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…!!!

My online identity – part two of two

Yesterday I posted (well, re-posted, actually!) an entry from my first-ever (and now inactive) blog. It outlined three questions that I return to again and again, when considering my online identity.

1. What do my images say about me?

2. What am I saying about me? and

3. What am I not saying about me?

Well, that was a little over 18 months ago. So what has changed? How do I now view ‘success’ in creating and maintaining my online identity?

18 months ago, I was just starting out with online tools. Sure, GoodOldTalk.com had been up and running for a little over a year, and I had an inactive twitter account, and I had been on Facebook for a while, but that was about it. No flickr, no YouTube, and so on – and I didn’t even know that tools such as TweetDeck, HootSuite existed – let alone EverNote, Instagram, DropBox, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, etc etc etc.

Now however, I’ve been self-employed for a year. I’ve been running my own Marketing business, and not only have I seen the need to be in social media for Bloxham Marketing, but creating and maintaining social media accounts for my clients is an integral part of my business. Which has meant that I’m a lot more ‘out there’ than I ever have been.

This blog has also played a major part in the evolution of my opinion regarding my online identity. I started it Christmas 2010, using @fionawb‘s #blog12daysChristmas as an impetus. My PLN, formed for the most part by Librarians on twitter, was integral in maintaining this blog throughout its development, to what it is today. Through the relationships I now have with online friends, I have come to see that it’s probably okay to relax a little from that hard-liner stance I had, 18 months ago.

1. What do my images say about me? That’s been a toughy. I like to add an image to each of my blog entries, however when I want to write about my kids, and I don’t want to upload their images to the net, that’s a little problematic. So a few weeks back now, I dedicated a post to each, and included their photo (albeit, not a particularly identifiable one!) Plus, in my recent exploration of Pinterest, and its ability to easily embed (and attribute, of sorts!) into WordPress, that’s made my life a little easier. Now I feel as though I can show a little of who I am / what I like through the images I display – even though these images don’t necessarily have me in the frame or behind the camera.

2. What do I say about myself? Again, I’ve probably been more vulnerable than I had ever thought I would be. From entries about my gambling addiction (coming up to 20 years not being at a BlackJack table – as much as I still think about it more regularly than I’d like!) to my miscarriage, from my employment problems to my time in a cult, I’ve exposed quite a lot about myself… but then again, “my friends IRL know this stuff about me, and I’m comfortable sharing with them, so why not others?” is how I see it. Obviously, I keep my personal stuff on this blog, and my Bloxham Marketing blog is all about the work side of my life, however when I think of my online identity, I’m trying to reflect who I am as a person. As much as I’d like to cover up the yuk stuff, and pretend to be something I’m not, I have a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for too long, and then you, my dear readers, would see right through it – and then, where would I be?!

3. What do I NOT say about me? Again, this has changed, in the light of my being far more open online than I had expected I would be. I’m still wary of PII, however as a self-employed business owner, I need to be contactable by potential clients, so my contact details are accessible in what I feel are the appropriate places. And as for embarrassing myself with inappropriate photos / videos / stories? Yup – pretty much all of them are in the “not sayin’!! basket”!

So – this is me. What do you think? Agree? Or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Toys for toys?

Today was Day 2 of LEQ’s Mini-conference, exploring iPads in education, on the Sunshine Coast. Again, another very cool day of exploring what iPads can do; how Apps, App chains, and even the tool itself, can be leveraged for better outcomes for our kids. Very very very cool stuff.

Amongst the myriad of sessions and workshops were two standouts for me. Firstly, the very tactile ‘app-cesseries’ – extra bits and pieces that accessorise the iPad (or iPhone, iPod, etc) to give it added functionality. My favourite – in the photo – would have to be the mini-Mater (from Disney’s Cars movie) that you could move on the iPad to explore the world of the movie.

 

And the other standout would have to be my extreme surprise at one of Greg O’Connor’s slides. Still can’t believe it, but there was a screenshot of hmmm… up there. Yes, you read right – he had my last night’s blog entry “The Good Stuff” up there on the screen, and was talking about this ‘cool blog he had found last night’. Absolutely INCREDIBLE!!! I was just so surprised, so grateful, so humbled! (If you ever read this, Greg – thank you SO much!) Absolutely stunned to think that everyone at this conference had, in a way, “visited” my blog. How COOL!!!

So yes, these were my highlights of the day. And if, by any chance, any of my readers also happened to attend the LEQ conference, please feel free to add below what your highlights were. And if you weren’t – then I’d love to hear what you think of the Mater truck!

(Oh, and I’ll be writing a blog post on the other great Apps / links, on the other page – “The Good Stuff”. Hope they’re helpful!)

On learning patience

I am not a patient person.

Source: google.com via Camille on Pinterest

Actually, I would consider myself a very impatient person. I dislike waiting. I dislike explaining myself over and over. I dislike being in a situation where I perceive my time to be ‘being wasted’.

I see this as a significant personality flaw, and try to be conscious of when I am being abrupt with others. But some days try me more than others.

On Tuesday of this week, I taught Prep. I repeated this yesterday. The same class – which made it easier as I knew some of their names. The kids, as a whole, were lovely children, and I did find the days enjoyable – although exhausting.

But what I found difficult to comprehend was the extremely poor level of “academic” knowledge of some of these children. Several of them, at 5 or even 6 years old, could not even identify their letters, and couldn’t answer what sound they made. Some would answer “nnnn” for the letter ‘P’ or would pronounce “S” with a ‘d’. And they seemed completely confused by the whole concept of letters, sounds, and words.

I was flabbergasted. As a mum of three young ones myself, and (I admit with major embarrassment) someone who only taught her eldest capital letters prior to her own entry to Prep 2 years ago, I realise now the importance of equipping your child – and doing it properly. Miss 7 had to “relearn” each letter, and that’s something I’m determined to rectify with my younger two cherubs. But as for these Prep children this week – it was as if the whole alphabet was a foreign concept! And that brings me back to the idea of patience.

I’m glad I’m a ‘High School’ teacher. I doubt I’d have the patience to teach younger children all day every day. But then again, it’s the constancy of the activity that has the most effect. It’s the pressure on the coal that turns it into a diamond; the regularity of a water drip that will form a trickle, then a stream, then the mighty waterfall.

Perhaps it’s not that I *need* to practice patience to be a better person, it’s that the situations I find myself in, where I must demonstrate patience, will form in me the traits that I desire.

Or perhaps I should not wish “patience” for myself – as there’s only one way that I will learn it!

Oh, the joys!

On New Year’s Day, hubby and I took the kids to Bribie Island for the day, with some good friends and their three children. Afterwards, we ate at their place, and Miss 3 found Wall-E, a v-tech toy that belonged to the other family’s Mr 7. He was more than happy for her to borrow it for a little while, so for the past five days we’ve been regaled with all the sounds that accompany the dozen-odd educational games he plays.

I also instituted a new house *rule* recently, as I was completely and utterly OVER the wastage of food by my own three gorgeous cuties, at meal time. Miss 6 and Miss 3 currently earn pocket money (Mr 2 will start this as well, when he becomes Mr 3 in a couple of months) and they love spending it on whatever takes their fancy. But now, to teach them the value of food, if they leave any food – for example, crusts on their plate after their morning toast – then they *pay* me whatever amount equates to the amount that is left. Sometimes it’s 5 cents, sometimes 10 cents – and boy they learned to not eat a huge morning tea the day that they both left half their lunch, and had to pay back 25 cents each! Some might be horrified at me for my ruthlessness, but boy! it’s working! There’s a LOT less food wastage since they’ve learned that food costs money!

The thing is though, I’ve started paying them pocket money in 5 cent pieces, instead of 10 cent pieces. Which is no real biggie to Miss 6, but is quite the novelty to Miss 3. And her interest in all things ‘money’ led her to pretend that Wall-E was a short, kid’s version, of an ATM.

Long story sort, my friend’s Mr 7’s expensive v-tech Wall-E now has several 5 cent pieces floating around his insides.

Whoops!!!