stem · teaching · Uncategorized

How Not to take criticism!

Hello lovely 🙂 apologies for the gap in communication. I’ve been kind of hibernating! It is partly the dramatic change in weather (brrrr!) and partly not feeling quite myself. I recently received some criticism too, which has set me back.

It is a bit of a balancing act this running your own business thing! I absolutely love it, don’t get me wrong, it is just that there are times where I wish someone did tell me what to do! Tell me what will work, and how it needs to be done. The temptation is to just hide and hope it all works out, so no decision or planning has to happen! And then, like this morning, I’m been woken up by the Ideas Monster, and she is impossible to ignore! The fear there is that I’ll not remember these amazing nuggets that the Ideas Monster brings in the middle of the night and then they’ll never come to be… sounds a bit like a song!

So, how are you lovely? How is your family? And your life, is it what you expected and hoped for? What are your problems? I’d love to know.


You remember that I do science parties for Sublime Science? This is me pictured at my very first one, back in September. I’ve now done 9 parties on my own! Yay!


It really is one of the best jobs, especially with the younger ones (6/7 years). I get to do experiments and have fun, act silly, and sometimes I even get offered cake! Love it!

Yes, it can be challenging to keep the children entertained! The older ones (10 years) can be especially difficult to keep interested. Sometimes silly works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Well, recently it didn’t, and I received this email from my manager:

Hi Jan,

We had this feedback from the party you did for $$
The scientist was lacking enthusiasm or excitement right from the start.The kids were not told what they were expecting .
The birthday boy was not made feel special at any point during the whole 1 hour.
The most they most kids enjoyed was popping the bubbles .
However,The Sublime Science office team were helpful with the regular updates.
How do you feel it went?

I can’t convey to you how much those words of critcism hurt. Maybe it was that I already felt vulnerable, maybe sheer exhaustion, and maybe my own insecurities, but it made me cry! You would have dealt with it a lot better than I, I know. I read it through a few times, got really angry and defensive and then cried. Ridiculous really – I meditate and I read self-development books, and through Relax Kids, have learnt some coping techniques… I guess all those things helped me to recover enough to reply fairly sensibly! I even added a note of humour to the end ‘Let me know if I’m fired.’ (almost added the stick-out tongue emoji).

I now accept the criticism.

“When people step out of the victim position and take 100 percent responsibility, their marriages and their businesses flourish.”  From ‘The Big Leap’ by Gay Hendricks

Seriously! Accept it, that’s my tip. Otherwise, you are letting them have the power over your feelings. No, take back the control, accept and move on.

Why did one person’s opinion upset me so much? Do you let things get to you too? It got to the point where I very nearly did not go to my tutoring session that evening. I just kept wondering if I’m rubbish at that too and ruining children’s lives and their futures. Yep! I started catastrophising.

Fortunately I ignored these OTT worries, went to a lovely student and enjoyed some maths practice. And felt much much better, I mean, how good are numbers? 😉

 9 parties, 1 negative feedback = 88% positive = grade A = 4.5 stars

Plus talking to the mum afterwards, I realise that it makes a difference… that I make a difference!

And that’s why I do what I do, despite any criticism.

Highlights of the Week

I can not believe it is the end of the week, and even worse… nearing the end of the year!

It really feels like it with the weather change here – we had snow! Yay!

So it has been another busy week:

Saturday morning Coding Club at Central Library followed by a Sublime Science party.

Sunday I was away all day doing Sublime Science parties in Henley-On-Thames and Reading. One party was for a group of 10yr old girls, and they were just awesome! Listening, joining in, and we all had a good laugh. Another one of the parties, the Dad was a scientist and had set up an amazing display of different sciences – with a robot to code, and a fossil dig… oh! and you should have seen the cake! It was a bake off competition winner for sure! With dry ice, and lights!

Monday tutoring Year 6 maths. Comparing fractions!

Tuesday STEMKids engineers club (Sweetie Tower), followed by Coding Club at North Swindon Library.

Wednesday STEMKids engineers club (Roller Coaster), followed by online tutoring session (coding), followed by a new 1:1 student in Year 6 maths (decimals)!

And yesterday? Some online training (course creation webinar) and then Brownies in the evening!

And I really, really would like a new creative project… please! Thank goodness it’s the holidays coming up!! May need to make some sock snowmen??

I’d better leave you there lovely. This afternoon in STEM club we are looking at the science of games! And I need to do some more prep. Will fill you in next week!

Cheers Jan x

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