Truth to tell: self professed National Treasure

nena von

I am a self professed National Treasure, but maybe those who interviewed me on Monday differ in their opinion. They rang two of my referees yesterday, which caused a bit of excitement, but absolute silence today, so I am thinking they are of the ilk that checks every applicant’s references as part of their process; not just the front runner. My son suggested that as they have gone through at least 3 librarians in 6 years that may not be working for them!

Oh well, if they do not choose me, I will soldier on. 6 more days of students. Most will drop off from Friday and we will have very small numbers next week, so the end of the year is in sight. Poor Minerva physically returned 700 textbooks today and moved them to the compactus in the textbook room. On her journey home she sent me a text saying she was stopping to buy painkillers and alcohol. I blame her not. She’s a trooper.

More important things to think about than job disappointments. Baby Peppercorn may arrive sooner rather than later as monitoring shows the placenta is struggling to do its job, so Peppercorn may be on Santa’s Christmas list this year. I fly over in 10 days so may be there for the birth! I shall mind my place and stay in the background if I am. It is Daugher2 and Mr D2’s moment, not for me to crash. Boy or Girl, what is your bet?

I have imbibed a cold vodka and orange, so feeling rather sanguine about life and jobs at the moment. It’s not as though I don’t have a job! If I am to stay, I just need to think about a new action plan to handle things next year. Find my happy place.

But not today. Tomorrow is another day.


I’m calling yoooooouuuuu

baby doll

I lost a large part of the night to Nelson Eddie calling Jeanette McDonald – a solo bird calling in search of a mate; an Australian Love Call, so to speak. Nelson was lucky that I could neither pin which tree he was serenading from and that my throwing arm is not what it was (if it ever was!); or stones may have flown. Instead, I lay awake envision him in someone’s Sunday stew pot.

Sunday morning, I felt like I was hungover without any previous enjoyment. Tired and emotional, I wrote what I hope is my final word on the student issue – still unresolved, and no doubt will remain so as the students are not willing to be honest. Of course, the fact that they caused mayhem in the library and made a rude finger gesture towards me has been lost in all the pretend issues, but I refuse to give them more power and so will no longer sign anything. My parting comment is that they have learnt behaviour that works for them and now they will use it towards other teachers.  I am finished.

baking 1

So, what to do when I am feeling tired and emotional? Bake a second dried fruit Christmas Cake. It emptied the Brandy bottle! This cake will fly with me to Perth. I was allowed to use brown sugar in the second cake, instead of the rice syrup that Daughter 1 asked for in my first baking. Daughter2 is of the mind that Christmas cakes should not be messed with, a child after my own heart. The texture and taste were superior in my mind, but the proof will be in the eating.

Mr FD calls nightly. Poor Uncle has real mind and body issues, and it appears that the family has to set in place the power of attorney to protect his interests. He’s 91 and has faired well until the last couple of years, but this year in particular he has declined. The problem is he lives alone, having never married. He had a farm manager couple who assist him, but you can’t allow the manager to run the properties without oversight. So this week, Mr FD and his cousin will be visiting the lawyer and the health authorities to gather help and support for Uncle. Even though Uncle has set all this in place, he will be very difficult to gain cooperation from.

The problem when they slip in and out of dementia is that they don’t consider there is anything wrong with them. We have been through this too many times now, with both my parents; Mr FD’s to a lesser degree and now Uncle. Expertise in a field we don’t desire.

Petite Fille, hopefully is coming to visit next weekend. If the weather is hot, I will roll out the water slide for her, and we shall slide down our hill under the sprays. Now that’s something to look forward too!

My cathedral

In need of restoration from the work week, I stood on our patio and soaked in the elements of a private cathedral, our garden. Filled with scents, colours and bird song, it is more religion to me than any man made structure of bricks and mortar, or declaration of man.

Augie Dog by my side, relaxed under the influence of our garden, sank,  stretching out, as the magic of nature entwined us. Restored us.

Saturday morning, the rains have come. Mr FD is away, caring for his old Uncle who can no longer be left alone, and yet will not accept help. I feel sorry for Uncle, who is suffering the loss of his life to dementia, but also for Mr FD who has to deal with resistant, anger and denial every minute he is trying to assist Uncle.

Another tough week. School is more like a war zone these days. Students kick holes in walls, and another of our couches has been cut. Teachers with decades of experience working with children have declared this present cohort of students, particularly the years 7 and 8, as some of the most destructive and ill-behaved of their careers. Not a proud branding.

New gardens were constructed to soften and beautify the grounds and just days into the plantings, students are not only crashing through the gardens, but actively pulling the plants out. Why would they even bother? What unruly anger is within these young people? Such self centred, disrespect.

Parents who do not respect, are growing children who do not respect. Then add the ingredient of the influence of social media and young people feeling the pressure to out perform, one up, to achieve constant attention. Self absorbed is their middle name. Mobile phones in school are weapons of destruction.

My personal battle was added to this week. A male student who was asked not to enter the library as we had no space left and as he had stated he didn’t need to use the library for study or assessment, he merely wanted to “chill out”. Within minutes he was on the mobile phone to his mother declaring he was barred from the Library. Returning from class I was informed Mummy had rang to complain. Of course her precious son had told the truth!

Mothers, do not enter into every issue your child has. Let them own their own behaviour, suffer their own consequences and learn resilience. The energy that these selfish student mistruths suck from teachers, means that students who have real issues, urgent needs, sometimes life and death issues, have to wait longer for assistance. Remember the mantra, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” Well, apply it to your children and let us do our real jobs. Do your job as parent.

Then maybe I can enjoy my cathedral for its beauty and no just for its healing.

Always pack the pearls

vinatge lady 1

I rose in the morning, wore the three strand pearl necklace, the red shoes and I faced the day. I made it a better day. We laughed Minerva and I.

A colleague walked into the Library and declared “You two are having fun again!” and she smiled too. I hadn’t realised how our gloom had dulled our laughter, for we laugh a lot in our library. It is the one thing that everyone comments on; the laughter.

The issues with the students are still unresolved and it looks as though they never will be, unless they confess their lies. The best that will be said is that we choose to disagree. Not satisfactory, not at all. Life is full of injustices that have to be borne. The best I can hope for is that they stay away from the Library unless accompanied by another teacher!

So, I wore the pearls and the red shoes; and it was a better day.

Except the red shoes rubbed and now I have a sore heel. Life is like that too, even on good days.

words can not say


Not a good day. A number of our more challenging students came into the library, causing a variety of issues. Then we were graced in both breaks by the presence of the girls who have made the false allegations. Minerva instantly called for backup from a nearby male teacher and we presented as a pair, so no more lies could be told.

I didn’t want to think it, and really tried to deny the thought, but Minerva voiced my fear. “Do you think you are being targeted?”  I had to admit that I agreed. They haven’t recounted, they haven’t experienced any consequences and now they feel untouchable. Twelve and thirteen year old girls in full formation for open hunting season.

By the end of second break, I was close to just walking out the gate for my own survival, for it is so difficult second guessing everything I say and do.  Instead, I had to go and teach a class. Thankfully, they were seniors and into examination revision, so I was able to gather my frayed nerves and take a slow breath.

I have reported the incident, but without any expectation of a speedy solution. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t go against me in some way! The male colleague said he will be back with me tomorrow in case they return, bless him. These girls have rarely been to the library this year and now they appear all too often.

There have been terrible bullying issues between students in that year level, but to see them acting this way against a teacher is unbelievable. It is not like I play a major role in their lives!

I am not a weak person, I don’t cave easily, but the helplessness I feel is just escalating the longer this issue is unresolved. I have to follow someone else’s agenda. I feel like I want to explode.


Mind, body and spirit are out of kilter this past week or two. The false student allegation, though not believed by administration has sent me reeling.

There is such a process of interviews and meetings when these types of conflicts happen that it takes on a life of its own, parallel and yet utterly intertwined with the usual day to day processes of living.

I have had a meeting with Principal and a Deputy, plus my legal support. All agree that there are so many holes in the girls allegations, and more than a slight whiff of collusion that any intelligent person can see that their allegations are false. However, procedures must be followed and hence the human cost.

At the same time I have applied for a job in another school. Not actually prompted by what has happened, except for the fact that if Admin don’t put a lid on this type of student behaviour then there will be open season on teachers at the school. No, the school where I applied for a position is just a nine minute drive from my garage, through The Village, to the school’s staff car park. 9 minutes versus 40 minutes. Time saver, car saver, tiredness saver – and less chance of a car accident, as no highway driving, especially when tired. Feeling very mixed emotions, but it is just an application, that does not mean a job offer.

Mr FD decided to take me out for a sightseeing trip yesterday, as we have been doing the last few weeks, but I found no joy in it. Often, and for no particular reason, I felt almost as if I wasn’t in my own body, and very close to tears. It was a short trip, no stop for coffee.

Sometimes, I wonder if I am causing myself to have these thoughts and emotions. Am I doing it to myself? Then again, and I can’t put this into accurate words, even if I am doing it to myself, is that not a symptom of something? I am worrying me.

Perhaps, the summer vacation, just four weeks away, will give me a break. A few weeks in Perth, welcoming our new Grandbaby, Peppercorn, hopefully will be just the tonic I need to get my Flamingo Dancer mojo back into service.  Peppercorn may arrive earlier than expected as Daughter2, now 33 weeks, was diagnosed with high blood pressure and has had to cease work immediately, after planning to work another three weeks. I wish I wasn’t so far from her, especially as her husband is a FIFO (fly in, fly out) mining engineer and not there for four nights a week, during which time she is without any real support. I just told her to phone the ambulance if anything concerns her and not to worry about feeling silly if it turns out to be something inconsequential. Lives matter more. Not making me feel any better though.

So sorry, if I have rained on any parades today. It’s Monday and I suspect few parades today anyway. Just letting you know that I wandering a little aimlessly right now. Hang with me, please.


Thank you.



Back in the school yard


Being accused of something you didn’t do is a lonely place to be. People can offer sympathy but it isn’t them. It’s a lonely journey.

No progress. The children haven’t rescinded their lies, and the union can’t supply a lawyer until next Wednesday afternoon, so everything is in holding pattern.

I won’t say too much, but it has been communicated that Administration supports me. I am the sacrificial lamb, however.

Every time someone asks me me how I am feeling I answer truthfully, “not well” and “lonely”.

Why would anyone stay a teacher after having this rubbish thrown at them? These are the experiences that change your perspective on things. Why do children have think they can use laws that are required to protect real victims, to their own evil ends?

I know their names now, there are three girls. One is in a class I supervise for free reading one period a fortnight. Ever since I met her I have felt an evilness about her, as though my sixth sense was on alert. Now I know. Just think what she might accuse a male teacher of doing! A male teacher could end up in jail!

I asked Mr FD if he was going to care for me when I was starling raving mad, and he said that he already is…

You know the saying, fall down eight times, get up nine? Well, I think this might be my tenth fall.



Pray there is never another potato famine…


Holy Mother of Whatever, the kids are feral!

First day of term, two periods into the day I felt as though I should have been issued with a chair and whip. It didn’t help that after never ever having a policy on mobile technology, in particular mobiles, this was the day that we got to announce that they were no longer to be seen, let alone used, during class time. Also no selfies at school, at any time!

I felt as though I was going to be chewed into minced meat and spat out, when I had to deliver the message to my home class.

I have to admit though, that it did feel good, that I no longer have to tolerate the “It’s my Mum” pretend excuse anymore. Mum, if you do phone your child during class time, you should be beaten. If it is an emergency, phone the school to deliver the message, don’t interrupt everyone’s learning and my teaching!

No use trying to say that they can’t chat, or text on their phones all day in the adult work world, either. The horror and disbelief on their faces was so real it was horrifying.

Minerva and I have a code word, “potato” which basically means we are going home to drink vodka.


When parents don’t do the parenting…


Some days, being a teacher, really sucks. One of my students is living at home with only his sixteen year old brother for most of the time. Their father is a fly in fly out mine worker in another state, at least a five hour air flight away, plus road time. He is home every second weekend.

The rest of the time the boys are home alone. The older brother has an after school job and is not home in the evenings, so the younger boy, eighth grade, is home alone. There is a grandfather who drops the 16 year old home at night, but doesn’t live with the boys. Mum is goodness knows where.

Naturally, the boys are staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning, and then Yr 8 is coming to school so tired he is lying with his head on the desk in class. I have him for a learning support class so he has a heap of problems to start with and is extremely disengaged.

I reported my concerns to administration and they spoke with said child, who then said a “friend” of his Dad’s was caring for them too. I was pretty direct in my conversation with the boy, asking several times if anyone else was in the house and each time he said no; so I have reported my scepticism of said friend’s existence.

What really sucks, is that I am here, at home, worrying about that child when his own damn parents aren’t. It is easy to see how this is going to evolve – next thing he won’t be coming to school every day and then he will be a drop out, if not worse.

Like I said, some days being a teacher really sucks.

I will lay me down

Vogue 1967 Sue Murray Photo by David Bailey

It is beyond the mid afternoon hour. I am sitting against a high pile of pillows of differing styles and sizes, on my bed.

Earlier I visited with Mr FD in his hospital room. I drove through the McDonald’s drive though to buy him a large flat white, one sugar, to relieve the boredom of his day trapped in rehabilitation. Sunday, a day of rest and no physiotherapy for Mr FD, just a lost day in nothingness.

Homeward bound, I listened to the Book Show on RN radio. It is probably not called the Book Show, it probably has some snappy, witty, intellectual name to brand it, but to me it is the Book Show, and so it will remain. There was a woman being interviewed who indulges in roof walking. I guess it is one way to get your big jollies. The interviewer made a comment about roof walking bringing to mind a lot of self indulgent, rich, bored, Oxford twits of another era, and I found myself nodding in agreement. That said, she was enchanting to listen too.

Before that, there was a music show. A female, English acapella group sang their version of Bridge Over Troubled Waters. My heart skipped a beat, then two, as memories of teenage years and the depth of my enduring love for the song filled my emotions. It is the song I wish played at my funeral. I want it to be my last message on earth to those I love. I hope too, that it is how I will have lived my life.

A sunny Sunday afternoon, and yet I also felt myself plunged instantly into a dark hole. Too many years of running on empty, especially the last three. I am depleted. I have no reserves left. Every morning I wake with just enough to get through another day. I need the night to make it into the next day. But, every day is taking a little more from me, and each night delivering a little less than I need.

I wish for another world, parallel to this perhaps, where I could live an existence of quiet solitude, seeking adventure when I chose. Great adventures with happy endings, and warm cups of tea. But, life it not like that is it? Be careful what you wish for, comes into my head, but my wishing remains undaunted.

Perhaps a long winter’s nap is what I need. To lay my head down upon the cool, white cotton on my pillows and to enter a nowhere, nothing realm for an hour or two. To rise again another day…