Thursday, January 26, 2006

Still ill, and other spills

Just enjoyed the rhyme. Not sure if there are any spills.

Well, I am still feeling rubbish. I have this persistent cough and catarrh [which is what they call nasal/sinus drip here], becoming more obnoxious and irritating when I go to sleep and wake up. In the night I went to sleep on the couch last night as I did not want to disturb the Boy with my coughing fits. Ended up disturbing him anyway and we both had a rubbish night's sleep. We have two two-seater leather sofas in the living room, and they're OK to lounge on to watch TV, but definitely not for a night's sleep. The decongestant and cough medicine have had no effect and it might be back to the GP for me.

I am highly anxious to get well. Firstly, this might migrate down and become a chest infection. Not fun. Secondly, [and probably more truthfully] we have a big match, which I referred to on the audio posting (see Monday, 23/01). We are playing my club's women's first team. We are definitely not as good as them, and I will be the first to admit it. But I hate when I hear the girls put themselves and our team down, especially in front of the other team. "We are going to get trounced by you!" one of my team-mates gleefully told the other Jets team. "Ha ha!" Yeh, but there is no reason why we can't have a little pride in ourselves. And at least go down fighting.


I had a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) [fancy shmancy name for a workshop] this afternoon. My stupid mobile* [that's another story shared below] reminded me that it was at a location near the flat. Yay! Lucky me. When I arrived there, though, it was not. Somehow I put it in wrong in my phone. Pish. I trudged home, as I would never make it across town to the proper location in a reasonable amount of time. And I really don't really care about the damn workshop anyway, and I will tell you why:

But first, a little back story for me on workshops: I love workshops. I love learning more and hearing what others have to say. Workshops generally allow me to reflect on my teaching practice, which I don't get the time to do. Thankfully, I'm becoming better at not taking in everything the presenter says as gospel and discriminating between good and bad ones.

Back to why I think I'm going to hate this workshop. It was called Reading and Learning Difficulties. Ace, I thought. I'm a resource teacher [oh, for all those who didn't know, I'm not a classroom teacher right now -- I'm doing resource; why I moved from classroom teaching, which I adored, to resource, an area I viewed with mild distain, will have to be a tangent I get into another time]. I mean, this should be right up my alley. I deal with kids that have reading and learning difficulties. All About Dyslexia would have been a better name for this workshop, which was my beef.

Ah, dyslexia. Where do I start? Dyslexia is Britain's ADD -- every child has it and it is the root of every child's problems. I had never taught a child with dyslexia in the US, and only ever encountered one child there who I ever thought was really dyslexic. From my (limited) experience, I think that every country has its pet diagnosis for academic underachievement, and dyslexia is it for the UK. In my opinion, half the children with dyslexia don't actually have it. They probably just received shite reading instruction. But that's just my humble opinion, and who am I?

People, I have already been to more dyslexia workshops led by earnest presenters, themselves dyslexic or parents of dyslexic children. I feel insensitive for not believing in dyslexia, especially when these people bleat on and on about their particular difficulties, but I'm not changing my mind any time soon.

The main reason is that people here are so unprofessional in regard to dyslexia. What is research saying? That dyslexia by its most common and classic definition -- an affliction that causes average and above average children to have reading difficulties -- is at best a misnomer and at worst nonexistent. I remember I was in one meeting in which they were summarising a programme developed to help upper primary aged pupils with dyslexia by teaching them mind maps and organisational skills [shoot, I shoulda been included!]. The presentation consisted of statements such as, "He just blossomed" and "They just AB-so-lutely loved it", with the other listeners impressed and nodding. Finally, tired of the love-in, I asked that since this was a piloted programme, what the difference from their initial assessment to their final assessment? In essence, what evidence did they have that the programme they had actually made a difference? They looked at me like I had asked if I could just shoot child to cure their dyslexia. How dare I ask such a question? Did I hear that the children "AB-so-lutely loved it"? How very dare I indeed. I mean, can you believe that "they just really loved it" and "they just blossomed" is evidence enough to spend thousands of pounds on shite reading programmes?

Until I start to have some professional, non-biased, researched-based discussions about dyslexia with colleagues, I won't be changing my stance on the topic. And so I missed the damn workshop. And I am not sorry. Anyway, I've got three more weeks of it to go.


On a lighter note: Dennis Rodman has been in the UK, featuring on Celebrity Big Brother. Nobody had a clue who he was and he has been voted off of the show by the public just yesterday. Ha ha.


* My stupid phone tangent: So I finally got this lovely Sony Ericsson phone that has a great camera (2 megapixels!) and plays mp3s. Except the software enclosed for uploading music onto the phone is only for PCs, and they have no plans of producing the software for Macs. And I'm too bloody thick to figure out how to work the circumventing software that I found on the internet. So I have a very high spec phone that does nothing that I bought it for.


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