It’s strange but good to be home!

 

 

 

 

I’ve just come home from living in a very remote community in the Northern Territory, Australia. I was there for a six week teaching placement and have to say that although my days and weeks were difficult, challenging and I struggled a bit even with thoughts of wanting to go home, that it was one of the best, amazing and inspirational experiences that I have ever had in my life so far. In fact now that I’m home even though I’m very happy to be here I’ve started to realise how desperately I would have liked to stay. I’m tired, missing the kids and finding it hard to adjust being back in Melbourne.

I can tell you being back here and re-adjusting to Melbourne life is almost harder than my first week in the community I was in and it’s mainly due to being around lots of people and also being in my room alone… When I first arrived in that community, all I thought was how blissfully peaceful it was and how nice it was with the sun going down as we were un-packing the car.

The first challenge that I had to face was living in a school library, only having a cold tap at the sink, de-frosting meat for all our cooking and having to check for frogs and toads in the toilet. As the weeks progressed I noticed how much I was missing simple comforts of life and a lot of things that I took for granted.

Amongst having to boil a kettle for washing dishes, I started to miss sitting on a couch, I wasn’t able to use my personal laptop for connecting to the internet (instead was supplied with the use of a school’s one), the internet itself was slow so no blogging etc, all the food I had to eat was already there and apart from a really expensive and basic shop there was no backup. We were five hours to the nearest town so there was also the factor of isolation. If it wasn’t for my fellow student teacher I quite possibly would have gone home earlier than originally planned – she was the person who I talked to, cooked with, worked with, watch movies with, etc and I’m happy to report I have made a new friend!

Apart from the teaching we were able to get go down to the local river, go for walks and when back in Katherine on a school trip see some amazing sights! A boat cruise down Katherine Gorge was probably the high-light, with amazing cliffs, clear water and a place to swim – you could not have asked for anything better to do!

Now that I’m home I’m asking myself – did it really happen? Because it almost feels like it didn’t. I’m sitting here in my room thinking – what am I doing here? I should be somewhere else, shouldn’t I? I’ve been to have a “real” coffee, eat at the Vic Markets with my Dad, gone to the milkbar because I was out of milk, sit on my bed, pat my cat and say hello to some of house-mates. The funniest part about coming back to Melbourne is apart from seeing family and friends the two things that I’m looking forward to the most is being able to use a hot tap and sitting on a couch!

I never thought I would be excited by such simple things, but there you go.

It’s strange and good to be home and there is not much else to say.

Signing off while thinking to myself – wow I can actually blog again!

 

 

 

Regaining my imagination…

I want to write a story that is based on the home/house that I grew up in and possibly then have it extend to other areas of Australia that I’ve been…

I’m about to go to the Northern Territory!! I will be living and working in Pigeon Hole for six weeks and will get to be amongst the people of that community… This trip is part of what is called SWIRL or Story-writing in rural locations and is run by my uni and also happens to be my last ever teaching placement.

I am so excited, scared, and simply just awaiting all the possibilities of what will come from this experience.

When asked “what do you wish to bring?” I thought and thought for an appropriate response and came up with – an open mind. I think in this case instead of being the teacher I will be very much the learner. I don’t really know what I’m getting into, about where I’m going, what to expect or how I’ll cope living in such a remote area.

Some people might think I’m mad and I’m happy to accept that, maybe I’m mad and maybe we’re all mad. But what good would it be if all we did was sit at home and did not take on adventures like this? I don’t think I’m any less mad than someone deciding to go to Europe by themselves, am I? 

I feel very much inspired by this and I think it might have something to with always wanting to be a story-teller. For some reason creative writing to me as always been something that even though I have had to work at (a lot!!) I have still very much enjoyed…Some of this comes through with reasons as to why I wanted to be a teacher as well so equally it’s both just great!

I want to write about home because no matter how I far I am from it I’m always thinking about it, it’s always there in the back of my mind, I have such a love for the place that I grew up in that I think wherever I go it will be with me… People have often said that home is where the heart is amongst other sayings of similar ilk but to me – home is where the cat sits on your lap and where you find fairies hiding in the garden.  For me I wasn’t the one who moved – it was my mum… I have lived in other places since she moved out and am now back here but without her… It’s a long story!!!

The idea behind my ‘home is…’ is that I have a cat (last year I had two cats 😦 ) and wherever he goes I feel at home because he is comforting. The fairies though are because when I was a child I very much believed in them and I think even as an adult if you look at a garden very closely you can see that somehow they are there – they take you wherever you need to go and I think that comes back to them being ‘make believe’ or ‘magic’ – they create the colours, the leaves, the petals, the branches, the soil, etc of what makes the garden so beautiful and warm. Because they can fly – they fly with you…and it doesn’t matter where you are or who you live with…

{I think that our mind can very much be in a ‘real’ world and in a ‘fantasy’ world… ‘real’ = cat ‘fantasy’ = fairies…}

 

I am very lucky to live in an old terrace house… The floor boards creek under feet, there are cracks in the walls, there is a door with an old-fashioned key that allows you to enter a part of the garden…

My imagination as a child would be racing with stories… Stories of a made up past; I used to think of so many past lives that this house had and so many fantasy style lives that this house had…

They were intertwined with other people’s imaginations but my favourite stories were those that were merged with the author of the Secret Garden, the Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy — I remember creating my own secret garden and pretending that I lived in boarding school. The funny thing was that I took these imaginings with me…

There was an old brick building as big as big could be… It had tennis courts you see… I used to walk past dreaming of whom lived there and dreaming of all they could have had… What was this place so grand and strange…? I wonder? Who lives there?

Little did I know that red brick building that I used to imagine as a grand house was the school that I attended… I laugh now when I think back to that child who was me but in the same light I also wish I had that same imagination.

Imagination is lost somehow and that loss begins when we go to school… Is it possible to harness it and not drag it down? I don’t it’s primary school, I think it comes more once we reach secondary school…

Hopefully I can allow the very real stories of the children in the NT to open my mind to a whole new world of stories, stories that have been passed down from generation to generation and stories that will keep being passed on. I’m writing this now with anxious butterflies in my stomach just thinking of what is ahead of me…

Goodness!!!

Signing off to get some rest. 🙂 


 

Just like scrambled eggs!!

If you’re eyes feel like they are so low they could be touching your chin and they are falling closed to the point that no matter how much you try to keep them open they won’t…then you have gone past tired directly to exhausted… I probably should right now be asleep in bed…but instead I have an insane determination is stay up and write a blog post. After my week though in particular today I feel as though there is a need to do something to not just unwind but to get away from the lecture room and the study desk. To unwind in a place where I feel immediately relaxed – even if this is related to uni, it’s not a prescribed assignment, it’s something that I have chosen to do myself!

The week started well with my Drama Monday – a fun lesson, followed by a fun movie…

Tuesday turned into a day of being completely frustrated at once again being placed at a school so far out of my way that there would almost be no point in the travel time to get there. I went absolutely completely mad and was so outraged that when I called mum to debrief that I couldn’t calm down, I was crying then yelling then crying again. I’m not normally one to lose it like that but after the stress of last year I was hoping for a smoother run so I didn’t have to wait till almost the end of the year to do my teaching rounds. It was too late in the day to do anything about it – so I did the classic thing – to sleep on it…

Wednesday came:

I had this great subject called The Cultural Studies of Tibet and our lecturer for that was this great guy – who was completely stuck in the stone ages as far as lecturing goes – no use of technology, but he was so enthusiastic and passionate about what he was talking about that it was a nice change to not have to watch slide after slide about the subject matter. During the tute he didn’t really have much to expand on, because it was week one… but instead talked about why he doesn’t use technology…

In normal circumstances this would really bug me – but he was talking about it in context to education and us as learners which relates to the course I’m in so I thought even though I didn’t agree with his theory it was good to hear another perspective. He felt as though technology was there as a distractor, that it wasn’t valuable, most people were always plugged into something and therefore he didn’t like to use it. His argument also covered how if you have slides of a Powerpoint or a recorded lecture then that means that student don’t show up to the lectures – which he thought was valuable. I could understand why he prefered not to use it…

As an educator though – the use of technology especially as we are in the 21st century is a vital part of the classroom… kids nowadays and even when I was still at school are so in tune with technology that teachers need to use to and even allow their students to use their iPhones/ipads/MacBooks or whatever it is they are plugged into – for the purpose of learning as this is how it should be… the old saying goes – pick your battles… sure if a student was txting in class, listening to music while people were talking – all the classic disruptive things that kids can do with our gadgets – then that would have to be stopped, etc…

Although I discovered last year on my teaching rounds at a school that was very focused on the use of technology that if students are using these gadgets for their appropriate uses in the classroom, then it’s ok;  if this includes listening to a song for a performance they have to do as part of their assessment then that should be encouraged – teachers know when their students are doing work and when kids are slacking off, they can usually tell the difference… but not only that if they’re not doing the work it could be because they are disengaged then maybe it’s something about how we are teaching and creating an engaged classroom… it’s tough though because what do you do when you’re in a maths class and the students have no interest at all because in the year after they’re not continuing with maths…???

The Tibet tute had come to a close and it was now time to meet some old friends – a couple who I hadn’t seen in two years. It was fantastic being greeted by old faces and catching up on two years of life… after they went to class… it was time for me to complete my day…travelling home via the uni bookshop and getting a new concession card…. I made a call to the people who sort out our schools… they gave me another number…

I waited until I got home-made the call and then within an hour all the frustrations of the day before had been relieved as a new school was found and it is close to where I live. I was so grateful to the person over the phone – that the same amount of energy I had used being angry and upset the day before had been used in thanking her for sorting it out and so efficiently!!

Now here’s to Thursday…and those scrambled eggs!

We were meant to be at uni this morning at the bright and cheerful time of 8:00am for our first lecture of the day and nothing was organised to the point where we were still in the lecture room 20 mins after the lecture was meant to end and only 10 mins of the lecture was about 4th year and what it would entail – the rest was pointless information that most of us didn’t even need to know…plus they had people in this lecture that were from another course – why?

There was no improvement by the time of the tute – people were even sitting on the floor, fellow students had cleverly worked out that our class size meant that seats would be limiting so had gone straight there even though this lecturer had told us to take our times…

We were told to go to the later tute… we were told to go to Monday’s class… we were told to stay on Thursday…

The afternoon came and our afternoon lecture was GREAT! A massive discussion on the 21st century, what events that have occurred to influence this century, changes in technology, globalisation – so many things that I could have easily talked about for the rest of the day…

Afternoon tute: yikes… organising groups at uni was actually more complicated and more disorganised than organising groups in a year 11 Drama class… with hlf an hr left of the class to go we were still working on it… even though the unit guide had clearly stated what to do – completely laughable really… at least my lecturer has the personality of her frizzy red hair and the enthusiasm which goes with most great teachers which made up for it… I had spoken to her earlier about joining her tute group and knew that her day had been a muddle too and she had just been as scrambled as the rest of us!

Who wants eggs?!?!

Lesson of the day:

Don’t let a little bit of disorganisation and frustration lead you to think that, that is how everyday will end up being…sometimes it takes time, sometimes a lot of time and sometimes a small amount of time… generally speaking it’s nobody’s fault when stuff like this happens because we are all part of the picture we have to be patient because usually good things come to those with patience. I could have easily caught a later train and had been relieved that they hadn’t covered anything important. Things get sorted and sometimes waiting only means that the experience is far more rewarding than you ever thought it would be… like last year – I didn’t get a school until the year was nearly over, but then I got a fantastic school and a  7 week block which meant that the experience was more than I would’ve dreamt off…

A challenge is put in place, not to be a challenge but to be something to over-come, get through and know that you can do it if you put your mind to it.

Sleep also is 100% important… it makes our minds clearer and ready to tackle the day!

Signing off… as I’m nodding off and allowing my eyes to finally close…

Have a great weekend!!