Monday, 23 March 2009


This time last year OG was recovering from major surgery to remove and reconstruct his bladder. The good news was that the operation was a success and there was no discernable trace of cancer in his major organs but the bad news was that of 6 lymph nodes analysed, 2 were found to be cancerous. It was an emotional roller coaster.

He then went on a coarse of chemo which made him so ill that Spring and Summer were virtually written off. His weight dropped dramatically and he was very, very poorly. But in the autumn he bounced back again and here he is still fit and well today to tell the tale. Amazing. We do know that he is not entirely out of the woods yet, but each day is a minor miracle to be enjoyed and cherished because this time last year we were in despair.

Yesterday afternoon, Mothering Sunday, we had been invited to spend with the family at our daughter’s house. The little ones had a great time in the swimming pool while the adults indulged their passion for eating and drinking. I have a reputation for never getting drunk, but yesterday that reputation was ruined. BUT I didn’t insult anyone, so I guess that was a bonus.

Before we went to the pool party I read of an interesting concept in education that may be worth watching. In this country there has been a move to upgrade the fabric of the educational establishments but we still have pupils leaving school poorly educated without being able read or write.

In Sweden they have decided that an excellent building is not as important as excellent teaching and they are developing a website portal with all lesson plans covering the national curriculum available for teachers and pupils to download. This means that instead of teachers having to spend many hours constructing their own teaching plans they can now spend the time more profitably in mentoring and coaching pupils.

The average teacher spends 17 hours actually teaching, but using this method this can be increased to 27 hour. They have 50-minute meetings with each pupil to work out the best way to access this buffet of learning to meet individual learning abilities and set goals, with some more suited to study periods and some to more traditional workshop learning. During the week one-to-one meetings take place to assess progress. Pupils also attend university style lectures.

Anything that makes learning interesting has to be worth trying

And finally… a hangover is the wrath of grapes.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear OG is doing well,long may it last.
I have seen the Swedish model first hand. Its ok as far as it goes, but great buildings with good facilities make for hapy kids, they interact well with other children and have plenty of positive feelings from new light and modern buildings.
Key in all of this of course is the teacher - if they are good and get the class motivated - learning is fun.
Anothe factor is parental support, in Sweden teachers are far more likely to support a teachers actions and children are much better behaved, especailly I found the middle class pampered darlings !!!

Maggie May said...

Hope OG is going to be OK for years. We are in a similar limbo with Harry. We have been worrying for years but live a day at a time most days.

Anything to take the pressure off the classroom teachers and I'm all for it. Teachers have so much red tape to get through these days it is unbelievable. Because of all the assessments they have to do, they have to take at least half a day each week to catch up, leaving the children with a different teacher while they are gone.

Sandi McBride said...

So happy that OG is doing so well...yes, each day is a miracle, and I know this is going to be a year filled with miracles and more!

Coming from a family of teachers, I can tell you that to us, education is the bedrock of existence, the most important thing we ingrained in ours was a love of the saying goes, reading is fundamental!

rosiero said...

Fingers crossed for OG and glad you enjoyed Mothers' Day!

Anonymous said...

It's so good to hear that OG is doing so well, a walking miracle. Here's to continued success.

I'd like to see something done with education in all schools. We need to get these kids motivated and that needs to start with parents. We have too many absent parents in our country. Kids who aren't motivated don't have a chance. I've heard recently (and don't recall having heard this before) that a childs brain is molded by the age of five. I'd suggest we start baby college for expecting mothers and give the little ones a head start. Flagmaker

aims said...

OG's news is absolutely fantastic.

Having had the same cancer but fortunately not that kind of surgery - I read your first lines holding my breath. I thought you were going to tell us something worse.

Give OG a high five from me.

As for you and the grapes - no comment. ;0)

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

So good to hear that OG is doing well and long may he continue to do so.

I agree with you regarding motivating our young to enjoy their time in the classroom and surely the teachers must find it beneficial.

Love your final comment RAC - I shall try to remember that one! A x

Retiredandcrazy said...

That's very interesting VM. Thanks for the info.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Thanks for your good wishes Maggie. Re the teachers - I guess the idea is that if this was implemented properly it would free up the teachers.

Retiredandcrazy said...

When I was 7 my school report said something like "Ann can read, write, add up and take away and that is all she will ever want to learn". I think that pretty much summed it up. I was ready to leave school!

But all joking aside I do think that education is more than academic learning because some of us are not so hot at that! It's all about learning how become a reponsible human being and making the most of any talents we may have.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Thanks Rosiero, Mothers Day was just about perfect.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Thanks Flagmaker. We start children off in education much earlier in this country but it still doesn't seem to help. The pity of it is that some children don't have motivated parents so how are they going to be motivated.

Retiredandcrazy said...

High fives given aims, and good luck to you too.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Ah but will you you remember my final comment when you next have a glass (or two) or wine Anne?

jay said...

Excellent news that OG is still doing well! I know that feeling of despair, and sadly, not all cancer diagnoses have such a good outcome, a fact of which I know you are well aware. Long may OG continue to do well!

I like the idea of the Swedish model. School is not the building, it is the education within the building, and while facilities need to be good enough, and pleasant to work in, it is not necessary to bring them to hotel standards.

I very much like the idea of freeing teachers from the burden of lesson planning in order to allow them to teach, too. I realise there is some danger of restricting creativity, but it will remove so much of the crippling stress that teachers suffer these days.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Very succinct Jay. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Anonymous said...

It certainly does make learning more interesting. A child won't learn unless they are interested in the subject to start with.

So glad to hear about OG. It must have been terribly difficult for you as a family but here you all are, Spring and hope and a life to be enjoyed.

CJ xx

Eddie Bluelights said...

Sorry to hear of the health issues concerning your husband. Whata dreadful desease is big C. My wife had breast cancer 12 years ago and alas it has gone secondary to several areas of bone. She had bad lymphoedema and pain in her hand and arm. Yesterday she had an operation to free her the tendon in her shoulder and is recovering. Off work for 6 weeks. The cancer seems to be responding to hprmone therapy (for now). We pray she will have a good many years left. One of the reasons for me starting to blog was to take my mind off it a bit with the humour etc. There I've got it off my chest. Eddie x

Retiredandcrazy said...

How right you are CJ.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I am so sorry to hear about your wife Eddie. Cancer is terrifying isn't it? But they have made so much progress and we have to live in hope, not fear.