I just love this so I thought I would share it.


Inside The Mind of a Master Procrastinator

I am afraid the instant gratification monkey and I are well acquainted.


Source: Ted Talk



Boys and School

One of the greatest blessings in my life, is having a brother who is totally unlike me. I realised that today when I was thinking about my passion for helping children love reading.

My brother was not academic. In fact he hated school. He could not get out of there quick enough. It has always saddened me that the system so often fails people like my brother. I mean, I knew he was perfectly intelligent. He just wasn’t academic. I remember a note he wrote once as a teenager. Out of perhaps ten words, he had misspelled all but two of them:

“car” and “engine”.

This had really taught me something. The things that mattered to him, he could spell fine. He had pretty much been born knowing how to drive. He had passed his driver’s test within weeks of his seventeenth birthday (unlike me). He worked as a tyre fitter for years. He would talk to me about tyres for hours. What I don’t know about wheel-balancing, is not worth knowing. He had found his niche. A niche in which he has done extremely well. Perhaps controversially I would tell my classes about him. I would explain that he too had struggled at school but was doing very well now. I would also state that some things were still hard for him and that I was pretty sure he wished he had tried a bit harder at school.

However I had always known he could spell “car” and “engine”.That was his passion. That was what he loved. That was how he could have been kept in school. That was how he could have been reached. If a teacher had sat and read a car guide with him, I am pretty sure words like lamborghini ( I can’t spell it myself, I just had to look it up.) would have presented him no issues whatsoever.


I  know it works. I found my son’s passion and I went with that. In my case his passion for many years, was animals.

We watched so many documentaries by David Attenborough, I feel I could qualify as a zoologist myself. To my former husband’s credit, he had supported this. We actually had the thrilling experience of seeing David Attenborough give a talk. As he (my son) had grown up, he had shown an inclination towards becoming a vet and had gone out rescuing animals. There is a wonderful photo of him working with a vet, who was doing surgery on a wedge-tailed eagle. He is at university now. His interests have changed but he refuses to pass on any of the many animal books from those early days. I know that early love of animals will always be part of him.

Anything I have done right as a teacher(and believe me I screwed up all the time) is because of those early lessons which my brother taught me.

My own son was an extremely active toddler yet one day he had stood transfixed by a single ant, for what had seemed like hours. I sometimes feel very sad that so many young men become so disillusioned with school. Somewhere in their heart God has planted a seed. It is up to us to nurture it.


A Passion For Reading


I stand corrected. I have been reminded I removed from my young teen a book which included many references to boobs and sex. It had been obtained surreptitiously whilst they had been visiting a second-hand book store. I am not sure how I would have felt about Game of Thrones, which at the time I had naively believed was probably just a book about royalty.



I was reminded today, just how passionate I am about books and reading by a post by Alexis Chateau. None of this is based on research. It is all simply based on personal experience. I have a passion for reading. Looking back it was not until I had children of my own that the pieces had begun to fall into place.

Even though I have taught reading, I feel much of my knowledge now comes from having had the time to really talk to children, while hearing them read as a parent. Once the basic mechanics are in place-a sound knowledge of phonics and a good basic vocabulary, I feel our emphasis should switch. Our priority in my view should be simply to teach children to love books/reading and then let them do the rest themselves.

If a child wants to read about the latest electronic games, I say let him/her do it.

Whatever it was, as long as they were reading, I was ok with it.

Rotorua, New Zealand

November 1991

Well we finally saw the swirling mudpools of Rotorua yesterday. By the way Rotorua stinks(Sorry I was only talking about the sulphur smell, everything else was great.)  I finally saw a geyser. I had always wanted to see a geyser ever since I had seen a picture of Old Faithful as a child.

geyser I was really excited. The mudpools are amazing-really intriguing to watch. The bubbling streams were incredibly noisy.

I do remember being told that they did not bury bodies underground in Rotorua, as they had a habit of reappearing. They have above ground mausoleums instead. I also remember having to pose for photos right in the smelliest spots. I loved it there (I had a brilliant natural steaming spa bath.) but honestly the smell would certainly clear any nasal congestion.