 litres of petrol! How OUTRAGEOUS is that? The smallest, crappiest car in existance, and €40 to fill. Eleven years ago I could put 45 litres in the Mazda for about £20 (punts), much bigger and better car.

In the field next to the school there are a few ponies and I am thinking of 'borrowing' one to get me to and from school. I wonder whether it would really be as dear to run a horse as it is to run a car, if you didn't count the time element?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Been A While...

Its been a while since I posted, let alone posted regularly. How have you been keeping? Missed yez, missed yez lots and thought of you individually often, wondering how things were going?

During the Autumn I was getting to grips with the new job- just FYI, School Secretary is not for the faint- hearted! I love the children to bits, I even really like all the staff and the principal, but boy! for each lovely parent it seems you get one who couldn't care less and one who is as obnoxious as bedamned! Its truly another world out there folks! As a teacher you may receive a little respect, as secretary there is NONE!

Over Christmas the Hub, Middlest and Youngest went to East Africa for three weeks to see all his family and catch up. His Dad has not been well, and is taking ill health and age very badly- well why shouldn't he, I guess? He's probably only being the way most people would like to act??!!

Eldest stayed in Ireland and was up and down to Dublin. With the mild winter that's been in it her health has been much improved, as well as being prescribed new and much more suitable medication. The last few days she has crashed again but luckily she is at home so she can lie on the sofa and grump all she likes! Over the Christmas week she had all sorts of friends to stay and it was fun seeing how they are all growing into such lovely adults- if they are a sign of things to come, its lookin' good!!

To say that I have found things difficult over the last while would be rather an understatement. But at the same time I've been seeing someone as part of a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) program, and I feel as though I am mentally beginning to get my feet under me once more. The idea (excuse me if you know this) is to change one's own thinking and reactions, to be more proactive and not reactive in life's ups and down....I think....

Its HARD WORK!!!!!!

And learning to stand my ground and think afresh is difficult too, but so far, worth it. I'm very, very lucky to be getting any help at all as the mental health services are over-run with demands. I'm also really lucky in the friends who are still standing by me as I grapple with the inside of my head!

I really need to get back to writing regularly. I also need to get back to visiting all of you because that too keeps me sane, and out of my own head- to say nothing of really enjoying your company, of course!!!

I'm playing for Church this morning, guess they might be a little shocked if the organist rocked up in her pyjamas and her hair all on end clutching a mug of tea...or maybe they'd take it in their stride, they know my foibles well enough by this time!!

Have a peaceful, restful day, folks and I hope to chat again soon!

PS I got a camera phone for Christmas and I've been taking some photos around the place; when I figure how to upload them here I'll share!


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