Monday, March 29, 2010

The 'antivenom'

I know this is very unBritish but I have to share a little praise I received about my children. After last week's hospitality debacle, I was gratified to hear that my children are not like this. You are never quite sure what they are like when your beady eye isn't on them. You just hope that the incessant drilling has paid off..

Last week the cleaner at my children's school saw me chatting to two of the teachers & asked one of them to tell me that she loved my children because they were always so polite, well mannered & helpful to her & other children. I was really touched a.) that she had noticed & b.) had asked one of the teachers to translate this & pass it on to me. (My Albanian doesn't cover vocabulary for politeness, good behaviour etc; haven't found much use for it).

Then on Sunday one of the mums, who takes a turn walking the school children to the ballet lesson my 2 partcipate in, told me how grown up our 9 y-o was becoming & what a gentleman he was, because he had offered to carry stuff for her & help her with her bags.

Also on Sunday it was my daughter's turn, in an unlikely area of model behaviour, to be praised. My daughter's Sunday School teacher came up to me & commented on how beautifully our 5 y-o ate the cup cake she had been given. I couldn't hide my astonishment & 1st established she knew which our daughter was, then asked if she was sure she hadn't licked the icing off the cake, discarded the cake uneaten & then licked her fingers one by one (which is what she does at home if she can get away with it.)

Still I couldn't believe it, 3 times in one week. They say, in customer service, that if you have a good experience you tell 5 people, but if you have a bad experience you tell 12. Well, old data, now my husband tells me but the point is clear. I certainly tell more bad experiences on here than good, which is another reason I felt justified in telling this little story. though it has to be said, too, that the bad experiences often make for the better stories.

AND: I also got my own little bit of recognition from someone whose son I teach. She was telling a friend of mine how lucky her son is to have me teaching him, how much he loves IGCSE English, is feeling really stretched by it, loves the lessons & even enjoys the homework. Honestly it made my day. What am I saying, it made my year. As a teacher I can probably count, almost on the fingers of one hand, how many students have thanked me or written me a note to thank me for getting them through GCSES or A Levels in the course of my teaching career. & I am always pathetically grateful for each one. You get precious little feedback as a teacher, especially from the kids & often wonder if you are having any impact, yet one thank you & you feel it's all worthwhile. My hosting might not have been appreciated last week, but my teaching is, by 1 student at least, which is probably more important.

It's also somewhat daunting & not a little disconcerting that, in this small foreigner fish pond we live in, I teach the school director's son, my doctor's son, my dentist's son, & a fellow teacher's son. It also makes for some surreal scenarios where 2 fellow professionals keep 'swapping places' depending on whether flossing, Fitzgerald or flat feet is the issue at stake.

I remember all too well, growing up in a similar small community situation, more goldfish bowl than fish pond, as my father was vicar of a small country parish with similar professionals in the congregation (one was even my bank manager-horrors!) & relishing the anonymity of going away to uni in a big city. Now here I am back in that scenario again. Oh well, at least I had good practie at it 1st time round.

So all that more than made up for my experience of ingratitude last week.

And finally my picture for Week 5 of The Gallery from Tara@stickyfingers has to be a picture of "Outside your front door" or the immediate environment where you live.

That was easy. This picture epitomises winter at our place in Tirana, Albania. Mud & water. This 'lake' is a semi-permanent feature of life in our road in the wet winters we get here. The drains are blocked, the landlord's bodge job didn't quite work, &, because he couldn't be bothered to dig down, he replaced the sewage pipes above ground, & concreted over them, thus creating a 'dam' effect in our road. Hence the lake. It gets much deeper than this, usually comes a third of the way up my bike wheel, to the point where my foot is in the water on the 'down' pedal. Of course when I say water I mean sewage water...


Michelloui said...

This was a lovely post!! Its so nice to receive these kinds of comments and so wonderful when people feel brave enough to say them. By 'brave enough; I mean that for some reason a lot of people seem to think nice things about others but never open their mouths to pass them on.

My favourite was the compliment your daughter received on eating the cupcake! No one will ever compliment me on how well I eat a cupcake!!

Nova said...

It's always lovely to receive compliments about our children. How lovely. :0)

Iota said...

Just before reading this post I was trying to extol the importance of learning good table manners to my children (unsuccessfully, I may add). I hadn't really ever thought about the etiquette of cupcake consumption, but I'll have to add that to the list of things to teach them - once I've figured it out.

Miss Welcome said...

I'm so glad you got these encouragements (and that you shared them)! Bravo!

Heather said...

what wonderful words about your kids, you have every right to feel proud and shout it to the world. why not, eh?

Mwa said...

Ewww on the sewage! But yayyy on the lovely kids!

London City Mum said...

About time too that you got some well-deserved praise for your work (child-rearing or otherwise).
And agree with Heather: shout it out!


Expat mum said...

Well done - both on your lovely children and on refraining on resisting the temptation to whinge every day about the awful seage lake outside your house. I would have driven all my readers away with tales of it. Yuck!

Jessi Louise said...

Yay - Isn't it like a pat on the back for a job well done when someone compliments you on your kids behavior? Never know what your kids are up to when they are away. Looks like you are doing something right :)