I had a day today that was certainly not up there with the best. First it was period three, my second lesson with a new class in a subject that is out of my comfort zone, and then last period with a class that is 95% full of apathetic sacks of potatoes.
I try to pick engaging topics when I can, and when I can’t I try to deliver the content in ways that downplay how dull it is. I know it can be difficult to concentrate last period of the day, but the outright rudeness is absolutely astounding to me. My colleague who I share this particular class with (I take English and she does Humanities) came into the office at lunchtime saying “Diabolical. The year tens are diabolical.”
I of course have this class the very next period, so good news to me! Continue reading It Is Not Me; a teacher’s refrain→
I had a rather good school holiday break. I caught up with friends, went to a few new events and was able to recharge for the new term. Definitely didn’t do as much school work over the break that was necessary, but again, my own fault and something that I will work hard to catch up on this week (thank goodness for DOTTS and being part time!)
Probably my biggest news of the last few weeks (pretty sad, I know, ha) was that I made the decision to get a puppy! I finally realised that hey, I am a grown adult who no longer needs permission if she wants to get a puppy. Except, you know, the permission of the owners/real estate agent of where she is renting.
I have a general list of the breeds of dogs I would like, but I think what’s most important is a dog that I connect with. I’m not saying that if I connect with an St Bernard that I will take it home (unfortunately while I have always wanted one, my yard is much, much too small) but that to me is more important than it being a pure bred anything. At the moment I’m looking at bulldog/spaniel sized dogs; big enough to hold its own and be a good cuddle, but small enough to fit through the existing pet door at my house (as well as small enough that she won’t get bored in my little yard). I’d also like her to be resilient enough to be able to be home alone; as a teacher while I do get regular holidays I am at school roughly 7.30-4. I had the idea that when I do get a dog, I would get it at the start of school holidays so I have that two weeks (or six weeks depending) to bond and get her acclimated to my house and me.
One of the ladies at work brought her ruby King Charles Cavalier in today, and I have fallen in love with her. Her name is Chewbacca and her fur is exactly the colour of Chewbacca! One of my best friends has had Boston terriers and bulldogs for years so I’m used to them as well (on my list, but NOT those ridiculous tiny French bulldogs that are in vogue of late). My grandpa had a Pomeranian that only passed away a few months ago at the age of 16 and while she certainly was a feisty little dog, I don’t know if that was her or if it was the temperament of the breed.
My oldest friend is a vet nurse who has a gigantic heart that wants to take home all the sick animals that come into her clinic. She has been waiting for me to get my own pet for as long as I’ve known her (which is almost all my life, literally. I do not actually remember not knowing her!) and when I told her that I had a cat (technically housemate’s cat) that I picked up and everything, she thought it was the funniest thing ever! M knows me as an animal-friendly person who has never really had a pet of my own. We had a budgie and hermit crabs when I was younger, and I was always at M’s house with her dog, cat, rabbit, fish and birds. Her cat in fact was the only one that I willingly pet and was affectionate towards; when I was little I pulled the tail of my cousins’ cat who reacted accordingly (with claws) and ever since I have had a healthy respect and distance towards cats. Tom, my housemate’s cat, is an attention seeking sook who wants to be the centre of the universe so when I first started going to my friend’s house, Tom would make himself familiar to me, sometimes against my will! He would curl around my legs, jump up on me, rub himself on me. I remember one time I was lying down and all of a sudden BAM! Cat on my face. Now that I live with him he quite literally is my child., with all the attention and care I give him. When I first moved in he would pat his paws all over me and my stuff, and when I asked about it J said that Tom was “claiming [me, I’m] his mother now.” Which, awww, but for someone who was decidedly NOT a cat person, Tom has turned me into a cat person. Or perhaps just a Tom person. Either way, it has gotten to the stage that I know I will be more upset over Tom moving out than my best friend/housemate J moving away from me.
BUT getting back on track. My vet nurse friend M is very excited to come puppy shopping with me, though she also said “I’m super excited for you and it’ll come when the time is right. You’ll just be so smitten with her wherever she is”
So whoever she is I know I will be super excited. “Puppy” has been on my birthday and Christmas lists consistently every year. Not every year when I was a child, every year including this year. I’m very excited now about the possibilities and having a new fur baby. And definitely not Googling “are frangipanis toxic to dogs?” instead of working. Definitely not.
Hit me up with great puppy breeds, or tips. This frangipani thing is flummoxing!
While my lovely year 12s are on the computers in the library, and I am taking a break from the bottomless pit that is my marking, I thought I would reflect on what I am grateful about on this, the last day of school.
Being at a new school I was nervous initially about fitting in, about getting back to upper school after a year immersed (and I mean IMMERSED) in lower school students. I didn’t know if I was good enough to teach alongside a “proper” English department (last year me and my colleague were pretty much ignored and alone in planning/reporting/assessing despite having three well-experienced English teachers at the school). I worried about my ability to handle challenging behaviour management issues and trying to keep my emotions in check while getting to know students.
I have loved my first term at my new school. The kids I teach (admittedly on the better side of our school’s standard) are for the most part wonderful, and even the most troublesome ones have never been malicious or nasty. The staff are amazing, greeting you happily whenever they see you and always checking that I am getting on okay. My English department is beyond amazing. The Head of Learning Area has been so kind and generous in making sure myself and E (fellow grad/newbie to the school) are getting all the help, opportunities and resources that we need. Colleagues are always willing to give advice on problem students, re-read assignments to help figure out grading and all around offering support.
The kids, especially my year 12s, have been beyond expectations. Here are a couple of my favourite moments from my kids this term.
One of my years 12s A started playing music after we finished working one day, turned out to be one of my favourite songs EVER. Same thing happened the next lesson, and when he was in charge of the Friendship Week music playing at recess. It’s as if he has taken the playlists directly off my phone, and I listen to some pretty obscure and uncommon 90s and 2000s hip hop/R&B/rap/soul.
Every Tuesday afternoon with my year 12s having to allocate 5-10 minutes at the end for “Walking Dead Talk.” It’s a lot of fun for me, but also as a teacher kind of funny seeing kids who claim they can’t do essays and have trouble analysing texts, spout off diatribes about who Negan killed and was Glenn really dead and look at the symbolism of certain props, characters, sounds and gestures. #everythingisenglish
Assigning my year 8 ACE (academic achievement/extension) class autobiographies, and then reading them and learning so much about my kids. Also seeing some of the lesser engaged ACE kids pull out autobiographies of an insane level, well beyond what they appeared to be capable of. I say it all the time to kids; you write better when you are writing about what you know and love, and this assessment was perfect for my class in that regard.
The moment at the start of the term when I assigned my ACE class homework to post on a discussion what their favourite books were, and upon reading the responses realising that I had a class that (mostly) loved to read and loved to read similar books to me. And when I took them to the library for silent reading for the first time and they sat reading for an hour, uninterrupted and silent. This is after a year of trying to do the same at my old school with rarely any success.
Doing an in class essay with my year 10s, and while most of them couldn’t be f-ed doing anything, watching those who had done their notes and tried their hardest connect the dots and write their first essay. AND then reading the essay of my favourite year 10 F, who had impeccable notes and finished her essay in one lesson, and who wrote so lyrically about theme and the loss of innocence and characters, and linking to other texts. I literally clutched it to my chest when I say what she had written.
Hope you have a wicked last day of school teacher friends!
The power went out at school yesterday, leaving more than 1000 teachers and students suffering in a 40+ degree day with no air-conditioning.. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being around young adults during hot weather, but there are two things main things to know: