lishesquex: (xena - comic)
So nearly a month on from my second interview at Ruyton, the school has finally let me know they'll be appointing someone else for 2017 - someone with experience teaching Year 12 English.

There was the initial surge of hurt from the feeling of rejection, though it wasn't really a shock to me. I've been wanting this outcome anyway, as I've increasingly grown frustrated with the structures within Ruyton. So the upset-feeling that lodged inside me and made it difficult to speak was surprising and confusing. But now I've worked through that and I'm fine. There was a lot of support from Jason and Tim, the other newbies this year (who are also leaving next year). They know how hard I've worked, and they know it's bullshit that the school will let me teach Year 12 Classics with no prior experience but not Year 12 English. The amount of rage I feel about this is considerable. I try not to think too deeply about it.

Anyway, mostly I'm just glad to know what's happening with my life now. I can finally start looking forward instead of being forced to dwell in the rather miserable present.

The thing about Ruyton I'll miss most are my students. I've developed a really good rapport with my form class in particular and it will be sad to leave them.

Spring has done wonders for my brain. I started feeling better around the time the cherry blossoms appeared. I'm still exhausted because it's the end of Term 3 but the exhaustion is no longer tinged with hopelessness. Today the sky is blue and vast and it reminds me of all the possibilities out there.

Next Monday I'm going to Thailand to meet up with Ruth and Nora. I booked the trip two days ago in a kind of 'fuck it' mood and I'm really glad I did. There will be loads of marking waiting for me upon my return, and the job hunt will have to begin in earnest after that. But I'm looking forward to leaving Melbourne/Ruyton/winter/real life behind for a while and connecting with the world again.
lishesquex: (Default)
So I've been at RGS for a week now and here are my first impressions:

- Whoa the principal is kind of hot
- Whoa the students are really keen!
- The students say "thank you" after every lesson which is really sweet <3
- The students just do the work. Like... you tell them to do X and they just DO IT. How is this even a real place?
- It was easier than expected to slip back into my super-confident-and-charismatic work persona
- The school has anti-homophobia posters up around the senior school YAY
- When a kid comes across an Anton Chekhov quote in a magazine article, they're not like "Whodat", instead they're like "Oh didn't he write the play we performed with Scotch last year?"

You may already be picking up a snob element and you would be right. Here are some more negative observations:

- There are students here who will look up your LinkedIn profile and turn their noses up at you if your CV isn't impressive enough
- If your first lesson is not academically rigorous, kids here will complain to their parents, and you will be called into the principal's office to attend a meeting with the parents, the principal and the Dean of English (this did not happen to me but it happened to someone else)
- There is a system called SEQTA on which you have to upload your basic lesson outlines and any resources you give the kids/homework after EVERY LESSON. The parents check. The school principals check. This is time-consuming af.
- I got moved out of my normal room for Year 12 Classics which was really devastating for various reasons both logistical and curriculum-related. So I emailed and phoned the Director of Studies (person in charge of timetables, rooms, extras and yard duties - you do not want to piss her off) to try and keep our room but she was like "I can't help you". So then I had a meeting with the VP in charge of curriculum and she said she'd either try to get our original room back or install an Apple TV in the new room we've been moved to. I hope I haven't pissed off the Director of Studies.
- There's a lot of meetings. A lot.
- PRESSURE. SO MUCH PRESSURE. I get the very strong feeling that if you don't bring your A-game 24/7, people will notice.

The good thing is that because I'm a conscientious little perfectionist, people have been noticing good things. I've gotten random praise/good feedback from the Year Level Coordinator and the Vice Principal already. Of course, the VP's comment was like "I talked to some of your Year 12 girls and asked them how they were going and they were really positive... raving about how you're a real expert and how enthusiastic you are." I was like "hah, I'm not an expert by any means" and she said "of course, but as long as the girls think you are..." Anyway, the point is, the school asks your students about how you're doing. That is kind of terrifying.

So for the forseeable future it's going to be 12-hour days and working on Saturday afternoons.

On the bright side, The 100 Season 3 Episode 3 was fucking amazing and the Supercat fandom is still wonderful and heart-warming. Life is pretty good.

New school

Feb. 2nd, 2016 06:15 pm
lishesquex: (xena - comic)

Oh my god so exhausted.

A new school year always hits you like a truck, but this is a new school with new things to learn and new people and oh god a brand new Year 12 subject. I'm also teaching the School Captain, the daughter of some famous media personality and the daughter of a the vice principal so NO PRESSURE AT ALL HAHA.

I love the school though. The kids are absolutely wonderful. They have a great sense of humour, they're eager to learn, eager to please, responsive... seriously every teacher's dream. I mean, it's still the second day of classes so it's still well within the honeymoon period. Things could still go pear shaped. But I feel like this school's version of "pear shaped" is still 100 times better than some other classes I've taught.

I have such a love/hate relationship with teaching. I leave every class feeling energised and buoyant, but then I come home and the exhaustion sets in and I seriously hate how little energy I have left for the things I still need to do. It's only 6pm goddamnit. 

Anyway, I'm forcing myself to finish my Classics reading before I watch today's episode of Supergirl, but I'm so tired I can't focus.

lishesquex: (Default)
So tired today after the House Swimming Carnival.  It's been a day of too much sunshine, bright colours of red, blue, gold and green, and the constant weave of people. 

My face is slightly sun burnt, due to the fact that there was very little shade at the venue.  I finally managed to find a small patch of shade under a tree along with Simon and George (the heads of English and Humanities respectively).  I had a really good talk with them.  I think that what I'll miss most about teaching is the wonderful, quirky, idealistic people who make up the teaching profession.  I respect both of them enormously and will genuinely miss them when I leave.

I have volunteered to help out at the school's Open Day in March.  Somehow, knowing that I'm leaving soon makes me put more effort into my work. I think it's the feeling that it's not endless now, and there is rest in sight. 
lishesquex: (alias - close my eyes bw)
Today was a semi-frustrating day at work, again due to unnecessary meetings with parents.  I don't even want to go into it.

But there was a cool thing.  The cool thing was that I had lunch with the library staff and the visiting author, Myke Bartlett.  In the session he had with my class, he talked about "The Hero's Journey", which was interesting.  In my head, I was applying it to my forever-unwritten Viking story.  One day, I will write it.  In the mean time, here is a diagram:



He used lots of pop culture references like Star Wars and LOTR and Harry Potter to explain it to the kids.  They were young enough for Harry Potter but I think I was the only one who was geeking out about the other stuff.

Anyway, I enjoyed lunch with Myke and the librarians.  They're my kind of people.  It was nice to step into a different world for a while and take a breather.
lishesquex: (teaching)

Things are much better.  I think the emo from the last entry was mostly just stress.  I had a mountain of work to do this week and, now that I have gotten through it all, I feel lighter.

Today a really cool thing happened while I was teaching Period 5 Year 7 English.  I've always wanted to be the kind of teacher that randomly takes the kids on a walk somewhere to write poetry or something.  In reality, I tend to be more "stick to the plan, STICK TO THE PLAN" than that, but occasionally I let loose a little bit.  Such as today!  We were reading a poem called Rain by Hone Tuwhare because our topic for the lesson was about creating atmosphere based on the senses.  Then, as we were studying it, thunder started rolling and rain started spattering down lightly the way it does before a thunderstorm.  So I took the kids outside to the basketball courts and I had them stand there in silence for a bit just feeling the storm grow around them.  Then we went back inside and they wrote a poem about it.  Right around the end of the period, it started to really pour down. Wonderful timing, weather gods.

To add to the yay of that last lesson, it was the last period I have to teach for the next ten days.  Tomorrow I have a conference, and then the week after that I'll be on camp with the Year 7s.  It'll still be work, but it's a different sort of work.

The weekend is looking up too.  On Friday night, I'll be having one last dinner with Jackie and Xin before Xin goes back to England.  On Saturday, I'm going to the ANSA concert at my school with Shelley the Mermaid.  And on Sunday, McKinley.

lishesquex: (iconomicon - dancing R2)
I went bike riding with [livejournal.com profile] junet_ today. Almost 25km to Burnley and back. I think I wanna aim for reaching the city next time; the 25km seemed like nothing at all. And it was super fun! It goes so quickly when you're cycling with a friend. I've set myself a goal on RunKeeper to cycle 500km this year in total, and I've decided that if I reach that goal, I'll buy myself a new, proper bike. My current one is over ten years old because I got it when I was 15, and the wheels are kind of small. RunKeeper tells me I'm already 16% complete with my cycling goal and the line graph, if projected, shows me as being done by March, but I doubt I'll keep up my current upward trajectory once work starts. Also winter is going to be a problem.

I'm pretty pleased today because our school's Director of Ops just emailed through the master timetables with the yard duty allocations for this semester, and my timetable is looking pretty good. Last year I had really inconvenient yard duties that would occur on lunchtimes or after school during days when I could have left earlier. This year my yard duties are mostly during recess, I have no after school bus duties, and two of them are in a computer room (and I love computer room lunch time duties because that's where all the nerd kids hang out). All the days where I have a spare period 4 or 5 have nothing scheduled in the afternoon, which means that, if I'm not too busy, I can totally leave earlier. I have no Period 5 class for four out of the ten day cycle, so... theoretically, that should be pretty good!

Tomorrow is the last day of my summer holidays, which is woeful. But I have Miriam's birthday party to look forward to, and at least Tuesday is just a staff preparation day. My aim is to really focus on keeping a good work life balance this year. I've spent much of the last few weeks getting fit and doing the things I love, like playing guitar, reading, painting, reconnecting with friends... I really don't want to give that up like I usually have to during the school term. So. Less internet time, I think, because it's such a time sink, and a more relaxed approach to work. I can never be a slacker about my work because I'm a perfectionist, but I'm not really prepared to go the extra mile I did last year where I was running lunchtime discussion groups and stuff for my Year 12s.
lishesquex: (Default)
You know that awkward moment when you pass another co-worker/colleague in the hallway and you smile and say hi but they just ignore you and you don't know if they've heard or if they're just being rude? WELL. There's this one colleague who does that 70% of the time so I'd mostly given up on smiling and saying hi at her. And today I found out that she's super right-wing and is a member of Family First. NO MORE SMILES FOR YOU, LADY.

That is all.
lishesquex: (buffy - faith this is life)
You know when you've spent too much time on Tumblr when you see a really good LJ post you like and you start looking for the reblog button.  Heh.  Guess I'll just have to link it the old fashioned way.

I'm currently drinking chamomile tea due to teh cramps of doom.  It's actually from a container of Lipton chamomile tea that Julia gave me years and years ago.  I don't do chamomile unless I have bad cramps, so it's lasted all this time. 

Last week was Year 7 camp.  I did most of the activities along with them, including canoing, mountain bike riding, abseiling, walking across a suspended wire bridge across a lake, navigating a completely dark 'cave', walking across a bed of nails, and having a python wrapped around my neck.  I really like my Year 7s this year.  They're a good vintage.  I'll post some photos of camp once I get some time.

Tonight was parent/teacher interviews and I just got home at 10pm, so I'm pretty drained.  Haven't had any time to play Skyrim which [livejournal.com profile] junet_ dropped off on Sunday.  I watched a couple of episodes of Spartacus Vengeance on Sunday night and was a little disappointed.  It's nice to see Lucy Lawless and all, but I found myself missing Andy Whitfield - the new guy just isn't the same.  I'm super excited about Season 2 of Game of Thrones though.  I saw the trailer yesterday and was like ZOMG. 

Kitteh came running up to me when I got home tonight.  Ah little things.  <3
lishesquex: (xena - callisto fool)
I know I still owe people questions from the last meme I posted but I just worked a 16 hour day which involved a House Swimming Carnival as well as Year 7 Parent Information Evening.  But I have a question for you all.

This is my dilemma: Recently I went to an English Language conference and met an English Language teacher from another school who asked for my contact details.  Today he emailed me asking if I'd like to catch up for coffee this Sunday.  Okaaay.  Do I A) go to this coffee or B) say I'm busy this weekend and that maybe we can catch up after I come back from year 7 camp, or C) just decline.

Reasons for maybe going:
- It's good to know other EL teachers for networking/resource sharing purposes.
- He seemed friendly enough.
- I should be more social.

Reasons for not going:
- He might be asking me out.  Awkward.

[Poll #1820861]
lishesquex: (buffy - faith this is life)

It currently hurts to type with my right thumb because Kitteh mauled it accidentally yesterday while we were playing in the garden.  The night before last, I was playing some TOR before bed when I heard a soft little meow that sounded different to Kitteh's usual meows.  I went out into the corridor to investigate.  It was dark and I didn't bother to switch on a light because I could triangulate Kitteh's location from her meows.  I bent down to pat her about the same time Rianna opened her door and switched on the light.  As soon as she did so, she let out a bloodcurdling scream, ran back inside her room and shut the door. I looked down.  There was a HUGE RAT right in my face next to where I was patting Kitteh. It was still alive so I took it outside using the dustpan and set it free in the front yard under a tree.  That was the sixth rodent that Kitteh has brought us since I came back from Europe.

I'm enjoying my Year 12 class a lot this year.  I've only had them three times but so far they've been really responsive and switched on.  I've been putting in a lot of extra effort for this class because they were my lovely Year 11s from last year and I want to prepare them as best I can.  Every single one of them did the holiday homework, which is pretty damn amazing.  I'm not connecting as well with my new Year 11s yet, but it's early days still.  Respect and rapport takes a while to develop and only happens after some growing pains, I've found.  They'll grow to love English Language too.  *plots*

In other news, I has a spaceship!  I renewed my Star Wars: The Old Republic account after all (though I had been planning not to) and played a lot over the weekend.  Lish, my Sith Warrior (marauder), is now level 18 and Gro, my Bounty Hunter (mercenary), is level 16.  Once I got over the unintuitive different to WoW controls and UI, I discovered a lot of gameplay elements that are superior to WoW.  I still miss WoW a lot sometimes (mostly my guildies... except [livejournal.com profile] chewy3479) and certain WoW zones (does Elwynn Forest feel like home to anyone else?), but TOR has successfully sucked me into its universe and is refusing to let go.  I love the fact that you can roleplay your character.  I love having a companion with a backstory and a personality.  I love being able to get a spaceship.  :-D

lishesquex: (Default)
Man, I totally had a career-affirming moment today that was just awesome.  More than a moment, really.  Actually it was 35 minutes of career-affirming awesome.  One of my students gave an intense 35 minute long presentation (it only had to be 5-10 minutes) on her research project on AAVE that was so thoroughly researched and well explained and interesting and just fucking awesome that I could cry.  Like, everything I've wanted to achieve in my career?  Just achieved it.  I could quit my job today and be happy.  No lie.  (Not that I'm going to quit - I need moniez.)

It's not just that the presentation was excellent, it's the way she got it and like, went so much further than the criteria called for.  It's seeing how you've helped someone learn something which made them want to learn even more, to explore, to think critically about it, engage in debates, and teach others.  As a teacher you get to know pretty quickly what qualifies as "mediocre" or "excellent" or "utter bullshit".  And it's also easy to spot "mediocre excellency" in kids who are gifted who've done the bare minimum to achieve excellent grades.  This wasn't the latter.  It was seeing someone who is capable of awesomeness actually push themselves to achieve awesomeness beyond mere excellency because they were interested.

It's also kind of amazing that the rest of the class listened to her speak for 35 minutes without any disruption.  They were probably stunned into silence.

Srsly, best teaching moment evar.

lishesquex: (iconomicon - wonder woman)

One of my students, a very intelligent, high-achieving Year 11 girl who is not homophobic and has gay friends is utterly convinced that saying "that's gay" to mean "that sucks" is not offensive.  I have challenged her to find twenty young GLBT people who believe it's fine to use "gay" in that sense, and as part of the challenge, I'm also finding twenty young GLBT people who are offended by its use.

Help me out by answering this poll.  (Don't worry, I'll blank out/smudge your names when I show her the poll results.)  Because she's limiting me to surveying only Gen-Y people, please only vote if you were born between the mid 1970s and mid 1990s.

[Poll #1767296]

If anyone can link me to articles that convincingly argue against the negative effects of using "gay" to mean "bad", that'd be really useful too.

lishesquex: (iconomicon - pwnstar)
I spent way too long on Tumblr yesterday because I couldn't deal with my the world's issues, and Tumblr is like rainbow crack that makes everything better. 

Today turned out to be a wonderful day.  All (two) of my English Language classes went really well.  My smart Year 11 class enjoyed the lesson on Beowulf and Old English; I'm so happy.  And I didn't have to see my Year 7s all day - BAM, instant win. 

Then I read two articles in the newspaper that made me feel like the world was okay:
1) To know us is to let us love 
2) Missing for eight years, pet cat turns up 

I'm still holding out the hope that Stormy will come home one day.  When he's done travelling Finland. *nods*

The last and best thing about today was that I came home to find a package from [livejournal.com profile] red_said.  There's nothing quite like getting real mail.  <3
lishesquex: (xena - callisto fool)
I just got home from watching my school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was amazing. The acting was exceptional. The musical score was written by one of the Year 10 students and performed by our symphonic band. There were many, many laugh out loud moments that had the audience totally cracking up. I'm incredibly impressed.

I taught a lot of the Year 10s who are now in Year 12 (seniors) and I'm currently teaching two classes of Year 11s, so I knew most of the kids on the stage. Sometimes I feel inadequate teaching such talented young people. I couldn't do half the things they were doing up there tonight. So bravo to them. And I hope I remember this feeling on the days when teaching gets me down.
lishesquex: (star trek - kitteh lifesign)
Today was the longest ever. I had 28 parent teacher interviews, which doesn't sound too bad until you start counting the minutes. 10 min x 28 = 280 minutes.  I feel like curling up and just hiding from the world for a while. 

Things to look forward to:
- Eurovisionnnnnnnnnnnn zomg!!!!111onesqueee
- My trip in September
- Gro calling to declare her undying love once she receives the kangaroo

The highlight of my day was my 5am dream of naked steamy shower sex with a hot girl. 
lishesquex: (alias - close my eyes bw)
Had a full day with my new Year 7s today.  Exhausted.  Didn't get home until 8pm today because I had to plan for tomorrow's classes.  I'm excited to meet my new Year 11 English Language classes though.  Hopefully it goes well. 

Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] therussianbride
lishesquex: (seal)
Work
I rewatched the original The Karate Kid today.  We showed it to the students for this year's Year 7/8 project on 'Conflict, Resilience and Resolution'.  The Year 7/8 project is this thing we do at the end of the year that's based on inquiry learning.  It basically goes for about a week, and kids pick a topic to research that fits the overall theme.  It's usually pretty interesting, and I quite enjoy it once the stress of report writing time is over.  Anyway, I loved the movie.  The last time I saw it, I was 9, and I'd forgotten most of it.  It's way better than the new one.  After the movie, I spent the rest of the day filing away this year's stuff.

WoW
ZOMG WHUT HOW CAN THERE BE NO MORE PORTALS IN DALARAN I DON'T UNDERSTAND OH GOD MY MACROS ARE ALL BROKEN I AM SO CONFUSED WHAT HAPPENED???  I haven't even seen Kalimdor yet.  Baby steps, Lish, baby steps.

Writing
Last night I stayed up way too late re-outlining the NaNo I started in 2007.  I'm quite excited that I'm actually writing again.  My quest is to write 3000 words before the end of November.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Women
HB arrives at work around the same time every day.  Today I tried to time my arrival to match hers and succeeded.  Right after I parked, she pulled up and parked two spaces away.  Then we walked to the staffroom again together.  She gave me her latte because they made it wrong and it had normal milk in it instead of soy.  <3

(Disclaimer: Btw, I am not seriously interested in HB or anything.  It's just fun to mess around with the idea of it.)
lishesquex: (star trek - same thing we do every night)
- I played Final Fantasy XIII all evening. It's such a pretty game.

- I managed to time my arrival at school today to coincide with hot!boss's arrival and parked next to her. Win!

- I'm really loving my job at the moment, for some reason. Even report writing has not fazed me.
lishesquex: (iconomicon - pwnstar)
I'm feeling pretty good about my job today. Reasons for this are:

A) I got to come home early.
B) I finished writing a whole class of reports today quite easily, which makes me feel like this job is getting easier.
C) One of my Year 12 students gave me a very expensive bottle of French Champagne (Moët et Chandon) and a thank you card. The card said that he enjoyed the year and now looks at language and communication differently after doing English Language. \o/
D) The Moët et Chandon will go next to the De Bortoli Rococo Blanc de Blancs, which all the Year 12 teachers received last week on behalf of the De Bortoli family whose daughter was in Year 12 this year. (WIN)

Unfortunately, I remain violently allergic to alcohol. At least the bottles are pretty to look at.

Who wants to come help me drink this stuff? :D

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