iPods, iPhones, iPads, iDevices everywhere!

I am an Apple convert. Ever since my frst purchase of a MacBook Pro back in February 2011, and an 8Gig iPod Touch (as part of a Uni student deal that the Apple store was making at the time) I have been impressed. I also bought myself an iPad2, about a week before the announcement of the creation of the iPad3 and its release date. (Oh well!)

So as my cherubs got bigger, and the peer pressure was on for them to have DS’s (it was pretty incredible for me to realise just HOW MANY families bought one of these handheld gaming devices – for EACH child – at a cost of around $300 for the device and then $50 per game!!!) I knew that these would never be an option for my family. I mean- seriously! Who has a spare $900 lying around – and that just for the devices!!! You’d need to then buy games for them – and at around $50 each??? No way. Nope. Not going to happen. Not just for gaming, anyway!

I was glad then, that I’d paid that little bit extra way back in February 2011 and had the Apple experience. Had an iPod experience (my last foray into personal music devices had been the Walkman, back in the 80’s!!!) I was glad that I now knew how iPods worked, how iTunes and the App store worked, and just HOW MANY apps you could get out there that were educational as well an=s gaming ones – and HOW MANY were absolutely FREE!

So, for me, the decision was made. Why by a DS at around $300, and games for $50-odd, each, when you could buy an iPodTouch for less, and the games were free? (and educational!) And with an iPod, they also have access to a camera, a videocamera, a clock, a calculator, and music / media – and even FaceTime?!!! To me, it seems a bit of a no-brainer.

Yes, some people are surprised that my children don’t have DS’s, and that Miss 8 had an iPod Touch before her seventh birthday – I guess these are the same type of people who believe that iPods and the like are for grownups (and teenagers) and who would probably spend the money on DS’s for younger children. The way I see it, an iPod is cheaper and will have a much longer shelf-life in their lives. And they KNOW that it’s a ‘grownup’ device. For my kids, they have to earn it. I tied it as a reward to their reading skills. Once the then-Miss 6 read me ‘Robert the Rose Horse’ (by herself) then she’d earned it. And her younger sister is well aware of the arrangement, and practises her ‘homework’ (reading) every day, knowing that she’s getting closer to earning her ‘own’ iPod Touch – even though she hasn’t started Prep yet! (Not til next week, anyway – although Vacation Care went well this week…)

So anyway, that’s my thoughts on the matter. No, my children don’t have iPads. I don’t think they need them, anyway – they’ll use them at school, and they have mine to use when I’m not using it – and I’m not one of those mums who will just ‘give’ my kids iDevices or other electrical items ‘just cos’ (I’ve seen families where the children all have iPads – and they’re aged 7, 5 and 3, and I sure didn’t see too many educational apps on there!!!) but I think that what I’ve done is appropriate and fair.

Plus, it’s also market research! This way, I can get my kids to check out and play with apps that I plan on using in my classroom this year, to see if they’ll like them! LOL!!!

Have a great day, dear readers!!!

Staff meetings

So I’ve now done two full days (today and last Friday) of staff meetings / professional development.

I’d forgotten what they were like.

Now… I’m not particularly looking forward to another 8.15 – 3.30 day of meetings tomorrow. Followed by trying to fit in marketing work afterwards.

Sigh…

Back into it…

I have my own classroom again. It’s strange how that sense of ownership, of responsibility for a space, has driven home the reality of this new job. It shouldn’t be strange; it’s completely natural, completely understandable, yet it has taken me by surprise. I find that rather amusing!
So today has been book covering day. Book covering & day dreaming. I’m thinking about registering for the Sunshine Coast Tough Mudder challenge. More on that another day though…
Have a great rest-of-the-day, dear readers!

Orientation

Today’s the day! My first ‘official’ day as a staff member. It feels strange; I haven’t been one of these – teacher with a permanent position – since 2007. Not too sure how I feel about it… Mixed emotions, that’s for sure!
I’m stoked that I know so much about the school already, as a parent, as a relief teacher, and as the person who’s been contracted to oversee their marketing for almost two years. I’m ecstatic that I’ll be teaching my daughters – and more than a little amused that they’ll finally see me in a role I’m more familiar with than parenting, having had three times as much experience in it!
But I’m sad too. Sad that Mr 3 will be in Kindy, three full days a week. Sad that I was hoping to devote my Miss-5-free time to Bloxham Marketing, and now I can’t. Sad that my life is looking to be just that extra bit MORE full-on and intense this year than I was expecting. Sad that this’ll mean that my Masters studies will inevitably be more prolonged than even I had bargained for.
But, happy that Hubby’s happy. Happy that the extra money coming in will start reducing our debt levels – and maybe even, one day, reducing the mortgage as well! Happy that I have such security, when I know that there are thousands out there who don’t have that. Happy that I’ll be in a role which is a second skin to me; something I’m familiar with and know that I can do well.
And finally, a little anxious. Concerned that I’ll be able to cope (nodule-on-my-right-vocal-cord-wise) because Primary School Music teaching is probably the most intense job on your voice that I can think of… but other than that, I think that’s it. That’s enough!
So today is Orientation day for new staff; everyone else will start Monday. Wish me luck! Here goes!!! đŸ˜€
Oh… and an update to yesterday’s “schoolbooks” story?
I quizzed Hubby (yet again!) when he walked in, late last night after interviewing for new staff all day, and he said, “yes. They’re at the school. I meant to bring them home today but forgot.”
YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!
Thanks ever so much for your kind thoughts & your prayers, dear readers… You guys ROCK!!!

one fish two fish old work new work

LOL I crack myself up sometimes!

This is probably going to be a bit of a crazy blog post because it’s 12.16am and I’m not sleepy. So I thought I’d write you all, about the job I’m starting in 10 days time.

I’m a teacher. Qualified in English and Music, but have taught Dance, Drama, Geography and History, Christian Education, Sex Education (NOT fun! Not when they’ve split the cohort into girls and boys and you’re given the boys class. The Year Ten boys class.) Leadership, Core Skills Test skills, Life Skills, and probably a host of other forgettable bits and pieces. I’ve taught mainly Years 7 through 12, but have also experienced Preppies through to Uni students. My last permanent stint was as Head of Middle School at Caloundra Christian College, which I resigned from at the end of 2007 because I was due to have our second child in January 2008. I’ve since done some contract teaching work, Music Preppies to Year 9 at Coolum Beach Christian College for a year, and Preppies to Year 10 at Glasshouse Country Christian College for a couple of terms, and relief teaching at a number of schools, but I haven’t really been looking for teaching work, what with our youngest not yet 4, and autistic.

So it was rather a surprise then, to find myself suddenly the owner of a teaching position again. The classroom music teacher at St Paul’s Lutheran Primary, Caboolture, announced her imminent departure on the last afternoon of school, leaving them in rather a tight spot. I was called, offered the position, and within a number of hours, had the job. Just like that!

It’ll mean quite a few changes that I hadn’t planned for. The biggest will be Mr Not-yet-4 attending a mainstream Kindy for three days a week. Three full days. That’s going to be interesting! but things are hopefully going to be working out, in that St Paul’s will have their Kindy operational by the 29th of January, and that the funding will have come through so that he’ll receive the assistance he needs to help him cope…

The second biggest will be my ‘other’ job. The one I love! Bloxham Marketing, which I was hoping to grow this year, seeing as Miss 4-almost-5 would have been going to Prep, Miss 7 continuing on into Year 3, and Hubby taking the both of them to school… but now I’m down three days a week, so that’ll take a bit of wise delegating and working smarter…

The third biggest will be my studies. Unfortunately, they’ll have to take an even bigger back-seat than what even *I* had anticipated! I was thinking of only doing one course (of the two I have left) – but now it would appear that I won’t even be able to do that! So that’s something I’ll have to broach with the powers-that-be, over at the Uni, when they start back later this year…

So yes. Some huge changes on the fast-approching horizon. Lucky I like change, huh?!!

Dreams

A while back now, I used to be a teacher. High school kids mainly, but I’ve taught from Prep through to Uni kids. But it was the High School kids that I enjoyed teaching the most. They were the right age that you could hold a conversation with, logically reason with, argue points of view with, and – if it was a good day – possibly be honoured enough to be a part of expanding their horizons. Witnessing that ‘lightbulb moment’ when a concept they’d been grappling with, finally made sense. SUCH an honour!

Well, some of those kids, at the end of each year, would bring me their Yearbook, and get me to sign the ‘Autographs’ page at the back. It must have been one of the early years of my teaching career that I really worked out what I wanted to say – and then I used the same phrase on each and every child’s book. Because I wished the same, hoped the same, and so gave the same advice, for each and everyone of them.

“Chase your dreams as hard and as far as you can.”

I wonder how many people read that. I wonder how many people remembered it. I wonder if any of them look back at their High School days and think that maybe, just once, someone hoped that they would have the best life they could possibly have.

Dreams are hard. They can be scary. They can drive us, inspire us, or freak us out if we think that maybe, just maybe, if we work that little bit harder, they might actually be within our reach.

How great a feeling it is to have a dream! To have hope!!!

What’s your dream today, dear reader? Whatever it is, my wish today? It’s for you. My advice, the same as I gave my High School treasures, as they set out into the next phase of their lives.

“Chase your dreams as hard and as far as you can.”

Go. Go on. Start chasing.

On classroom dynamics

So I was a classroom teacher for quite a lot of my career to date. Don’t actually want to count the years, but it was getting up around the 2 decade mark… That’s a bit scary to admit! But anyway, the point I trying to make in my long-winded, English teacher-y way is that a lot of that time, I was interested in the classroom dynamics, and how they’d often shift and change depending on the circumstances and personal growth of the members of the group. It was really quite fascinating to see how a group of unruly, ‘push the boundaries’ year 9 boys would change, at times quickly, another times more slowly, depending on who entered the group, who left, how they interacted with each other, and how they worked for (or didn’t work for, in some cases) the different teachers at the front of the classroom. Yes, classroom dynamics… A fascinating study.
I was thinking about that just this morning, as the dynamics of my household has changed since yesterday morning. This morning, Miss 7 is home; her first day of holidays. (Today is ‘Parent-Teacher interview day at her school.) So Hubby has gone to work, the kids have been fed, and now, with no extremely urgent deadlines (not til midday) I find myself back under my doona, checking twitter and posting for #blogjune on my iPhone, because Miss7 is occupying Mr3 in a two player PS2 game for an hour. She’s stoked, he’s stoked, and I get to relax for a bit (I’ve actually been up working on a St James ad since 5, so I’m not *completely* lazy!) and this is only possible due to the dynamics shift. Cool. Very cool.
Anyway, Miss 4 has now found me and this has inspired her to beg for Hide and Seek, so it looks as though my blog entry for today is over.
Have a great day, dear readers!

Where I’ve been

Okay, so I’ve been absent from this blog for what feels like months, but is only, in fact, 10 days. It’s now Monday 2 April, and it’s officially the ‘first day’ of school holidays. But while Miss 7 might sleep in this morning, Hubby will still have to drive in to work, and I’m in front of the screen already, getting work done while it’s quiet and still. Our work continues while schools have their break – and there’s always work to be done.

Last week was incredibly intense for me. Not only was I teaching a pretty full-on Prep class Monday through Thursday, I was also keeping the marketing of my clients ticking along. On Monday, for example, St Paul’s had a branding photo event with the brilliant photographer Greg Parsons. At the same time, the School Captain and Primary Head of School from Caloundra Christian College were being interviewed by Steve Dunster of Radio Rhema, to promote the Bike-a-thon that they ran on Friday, to raise money for the charity Reach-an-Orphan.

Tuesday and Wednesday was ‘quickly-interview-sources-and-take-photos-in-between-classes’ days, in preparation for the news story deadlines that always come around far too quickly. Thursday was ‘book the bus half-backs’ that I’ll be creating the skin designs for this week. And Friday was ‘finish the stories and submit by midday, then collapse’. And in between I was updating Facebook accounts – with photos of Firey’s visits and Cross Country carnivals – twitter accounts, and websites. Oh. And teaching Prep.

Man! No wonder I’m tired! Conclusion: I need a holiday.

The calm before the storm…

Today is the *last* day of the working week. Ha! I can’t recall when the last weekend that I didn’t work. Months ago? Years, more like.  I think, prior to conceiving the idea for GoodOldTalk.com – back when Mr 3 was 9 weeks old – I had some weekends where I wasn’t in front of the computer screen. I would have been busy with young children though. Is that just work of a different kind? Anyway, straying off topic here…

I love my job. Which is why I don’t keep regular hours. I often send emails between the hours of 9pm and midnight, or will blog in the early hours of the morning (I’m currently writing this at 3.54am) because that’s when it’s quiet and I can get stuff done. And if a kid wakes me in the middle of the night, as Mr 3 did just an hour or so ago, I’ll generally just stay up and work. And that’s okay with me. Truly. Being self-employed, if I don’t put in the hours and get the work done, I’ll lose my client’s respect – and then their business. Which is not good. So I work, and am happy to do so.

When it gets tricky though, is managing when I’m offered relief teaching. Since teaching means good money, and we need that, I only pass up these opportunities when I’m ill, or one of my children is. So missing a good 8 working hours out of a day while I teach means that I inevitably have to catch up that time elsewhere. And that’s where my organisation, of necessity, goes into overdrive.

Take next week, for example. I’ll be the St Paul’s Prep C teacher Monday through Thursday. I’ve also organised a branding photo event next Monday for the school – so the brilliant Greg Parsons will be shooting some additions to the St Paul’s library of branding photos. And normally I would assist in this event – but I can’t, because I’ll be in the classroom. I’ll also be in the classroom on Tuesday when I would normally be updating websites, on Wednesday during my Skype appointment with Hervey Bay, and on Thursday when I’d be interviewing sources for my weekly news stories that I submit on Fridays. See my problem? I need to re-schedule all my marketing activities for non-school hours… and not forget my mum / wife duties too (swimming lessons, shopping, cooking, washing clothes, helping with homework etc etc etc).

Sometimes life can be tricky to sort out. Lucky I’ve got this weekend to prepare it all! (Oh – and I apologise in advance. I doubt very much that I’ll be posting anything over the next several days!)

CC Image courtesy CC Chapman at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cc_chapman/480188435/

 

Flattened.

Squashed. Like a bug that’s been steamrolled. That’s how I’m feeling after this week. I mean, I knew it was going to be a biggie, going into it, but didn’t really expect to be feeling like this at its conclusion…

Monday was work day. Head down, bum up, get-a-heap-of-things-done day, because the rest of the week would be drive-around-like-crazy day. It didn’t help that I had negative-gig left in my data quota due to a mix-up with Telstra this time last month. But, I had to get it done, so done it got.

Tuesday morning I spent at St Paul’s, getting stuff done on campus – stuff which would have been nigh-on impossible to do remotely, then it was pick-up-the-kids-from-care-and-drive-up-to-Minyama for my last (sob) Speech Therapy session with Suzanne at Sunshine Coast Speech Therapists. Lovely lady. Truly lovely. And even though that nodule on my right vocal cord isn’t gone yet, at least now I have some techniques to speak properly without exacerbating it – and hopefully it will go over time. Then I taught that evening.

Wednesday morning was meant to be playgroup-before-podiatirist, but Miss 4 and Mr 2 weren’t going to cope too well with that, so we ended up just visiting our neighbour in the morning, then heading out to collect Miss 7 early form school and driving down to Brisbane for her Podiatry appointment, then driving back to Caboolture for her swimming lesson, before driving to Morayfield for a *fun* time grocery shopping, then finally back up the Coast to home.

Thursday was diagnosis day. Miss 4 got dropped off at my mum’s at Currimundi while Mr 2 came to Nambour (Selangor Hospital) with me. Autism diagnosis confirmed, he then spent the afternoon back at my mum’s villa while I visited Tullawong Primary College, Medicare, the Family Assisstance Office, CentreLink, and finally Telstra (Yay! Got the internet working on my iPhone again!) before collecting the kids and heading home exhausted…

And Friday, I relief taught a very full-on Prep class. And Miss 4 managed to lose one sandal at care. One half of her favourite (and only!) pair of sandals. And Hubby fell victim to an unfortunate accident – our HUGE German Shepherd pup tripped him up badly in their morning run – which not only meant that a) he spent the majority of the day visiting doctors (X-ray of right wrist revealed just tissue damage thank God!) and dentists (teeth shaken about and chipped, but little other damage) and b) being laughed at because he’s limping and looks a sight – and his dog did it to him, but also that he’s completely out of action when it comes to helping with the kids because they don’t understand that they can’t jump on him anymore – plus he has zero use of his right hand / wrist anyway.

And Saturday morning was family-time. Half-great; half-tragic. I guess it’s no wonder that I spent most of Saturday afternoon yawning, if not dozing / less-than-conscious. Which is why I’m blogging now, at 3.07am Sunday morning. Nuff said?!

Phew! And it looks as though this coming week will be almost as full on…!!!