Little_Mavis' rants and musings



I’m producing this at the urging of @Chocotzar. There will be many so I can hide safely in the crowd. Overall, in many ways 2014 was a good year on a personal level. I’ll concentrate on that.

I’m not going to look at last year’s until after I’ve finished this in case I find things I should have, could have done but haven’t so I’ll just plough on.


I seem to have pretty much given up on career goals now. Once you reach your 60s it gets harder to move to new goals and it’s hard to go back to old ones if you’ve effectively burned your bridges, but I have a few things to look back on positively.

This year’s major achievement/incident/happening was that we visited friends in America. This may seem strange to all you globetrotters out there and it’s actually quite a difficult thing to admit in some ways but neither my OH nor I had ever flown before. Not from fear of flying but because we’d never really felt the need. Michael doesn’t much like hot weather and neither of us liked beach holidays, which seem to be many people’s introduction to overseas travel. Once we made the plunge we did it in style and made 12 flights in 3 weeks. We managed to include medical emergencies on DSCN0580the plane (not us), cancelled flights (Erie), turned back flights because of instrument failure (Minneapolis), being put up in a hotel (Detroit) and went to two airports we hadn’t planned to visit (Buffalo & Cleveland). We stayed with friends in two very different parts of America, Erie (as in the lake) and Chamberlain in South Dakota. We went on Lake Erie & on the Missouri river and managed two famous landmarks, Niagara Falls and Mount Rushmore. (More if you count the badlands and Deadwood). We had a wonderful time thanks to the generosity of friends we had previously only known on the Internet. We met lots of people and DSCN0476genuinely experienced what you would think of as small town America, including a local event with a ride on an IRB – an ‘Improved Ribbon Bridge’ – crewed by the National Guard and proper American pink lemonade. And we got to stroke a baby buffalo, called Bella. Oh and we went to the Crow Creek Powwow which was incredible. I should really write all this stuff up.

Next. Joined a gym. Was going three times a week until I got that awful cold/cough that was going round which derailed it somewhat. Haven’t lost a great deal of weight but have dropped several inches from various body circumferences and am definitely fitter.

IMAG1159I still haven’t entirely adjusted to not having to look after my dad. Almost two years on I still sometimes remember, with a start, that I haven’t phoned, then I remember why. I don’t miss the worry and responsibility, but I do miss the visits to Filey and the “runs out” I used to take him on. We did visit Filey for the day with an American visitor. The town is as pleasant and peaceful as I remember and the fish and chips are just as good. We must go again this year.


What else? Oh yes. Have acquired a new small cousin (twice removed?? I think) who arrived almost two weeks late on what would have been my parents’ wedding anniversary and named Edith, which was my mum’s name. She’s lovely. And if she grows up to be even half as wise and kind as my mum she will be brilliant.

Work is fine. The class teacher this year is great and easy to work with. My charge is making progress, slowly, but progress.

I’m slowly staring to believe in myself again, though the belief is fragile and I’m not sure I will ever get completely back to my old self-confident self. The consequences of bullying are far-reaching and long lasting, for adults as well as children.


Not sure really. My job will finish in July when the child I support moves to high school. My prospects of finding similar work are slim as I am not actually qualified as a Teaching Assistant and my teaching qualification is post-16 and did not come with QTS. I wouldn’t want to go back to teaching full time, I couldn’t cope so I’m not sure what I will be doing. I’ll have to think about what my talents are and how I can sell them in some way. I’m hoping there is still a pension when I finally reach the ever-receding pension age in a few years.

I intend to carry on with the gym. I’m finally at the stage when I feel better after a session rather than near-death. I’ve even bought some leggings and new trainers. If you see me though, you have to promise not to laugh.DSCN1353

I’ll carry on with the sewing classes, though I’m not exactly brilliant at it and we have discovered I’m a rather odd shape so we have to alter patterns to make things fit. Still, it’s nice learning new stuff and it’s healthier than going to the pub. I just have to break the habit of picking up a takeaway on the way home.

We’ve been invited back to America to stay with (mostly) different friends. We’re hoping to be in San Diego for Thanksgiving. I can only repeat how grateful we are for having such generous friends. There is no way we could afford it otherwise.

Another resolution? Use my camera more? I have a nice shiny camera which I often forget to use. I’ll add some photos to this blog to show it wasn’t entirely wasted.

I’ve tried to make this positive, though like many people, I’m worried about the future. I’ll try not to let my little bit of it get too downhearted and do what I can to make things better.


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The Wrong sort of Grit

Like many others such as @Sue_Cowley here and @debrakidd here I am a little concerned at this new-found enthusiasm for developing “character” or “resilience” or “grit” in children.

Leaving aside such considerations such as whether this is desirable, or even possible I am puzzled by the inherent contradictions in this when viewed alongside the similar enthusiasm for obedience and conformity.

The desire to have children persevere in the face of discouragement and failure in order to eventually succeed seems to be in direct opposition to the desire to have them dress in a specific way as dictated by the school or indeed, in some cases to raise their hands, or even sit in class in a precise and specified manner as described by @HeyMissSmith. Sadly I cannot show you these because the training videos she linked to are now set as private.

You see. I’m not convinced that you can expect children to show “grit” (or resilience, character, determination etc.) in certain, preferred situations but not in others. If they are expected to persevere in the face of failure or discouragement when it comes to solving maths problems, aren’t they also going to persevere with wearing their tie in the way they want to in the face of the discouragement of regular detentions or isolation?

So much of our current policy seems to want children to be quiet, conforming and to do what they are told without question. But, we now want them to persist in their efforts in the face of discouragement and opposition. Haven’t they noticed that is exactly what some children have been doing, and what they have been doing their level best to stop?

I suppose it was just the wrong sort of grit!