Pack up your troubles

Pack up your troubles

A blog where I mine my experiences of the end of year ‘pack-up and preparations’ with a few quick tips to ensure you get the most out of your summer holiday. Oh, and a tenuous link to one of the most notorious football kits ever.

The end of the academic year is almost upon us and with it comes the annual classroom tidy-up and pack away. As the old saying goes, “It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it…”

Be ruthless – if you’ve not used it in three years, the chances are that you’re not going to. Tough I know. A couple of summers ago I finally sent my old Junior Education magazines to the paper bank. They were great resources: at the time (circa 1995 – 2000). However, there have been goodness knows how many reinterpretations of the National Curriculum since then and even the gorgeous topic posters look dated by today’s standards.

But not too ruthless – if you still keep a paper diary (and I do), don’t throw it out just yet. I‘ve lost count of how many times I’ve needed to go back through my diary to check the dates of: a course I attended; meetings I’ve had with colleagues or parents; or to help determine which week should be set-by for the disco/school fayre/trip because it had worked so well last time.

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Bore on!

An article proposing that boredom is a good thing: a source of creativity. Told from the perspective of someone who has, at times, been phenomenally bored.

Sometime in the late 1970s and early 1980s…

“Mum, I’m bored.”

“Why don’t you read a book, or go out to play?”

I can assure you that there were longer and more complex exchanges between my mum and myself but this particular snippet typifies how mum dealt with my need for mental stimulation. Mum, if you’re reading this, thank you it was the perfect answer.

Source: I'm bored by Michael Ian Black

Source: I’m bored by Michael Ian Black

In response to my mum’s directive to ‘read a book’ I generally sought solace in The Famous Five, E. Nesbit and C.S. Lewis. In a serendipitous twist (which I’m not convinced my mum foresaw), I then further occupied my time by desperately willing the sitting-room carpet to transport me on journeys around the world; urging my wardrobe to open a portal to Narnia, and spent long summer holidays of riding bikes, building dens and cooking sausages on *small* bonfires in the field at the bottom of my mum and dad’s road. My sister was always in tow and occasionally my little brother (in his role as The Lamb from The Phoenix and the Carpet, Five Children and it, and The Amulet – see I remember all three stories). Whilst my time was thus filled, my dad was at work and my mum was busy performing her ‘Blytonesque’ role of baking cakes and bread, and doing the family’s laundry.

That Mum and Dad were absent from my adventures is important. When Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog set out on their adventures they did so without parental interference. There were also no parents fussing about clean nails and grass-stained clothes in E. Nesbit’s or C.S. Lewis’ stories. Therefore, I didn’t need my Mum and Dad joining-in with a trip on the sitting room carpet or coming down to the field to build a bonfire. I suspect they’re relieved not to have been involved in that one!

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