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Friday, March 30, 2007

Counting Legs

I started emptying bins – ready for the weekend today. There were fifteen. I carried seven black sacks to the big blue bin.

I then started counting chairs:

15 Reception
5 Interview Office 1
5 Interview Office 2
17 Assessment Room
20 Teaching Room 1
24 Teaching Room 2
8 Administration Room.

At some time or other over the course of Saturday morning we expect that every one of those chairs will have someone sitting on them.

I then started thinking about Napoleon who liked to work standing at a high table. He went on to try to conquer Europe and Russia. I wonder if he did all this without sitting down.

The eleven plus question for today is that if over the course of the morning we expect at least six legs to sit on each of the chairs – how many legs will there be in each of the rooms? (Don’t forget to take into account the legs of the two receptionists, the team of four in the assessment room the eight in one teaching room and the four in the other room.) That is a lot of legs.

We expect one boy to come in straight from football and drop a little mud under his seat. There will several bits of glitter and at least one hair tie or scrunchie.

People will be booking appointments; there will be calls from outside centres. The telephones will ring and ring. Children will breeze in happily. Those being assessed will be contemplating why they have to be here. The legs will keep walking.

Yet with all this action it is unlikely that any child will be forgotten and left behind. I am always in awe of a mother who can drop one child at an extra lesson, take another to dance, purchase the evening meal, collect the one from dance – enjoy a slight detour to drop one of the daughter’s friends off a home and still arrive in time to collect the loved one from the extra lesson.

I bet if Napoleon had taken a little more notice of Josephine he would have had much less difficulty in conquering the known world. She would have told him about the impact of all that standing on his spine. She would have marshalled his marshals and sent them off on different routes.

So this blog is about the ability of mothers to be able to generate action and excitement. These are two healthy ingredients of any eleven plus lesson. So when any mother has that precious few seconds of `just sitting’ – forget the bins. Forget the legs. Just dream of your child conquering unknown horizons. But don’t forget to remind your child that there is no use standing around when there is work to be done.

Sit down.

Settle down.

Do the work!

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