Saturday, 13 September 2014

For the Mamas and the Papas!

The students in my class are on the precipice of - or have already plunged right into - adolescence. It's a challenging time. For everyone. I say this without judgement of anyone because three of our children are the same age or slightly older, so I'm feeling the pain challenge as a parent too. If you ignore all the physiological changes for a moment it becomes pretty clear that most of the other challenges stem from RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships with themselves, with peers, with teachers, and perhaps most importantly with parents!  

As the teacher I have the privilege of being able to speak into most of those relationships. Not so much with parents though. Don't get me wrong I speak with parents ALL the time, but I'm not always there to support my young people in making choices that build stronger relationships with their parents. So, what can I do about that? Well,  I take every opportunity I can to help them articulate the positive value they place in these relationships.  Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day are two very obvious examples of when this can happen. So here's my take on the process this year:

For the Mamas:
My class  has an almost unanimous
 aversion to the colour  pink.
Don't ask! (I don't know.)
We made very simple origami inspired cards.  On the front of pre-bought cards (yep, I went the cheat's route and bought cards) we attached hand made mini envelopes into which tiny slips of paper with notes of appreciation were placed.  The envelopes were made of tiny squares of scrapbooking paper, and would probably have been a whole heap easier to fold if it hadn't been embossed paper but hey… You live and learn right? I used a guillotine to pre-cut a whole pile of squares so that our focus could be on the writing aspect. To fold them we turned them so that they sat like a diamond and then folded the bottom corner up and the two sides in. We used a tiny dab of glue to hold those closed and then folded over the top.  As you can see in the photo the top sat up a little which we though looked like an invitation to open them up and see the note inside.   On the inside of most cards was written  'Congratulations Mum, I'm awesome'.  I SWEAR I had nothing to do with that. Much. Anyway, the cards looked lovely and, based on the feedback I received from parents, were very much appreciated.

For the Papas:
This one was really fun, and again quite simple to make.  Out came some store bought cards again and we made iDads. Our school is a 1:1 iPad school so this seemed funnier to us than it might to others.  We drew a simple iPad shape, and using foam tape attached mini apps that represented relevant activities for each of our fathers.  We trimmed the corners from the cards and used a white sticker as the button.  Easy! On the inside the fun really began.  Each card has a Google logo and search buttons.  As you may have read in my last post about paint chips and descriptive writing we've been developing our descriptive writing skills so we put these to good use. The search term of the day was, of course, each child's father's name, and the search results were the descriptive sentences they'd written. Neat huh?

Love you Papa!
As I designed these iDad cards I kept thinking that my own dad would get such a chuckle out of them - after years of rolling my eyes at his dad jokes here I was creating my very own. The day my students made their cards marked seven weeks since Dad's passing.  I didn't finish my model card, and none of my students asked why. I anticipated that it was going to be a God awful difficult activity, but… But… It wasn't. Throughout the day, even before we'd started the cards, most of my kids had been checking in with me: asking about my dad; giving me hugs and expressing their sadness for me; and saying,  in the words of one usually very prickly young man, 'life sucks Mrs RP, and I know we're not your darling daddy, but we love you'.  These kids leave me speechless sometimes. 

This post doesn't relate to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers but it does relate directly to my dad so…

Papa… Happy belated Fathers' Day. xxx 


  1. Little Prickly Man.... I concur. Sleep well Owen... make mine a latte.

    1. Sniff! You're not meant to make me cry in your comments!!!

    2. You're not meant to cry when I comment! I know being an iPad school is very sad, but it doesn't deserve real tears.

    3. Argh!!!! It's a good thing you're cute or I'd leave you on the side of the road.

    4. Hey! Not only do I resemble that remark but you ought not reply to my reply of your reply.

    5. Where's the eye roll emoticon button?