You might have come across the ‘boiling frog’ model of how people cope with change.
The idea is that if you put a frog in a deep pan of water, it sits around doing happy frog stuff and saying ‘it’s not so bad once you’re in’. Then the pan is put on to heat. The frog adjusts to the gradual rise in temperature – sending out for the odd Ben and Jerry’s perhaps, but basically staying put. It adjusts and adjusts. Then it can adjust no more but, by then, it is no longer physically able to jump out of the pan. And so it goes to the great lily pad in the sky.
No frogs were actually harmed in the making of this metaphor. Hold that thought.
Even at four, Terry is built like a Great Dane who works out. So when, on his first day at school, he barges into wee Jack, there’s no question of who will be sent flying. Terry stands in front of me, sheepishly.
“Terry,” I say, gravely. “You knocked over Jack and he’s hurt.” Jack howls to underline the point.
“I didn’t mean to.”
“I’m sure you didn’t. You know that it is wrong to hurt people on purpose, don’t you?”
Terry nods. “It was an accident,” comes the gruff reply.
“Well, even if you didn’t mean to, Jack is still hurt. See how upset he is.” Jack is currently working towards a nomination for Best Actor in a Playground Incident. Terry himself now looks on the point of tears; the classic gentle giant. “Now, what do you think would make him feel better?” I ask.
Terry’s face brightens. “Flowers?” he suggests.
“It’s my mum’s anniversary today,” Violet yells above the playground buzz.
“That’s lovely, Violet.”
“She’s been married eight years. I wasn’t even born then!” There’s a gasp of amazement from the giggle of girls around her, which swiftly moves into a conversation about frocks worn at various parents’ weddings.
I thought that she was in the outdoor area working with Miss Sugarsprinkles. Miss Sugarsprinkles thought she was in the classroom, working with me. So, we instituted a search. Not in the toilets. Not in the Welfare Room. Not in the Office.
At last I found her; huddled in the corner of the small resources room: headphones in ears, gum in mouth, mobile in hand.
She shrugged. “Those f*cking kids are doing me ‘ead in.”
“Then perhaps,” I suggested, “a career in education is not for you. I’ll ring your tutor.”
Sunday evening, autumn, 1966. Muddy paws stretched out, Sheina basks in front of the glowing coals, whimpering through memories of an afternoon chasing squirrels in the woods. LittleSis gurgles, propped up on cushions between Ma and Pa. LittleBro and Action Man are busy conquering the Universe with a fresh haul of conkers. And the Andy Williams Show is just coming to an end. The Cookie Monster has gone back to its lair. Andy turns to us and starts crooning:
“May each day in your week be a good one…”
The horror, the horror! My spirits plummet with the reminder that tomorrow is Monday. My throat is already tightening with stress. It’s all very well for him, I think bitterly, talking of each day being a good one. He is not going to have to face Miss Offord’s sewing lesson tomorrow afternoon.
Dear Mrs Bloggysphere,
I am sorry that Mrs Jellywoman did not do her blog last weekend. She was very wibbly and might have been a Health and Safety risk as wibbles and keyboards don’t mix.
There’s been shaking a-plenty in the staff-room this week and not just from yours truly.
We’re having our PDIs to set our target APS increase across the year; or, in the case of the EYFS, the percentage of pupils who reach the Expected level in the ELGs according to the new EYFS Profile.
I always think it’s a good idea to hook your readers right from the start with promises of excitement to come. Eat your heart out, Dick Francis.
“Can it wait, Layla? I need to get this register to the office.”
“But Mrs Jellywoman – we don’t have no chairs!”
I look at Layla over the top of my glasses. “That’s ‘we haven’t got any chairs’, Layla.”
Layla has younger brothers and so is accustomed to explaining things to the simple. She draws upon this skill now. “Well, you’ve got a chair, Mrs Jellywoman. You’re sitting on it. But we don’t have no chairs.”
“Look, dragon breath!” Mixed infants circle round me, their breath steaming in the winter air. I roar obligingly and they scamper away.
One little dragon loses her footing and is brought to me, howling, by Katie. We check out the knees and agree that a quick magic rub and the application of a little TLC will be sufficient. We’re just setting off on a turn around the playground when there’s a tug on my coat. Owen is standing behind me with a plastic cup filled with mud.
“Coffee?” he asks. I take the cup and pretend to sip.
“That’ll be fifty pounds,” he says. “You can pay by card.” I pick up a leaf and hand it over. “Do you want cash-back with that?” he asks.
Imagine. Young Mildred is rising five and about to start big school. You’re pretty confident about this parenting lark now; and anyway even Marks’s won’t take her back this late in the day.
You’ve tidied up for the pre-school visit, just stuffing the last bit of junk into young Mildred’s bedroom when the bell goes. She peers shyly from behind your legs as you open the door.
“Look, Mildred,” you say cheerily, “it’s your new teacher, Mrs …?”
“Jellywoman,” I chirp. “And this is my Nursery Nurse, Miss Sugarsprinkles. I’m sorry, we’re a trifle early.”