Wednesday 5 October 2022

Successful swimming!

Good morning, thank you A and J for my chatty comments! I do love it when that happens! 

So Annabeth, I was intrigued by your paracise instructor - what sort of class is it - am guessing at wheelchair aerobics or leaping out of a plane whilst doing sit ups! I’m not sure why the omelette tastes different - maybe it’s the butter for frying, or the salt and pepper - though that’s identical to how I’d normally go about it, maybe it’s because I move it less? Maybe it’s because I don’t add extras to it like normal but I was EXACTLY like yourself pre Julia hahaha my HG loves them and I hated faffing to make them for him and I’d not bother! 

J - correct as always! 

So the swimming was a success and the Childers loved being successful! I started the morning as I meant to go on! 

Nicely quiet during their register task which was handwriting. My way of asking the children to be quiet is to ask them nicely! I explained that in order to do their best handwriting we needed to be sat correctly - went through that - and concentrating and tell them they have absolutely nothing to talk about right now because I’ve not set them a talking task! Plus the register is a legal document and it’s important we get it done! Apart from a few ‘what what’s ‘

What are you talking about? What should you be doing? 

A lively silent concentrating bunch of childers. Then I went rogue and abandoned the French plans left for me haha - we did a little bit of  science - me telling them about their amazing brains and it’s need for oxygen and when we stand up we get a woosh of oxygen ! So we stood up but FIRST we played a game - which table can stand up the quietest and the rest of the class shut their eyes to help us hear - they loved this and again completed the task! These are Y5s so 9 and 10 year olds - only at the beginning of the year so not too hormonal and stroppy yet! It’s a class of 28. Out of those 28, 18 boys 10 girls, 4 boys ADHD, one of those is ASC/ADHD another 2 boys and 1 girl currently on the ASC pathway to diagnosis, 1 child with a physical disability, 1 with really impaired sight and more than 5 living with childhood aces and trauma. It is the tricky class in school but they are all just children and are wonderful little human beings in their own right. After they stood up, we played a few games of change places if and then we sat back down in our home seats. Then guess what ( that is what one of them says before saying anything!! ) I let them do what I’ve written about so many many times on my blog- my favourite thing - SHOW AND TELL or ‘tell and tell’ if nothing to show. This wasn’t planned. They didn’t know I was going to do this! Skills for show and tell needed - patience, listening, speaking out loud, holding information in, dealing with disappointment when not picked, keeping your hand down when it’s not your turn - self control, not reacting in a negative way to others - respect and tact! 

Anyway - turns out one of them had been out walking the fells ( and not one of the one of the childers you’d expect ) and brought in two bits of broken sheep skull in to show - just in their bag on the off chance, one had been to the world fireworks championships at Blackpool, one had lost two Guinea pigs, one had been camping, one was going to see relatives from New Zealand, one baked cakes with mum, one won a show jumping competition, ones horse had a foal ( oh we have a huge mix of economic backgrounds! ) and that was all we had time for. 

Then the swimming 

So apparently last few weeks they’d been so awful it had prompted the head teacher coming to blast them, the ( silly ) teacher to threaten them with banning them, the two usual staff said they were awful etc awful leaving the classroom, awful on the coach - loud, incidents of hitting, punching, swearing. Awful getting changed, awful waiting to go in the pool - to be fair - the timings of the swimming are ridiculous. There’s a school in the pool when we get there, there’s a school coming out from the changing area when we get there, we leave school at 9.40am and the pool is a five minute drive away ( can be longer if traffic ) and we swim 10.10 til 10.40 yet the coach doesn’t come for us until 11.05 

Awful in the pool for the pool teachers. Awful leaving the pool, awful getting back changed. Awful waiting for the coach. Awful on the way back. You get the  jist of this. 

The staff who take them are great - I’ve just re read this and hope it doesn’t come across as they are rubbish and I’m brilliant- they are definitely more relaxed than I am I think! It’s old age hahaha 

So me and my seasoned at going swimming sidekick colleague declared we had been dragged out of retirement and we were going to micro manage this little bunch because it really needn’t be so hard! 

Here’s what we did. I had a genius idea that I’d never had before and it was a success ( Cubicle inspection ) 

I asked them if they liked coming back from swimming after being told off all the time, to the disappointment of their lovely class teacher ( she was NOT the one to threaten banning by the way, their class teacher is lovely and wonderful ) on the whole - they shook their heads! 

I asked them if they could manage to be silent down the corridor to the outside. I acknowledged this could be harder for some but let’s try. I wasn’t saying they couldn’t talk, just they couldn’t talk yet. They agreed to try. 

Guess what? ( sorry hahaha ) they managed it. 

I said Miss M would sit them on the coach and check they were strapped in because that’s the way we did it. A couple of them complained and asked why couldn’t they sit next to their friends? We explained that we didn’t really know this class so we’re unsure who was best friends, but that everyone in class should be able to get on ( we had already through stealth, separated the ones who end up punching each other - but we did it like ninjas ! ) ( ok - it’s just experience ) 

We placed them carefully in the cubicles after separating them into boys and girls - the girls were taken to the toilet first then cubicles and then the boys were allowed to go one at a time after changing. I repeated how to go about making sure socks were the right way out and one in each shoe. Clothes folded. Towel unfolded and placed away from  clothes etc promising them it would be so much easier to get dry and dressed and then they had to just wait with the door open for us to come look see - which we did and pointed out little improvements etc  

They then lined up and were patrolled so they were not too loud - I always say it’s fine to chat, but I don’t want to hear your conversation- it IS diffficult in the swimming baths with the acoustics, but they managed it and they went through and didn’t have to wait very long so unwanted behaviour was missing! 

They went to their groups and afterwards, two of the swimming teachers commented on how better the session was this week compared to last. Coincidence - or was is the effect of the calmer less stressful beginning? We certainly had been watching the three children who found each other’s company conflicting and just by chatting to them and being present, I don’t think they noticed we were separating them on purpose. 

Out they came and into the cubicles. Sure they were talking to each other through their doors - all perfectly ok but in the past there’s been the race culture to hurry up and be ready first meaning children were wet in clothes and then left standing for ages - this was historic from our school having to use the communal changing room and the coach coming sooner - this was more relaxed . They then sat and waited whilst we came round and checked all was on their bags and so we lined and took them outside to sit on the wall to wait for the coach - then ones who brought snacks ate them. A few asked why they couldn’t sit next to their friends - I repeated it was how we did it putting them on the coach and they can sit with their friends at lunchtime. Of course if they kept up this excellent behaviour then that was something they could look forward to in the future! It was noisier on the coach on the way back but we ignored it. Off the coach, they were reminded about walking silently in the corridor and I directed them to wait by the door for me so I had eyes on them the whole time ( think the other staff let them go in the classroom Willy nilly )  then we went in in an orderly fashion and straight to seats for a bit of reading and gather our thoughts.

Time to reflect.  

I asked them how they thought the morning had gone. A few volunteered. A couple commented on how much easier it had been to get dressed afterwards and that they liked the cubicle inspection. One talked about how actually sitting next to someone different might have helped them be less yellow zone ( we use the zones of regulation behaviour system at school ) 

They ALL liked the 10 awards earned for class dojo points and beamed at the Head when she came in to find out how they’d got on! 

It felt good to be back in class and to have a good time with them. It is a class I’ve never actually been in and apart from the usual pastoral bunch I’d not really got to know some of the children in there. It was good. 

I emailed the staff in my capacity as Behaviour Mentor ( did I tell you about that ? ) and tried not to be patronising n explaining what we did and how it went. Immediate reply from the class teacher saying this was wonderful ( it’s her PPA hence she doesn’t  take them swimming ) but nothing from the others! 


In other news, it’s raining. It’s definitely darker and therefore I get the need to make a pie last night and I’d promised the HG. On Sunday I’d roasted a piece of brisket. I ask my butcher for it flat rather than rolled. I always have it this way now. It cooks better and slices better. There was lots left so I said I’d make a traditional cottage pie with it but the HG asked if we could have meat and potato pie instead. Not a problem! I boiled some potatoes cut small and drained and cooked. Mixed with the meat and a few spoonfuls of the gravy. I made my shortcrust pastry as I always do…200g plain flour, 50g lard and 50g butter, salt and pepper. Rub in the fats and bring to a soft dough by adding drops of iced water and mixing it through with a butter knife. Wrap in cling and rest for half hour in the fridge- except I forgot to put mine in the fridge this time and actually I liked that it was easier to roll out! 

I did a tip and bottom pie and it was deeply filled. Had it with mushy peas, pickled beetroot and pickled red cabbage. Delicious. Leftover pasty was rerolled out and because I’d put pepper in it, I grated cheese over it and like making flaky pastry, I folded and re rolled and repeated. Then rolled up and coughing out like little pinwheels and baked! Delicious little snackettes! 

Right, washing machine to sort before work. Looking forward to my day. Who knows what it will bring. The y6s are down in that there London having an adventure- I wish I was able to go as I’ve done in the past but having Bluebell prevents this as there’s no one to let her out/walk her in the day. Oh well. They are going to Houses of Parliament, Harry Potter world, the theatre to see Wizard of Oz, on the London Eye, eating out in a restaurant, going to see a Buckingham Palaces, Downing a street and Tower of London and a river boat cruise up the Thames before coming home. Cannot WaIT to hear how they’ve got on. It is exhausting for staff but just a brilliant experience all around! 

Lots of love from 

Rachel *positive mindset* Radiostar 

Ps apologies for missed typos - doing this on my phone - like micro blogging!!


  1. Our teaching styles are very similar I suspect but I could always take my class anywhere knowing that they would behave appropriately when we were out. A teacher who couldn’t be bothered to put in the effort once told me that it was my status that made children behave!! (i was a HT in a school with many challenges) Oh how I laughed-it was damned hard work that gave success in encouraging children to have pride in themselves and realise that they were responsible for their own actions. Thank goodness it’s far behind me now. Catriona

  2. Paracise - There is no floor work (which very much appeals to me) but it can be surprisingly energetic and is effective, including the core. During lock down Sadie, our tutor, did them twice-weekly on Zoom, for free!!

  3. Sounds like you have a fab way with the kids.
    I found it was the year 9s were the worst age group. Some have such bad attitude and I see it raise it's ugly head with one or two of our Guides
    Pie looks delicious.


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