Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Courses and programmes and cars, oh my!

I'm feeling extremely anxious and teary right now, and very overwhelmed. I'm having a very difficult day :-(

On the way down from Little Country Town last Saturday, my car started to make horrible grinding noises, which I figured were the brake pads starting to wear through. Before I could even think about getting it fixed, money-wise, it also started going putt-putt-putt-putt-etc whenever I accelerate. And then it started to blow a lot more exhaust smoke when starting up, and I even got smoke off the engine yesterday, even though the oil dipper says that the car is full of engine oil. And the fuel gauge has gone whacko, dropping randomly to below zero then popping back up again the next time I start the car.

All this boils down to MY CAR IS DYING.

It's an old car (1981 model) and it's done it hard, and I knew it wasn't going to last ages, but I thought it would do more than 3 months. *sigh*

So, crisis time. I'm in Perth and I can't drive back to Little Country Town in a car that could blow up at any second. So I went out this morning to a car yard and tried to buy a car. I found a REALLY nice one, a Toyota Vienta from 1997 which was a luxury model back when it was sold, but has done quite a lot of country kms. It's in near-perfect condition and has a perfect service history, and was a trade-in to the same car yard where the owners bought it new over a decade ago. It's GORGEOUS. It's a white sedan with leather interior, CD player, climate control, the works. Automatic transmission with cruise control, fully workshop tested . . . and it's only $8990. And it drives SO smoothly. I WANT IT.

But . . . I couldn't get automatic on-the-spot finance to buy it, because I have some other debts and also because I didn't have all of my paperwork down with me since I didn't expect to be buying a car, and the banks aren't open today for manual finance approval. So I have to wait until Monday at the earliest to find out whether I've got the finance for the car. And that means I'm car-less. Thankfully S was coming up to Little Country Town anyway to start his prac, so we'll just use his car only for a week and then come down next Saturday and pick up my car, if they approve the finance. IF. I don't know if they will. But ohhh, I want them to!

I feel horribly guilty for wanting this car, because it's really nice and it's a sedan, when most people would probably feel that I should settle for a much more basic and much smaller hatch. But I think this is my lack of self-belief and self-value talking. Why can't I have nice things sometimes? I think this car will be a good value asset and do well on the long country drives. Is that so wrong?


In other news, to all of the teachers and parents out there: one word. THRASS. It's a phonics system that is just OUT OF THIS WORLD. Instead of teaching the old "ants on the apple, a a a" type phonics - which confuses kids because 'a' can say 'a', 'ay', 'ah', 'eh', 'air' and a host of other things - it teaches kids that the 26 letters of the alphabet are just symbols that we use to represent a variety of sounds, and that the letter only makes a sound when it's a spelling choice inside a word. It can be used from kindy right up to adult English as a Second Language. It uses picture associations, word associations and games and activities to teach kids that there are multiple spelling choices for all of the 44 sounds used in English, and it gives them tools to assess and make the right spelling choice for sounds in any given circumstance. I went to their training course on Wednesday and Thursday, and I was just blown away. I'm going to start using it with my students immediately, particularly the weak spellers. It's just awesome. It teaches English like it really is, and makes it easy enough that little kids can grasp it. I can't say enough how good it is. If THRASS is available in your area, and you're a teacher or a parent/future parent, or even just a curious linguist, try to get along to a training course. It'll change the way you think about English, completely. And no, they're not paying me to say this lol.


In other other news, I'm also feeling overwhelmed about the new term, which starts on Tuesday. My year 5 and 7 students have standardised testing in Week 3 so I have to get them ready for that, and I have to work out what to do with the 6s during the tests. These are new tests as well, from the new National Government plan for schools. They're called NAPLAN (National Plan, I think) but Mum started calling them NAPALM and I can't help doing it too. I've even written NAPALM on all of my term plans lol. It seems oddly appropriate, somehow.

I've been feeling sick this past week and haven't got anywhere near as much done as I needed to, and I'm at that stage where it's all just starting to come together but is ever-so-slightly out of reach. I hate that feeling! I've got nothing photocopied and no resources made, but I'll get there. I think.

I hope I can get S to relax and chill out tonight. He's so stressed over his 7-week prac and is making himself sick over it. I want to convince him that we should have a night off, and just make him relax.

Prayers and good thoughts for one very stressed and car-troubled teacher, and for one very stressed and overwhelmed student teacher, would be very much appreciated.


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