Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Praise pods and the little people

Was much struck by a discussion on Radio Four yesterday about the use of "praise pods" in schools. Apparently, some schools have started setting aside an area with a comfy chair and a teacher in it, and every time a child does something well or is particularly good, they're sent to the praise pod, made to sit in the chair and told how wonderful they are and what a good job they're doing. No doubt you will all laugh but it sounds like bliss to me! And it's proving so popular and reducing stress in the children so much that other schools are taking up the idea too. Now if only adults could have such a room, I'm sure it would really improve morale in the working day - we're people too, you know! There's only so much of the bad stuff a girl can take!

Talking of which, today's been fairly crap really. And not only for me. Poor Ruth had to do battle with the printing office and with finance (never a pleasant combination at the best of times ...) and Andrea was deluged by students arriving to complain bitterly and at great length. Twice. And different students too. Honestly, it all got so depressing and difficult that we actually got quite hysterical - though luckily we managed to contain ourselves until after the students in question had left. They've all gone? - high five and hope for sunnier days ahead!... Oh how I long for the soap to come out: Care: the TV series. On second thoughts, no-one would believe it.

Meanwhile, I've struggled to deal with one of my difficult colleagues today, but managed to remain relatively calm (hurrah!) in spite of the fact that he tried to lay all sorts of complaints at my door which - for once - are not my remit. Double hurrah and somebody pass the chocolate! Mind you, I was quite snippety with him, but at least he got the message.

So, by the time I came to chairing the University Writers' Group, I was so jazzed up and stressed, it was hard even to think. Let alone be coherent (honestly, when stressed, I find the ability to string two words together, let alone a whole sentence, is virtually non-existent). I think I managed to struggle through it okay, though have to say it was hard. Added to which, fewer people are coming along to the meetings these days - whether that's due to the restructuring or my appalling chairing abilities, who can say? - so I'm beginning to wonder whether I should call a halt to the whole thing after Christmas. I know the one or two people who still turn up seem to enjoy it - I hope. Ah well. We'll see.

I then dragged myself through the afternoon - a process much like dragging myself across a potential war zone, but quieter - which included starting my minutes from yesterday, plus minuting the Nursery Management Group (which at least has external people in it so they're lovely and normal), sorting out the staffing of tomorrow's care services event, organising publicity and feedback materials for the same, keeping my eyes open, staring at the clock and desperately longing for home, and plastering an attempt at a calm, professional smile across my face if anyone strayed within a one metre radius of my desk. Somebody have the ruddy praise pod delivered,please, and make it quick!

Tonight, I was supposed to be going to Guildford Writers but I don't have the emotional energy for any more people and I am staying most distinctly indoors. Mind you, neither do I have anything to read out, what with one thing and another. Here, back in home.com, I am planning an evening where I lie gibbering like a loon across the floor and wait for the Great White Hunter, while Lord H acts as my own personal marital praise pod (that's lovely, darling; yes, you're doing fine, now take a little more soup, what a clever girl! ...) and mops my fevered brow. And, hell, but I must do some ironing.

Today's nice things:

1. Thinking about praise pods
2. Having a normal conversation with non-university people
3. Lord H.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website


Unknown said...

Hi Anne

Glad you like the praise pod idea- and well done for keeping calm, thinking about others etc etc. All said with a genuine smile; like the one you'd get in a real praise pod.

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Richard! I think I'd like my praise pod in a soothing green colour. At least that's how I'm imagining it!