31 October 2007

Halloween Reflections

I like the honoring the dead idea, and have lit some candles tonight to remember mine. There have been small interesting signs that have made me smile and reflect.

I know it's not really seasonally appropriate in Australia. My son is gathering his friends and they are having a bit of a small night here. It has the feel of a spring carnival though, as they dress up, laugh and eat together.

I explored the origins of Halloween in my classes today. The year 7 novel 'Remote Man' makes some references to the way it's celebrated in the US.
We shared with each other what we find scary. The year 9s discussed scary stories written by well known authors, and the retelling in other media of scary stories. The favourite example was "The Simpsons" doing Poe's 'Raven'. My favourite of course is Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights', none of my students had heard of it!
The students wrote some of their own scary stories and read them very well to the class. There were some treasures. I was delighted that they heeded my comment that violence and destruction did not necessarily make scary. They even went sparingly on the gore.
Halloween elsewhere :

30 October 2007

I am Done with Compromise

"In a relationship, when does the art of compromise, become compromising?" Sarah Jessica Parker

"We all have a childhood dream that when there is love, everything goes like silk, but the reality is that marriage requires a lot of compromise."Raquel Welch

So who is right? Sarah or Raquel?
A man I adored had this saying as his mantra, 'Life's a compromise', he would say, frequently. It never sat well with me. I am a win/win or no deal kind of person. However I went along, thinking perhaps that way is right. I wondered, maybe I'm stubborn, unco-operative or difficult to get along with? The compromises didn't work out. It drained me. I was never quite happy with the compromises. I find some are laziness in regards to ourselves, leaving both involved dissatisfied.

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise." Robert Fritz

If you take the time, communicate the truth and remain open to other solutions, you can usually find something that meets needs. If you can't and that is continuous, I think you are in the wrong place. The truth is, if it is only half what you want or some other mix, it usually isn't what you want at all.

"Don't compromise yourself, you're all you've got" Janis Joplin

Today I was offered a position very similar to the one I applied for at my school. Same wage, same type of job, different location. I have promised my son I would not work at the school he now attends, which was exactly where this was. I would consider working there in the future. He has one year to go. I had to turn it down. I may not get a leadership position now.

I feel really good about my decision. Had I accepted the compromise, I would now be trying to convince my son, it would be OK. I would be hoping it would be OK. I know this is not the kind of start I would want in a challenging new job. I love what I do now and am happy to keep doing it.

29 October 2007

Daylight Savings Blues

It was a rough start to the work week for me today. The students noticed the clock reading quarter to eight and we all sat around in homeroom in a bit of a daze, imagining that just a week ago, we'd have had an extra hour in bed. We never considered we'd have gone to bed an hour earlier as well.

Having the delightful time at camp last week, meant catching up with my other classes and the notices and such that go on when you are out for three days. I noticed a few others were dragging their feet a little also around me. Sometimes we just have days like these I guess.

I do love daylight savings though. I have always looked forward to those extra daylight hours that give the impression of more time. Perhaps it is more useful time. I'm not sure. History tells me I will come to like it.

The one year I wasn't a fan was when I was cutting asparagus for a season. We began work at sunrise and daylight savings effectively meant finishing an hour later.

All in all though, there are still 24 hours in the day. No matter how it feels.

28 October 2007

Correction Time

I have a pile of corrections glaring at me from my bench. Neatly typed essays that will, when I stop procrastinating, be a pleasure to read. It's times like these I wonder why I'm not teaching PE. The answer is obvious in the lack of sporting ability.

I have decided on NaNoWriMo. I really want to do it. I have applied for a leadership position at school and have been told I have been successful, just don't know which position yet. I know I may not have time to write much for the next 3 years so I want to have a go at it. I really have to get organised and get my corrections handled.

The other motivating force is that my birthday is the day before reports are due. If I procrastinate now I will spend that day writing reports. I love my birthday and know from past experience I will feel very sorry for myself if I have to spend it report writing!

I notice other bloggers write that they won't be posting as much due to large workloads, but I know myself, I will possibly post more - I love distractions. I understand all those organisational gurus. I hear what they are saying, yet we will see.

Corrections, report writing and yard duty - if they could just be outsourced teaching would be the best job in the whole world!

26 October 2007

Year 9 Camp 2007

This camp was the best I have attended with a year 9 group. This is entirely due to the enthusiastic spirit and willingness to co-operate and enjoy time together by all involved. They were absolutely a pleasure to be with. We all enjoyed good sleep, they settled well, they were appreciative of everything and got along well. I am so delighted with them.

The staff who came were great to work with and participated in all the activities. When everyone pulls their weight and has a sense of humour it is fun. We rode horses, surfed, had long walks and spent time at Point Nepean. It's a bit of a challenge for me at 41, to keep up with teenagers physically. I have some seldom used muscles that are now begging for a long hot bath, (that is currently running!).

I always enjoy the year 9 camps. There are usually ups and downs but at the end, no matter how exhausted I am, I enjoy getting to know the kids better. These kids were exceptional though. There was always someone offering to help or volunteer their service, usually several vying for the chance. They cooked, cleaned, ate well, said their 'please' and 'thanks' and looked after themselves and each other with ease. They made me coffee carried each others bags and did lots of little, yet considerate and thoughtful things that made a difference.

There was no whining, complaining or bickering between them, as is often the case. Frequently on camps a handful of students will stand out as people you would be happy to send home to their parents, I can honestly say, I didn't feel this at all about a single one of them.

24 October 2007

Staying Nice!

A quick post this morning before I head off to thank Tiffany from Three Ring Circus for the Nice Bloggers Award.
I appreciate it and would like to pass it on to Angus from Angus Made. Since he began his blog he has been actively commenting around the place and always has positive things to say. It's great to have a young blogger sharing his view of the world.

23 October 2007

No Tamboritha Camp for 2007

I have been going to Tamboritha for our school camp every year since I began teaching 7 years ago. I've experienced all types of weather there. It has snowed and been sunny, freezing cold, windy, yet always felt close to nature and refreshing for my spirit. This year, due to flood damage that occurred earlier in the year we are off to the Mornington Penninsula for our year 9 camp tomorrow.

Licola and the surrounding area has suffered from bushfire's, floods and mudslides in the past 12 months. We were on bushfire alert last year and always have to work around this when we are planning our camps up there. It is a beautiful part of the world and I feel sad we are not able to access it this year.

One of the things I love about camp, is students are removed from mobile phone access, electricity (for some of the time - there are generators at night for cooking and lighting), but no televisions or other gadgets. It's a real experience for many of them, but surprisingly it doesn't really bother them. They sit around and chat, play cards, we go for long walks, ride horses and just be with each other.

Sometimes on the way home someone will mention something about what they've missed on TV. A message will come though on a mobile and they will have to search for it, having almost forgotten about their 'life support system' - they don't believe they can do without them before we leave.

Most kids look forward to seeing their families and the comfort and luxury of their homes. They appreciate them anew.

I am attending this camp with my homeroom. This class is a fantastic group and I expect to have a very enjoyable time. I hope we can still capture that spirit of enjoying nature and each others company. Now I best go and pack!

22 October 2007

Nanowrimo or Nanoblomo?

That is the question. I don't know which to do. In fact last year I elected to do nothing because I was off on camp at Tamboritha and I was disorganised and I got overwhelmed and decided to pass on it. I loved it the year before and completed Nanowrimo with such a sense of satisfaction.

This year I am off to camp in a couple of days and will be back before November begins. I'll discuss the details of this tomorrow. I still have report writing and the busyness of finishing up of the year. The students break up on the 6th December so November is seriously frantic.

I think NaNoWriMo will be more flexible for me because I can catch up on my writing on the days that I am not so busy. I know there would be a lot of support from fellow bloggers because I have seen lots of Aussie bloggers are participating in NaBloPoMo.

20 October 2007

Students Today... (a bit of a rant)

This could make you think.....

A Vision of Students Today by Mike Welsh and class

On my school based blog that I recently deleted due to lack of interest from fellow staff members, I had posted The Machine is Using Us. I read today about Mike Welsh's latest clip Information R/evolution on Sultana Blog:Observations on How We've Changed and noticed the clip above.

Granted the students are obviously university students, yet from conversations I have with secondary students (12-16yr old) replace Facebook with Myspace and you would get some similar feedback. I have noticed many of them don't use email as much as we 'grownups' do either. Quite a few students use forums to discuss their gaming and other online interests. They socialise and use their mobiles similarly.

Another good clip on this theme, I had previously posted on that other blog was...

Pay Attention

Youtube is blocked at my school. We have 4 computer labs shared between 22 classes. MP3 players and mobile phones are banned. There are good reasons for this, but I often wish we could harness the positive use of these things. I wish some others got over being scared and listening to the scare campaigns about the latest scary thing that happened online, and learn and be effective for this generation.

Schools aren't protecting students from online threats by excluding the Internet from their education. The one place they could get some leadership and guidance, is largely ignoring online experience.

Sometimes I wonder if the first biro ever brought into a school was used as a weapon and stabbed someone in the eye, would they have been banned across the country? If someone reflected on the amount of times students use paper to make planes and fly them around, thus causing a distraction, should paper be banned? And what about paper cuts? I know I am becoming cynical now, but I'm frustrated.

19 October 2007

Reflecting on Communities

As I was driving home from work tonight, I was reflecting on my community at work. I love the people I work with. It makes all the difference. Even those I am not close to, I appreciate. At the worst of times and the best of times it is great to belong to a community.

Reading my feeds I found on Snoskred's "Life in the Country" a beautiful post along the same lines of what I had been thinking. Her guest blogger Tiffany from 3 Ring Circus had written this lovely post about living in a community: Out of Her Niche.

I think communities can be built in all different kinds of places. I have lived in small communities and enjoyed the 'neighbourly' kind of community and have experienced community in workplaces, friendship circles, families and through my children's lives. It is a valuable thing.

I agree with Tiffany that sometimes you don't have to be like them or even necessarily spend a lot of time together, but when you belong to one, they are there for you and it's a marvellous thing.

18 October 2007

Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn

'Brilliance of the Moon' is the final book in the Otari series. It completes the saga. It wasn't my favourite of the series because it had that ending sadness and the events occurring in it were often quite dark and horrible.

Another book has been written by Lian Hearn called 'Heaven's Net is Wide', it goes back to the beginning, therefore ending the collection at the start. I look forward to reading that, but not for a while.

They are such thick books and with the Japanese culture and names, seem to require more concentration from me than the usual books I flit through. I am glad to have completed it. I hope I can fly through a few more on my shelf as my reading stack is piling up. I had to return a pile to the library today as I heard kids talking about books they were waiting for and felt guilty they were just sitting next to my bed.

17 October 2007

Carer's Week: 14th - 20th October

The National Depression Initiative: Beyond Blue is recognising carers this week. I take my hat off to those who care for someone suffering with depression. Carers are all around us. Those tired looking people who work with you all day and then go home and do a second shift, patiently, lovingly with family or friends. Some of the students at my school are carers for parents with mental health issues. It's a big job. In most cases you will never hear about it. It reminds me to be kind to everyone, just in case they are carrying a bigger load than you know.

If you want more information Beyond Blue is a great site. There's a lot of information for all kinds of concerns.

16 October 2007

Hope is Free

My son went on a camp once with a Christian youth group and came back with a t-shirt screen printed with "Hope is Free". It has stuck in my mind. I wasn't really keen on him going on that camp, but the t-shirt made it all ok. He was young and I didn't want him to get 'cult - ed' at a tender age! I had nothing to worry about it turns out.

I really like that saying, and at times lately, it is becoming a mantra. If you need it, take it on.

15 October 2007

Interested vs Interesting

We all want to be interesting, don't we? When it comes to interacting with others, you can have more success in your communications if you are genuinely interested, rather than trying to be interesting.

I watched a film on Saturday night that my daughter recommended to me. "Freedom Writers" was about a young, idealistic teacher who went into a pretty scary school and worked at making it a place of learning for her class. Unfortunately I didn't get to see the end of the movie cause my DVD player wouldn't play the second half, yet what I saw was that her genuine interest in them, won them over, and allowed them to be able to listen to her.

It echoes Stephen Covey's fifth habit, "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood" in "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". I see a lot of teachers put hours into planning fantastic lessons with students, but until they have built rapport with their class, the most interesting lessons will be hijacked by resentful and uncooperative students. When you show genuine interest in students and come to know them as people, you can take them anywhere, teach them anything. Why didn't anyone tell me that when I was a student-teacher?

When I have focused on trying to be interesting to students I find myself feeling like a one man show. Who can compete with all the amusements available to young people today? If you ask them, they will tell you all kinds of useful things to assist in their learning.

Ironically, I also saw in that movie, her passion for her work, became a priority and she stopped being interested in her partner. So the reverse became true at home. He became resentful and their relationship began to sour. I didn't get to see what happened, but I hope it worked out.

Today in one of my classes a relief teacher had just taught them and I noticed there was a mind map on the whiteboard. It was a subject that class usually complains about and I don't think they really enjoy. I asked them about it and they were positive and enthusiastic about the lesson they'd had. One student said, "He asked us about what we thought, he didn't tell us what to think, it was great, I learnt heaps". I know it's not always practical for teachers to focus on what students think, but if you do it often enough, you can give them something to think about.

It is a mark of respect to listen to another. Before the holidays I read the article about respect and I have been thinking a lot about it. It really resonated with me, yet I have been wondering, who teaches that kind of stuff to teachers. I am mentoring a first year teacher this year, so I am interested in finding ways to share this kind of information. Student management becomes much easier when you have genuine working relationships.

13 October 2007

Today I am Grateful for my Grandparents

Tomorrow it will be two months since Pa left the planet. I visited his wife this week because she had a birthday and I wanted to be there for her at such a difficult time. She's a wonderful person. She cared for him so well and misses him too.

After my Nana went in 1999, my pa remarried at 80. He had such a positive loving relationship with Nana, I don't think he would have known how to live alone. The year he was alone was terribly sad. It was great to see him setting off on adventures again with a companion to care for him. He was a big traveller.

Today I have been thinking how lucky I have been to have a grandfather, that I enjoyed being with, until I was 41. I lost my Nana when I was 34. They were both really important loving forces in my life. I lived with them (and my parents and Auntie) for the first 5 years of my life. Pa used to say to my boyfriends, "She's a wonderful girl, bit spoilt though!". He should know, they were the one who couldn't let me cry as a baby so my parents tell me and endless other kindnesses in the years to follow.

When my daughter was two months old, my husband and I moved in with Nana and Pa for some months whilst we looked for a house. Nana had just had a hip replacement operation, so I cooked for Pa and helped out whilst she was on the mend. It was a beautiful time of my adulthood and I cried when we moved. Everyone was astonished thinking I'd be delighted to be buying my first home, but I didn't want to leave their warm and loving home.

My children were old enough to know both of them and loved them as I did. I think we were incredibly lucky.

They were really there for me for such a long time. I remember as a child asking my Nana to promise me she would never die. She never would make that promise. She reassured me telling me I would be fine when it happened, I would be ready. I wasn't, but I can't complain how long they stayed nor the quality of their presence in my life.

12 October 2007

Doris Lessing wins Nobel Prize for Literature

I am delighted Doris Lessing has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. She is the 11th woman to win the prize since it began in 1901. Her novel "The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five" is one of my all time favourite novels and it quite transformed me when I read it in my early 20s. I have only read a couple of other novels by Lessing, but this is a good reminder to read some more!

11 October 2007

Big Day Out and holiday stuff....

Tonight I am feeling so very tired. I have to stay up or wake up to attempt to get 'Big Day Out' tickets for my son. We have a little Christmas traditional at stake here. The event has sold out in Sydney, so I need to be on it. 12.01am - is the time the tickets go on sale. Blah!

I booked some flights for my holidays last night. I'm going West to stay with Jane as soon as school closes. Well actually the next day! I'm excited. We've planned a road trip across the Nullabor, so it should be a great adventure.

My friends have been awesome lately. They are always great but I appreciate the way they have stayed in touch and showed a lot of care for me. I have been missing Andy plenty, yet can't complain because he's stayed in touch too.

So tonight, I'll be watching mega episodes of 'Gilmour Girls' and keeping up for the beginning of my Christmas shopping. Blah, it's too early really to even think about that frenzy.

BTW, Jaycee asked about gifts for teachers in a comment last month and I noticed this great post today on one of my favourite blogs Zen Habits:30 Frugal Gift Ideas to Show you appreciate Someone. I looked over the list and rather than reinvent the wheel, I reckon there's some great things listed there. Especially the homemade food stuff. I've had a few students over the years bring in homemade food for me. I've loved it every time and Christmas being what it is with extra visitors and celebrations, there's always room for extra food!

10 October 2007

New Moon October 11, 2007

The new moon this month is in Libra. A perfect time to set intentions and goals about relationships. Libra is about relating. Seek balance and harmony as you set your goals for this lunar month. For more information about this months new moon, check out Planet Waves.

Miss Numerella, is a new blog I have been reading lately and todays post, "Make a Wish" mentions the power of all the ones in todays date . Tomorrow will be even more so I imagine!

09 October 2007

Moments of Pleasure

Tonight is massage night. I have been having a massage once a month since July. I have enjoyed every one of them and am looking forward to tonight's pleasure.

My Kate Bush CD came in the mail today. I now have all her CD's and this latest one, "Never For Ever" was the first Kate Bush album I bought so I am enjoying it and flashing back to being 16. I worked in a record shop and would listen to Kate Bush as frequently as I could. My favourite tracks were "The Wedding List", "Army Dreamers" and "Breathing". I loved them all in the end after hearing them over and over!
The title of this blog is a Kate Bush song as shown in this YouTube video. So after my earlier post this month on the imitations, here is the real thing. Enjoy!

I am up to season 5 in 'The Gilmour Girls'. Last night I watched episode 11, when Luke created an ice-skating rink on Lorelai's front lawn to reconcile her with snow. Such a romantic moment. I am loving their relationship.

So whilst I am missing Andy,(Postman Pat in Hobart), I am filling my life with some simple pleasures.

08 October 2007

Mercury Retro Starts Oct 11th 2007

All my favourite astrologers are talking about the upcoming Mercury retrograde period that starts Friday 12th Oct in Australia and continues through to Nov 2.

When Mercury appears to be going backwards in the sky it is a time when communications can become tricky. Mercury rules all kinds of communications related activity.

The current mercury retrograde is discussed quite fully in this article by Rob Tillett on Astrology.com. If you want to learn more about Mercury Retrograde in 2007 and all retrograde planets, writerinthewindow.com has dates and simple explanations.

07 October 2007

Back to School

I'm actually looking forward to returning to school. I've been a bit of a hermit these holidays and it will be good to catch up with my friends and to see the kids.

The last term is usually a very quick and frantic term and I feel quite prepared and rested and recovered from last terms pains. I am planning some trips for the next holidays because I don't think I could do another holiday totally at home like this. I have spent the last two breaks virtually at home. My home is in order now. I feel free to take off again next chance I get.

06 October 2007

Kate Bush Covers

My brother Tim, (the musical one) directed my attention to the latest version of a classic Kate Bush song, "Wuthering Heights" by Josh Pyke. I have it on myspace. It's not bad. I think her songs are awesome in themselves and enjoy different versions of them.

Placebo's version of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill'. The video is an interesting compilation of fans. There's a live version of them singing it on YouTube, if you are interested.

This artist also has a great version of one of my favourite Kate songs. I like what he says at the start of the clip also.Maxwell sings "This Woman's Work"

There are more, but some are not so good. I am patiently waiting for my 'Never For Ever' CD to replace my scratched LP.

05 October 2007


It's a song by the Waifs. I like it. The song and my haircut. I have cut it all off short. Not with the same spirit of contempt as the song. I don't feel like that at all. I'm not angry, just sad.

I had an enjoyable visit from June today and we laughed about hair. Hers is long at present and she was commenting on how much attention she gets from men and attributes it to the long hair. I know when my hair has grown long, it's always been the men in my life, partners, son, father, pa who have balked at the suggestion of getting it all cut off. I think it's funny, cause my hair grows long, when I am neglecting my appearance.

Andy has a job in Tassie now, so I accept he's not coming back soon. Damn it!

04 October 2007

Sifting Through Memories

I have spent much of these 'at home' holidays, on improving my home. When my daughter moved out, my son claimed her room and lets just say the transition was quick and rough. Things have been shoved and tucked away and as a result out of the four rooms upstairs, only one has been fit to be in. I have a lot of storage space up there too, yet it has been very poorly utilised.

I have spent today sorting through the 'stuff' my daughter has kept during her 18 years so far. Her dad dropped in to see my son today and declared she had a similar stash at his place! She also has another 'home' in Melbourne with all the important stuff she needs.

I have discussed this sorting out with her and she agreed that she didn't really need to keep every assignment and workbook she had filled in the 13 years at school. I have also culled some of the things I know she wouldn't want. So we have boxes of karate memories, travel memories (she has been to US, Italy and NZ, as well as around Australia), cards and letters (who knew kids wrote to each other so much and in such a variety of ways!), photo's, important school stuff (certificates, school captain badges, photos, awards etc), soft toys, journals and diaries and performance stuff (music, drama, debating, choir).

There was so much, I didn't really have time to read her diaries and letters as I always feared my mum would when I moved out of home. I did reflect though on how much she has achieved in her life. She's awesome!

The room is empty now and the boxes are labelled and taped up and sitting in one of the storage areas. I wonder when/if she'll ever look at it all again. I just couldn't get rid of it all. I don't feel as sad as I thought I would, but it has been months since she left, so perhaps that's why it took so long.

03 October 2007

Random Facts About Me

I have been tagged by Kim @ Laketrees for:
10 Random Facts
The Rules of this tag:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. List ten (10) random facts about yourself.
3. Tag eleven people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. These eleven persons would have to tag 12 people.
5. You could also tag back, if desperate !
6. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment on their blogs.

I'm not experienced at the Meme, so bear with me. I like randomness though. So here goes.

1. My daughter has the same middle name as me, so has my friend, Rhonda.
2. The last film I saw was 'Becoming Jane' - nice movie (if you like romantic unhappy endings)
3. I had noodles for dinner.
4. I've had 20+ jobs in my life.
5. My car is black.
6. I come from a family of 6 kids.
7. I barrack for Richmond no matter how much I dislike football
8. Every school holidays I find more stuff to take to the Op shop.
9. I started teaching at 35 and love it.
10. I am listening to Tori Amos right now.

Now the really tricky bit. I can't tag 11 people. I will tag the following people one one condition: They feel free to pass, no offence taken, if they choose. I'm not sure if that is the correct etiquette, but I wanted to say that.
So these are the chosen ones that I would love to learn more about minus the ones I have read many memes about and suspect they could be over them:

Semantically Driven
Cerebral Mum
Duchess and the Duke
Sultana Blog

as well as anyone else who would like to play.


Floyd Craig has given me an award. As I am not familiar with his blog, I have checked it out today and there was much there to read and learn. I enjoyed my time there. I particularly loved in his profile under occupation, he has written, retired not retarded. That made me laugh. I hope it hasn't been inspired by disrespect.

It was a really pleasant surprise.

02 October 2007

The Return of the Son etc..

He's back. It's a good thing. The house was too empty. I never thought I would feel like that. I have always appreciated my solitude, but I was delighted to have him home early.

Tonight the friends are all here upstairs watching movies and it feels like back to normal. A new kid (NK) came along tonight.
Son: Mum this is .....
NK: She already knows me.
Me: I do?
NK: Of course you do
Son: Were you in her class?
NK: No, but everyone knows me, ha ha.

How awkward. I don't recall her. It's often the case that every kid in the school knows you and somehow expects you to know them. There are over 600 kids on our campus. Impossible! I don't think she realised I had no idea who she was. Phew!