Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dinner with the Future Friend

I have an almost friend. We decided a while back that we really should be friends... since we have over 20 facebook friends in common (and even some real-life friends). So tonight she came over for dinner. I didn't really think that was weird till it was nearly time... we've only really talked in person twice before at different events of mutual friends.

It was a fun evening!  It was really cool to find out more about her heart for orphans and the steps she is taking to make her amazing dreams become reality. I really admire the determination and heart (I know I already used that word...but this isn't school report writing so I can do what I want...) she has for changing the face of adoption in Australia. Oh I just remembered I posted about her once before... click here.

It was cool to be in the company of someone 10 years older and 10 9 years younger than me.
Even though Little Jill (my flatmate) wrecked our 19, 29, 39 pattern (since she is actually 20 not 19). pfft. I love that all 3 of us are at different points in our lives, with different dreams and goals and such, but we were still able to connect (over burritos & barbarians). It was a good night!

I think I should have 'future friends' over for dinner more often!

My ipod is in a Christmas Mood...

Does anyone else's ipod have 'moods'? I have noticed this about mine a lot... although it is always on shuffle, on any particular evening it seems to choose a specific genre or era or theme that it feels like playing. Tonight it seems to be excited about Christmas (who wouldn't be, it is only 116 days away) and I'm pretty sure it has played carols that aren't even on my ipod.

Today was exciting! Beautiful Ann-Marie (see the cute belly here) finally had that cute baby that I've been wanting to meet pretty much forever... or at least the last 8 months! I can't wait to meet Baby Anna! Cute cute cute!!!! (I have actually looked back at the photo of her on my phone so often in the last 20 minutes that I've decided it's probably easier just to save it as my 'wallpaper' on my phone)

I am loving being an "aunty" again! One more cute person to spoil! Yay!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

safety dance!

So this term for our Personal Development and Health unit on Safety, my class is creating a film-clip to Glee's version of 'Safety Dance.'

I have a boy in my class who wants to be a director when he grows up, so he's working with my sister to direct the clip! soo cute! He absolutely adores my sister. He even wrote a report about her the other day "The person I most admire is..."
On Friday I gave L the run of the afternoon session to organise the class. It was so fun... He started with -
"Ok. Before we start, let's go over the rules:
Rule #1 No mucking around or being silly. otherwise there will be punishment."
Another student asked "do you mean minor punishments or severe punishments?"
"Well I'd say maybe moderate, I won't beat you or anything...
Rule #2 You need to listen when I'm talking.
Rule #3 You have to have a good attitude!
Okay. I'll take two more questions..."
It was so fun to sit back and watch him organise twenty-six of his peers.
The dvd is going to be hilarious! I can't wait to see it finished!

The Game of Life

Last week Leah, Katrina and I (oh and Morgan) played 'The Game of Life'.

I forgot to stop at the "get married" square.

I think that's what's happened in my real life too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tee-ball with the boys

Every week for PE and Sport, Lalor (who teaches Year 4) and I combine classes and separate them, depending on what we're doing, into groups for different activities.

Today we started with rotating 'Core Fitness' stations. 19 different activities that focused on developing different muscles or fitness. Things like mini hurdles, push-up slaps, spider-holds and lunge jumps. I'm pretty sure I would have been one of the kids who needed to tie their shoelaces or desperately needed the bathroom at particular groups... While there was a bunch of these kids, it was actually a small minority out of the 52 kids. Some of my kids even made up songs and chants for different stations. At one point I walked past the spider-holders (like holding a push up, but with your legs and arms spread out really wide) and they were all saying "we can do this, we can do this, we can do this!" over and over. So cute!

After fitness we split into gender groups. We find that this works pretty well in sport as they seem to approach it completely differently...girls (in general) love the social aspect whereas the boys (in general) tend to be all about the competition. For the past two weeks I have had tee-ball with the girls and it has been hilarious. Today, however, it was my turn with the boys. I was a bit nervous, because the Year 4 boys love dishing out attitude. But I shouldn't have been worried! The boys were amazing! Probably even easier than the girls. They were so engaged in the game and behaved so well so they wouldn't miss out on a minute of it.

The thing I admired the most, though, was the way they looked out for each other and encouraged each other. I have 2 boys who are not super athletic. One has cerebral palsy and the other has an intellectual delay amongst other motor skill issues. The way the rest of the boys made allowances for these two and encouraged them was heart-warming. Even the boys from the 'opposition' were giving tips and helping them to have success in the game. My favourite moment was when I realised that left-handed T was batting right-handed (because that's what everyone else was doing) with limited success... once I realised this I turned him around, helped him to swap his hands over and he swung and hit a home run! So good!

I am so looking forward to tee-balling with the boys again next week!
But tomorrow I'm off to Sydney to cheer on 5 kids who made it to the State level in athletics! One girl in my class came first in 100m, 200m, 400m and long jump at the Zone carnival! (and she has never trained in any of these events...though she is a medal winning gymnast) I'm looking forward to watching her compete against the best in the state tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I love this ad!

1 Timothy 4:12

Today I was reminded AGAIN that I have the best job in the world! I am so blessed to get to work with such amazing kids!

Ok, so you may remember my girl who rescued the cats... well today I found out, from her dad, that this gorgeous girl has been saving up her pocket money and yesterday went to Koorong and bought a white (I'm not sure why white, but this was an important detail apparently) Bible for... Julia Gillard.

Our Prime Minister!

Beautiful K buddled up this Bible with a letter that she handwrote, explaining who she was and the difference God has made in her life since she asked him into her heart as a five year old (a mere five years ago), and posted this off to Parliament House for our atheist Prime Minister.

I was so close to tears hearing about this gesture! I don't think I have ever met a ten year old who cares so much about the welfare, including the spiritual welfare, of others as much as this girl!  I am blown away by the way she refuses to let being young get in the way of making a difference, whether this is saving cats, championing the cause of orphans or telling the Prime Minister that she needs Jesus! I learn so much from my kids!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Crazy Kids

Wow this term is flying by so fast! Only 4 weeks and 4 days till the holidays! eek! (and only 3 weeks and 2 days till we sleep over at the Zoo! Yay! Yay! Yay!)

Today my kids had an extra dose of crazy. It probably didn't help that my roll-marking question this morning was "what do you like to eat cheese with?" mmm cheese. I had 16 cheese lovers, 2 cheese haters and 8 absent kids today...hmm. I think we may need to have a cheese party soon. 

My favourite parent note today said:
Dear Miss F,
L will need some assistance locating the following things he has misplaced at school:
-blue folder
-bus pass
-green drink-bottle
Thank you.

So basically...everything!
hmm (we didn't actually have any luck finding any of these things, it's even a whole class project now, with rewards and everything!)

My favourite quote of the day, when we were talking about farms...
Boy 1: But sheep don't even wash!
Boy 2: Why do you care, you only have slippers!

later on...
Boy 2: But camels aren't even real!

What?! Hmmm we may have a bit of work to do on animals this term.

My favourite teaching moment today was during Literacy. As my group was reading a girl noticed that 'agitated' fitted in the 'g says j before e, i or y' rule that we're focusing on this week. So I wrote it up on the board, while I was there another child called out "Oh 'gypsy' fits in the rule too and 'gentle'!"
A third boy called out "don't be such a genius J!"
"That's right 'genius' fits too!" Hehe, perfect timing! I love fun moments in my classroom!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Today was a lovely and crazy day.

Crazy... because it was out of routine, and if you know kids a change in routine is all it takes for there to be bedlam! It was almost impossible to keep them on task and quiet in the bits of the day we actually did work. Luckily there wasn't much work to be done between Sport, Assembly, a visit from the Little Athletics people and our super exciting excursion to see Watoto!

Watoto was amazing!
I've seen them twice before, but for most of my kids it was their first time. I think talking about Uganda and the lives these orphans have come from, before we went, added to the experience. My kids felt hnoured to be a part of the concert and were absolutely gobsmacked by their dancing skills! Boy those kids can move! (Seriously, out of the 233 photos I took at the 2 hour concert  at least 70% are blurry... the ones that aren't were because it was between songs, or are photos of my kids).

I love the heart I can see developing in my class, a heart that is bigger than themselves, that realises there are people living without the things they take for granted, you know, water, food, family and shelter (let's not even mention DSi's laptops, Play Station 3s and flatscreen TVs). Of course they are normal Aussie kids who easily move from a discussion about poverty to talking about their their favourite theme park rides on the Gold Coast... But I love that they are starting to see the bigger picture of a world that needs help.
The other part of my day that was fun was after school, when I got to paint Baby Belly #4 - Cute Ann-Marie's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's so weird that next time I see her she will be a mummy! eeeeek! So exciting!

Biggest downside of the day - my hair looks cute today! Which means it won't look as cute tomorrow... which happens to be school photo day! Who would've thought the teachers care more about school photos than the kids. hehe.

The end.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Less than 4 months to go.

So. This time in 4 months I will be in... oh the time difference is too confusing, but I think San Francisco.

While the actual Canada bit of my Canada adventure has slipped to not quite the back of my mind (... it is easier to not think about it while I wait to hear back from the nanny agency. Gah! I hate the waiting game), everything else is in full swing...

The adventure in LA with my sister for a week is all booked! We even looked at youtube clips of all the rides we want to go on at Disneyland. Can't wait! In the 7 days we are going to San Fran, Yosemite, Solvang, Stanford, Hollywood, Santa Monica & Disneyland! Woohoo! (I think I may just have to ignore the jetlag...there will be no time for such things)

On the home side... there are about a BILLION things you need to organise if you own a house, a car and a cat and are planning on living overseas for a year. I've written a '4 months to go' plan & have started with clearing out my cute spare-room (this month I also need to 'update ipod','get job', 'pay rates' 'email john' 'write rental plan' and 'get skinnier'...easy). So far I've filled 4 boxes. Boy I have a lot of stuff. I'm hoping my flat-mate & her friends will rent my house *furnished* so I don't have to completely move out.

It is a weird feeling going from a life where I have everything, to having 22kg of 'stuff' & being paid minimum wages. Not that it's anything close to poverty. I mean I will still have everything I need and abundantly more, AND amazing opportunities to see a gorgeous part of the world and meet new people! It's just weird. that's all.

Weird. But I can't wait!

Friday, August 12, 2011

remember how teachers are human?

This morning I was almost in tears on my way to school. It was one of those mornings where all I could think about were my failings as a teacher. The times I didn't give a kid the time or attention or encouragement they needed. The times I have said the wrong thing, or not shown love and patience.The times I should've shown grace, but didn't. Gah! Teaching would be so much easier if I wasn't human.

Yesterday in the middle of teaching Year 3 Maths, one of my Year 4s printed a whole page of rainbow colour. It was beautiful... but we don't have an endless supply of colour. My kids know they aren't allowed to print without asking. My kids know that coloured pages are for 'saving and showing' not printing. And I had just talked to 2 boys about changing their backgrounds to white before printing...whilst also trying to teach the compensation strategy for subtraction to my 14 Year Threesies (which was actually a hilarious lesson featuring a kangaroo named "Puppy"... one of my girls was even laughing so hard that her stomach hurt & she had tears rolling down her face...ah crazy kids). So anyway when I looked over and saw a whole page of rainbow colour being printed I had one of my un-grace-filled moments. I even used the "are you buying the next round of ink?" line & not even with my kind voice. hmm.

So an hour later her dad called to inform me that I had caused his child no end of distress and he wanted to have a face-to-face meeting with me because this was the 2nd time in 2 weeks that I hadn't taken her sensitivity into consideration (the other time was a general class reprimand about homework slackness). By the time I got home last night I was feeling really yucky. Even though yesterday was a super fun day (seriously! you should see the fun art project we did yesterday!), all I could think about were the millions of times I have failed as a teacher.

When I got to school this morning, that same dad was waiting outside the staffroom. I almost stopped breathing. Luckily (for me anyway) he was there to yell at his other daughter's teacher, but it was still un-nerving, especially hearing the way he spoke to my colleague. I went to playground duty still filled with doubt about my own competence.

Within minutes I was surrounded by my girls (including the one I had 'devastated' yesterday). If you ever need a self-esteem boost, hang out with my girls! One of them came running over with a little box that she had sprayed with perfume, "Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiss F! I've got your birthday present! Sorry it's a bit late!" Actually it was perfect timing. I opened it up and it had a cute little pen and a "No. 1 Teacher" key-ring. I am aware that there are more than one of these made in the world. But this morning it was just what I needed... a reminder that those kids I love so much actually appreciate me, that I am actually good at my job (I don't mean that in a conceited way) and that even when I stuff up, kids are the world's best forgivers.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oranges and Sunshine.

So... I just saw the movie Oranges & Sunshine You should probably see it. It's based on a true story. I have already ordered the book...

Ok. So basically between the 1800s to 1970 (seriously??! 1970!) 150,000ish 3 to 15 year olds, who were, for different reasons, in the custody of the British government (ie orphans, foster kids, kids of "illegitimate" mothers) were sent from Britan to different Commonwealth colonies, including Australia. The movie is based on the kids sent to Australia, but they were also sent to Canada, India, New Zealand etc.
These kids were often separated from their siblings, and told their parents were dead (but in alot of cases they weren't). When they arrived in Australia they were put into children's homes and often mistreated and abused. The movie follows the story of the woman, Margaret Humphreys, who uncovered the whole thing and tries to help the children (now 40-50 year olds) find out who they are and where they came from.

I just want to go back 50 years in the past and fix it. My heart breaks for the kids who had to live without parents. So I know that in some cases parents are not the best people to care for their children... and sure, Australia is a really nice place to be sent to... but it is the other side of the world!
How did the government not think this was a bad idea at the time?
Oh I wish I could have loved them.

How did I not know this happened? 150,000 children systematically deported? That's kinda a big deal. hmm. I can't wait to read the book. I also want to research the government's prespective, because it just doesn't make sense, surely they had a reason...maybe?

What wrongs are happening in the world now that we are oblivious to? What are we going to look back on and think "boy that was dumb, and very wrong!" 

Thoughts on a Saturday.

Well I tried to start this post with a limerick about my friend Mel-Travis... but I have a feeling that I've tried that before and there are not many words that rhyme with Travis (I'm pretty sure haggis was included as a lame attempt last time). But anyway, Mel-travis the random ponderings of me today is dedicated to you. haha

Firstly I need to tell you that I have the best class in the world. If there was a 'best class in the world' award I would so nominate them.

I love how enthusiastic they are.I love that I can ask a question and be immediately met with 10 hands with stories and questions and answers (which often don't relate at all to what I just asked). I really think that they could talk all day on one topic if I let them. I love that when I say "I need a volunteer to..." I instantly have 26 eager beavers ready to do whatever I need done. I love that when we start a new topic they get so involved in what we're learning... for instance, last week we started a unit on bugs - ever since kids have brought in books, posters, random facts and actual bugs from their backyards, they've made models at home & ask for "just fiiiive more minutes" to work on their class work (um no sorry children, but it's actually home time).
Yesterday I put 2.5x3= on the board. Two of my girls squealed "decimals!!!" and instantly burst into the decimal song they have made up. Before I could even teach them how to work this problem out they had already come up with their own strategies and were asking for trickier questions... are these kids even real?
Oooh it make my heart smile.

I love how thoughful they are. I don't think there has been a day in the last 8 years of teaching that I haven't been given a "you look pretty today Miss F" or some similar compliment. Yesterday one of my girls handed me a beautiful note she had written and 2 scratch and sniff stickers (I love scratch and sniffs)...cute! I love the way they offer to help (with EVERYTHING) for instance the other day as our new class recycle bins were being handed out at assembly, one of my boys leaned over and whispered "can I please be the person to empty the recycle bin?"

I love how honest they are. The other day they were feral for the casual teacher that had them for a period. I had a chat to them about how disappointed I was with their behaviour and said "if you think your name needs to go on the board for the way you behaved, go and put it there." All but two of the offenders (about half the class...tsk tsk tsk) went and put their names on the board. They told me I should keep them in at lunch time. What kind of kids do that?

I love how creative they are. Every week when we do writing, or art, or science projects I give my whole class the same instructions. They are given the same stimulus, the same structures, the same materials to work with... but their results couldn't be more different!

I have the best job.

In other ponderings this week...I have been mulling over my childlessness. You know those days... when everyone else seems to have a baby or about to have a baby... or, you know, your cousin just had a baby without even knowing she was pregnant.
Those times you have been to so many baby showers that you win all the games (not that i'm complaining... I scored some cool prizes last weekend) & you spend more time at parties for under 3s than for your know, those sorts of days.

I love my friends' babies so much. I love getting to be a part of their lives. I love seeing them grow and learn new 'tricks' (kudos to Morgan on the bubble blowing this week!). I love the cuddles. I love getting to feed them, and play and go on adventures and such... but they're not mine.

At the end of the day I go back to my house. Where there is just me. The cot is empty (ha why do I even have a cot? Probably should give that back soon...). My arms are empty. It doesn't matter how often I see 'my' babies or how involved I get to be in their lives they will never be mine.

I know that I am called to love other people's gorgeous babies (and other people's gorgeous nine and ten year olds) at the moment... but will I ever get to love my own? Is that selfish?