Saturday, 26 January 2008

When am I ever gunna use this Miss?

When you become a teacher, it turns out.

My mentor and I are getting 'new' classrooms (new to the school, not the world) and as such we have to set them up for Day 1 using skills someone people may never use after Grade 5. The New Year means we have to divide up the stationery amongst all the Year 5 and 6 classes (insert division, multiplication and tetris (spatial) skills here).
So after the EWBs, shelves, cupboard, filing cabinets, PCs, desks and chairs have all been put in I have to figure out an arrangement that fits all 29 children at a desk and able to see me... (insert tessellation skills here, and a bit of common sense because you have to leave room for them to move their chairs and no back onto anyone).
We even tried rearranging the PC tables into something more conducive to team work - cable length and access are a challenge (measurement and tetris).
And then there's the 'getting people to do things for you" skill: diplomacy, hard to teach.

Otherwise, I'm sorta treading water in these lead-up days. I have the first 2 weeks pretty much mapped out and am extremely grateful that my first week is only 3 days (and should for the next few years :D ). I cannot begin to imagine what I'll teach them in the following month*, but I know the 2nd and 3rd weeks are interrupted with daily swimming anyway, not to mention the Chinese, Art, PE and Performing Arts lessons with other teachers... So my brain has sort of slipped into neutral.
Normally I would be frantic with preparation, making lessons, plans, templates, worksheets, anything to fall back on, but I don't really know what my guys are capable of yet, or what they need... so I'm waiting to see. My stress hsa sunken deep and dormant under naivety, or stupid, or whatever: I think its going to bubble up in about 10 days, with reinforcements, as I begin to have to think of stuff for them to do. But I'm a beginner, and these kids are bright - I'm not bad enough to do any long term damage - so I think I'll be ok in the long run, if not satisfactory. Which I will tattoo on myself somewhere: "I am a competent person"

*which isn't true. I've imagined lots, but I'm not game to commit to it until I've met/measured the class. I don't know if this is normal or sensible.

Nice Find

Reminds me of the Gnomes' Business Plan...

And I love that - as noted by the sender-innerer - it looks like girl's handwriting. with a heart next to the sex! Aaaw.

From FOUND Magazine

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Intelligence Rainbow

From the Age letters...

HOW is a potential teacher with an ENTER score of 56 going to have the capacity to teach students who may be capable of an ENTER score of 99?

Pauline Ashton, Maribyrnong

Hmm. Gee Pauline, I suspect it might be the 4 years of tertiary education - and its compulsory professional practice and assessment - that might give your average teacher the edge on your average VCE student.

I'm almost too angry to answer this one. But if Pauline, and the rank of muppets who'll reply in support of this, had half a clue about

  1. ENTER scores, how they're calculated and what they're for, OR
  2. The VCE and what you need to do it; OR
  3. Teaching and what you need to do it,

then they wouldn't even get so far as signing their names on this type of cringe-worthy, forehead smacking, teeth-sucking, gawking stupidity.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

On Losing Weight

I feel I should update those tenacious few who read this blog (Mr Larry Pants, you've been there for me since kindy).

I got a job teaching grade 6 in the eastern suburbs (govt P-6 school). Oh migod. I'm nervous, excited, and nervous: by all accounts it sounds like a school that on par with many private providers - lots of the kids are at least 12 months ahead in maths and literacy, they're keen kids with lots of self efficacy and awareness. The greatest challenge shoudl be keeping them challenged.
My mentor is excellent. And I don't mean "All things considered, she really is quite good". I mean "I feel guilty when I'm in her presence; I should be a better person than this". She's nice, professional, thorough, patient, doesn't say more than is necessary, gets along with everyone (everyone) and seems to epitomise integrity. Already, in almost two days of planning, I feel I've talked too much about stupid or irrelevant things, pointlessly banged my drum, and generally therapied my way through a few conversations. I cringe -Cringe - in recollection.
BUT, if I keep my head on and start acting like someone I'd be proud of, I think I'll have a good year. I've already got a few suggestions in the works and they seem to have been received well. Conversely, everyone is nicer than me, so I'll probably be forgiven.

So yeah, I could worry about getting enough exercise but I don't think it'll be an issue.

In other news, we bought a car. I loves it, even if it is a bit big for my first. Its a 2000 Nissan Pulsar, 4door, 5sp manual, 1.8L with driver airbag, electric side mirrors, manual windows and a CD player (yes, I did the research for this purchase, so am quite well versed in the jargon). AND its the prettiest blue ever!

AND, I'm going to be a bridesmaid for a very sensible bride. The wedding is in November and she's already confirmed the ceremony and reception locations. Buying the dress has been pretty fun (although not actually purchased though) and has provided the perfect example of how you shouldn't let a shop assistant determine if you buy something of not, especially something like a wedding dress. In the following recount, I play the bad cop.
Bride: "Do you know what other colours it comes in?"
Assistant: "No, I'd have to call and find out"
Me: "That'd be good to know please"
We chat, assistant stares.
Assistant: "So, you do want to know about the other colours? I'm going to have to call..."
Pause from us.
Me: "Yes please"
Assistant walks away to make the call.
Me to Bride:"Which part was unreasonable?"
Me: Do you have a hoopless petticoat we could try with this one?
Assistant: "I think we have one but I don't know where it is."
Me: "Would you mind seeing if someone else knows, because I think it'll make a lot of difference."
I mean, really.

Me hairz: an update

It's about Day 28 of what I'm now calling my detox period. My hair hasn't changed much in the last week or so. My fingers didn't peel for very long at all, so I'm hoping they stay strong through the next transition period: organic shampoo.

This isn't any ordinary shampoo people. It's not even the kind that has 'natural' in the name, like many supermarket shampoo tarts. It's from a proper organic product shop and I found it online in an organic haircare review. And that's the limit of my research into this type of issue.

So bye-bye my strong slightly oily hair; bye-bye slightly longer showers with lots of combing; hello $14 per bottle shampoo and a deep, desperate hope that you're the shampoo for me.

I'm so sick of caring.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Can I survive without shampoo?

I found this article ages ago and it tweaked my curiosity.

Traditionally I've washed my hair everyday. Too oily, yuck.
Then, sometime last year, I shifted to every 2nd day and my hair seemed to cope with that ok.
Then I changed to 'natural' shampoos on the (persistent) recommendation of my hairdressers. Apparently, supermarket bought shampoos leave a 'film' that 'weighs down' your hair and is essentially 'evil'.

So I started on on expensive 'natural' shampoo and started to get a little acne on my temples and back. oh yey. Seems to happen every time I go to natural products.
Then I changed to a shampoo for oily hair based on , again, hairdresser recommendation.
[Tangent: this is the ONLY shampoo for oily hair I could find. It used to be that there would be an equal amount of shampoos for 'dry', 'normal', 'oily' and 'normal to oily' hair types. Not so these days. Apparently we've all evolved into normal and dry hair types. I suppose they'll blame air conditioning.]

However, I am now at day 16 of my own 'no shampoo' experiment. I have long, fine, dense hair and I haven't shampooed it since Dec 20. Every day I use a fine toothed comb in the shower to wash out dirt and 'encourage' the oil throughout the length of the hair.

Around day 9 we went swimming in the bay - very salty and I had that classic bay-water hair for a few days. Read: salty and not smooth.

Day 11 saw 'stuff' in my comb. I'm not sure if this was fall out from the salt-water swim, as its diminishing now, but it feels like oil/sweat. I'm trying not to get grossed out.

I've carefully scheduled this for my summer holidays, but its so hot I'm not blow drying my hair for anyone. Consequently, I put my hair up to mask the oiliness and it never really dries in the midddle. Also, I'm expecting to be seen by important-people-who-are-still-forming-opinions/impressions-about-me around Monday week, so I need a result/decision soon.

Will my hair turn out like this lucky Briton's?
Well, even when I get sick of this, or it actually balances out (which I'm betting it won't because its only the 'dry haired' people who benefited from the experiment of the article) there are many more fun and interesting ways to avoid shampoo, but none of them describe going more than one day without washing, which cancels out my first objective which was: to have less work. Hmph.