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I am really finding it difficult to drag myself through this day. Unexplained, unexpected, feelings of exhaustion swim over and through my body. I want to lay my head on my pillow, but instead I am hiding in my glass walled office reading book reviews in the Washington Post.

Minerva, whose husband is a bus driver, has just read online that a bus driver has been doused and set alight in Brisbane. It is not her husband, she has rung to check, but she is none the less, rather emotional. This incident, coupled with the four tragic deaths this week at Dreamworld, has made everyone reflect on mortality.

Mr FD visited a friend from high school this week. The friend has vascular dementia and substitutes odd words for the words he can no longer remember. Friend’s wife took Mr FD to task for not visiting when we moved to Brisbane in 2002. According to wife, “he was very upset” that we did not visit. Mr FD is now upset that he did not visit. The thing is, I don’t remember an invitation to visit. We sent a card and a letter every Christmas; they replied with a card, though no details of health, happiness or family. If we did not visit them, they did not visit us. When do the actions of one become somehow worse, more unforgivable, than the matching behaviour of another? Do they get the moral high ground because now he has an illness? Life has too many complications and rules.

Our Senior students have about three weeks of school left until graduation. One of my students has applied to join the elite engineers’ unit in the military – the ones that find the bombs. Why, I asked. “Someone has to do it miss, so why not me?” I argue that if no one joined the army then there could be no war, but he stares back at me like I have just proclaimed I have seen an alien. His father died two years ago, his mother has only him and his sister. How can you do that to her? I ask. What I am really saying is, how can you do this to me? I know I will watch all news reports for his name for a very long time. These kids slip into your heart.

During home class, my little family of students cluster close to my desk. They are like a little litter of puppies rolling around and near me, even the seniors. I would not be surprised if one curled into my lap one morning. Today, my army bound student sat at my elbow, as we discussed life’s lighter moments. How can you make such decisions at this age, boy? How can we allow them to make life and death decisions at this age? I want to tell him he can’t do it, but I merely ask, again, whether he has been given the date for his induction. No. Time to change his mind. Time to make him realise that life is too precious, that things happen to people, and – but he won’t will he? When we are young we think these things always happen to someone else, don’t we? Untouchable. Mistaken.

Lady Karma, I kiss your cheeks.

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Karma, I love you so. Today we heard on the gossip line that a former principal who had made my life miserable and destroyed the careers of some very good people, has received a massive kick in the butt from Lady Karma.

After chewing up and spitting out a number of people he broke his contract to leave our school  early for what he thought was going to be his ticket into the upper echelons of education. Well, the people he had to work with mutinied, revolted, and just rose up against up on mass – he always plucked his victims off one by one – and he was fired!

Sadly it is not total revenge as he has enough clout to be assisted into a principal’s position at a nearby school – but not ours!

He’s still on my stick list [the people I am going to hit with a stick on my last day], but at least I know his ego has been trimmed. I smiled all day. I am still smiling.

germs, politics, buffoons and general disillusion

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I’ve been absent, not only from my blog, but from my life for several weeks now. This winter my immune system has taken quite a hit, and I have suffered from a series of upper respiratory infections that have brought me low, physically and mentally. This last weekend I closed the door, dosed myself with everything in the medicine cabinet and slept as much as I could. Today, Monday, I feel a little closer to “me”.

A colleague commented that I have been walking around looking close to death for weeks (true) and that she wondered if she needed to put a heart defibrillator on me, to jump start things again! She also said that she knows when I am back to normal because “you get louder!” I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt on that last comment. I know I can be loud; I am loud when I am happy. I am a loud person. Vocally. Flamingo Loud Dancer. Just don’t say it to my face and expect to survive the experience.

I have one of those year 7 classes (28 students) that are dreadfully immature, and answer every question with “I would kill them,” or “I would punch him in the face,” or “Superman would stop them!” They also think they have the right to chatter all the way through class, even when I am speaking. So, I have been sending streams of students to the Responsible Thinking Classroom to reflect on their behaviour and to write plans for their re-entry to our classroom.

It’s a fine line, because many in the class have ADS and so find being quiet difficult, but at the same time, they can’t interfere with my teaching or the learning of others. It’s not just the ADS students going to RTC, it is a plethora of mainstream students too. I have to be firm to maintain control, but in the meantime I am perceived as a meanie. I don’t think they have got the message yet, and so the stream of exits will continue until they do.

One lesson I kept them outside the classroom for 20 minutes as we went through checking that everyone had their laptop, pencils and paper, and then for everyone to calm down and wait quietly to enter the classroom. We had to wait so long that one student uttered, “But Miss, we want to learn our RE (religion).” No one wants to learn RE. which is most of the problem! So, finally I allowed them through the door, but a couple of boys misbehaved on their walk to a desk, so I pulled the entire class out and started the process again. I explained it to Mr FD as akin to breaking in a horse – you have to whisper to them to bend the spirit a little to maintain control. I don’t yell, scream, nag. I just stand patiently, explaining what behaviour is required until they listen. It’s going to be a very long term with this class.

Peppercorn and her parents are flying to Spain for a month, shortly. I wish they weren’t, due to all the turmoil in Europe right now. I know, we can’t live our lives in fear, but when I think of Peppercorn, who will only be eight months, well, it just makes me terrified. I know also that most of the terrorist attacks have been in France and Germany, as well as Turkey, but that doesn’t mean it will remain so. I want them to have a great time, even though Peppercorn will remember none of the adventure, but at the same time, I want them to remain safe. I just hope the time they are away passes very, very quickly. I shall have to keep busy in their absence. I shall just pretend that they are home in Perth and not across the other side of the world. We are not a very nice world at the moment.

Speaking of which – Donald Trump? Really, America, Donald Trump? He is the best you have right now? He’s a dangerous buffoon at the very least. I wouldn’t put it beyond him to get bored half way through a Presidency, if God forbid he should win, and just walk away from it all; or try to hire consultants to run things in his absence.

We have a dangerous buffoon in Australia. Her name is Pauline Hanson. She preaches hate, racism, bigotry, and all that is evil and she has just been elected to our Senate. For the next 6 years she has a platform to spread hatred. My reasoning is that the Liberal National Coalition (equal to the Republican Party in USA) have tried to control people by spreading fear. They have been so successful in creating fear in the electorate that now we fear anyone and anything that is different. Also, that there has been so much technological change that many people are finding it difficult to cope and this compounded with their general feelings of fear, have caused them to turn to these false “I will fix everything! prophets” Yes, we can all list things that are wrong, but how often do they come up with a sensible, workable solution? Rarely, if ever.

Pauline Hanson makes me ashamed to be Australian. Our previous Prime Minister, Tony Abbott did also. Not that his replacement is much better. This is not the Australia I want my grandchildren to grow up in. I don’t want them growing up in a world where there is a President Trump either, so I will light a candle and hope for Hillary. Social justice is what the world needs now, for the common good. Solidarity people, please.

 

I haven’t had enough to drink today

“Miss, tell him to shut up. He keeps telling everyone I did two of his mates.”

“Ignore him, Miss Year 7, he has ASD (and more) and he will soon move onto something else.”

“But Miss, it is true. I did.”

 

I passed it up the line, to those who earn the big money. I just hope that her conception of “did his mates” is different to mine, but I fear not.

 

 

 

 

I waz cheated, I tell youze

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Thursday was a quite a pleasant day. I spent most of the day with Petite Fille playing Peppa Pig, Duplo, Doctors, and reading a mountain of books to her. It was a good day, until my son-in-law, Petite Fille’s father, came home and told me my Thursday was in fact everyone else’s Friday.

I didn’t believe him to the point that I found my mobile phone and checked the day and date. I didn’t fully believe it then either. Okay, I was on vacation, and I had been suffering with a cold, and I had been home bound child caring, but how did I get cheated out of a whole day?

Where was I when I was living that day? I was cheated out of a day of vacation! So instead of having three days until I had to return to work, I had merely two.

Talk about a pissed off individual… thy name was Flamingo Dancer!

 

Sunday going down

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The rain has been pouring down for the last couple of hours, and the fire is lit. Our family are all home, Petite Fille tucked up in her bed.

It’s Sunday night, so no hope of a cosy sleep in, but it is a pupil free day, so that is about as much as can be hoped for. Five days of work and then two weeks of semester break. Almost there.

 

education shouldn’t be about the next election, or how to peck teachers to death

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Today is a public holiday in our ever warm state of Queensland. It is May Day, or Labour Day. Last year it was moved to November, because of the political machinations of the previous anti-worker state government. New government and it has been moved back to its rightful place, but the Queen’s Birthday holiday which was in June (despite her birthday being in April) has been moved to November. I gather it was Business who wanted the change as we have all our public holidays in the first half of the year and none in the second half.

Australia is facing a federal election in the next few weeks, so education and teachers are being  used as a political football, as usual. If only the politicians would leave education alone. I am becoming so angry that I feel like becoming an activist, but I have no intention of ruining my own life! Everyone has an opinion about education, but as Professor John Hattie argues, everything works to a degree, even what politicians suggest, but it doesn’t all work with the students or the teachers for the long term good.

Politicians don’t listen to educators, they are just running with the media, and the parents they have panicked, or miseducated in the first place. Teachers want the best for their students, leave education to the experts not the politicians. I know, they won’t listen – never have, never will.

The issue is, no one will want to be in education if everyone keeps picking on the teachers. Stop bullying teachers! Performance pay when you can’t select the students you teach? As though students should have a dollar value over the heads! Teachers forced to teach a curriculum they know is too crowded and too shallow for real learning, that doesn’t equip students for the world they will be living in, and yet we are to be punished if everything fails. No wonder the average career in education is five years (this is my 7th!).

I guess, I am asking that when we hear about testing and standards and performance pay, that we stop and think, and wonder what type of world we want for our children. I don’t think it is this one, and we all need to let our politicians know this. If the “little people” don’t speak up, then they will continue – it is up to us to state our needs and wants, and not let the politicians tell us what we want.

Of course, you could always let me tell you want you need or want!