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I have been asked by a number of people why I ‘let’ my daughter travel abroad. It is always a question which stumps me, as I don’t feel that what she want to do with her life is really anything to do with me, so I don’t understand why I should be letting, or indeed stopping, her from doing what she wants to do. I am happy to support her in her life choices, especially as I can see that she is enjoying her life and getting a lot from what she is doing.
Together in Praque

Together in Prague

Sandy asked me to write about this, but I was struggling to know what to write until one of her friends came up with the following questions. So here are my answers, some of which will also the answer the question in the title of this post.
1) What are three good things about having a daughter who is a teacher?
1. She is doing a job that she loves and which takes her around the world – which gives me the chance to visit places that I would never have normally thought of going to – like Asuncion in Paraguay.
Asuncion from the air

Asuncion from the air

2. She is able to help her cousins when they are struggling with their work.
3. She is able to help me if I have a problem with my english.
2) Were there ever a moment in your life when you wished I wasn’t a teacher?  Please tell me about it.
When I am asked if I am good with English – I never feel very confident as I don’t know as much about the language and its elements as you do.
3) Was there ever a moment when you were very proud of something I did as a teacher? Please tell me about it.
I am often proud of what you do, but especially when you are working with someone who needs more help. In particular adapting your teaching style to teach a blind russian girl, including thinking about how she learnt and learning a bit of braille too.
4) How do you think me being a teacher has made life more complicated for you?
Fitting in to your always complicated plans during your times in the UK – when you try to fit in visiting and catching up with too many people in a short time.
Also dealing with all of the questions and comments from friends, family and acquaintances when you were in Sevastopol in the Crimea while it was changing from being Ukranian to being Russian, even though I was confident that you were safe.
5) Do you think I am well suited to be a teacher?  Why?
I think you are suited to being a teacher because you are always finding ideas to use in classes when you are out and about. You are passionate about your profession and always wanting to develop and challenge yourself. You are great at thinking about how other people learn and work to adapt your style to suit them.
6) What other jobs do you think I could have done or should have done?
I cannot think of any other job that would have suited you as well as being a teacher.
7) Why do you think I became a teacher?
Because you like helping people and you are interested in other cultures and languages – all of which are elements of being a TEFL teacher. You also had a great teaching role model in your grandad (my dad) who also loved to share his knowledge and expertise.
8) Why do you think I am a teacher now?
Because it is your passion.
9) How would our lives change if I stopped being a teacher tomorrow?
You would need to have another role that you could be just as passionate about. Your new role as a Director of Studies will be a stepping stone away from being a full time teacher, but I cannot envisage a time when you won’t be doing some kind of teaching whatever other roles you take on.

My daughter Sandy Millin has invited me to take part in this series of post to follow on from the one that she has written.


My task is to…
Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

Share 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

List 11 bloggers.
Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

11 random facts about me

  1. I love singing – as a first soprano – with the Brewood singers
  2. I am very proud of my daughter Sandra and son Steven and pleased that they are both in jobs that they love (although I still haven’t had a chance to be driven in a truck yet Steven)
  3. My ex husband and I used to breed and show rabbits – including yellow and chocolate dutch, dwarf lops, and argente bleu and creme we showed as Shepherd Stud.
  4. This then moved onto us owning our own pet shop D & K Pets
  5. I used to work as an Assistant Director managing libraries, archives and adult learning in Dudley.
  6. I love to travel – and enjoy the journey as much as finding out about the places I visit.
  7. When I was 19 I went to America with a school friend for 4 weeks – we Greyhounded for 2 weeks then stayed with friends of my father at Arlington Virginia for 2 weeks.
  8. When I was 16 I went youth hostelling in Scotland with 2 school friends.
  9. I love reading and sharing books with as many people by releasing them in the wild – you can track them through Bookcrossing and looking for Katweeble on there.
  10. I am an Essex girl – I was born in Dovercourt Bay
  11. My original career was as a librarian and then I moved onto being a manager before moving to being a network marketer.

Answering the questions Sandy has asked me

1. What advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?

To talk to other people who have already succeeded, keep on reading and never stop learning and finding out more about the profession. You can recycle a lot of great ideas rather than trying to start everything from scratch.

2. Are you a tidy person or a clean person, or both, or neither?

I am a tidy person and like things to be clean – although my desk is a little over run at the moment. I don’t like my house to be a show home though, I prefer it to be comfortable so it isn’t completely spotless.

3.How often do you go to the cinema

Not very often – it is usually in intense bouts when I am with Sandra, although I do love watching films on the cinema.

4. Do you have a favourite word (in any language)?

I have very fond memories of being with my nan when she was pretending she couldn’t say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I was reminded of this recently due to the publicity about the film Saving Mr Banks about the making of Mary Poppins.

5. What’s your favourite meal? Can you cook it?

My favourite meal is roast lamb with onion sauce, roast potatoes and a range of vegetables followed by cheesecake.  I can cook the first part, but haven’t done the second part since being diagnosed as a coeliac in 2003. Maybe I need to have a go at making it again.

6. What’s the phrase you constantly hear yourself saying?

‘if that makes sense?’

7. What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?

Going round offices and shops cleaning phones during the Easter holidays of my first year in university. Some people were very rude to me – it helped me to realise that everybody should be treated politely and valued whatever job they do. The good bit about doing the job was that it paid for my flight tickets to and from America.

8. What’s your favourite method of procrastination?

My ipad- either computer games or looking at Facebook, twitter and e-mail.

9. Do you like classical music?

Yes –  and I like to listen to the BBC Radio 4 Composer of the Week podcast as I find out a lot about a wide range of composers.

10. I don’t know much about poetry. Is there a particular poem you think I should read?

Eye have a spelling chequer,
It came with my Pea Sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss Steaks I can knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirred
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am write oar wrong
It tells me straight a weigh.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your shore real glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh.
My chequer tolled me sew.

A chequer is a bless thing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right all stiles of righting,
And aides me when eye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The chequer pours o’er every word
Two cheque sum spelling rule.

The original version of this poem was written by Jerrold H. Zar in 1992.
I regularly have spell checking and predictive text mistakes in my written work – so this is a great reminder of the fact the I should always check to make sure the right version of a word is present.
11.And, a little bit of advertising. 🙂 What’s your favourite eltpic? (You don’t have to justify it!)
I haven’t picked one photo but one of the sets – the signs ones as I love how strange some of them are. I have enjoyed spotting them when with Sandra too.
My nominees?
My questions to my nominees?
  1. What is your favourite book?
  2. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
  3. Which historical or fictional character would you like to meet?
  4. What was the last film you saw?
  5. What is your favourite form of exercise?
  6. Dogs or cats?
  7. Libraries, Book shops or e-books?
  8. Do you have a favourite building – and where is it?
  9. Where is your favourite place to eat with friends?
  10. What word best describes your current mood?
  11. Do you prefer Christmas or summer holidays?

The Future Libraries Programme final report was published today. You can find it here.

The following comments are my own and are my initial thoughts about the report and the responses it has had when it was first published and promoted.

There are some strong feelings going around about the recommendations in the report that libraries should work differently along the lines of ‘but that is what we already do’. In many cases this is right – especially in the better library services, but it is not true everywhere, and it may not be true in full in every library authority.

My concern is that the high level of press coverage with the annoyance at some of the content is missing some really useful messages that strategic library managers and campaigners need to be making use of when working to keep library services we can all be proud of and want to use.

The document has many things that would be better for us to make a noise about, 2 of which are demonstrated in the following quotes:

‘Investment in a good process will achieve the best outcomes both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness for local residents and communities.’

‘Change will only happen if political leadership and professional expertise are harnessed in the same direction. ‘

This document also says that change takes time to implement effectively (the document quotes 12-18 months).

Hallelujah – but does that mean those of us who are trying to develop innovative new ways of managing libraries in a financially challenged time will be given this type of support? Lets hope so, but we need to be passing on these messages not just the frustration that the document keeps telling us to do the things some of us are already doing.

Maybe the reason that we keep being told to do things we already do is that we haven’t told enough people often about what an excellent library service actually does in words that mean something to them? The report does make reference to this:

‘For many decades, libraries have developed good practice across a range of outcomes and demonstrated innovation in partnerships and programmes to meet the needs of new communities or changing customer circumstances and choices. However this has not always been reflected in strong corporate buy-in at the level of the council executive and corporate management team. One of the key lessons from the Future Libraries Programme pilots is the need to position modernising libraries within and alongside wider transformation programmes taking place in the council.’

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