Tag Archives: teaching

The Confluence

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Last Friday night, I settled in for some serious lesson planning – year 9 poetry.

 

I stressed over the perils of engaging twenty-five disinterested teens with Donne, Owen and Frost.  I pictured their bored little faces.  I visualised myself, jaded, cynical.

There was substance abuse.

 

When I was popping my own pimples, it was to the likes of Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins.  I read books as a kid.

I liked words.

 

 

 

Teens these days?  I don’t know…

 

It’s as though they’re on an intravenous drip, administered hourly doses of such watered-down, utter shit.

Non-specific, one-size-fits-all, shit.

Leave your brain at the door, don’t think, just follow, shit.

 

 

They don’t even know what it is they like because they are never left alone.

To just be.  To immerse themselves.  In words alone.

 

 

It’s concerning.

So I’m shaking up poetry.

To make more meaning.  To stay relevant.

 

 

 

 

On my quest, this is who I found last Friday night.

Luka Lesson.

If you can find two minutes and twenty seconds of alone time, I suggest you press play.

 

 

 

It’s satisfying when something stays with you long after it’s ended.

 

Love,

Robo X


Excuse me, does my clothing offend you?  

So this week, teachers who are employed by the NSW DEC, received a rather interesting email.

A new dress code comes into play at the start of term 2.

 

 

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 This is not me…  Source.

 

In short, we have an obligation to do the following:

 

  • maintain respect
  • establish credibility
  • uphold the reputation of the Department

 

I DO THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY.

 

 

The dress code goes on to say that we must be clean and tidy.  We must also wear professional attire at any formal engagements such as meetings with parents and at assemblies etc.

 

I KNOW THIS.  I DO THIS EVERY OTHER DAY…

 

 

 

This is the part that’s annoyed me…

 

“Employees must not wear revealing clothes such as those exposing bare midriffs, strapless tops or dresses, or clothes that may be construed as suggestive and/or offensive.

Employees must not wear inappropriate clothes such as singlets, t-shirts, tracksuits or rubber thongs (except for sport and organised physical activities), ripped or dirty clothes, or clothes with inappropriate slogans (e.g. advertising for tobacco and alcohol).”

 

Oh, and men must wear collared shirts.

 

 

Good people of the world, I haven’t exposed my midriff since the mid-nineties, believe me.  But I do wear singlet tops and t-shirts to work and I make no attempt to be revealing or inappropriate.

 

My general school style is a nice cotton t-shirt and a pair of pants.  Sometimes a skirt with a sleeveless tank top.  At times, a singlet top (never spaghetti straps), with a pair of jeans.  I shop at places like Sussan for work, just to further illustrate my point.

 

 

Am I missing something?  Since when is a singlet top ‘revealing’, or a t-shirt ‘inappropriate’?

Would you be offended if I wore something like what I’ve described to a parent/teacher meeting?

Do you think that this type of clothing would make your child think that I’m an unprofessional teacher when I stand up in front of their class?

 

 

Unreasonable?  Your thoughts as always, are welcome.

 

 

Love,

Robo X

 

P.S.  Us Teachers are, on the whole, a pretty jovial bunch.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of the takes on ‘appropriateness’ next term…


School. It’s back.

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Cheers for joining me in The Lounge for another week.  This week we’re talking School.

Check out the links below.

 

 

As a teacher and mother, preparing for school is something I both loathe and love in equal parts.

It’s a tough one.

 

 

The school year looms largest after mid-January and my teacher side becomes aprehensive about the last few weeks of the holidays.  There’s organising, programming and preparation.  Hours of it.  The reality of early mornings sets in and in the last week, via anxiety-laden message marathons with work friends,  I’m reminded of shitty colleagues and the fact that I’ll have to elbow my way through the NSWDEC red tape for yet another year.

Loathe.

 

 

My mother side looks forward to a different, not so sinister, type of school preparation.  They type where my child is fitted for shoes, chooses a drink bottle and cooler bag and gets a haircut.  The preparation where uniform is washed, pressed and of course, labelled.  I look forward to the hype which sees bags packed and unpacked a few times, just to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything and a loose promise of increased maturity for growing a whole school year older.

Love LOVE.

 

 

Chalk talk is ubiquitous in the last few weeks of the holidays and the whole Robo family grows very excited.  We discuss expectations, new friends and homework.  While we chat about teachers, preferred lunches and after school activities, I might nod and gesture purposefully but I’m always wondering

how in hell

am I going to take care of myself, my kids and my husband,

get off to work on time, take care of my students, please the bureaucrats

and then come home to homework, dinner, bath and bed.

And the rest.

 

 

How in hell?

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

 

 

But it happens.  Somehow everything just works itself out.  We’re clean, we’re fed, we’ve done our homework and the family, Mother and Teacher included, keep their shit together enough to get through the term and have a little fun along the way.  Just.

 

 

Are you a working parent?  What’s your secret?

 

 

Love,

Robo X


Spent

I wish I had something to write about but I don’t….

 

 

I finished my Christmas shopping in early November, so I haven’t been busy with that and I tell you now, I have not been out partying…

 

I’ve just been completely caught up with work.  Like, crazy caught up.

 

After an epic marking session, I wrote about one hundred school reports.  Then there was unit planning for next year, presentation days, student events, excursions…  You get it, right?  Busy.

 

 

So between my day at work and collapsing on the sofa every night, all I’ve been able to do is the bare minimum.  And unfortunately, blogging does not fit in this criteria.

 

 

Thankfully, the school holidays are around the corner.

 

 

Hah

So more time to do the things I love.  Ha!

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The Lounge will be back in 2014.

Thank you for linking with us week after week!

Merry Christmas! Stay safe.

Love,

Robo X


Reality Reminder

Today, during second period, two of our senior students left their classroom without permission.

 

 

One was hysterical and the other was crying quietly behind her.  It captured our attention.  Both students had lost their fathers – one to illness and the other to war in the Homeland.

 

They had been watching a historical film. It had triggered buried memories.

 

The second girl regained her composure and returned to class.  The first girl sat in our staffroom sobbing for another half hour.  She sat and she sobbed.  Her scarved head was bowed, her whole body was shaking.

 

 

She stared at a yellowed photograph.  My colleague said she rubbed the picture with her fingertips, caressing the face of a man she had never met.

It was the only photograph of her heroic dad.

 

 

We offered to scan the photo and send it to another colleague who could Photoshop the cracks and creases, to somewhat bring the only image of her Freedom Fighter back to life.  She asked if we could put a picture of her next to his and I told her we could do anything.

Tomorrow we’ll print the photograph and buy a frame.

 

……

 

 

So this week, when I’m asked about my favourite things, I actually feel my stomach churn.  Today I was brought barrelling back down to earth – shaken by the story of this seventeen year old girl.

Measuring my worth and happiness in material possessions feels futile.  It’s nice to have nice stuff, but the high from nice stuff is incredibly fleeting.

 

 

Today, my favourite things are my family, our safety and our health.

 

 

 

That’s all.

Love,

Robo X

 

Linking up with The Lounge over at The Very Inappropriate Blog.

 

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I miss my pre-internet brain

Linking up with my Lizards at The Lounge, this week over at The Very Inappropriate Blog.

I look back at my own teenage years at school and I smile as I remember where I fit in.  Sports group, definitely not.  Nerds, no.  The Intellectuals, uh-uh.

 

I was just an all-round nice kid; friends with most people, enemies with no-one.

 

 

I wish kids were as simple as I was.

 

Now as a teacher, I yearn for the plainness of the good old days.

Back in the days when school work was Hard.

 

 

Classroom.       Best handwriting.       Local library.        Cardboard from the newsagent.

Perkins Paste.        The neighbour’s set of World Books.      Scissors.      Illustrations.

And the covert operation of tearing relevant pictures out of the mags down at the doctor’s surgery.

 

 

That’s a fair bit of running around.

But simple.

 

 

One or two biros, a set of Faber Castell’s from Jewel and an annual unbranded pencil case and bag from Venture.

 

The days when a thick black texta, Liquid Paper and glitter were serious currency.

 

 

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Those days.

 

 

When imagination worked harder and when finding inspiration was elusive but so worth the wait.  The days when we used what we could, valued the little we had and considered the information we discovered for more than just a fleeting moment.

 

 

Those pre-internet days.

 

 

Now that I am a teacher and parent, I yearn for my kids to slow down and think for themselves.  To find out answers by asking a question, turning a page.  To respond to a stimulus by physically moving, researching and developing a considered reply.

 

 

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Who got better quality teaching and learning?

Us back then, or the kids of today?

Gen X or Gen Y?

Are you a teenage dirtbag?  Show your age at The Lounge this week!

 

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Love,

Robo


Hump Day

Day two of the last week of school holidays and the dreaded hump day is here. 

It comes around on every school break.  It’s the day I realise that there’s limited holiday left and full-time work is just around the corner.

 

 

Great big exhale.

 

 

Most of my posts relate to the fact that I love my job and my kids at school.  I’m passionate about teaching most of the time.  But inevitably and I doubt that I’m alone on this, in the last week of holidays, the idea of returning to work bears a heavy, anxiety-inducing burden.

 

 

Today I’m worrying.

 

I’m worrying about a procedural review that I’ve been asked to conduct at school.  It’s something I haven’t done before, so I’m imagining late nights, Excel spreadsheets and tedious red tape.

 

I’m worrying about the student council elections that I have to arrange, with votes I’ll have to tally and kids I’ll have to disappoint.

 

I’m worrying about the black dog that term three weather often brings.

 

I’m worrying about the mornings and how on earth I’ll get my two dressed, fed and into the car on time, every day.

 

I’m worrying, as always, about my ‘day care guilt’ and I’m wondering if by working, I’m actually doing the right thing by my children.

 

 

Another great big exhale.

 

 

Sorry, but it’s hump day and I’m on a school holiday downer.

 

 

Do you worry about returning to work and leaving your kids?

Any tips?

 

 

Love,

Robo X

 

 

Linking with Essentially Jess for a bit of #IBOT action.

 


The Bacon Post About Teaching

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post for The Lounge linky tomorrow, the one about bacon, but forgive me kids, I have nothing to say about life these days, or bacon, for that matter.

 

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I do, on the other hand, have something to say about teaching.

My work has consumed me. More than most terms.

 

I am spent.  Physically and mentally blotto from the last week of teaching.

 

Actually, the next person who says to me that teachers have it easy because of the school holidays, will be told to go and get farkadoodledooed.

 

say it to my face

 

 

What a term!  Nine weeks felt more like nine months.

 

This was term 2 which meant reports, parent-teacher nights, subject choices for year ten, work experience, endless days away on excursions and the general day to day classroom activity that never lets up.

 

hands

 

 

Ill-informed parents and citizens often scoff at the role of the teacher because of our ‘time off’.

“You have the best holidays!”

 

fist

 

 

But teaching is one of those jobs where everything needs to be done in your own time.  So it isn’t really a ‘short day’.

 

 

Seriously, until one walks in the shoes of a teacher, one should keep all opinions to oneself.

 

Edna

 

Our feet hurt.

 

 

Do you know a fab teacher?

Toot that horn yo!

 

 

Love,

Robo X

 

Don’t forget to check out all the awesomeness at our link-up this week over at Slapdash Mama.

 


Mummy/Miss and Manic Mornings

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mornings are incredibly busy.  Busy to the point of manic.

 

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Being a teacher means that I divide myself into two halves, two personalities.

 

From 6am-8am I’m Mummy, getting my own kids off to school.  This involves all the usual stuff, (I won’t bore you), as well as making myself presentable and racing out the door to embark on my hour long commute – three drop-offs, my own included.

 

While my little Crapastra putts along, we listen to music and do a little in-car dancing.  In the back seat, they fight, they cry, they laugh.  I navigate through the traffic, run lists through my head, apply make-up at the lights and secretly pray that it is not a morning where Miss 2 throws up her breakfast – her latest party trick.

 

Mummy! Mama! MUM!

 

 

After drop-off number two, I drive myself to school and park in our impossible car park.

 

My title changes from Mummy to Miss and I navigate again, this time through the corridors to my staffroom, hopefully in time to stick some bread in the toaster, which I eat on my way to my first class.

 

Freaking mornings…

 

 

My students, each with their attitudes and sensitivities, are my other children.  Some days I want to gaffer tape their mouths closed but other days, their energy keeps me moving.

 

My own children are my life, but my students is where I draw my inspiration.

 

 

It would be unethical of me to tell you their stories but some have such incredible tales to tell.  Hardship, disadvantage…  Their stories may seem far-fetched but they are very genuine.

 

My manic mornings pale in comparison.

 

The vast majority of my students make me want to try harder, be a better teacher.  They inspire me to do more and invest more, so school means something, to all of us.

 

 

Miss, can I ask..?

Miss, do you have..?

Miss, I need…

I know I won’t change their world but changing an hour in their day, providing an experience listening, helping – it can improve their existence.

 

This part of my job is not like academic achievement and report comments, it can’t be measured.  You’re rewarded with a nod, or a smile, or a student wanting to stay beyond the bell, to ask another question. 

To me, that is inspiring.

 

 

So when the last bell rings I’m heading out the door, out the car park and back in my Crapastra, navigating the streets of Sydney once more, rushing home to start the afternoon shift.

 

Freaking Afternoons…

 

 

So, what inspires you?

Do you have an alter ego?

 

Linking up with Jess for #IBOT over at Essentially Jess.

 

 

Love,

Robo X