Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Onwards and onwards

Reports are done and printed and ready to hand to the principal in the morning. They were annoying to do but not too hard. I'm glad they're over, though.

On the downside, I have a head cold. Boo :(

Too tired to say much . . . just trying to wind up the last 8 teaching days of term 2. Roll on holidays!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Lesson 1:

If you plan to spend an entire Saturday at school writing reports and know that you're going to be driving home in the dark feeling tired, and brain-foggy, make sure you plan to do it slowly and carefully. If you don't, you may end up scaring yourself badly in a near-accident and feeling quite sick and shaky from the adrenaline rush.

Lesson 2:

If you have a near-accident from driving tired in the dark and are feeling shaky from adrenaline, don't try to grate cheese for your dinner within minutes of getting home. If you do, you may end up taking a cheese-grating sized scrape out of your finger, which will hurt like crazy and bleed right through band-aids.

Lesson 3:

If you are lucky enough to own a proper first aid kit, make sure you always know where it is. If you don't, and you cut your finger on the cheese grater, you will notbe able to find the gauze, padding and tape you will need to control the bleeding.

Here endeth the lessons.

Right now I've got my finger wrapped in elastoplast and then in make-up removal pads, and then in sticky tape. And the blood is showing through already. Not happy!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Today at school, one of my students was supposed to be drawing a picture inspired by the song that they're singing for the music festival, so he google imaged the title (without permission, I didn't notice because I was helping another student), to try to get some inspiration.

Next thing I know, he pipes up with: "Miss Mysurname, there's a picture of YOU on here!"

Yes, that's right. A Google Spider had picked up the fact that I'd named that song in this blog, and had displayed my profile picture as a result for the name of the song.

CRAP. Excuse my language, but CRAP!

Luckily he didn't click on the image and see the blog. I closed the window and explained to the students that I had mentioned the song on a site I belonged to and that it had picked up my profile picture. And then I went STRAIGHT to my computer and edited out the name of the song from that post. And right after I post this I'm going to go and change my profile picture to an avatar.


I can only be extremely grateful that it's one of my good, solid, trustworthy boys that stumbled on it. I can be pretty sure that he won't go back looking for it, and if he does, he is intelligent enough to realise that reading his teacher's private blog is NOT A GOOD THING.

*wanders off to de-photo and shake her head over the world's transparency . . . *

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So. Cold.

At the moment, south-western Western Australia, including Perth and Little Country Town, is experiencing an unprecedented cold snap. We usually don't get frosts until July, if at all, but we're having them in June this year. It's supposed to go down to 1 degree C overnight here. Brrr!

And if that wasn't cold enough, two weeks ago one of WA's major gas (that's natural gas, not gasoline: we call gasoline petrol) pipelines exploded in a fiery fireball thingy, cutting out one third of the state's gas supply. This has caused a very serious gas and energy shortage that has already caused a number of large industrial businesses to temporarily close or lay off staff that they can't afford to pay. WA is in the middle of a mining boom and the mining companies are some of the worst-hit, so it's hitting people hard. Especially as the people making big bucks out of the mining boom have, by and large, invested in big houses and plasma TVs not in savings. But that's a side issue.

So anyway, everyone has been asked to dramatically reduce their energy use - short showers, no unnecessary lights, as little heating as possible especially if it's gas heating. Not good.

I don't have gas, because there's no gas pipeline up here and the owners of my house were really considerate and decided not to foist bottled gas issues on their tenants. I have an electric stove for cooking and a wood heater for heating, plus a small electric heater. I'm trying to use the wood stove more and the electric heater as little as possible, but wood isn't exactly cheap either and it only heats the lounge which isn't really useful when I'm at the computer in the study. So I'm using my electric heater and feeling guilty, and I'm STILL cold regardless because one little bar heater in a big room with 14-foot ceilings does very little good.

So . . . yeah. I'm cold.

I miss S very much now that he's gone home - during the seven weeks I got used to having him around all the time, and the house just feels empty without him. We're not sure whether he can do his next prac up here in the country - he's keen, but money will be the deciding factor - so we might not get to live together again until the start of next year. We're back to talking on webcam in the evenings, which seems strange yet familiar, like a memory from a previous life. When he was here it was like he'd never not been. I want him back here :-( And yes, the 7-week make-or-break experience was definitely a 'make'. He is the one :-)

Reports are due on Monday so I'm acquiring a brand new set of grey hairs. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I must be crazy

No, seriously. I must be.

In Week 10 of this term (we're currently at the end of Week 7), there are two important events for our class. One is our class assembly, for which we have to present an item; and the other is a regional music festival involving at least half a dozen schools.

For the music festival, I decided to avoid going the "just another song from the Sing! books" route and instead decided to teach my class of 10-12 year olds to play the recorder and do a recorder orchestra performance. Most of these kids have never even picked up a recorder before! But I chose a slow, fairly simple song (title and lyrics here), and arranged it for voice (2 kids), descant recorder (3), alto recorder (2), tenor recorder (2), guitar (2), xylophone (1), tambour (1), triangle (1) and tapping sticks (1). And I'm teaching them to play it, slowly but surely. It's starting to come together, too - they're still a bit squeaky and hesitant, but they are getting there and I think it's actually going to work. But what a project to be working on during report time!

The kids were asking me about assembly just before lunch today, and I told them honestly that I had no idea what we were doing, yet. We've been studying the book "The Secret Garden" in class, and one of the kids piped up with the suggestion that we do a short play version of "The Secret Garden". This was immediately leapt upon by the rest of the class as an awesome idea, so by 4pm this afternoon I'd written a vastly abbreviated play version of the novel. It relies heavily on narration but it has enough speaking parts for all of the students, captures the essence of the novel, and is short enough to do at assembly. And we're going to do it in full costume. The school has this shed full of accumulated costumes and there's some stuff in there that is just perfect. I'm going to dress them all up as people from the 1890s and they can't even complain about it. Heehee.

These two events are two days apart in just under three weeks' time. And reports are due just over a week from now. I must be INSANE.

But I'm having so much fun!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Sorry, couldn't resist.

I'm having a relaxing sort of a weekend - lots of housework done, yummy food cooked, and not too much school work to do. It's been very pleasant, and so it should, because it's the last weekend before S goes home to Perth :-(

It's VERY cold in Little Country Town at the moment - 17 degrees C, which isn't all that cold, but the wind chill is bitter and it's all just dreary and chilly and unpleasant. And the nights are freezing. And it's only the beginning of winter . . .

Monday, June 2, 2008


Today (Monday, a public holiday in Western Australia) I got a fierce burst of energy, and cleared and spring-cleaned the bathroom, main bedroom, kitchen and dining areas. Why? Because I should have been working on assessments for school. Ahh, procrastination.

I got rid of my old car this weekend - I sold it to a wreckers' for $120 and have to hand the plates in. I'm glad that's sorted, and I'm still extremely happy with my new car.  It needed new windscreen wiper blades, and I discovered a hitherto unimagined fact - you can get wiper blades in many different colours! I did not know this. So my staid, sensible white family-sized sedan now has bright pink silicon wiper blades. Heehee! I want to get a particular set of seat covers for the car, as I don't really like the leather seats and they'll be uncomfortable in summer. The ones I want are black with pink frangipanis on them - trendy I know, but cute - but it's $50 for the set and I can't afford that right now, so it'll have to wait. But I'm looking forward to customising it a bit.

I'm feeling a lot better today than I have for a while. For the past few weeks I've been battling through the worst bout of depression I've had since before I met S. They do warn you that you will get sick and depressed during your first semester of teaching, but they usually expect the depression to happen earlier, so I thought I'd dodged it entirely. No such luck. So the past few weeks have been full of self-deprecation and self-loathing, and poor S has had to put up with a girlfriend who was prone to flipping out over little things and crying at the drop of a hat for no apparent reason. He has been wonderful and very patient and is beginning to understand the nature of depression a bit better (we had a couple of rows at first because he insisted on knowing what was wrong, and with depression there often isn't anything specific!). He has been a rock - mostly! - and I'm beginning to get through it.

It will be better once reports are over and done with - they're my major stress right now. I love teaching but I hate the paperworky-things, and reporting is the scariest of the lot. It's my first go at reporting and I'm not looking forward to it, especially as two or three of my students are failing in basic literacy and numeracy (I have a year 5 student who can't accurately write down any number over 100 - as in, she wrote one hundred and two as 201 . . .). They're not failing because of anything I've done / not done - one has learning difficulties and another two were not under my tutelage for the majority of last term - but it's still unpleasant. 

I have nothing much else to report . . . life has been pretty quiet apart from my depression and S's car accident. Otherwise, we trundle along nicely and have a fair bit of fun along the way.

Oh, and I'm teaching my class to play the recorder. I know, I'm a cruel woman!