#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges Christianity More about me my novel-in-progress Work Writing

J is for ‘job’

The regular reader of this blog may remember that I started a new job this year.

Head of Middle School at Caloundra Christian College.

I have well over one hundred 11 to 14 year olds to be responsible for. That’s a lot of hormones!

It’s been fun. So far, I’ve laughed and cried, exulted and been furious, enjoyed every second and wanted to tear my hair out with frustration. And that’s just before Morning Tea each day! Just kidding.

It’s been a wild ride, and I’m loving it. As a Christian, I *do* feel ‘called’ to the position, and I also feel as though I’m making a difference in the lives of the majority of the children in my care. And that gives me such a feeling of satisfaction!

But it’s also been far busier than I’d expected. So much so, that my writing has fallen seriously by the wayside. I knew it would – but not quite to this extent. No matter. This #AtoZchallenge is helping me get back some writing mojo – and when April finishes, I have JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE MEDDLING MERMAN to complete. Hopefully by Mother’s Day, which is the challenge I’ve set myself.

But school starts back next week after the two week Easter break, so it’ll be interesting to see if things go to plan…

Anyway, have a great day, dear Reader, and hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with ‘K’ !

— KRidwyn

Life momentous events Random thoughts teaching Work

I’m still smiling…

So the first day of school came, and went, and I’m still smiling. No, not everything went to plan, but that’s okay. Tomorrow’s a new day.

And yes, I’m planning on being smiling at the end of tomorrow as well 🙂

Have a great week, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

family anecdotes teaching University studies Work

One week in…

I posted late last year about my new job for 2017. Well, I’ve been in it a week now. And what an INCREDIBLE week it’s been!

You see, the position I’ve just started, Head of Middle School at Caloundra Christian College, is the position I held nine years ago. I absolutely loved it; of all my teaching jobs over the years, it was my absolute favourite. I resigned from it at the end of 2007 because I was heavily pregnant with she-who-is-now-Miss8. Yes, I *could* have just taken maternity leave, and resumed work after a period of time, but I didn’t know how many more children Hubby and I would have (he-who-is-now-Mr7 arrived just 14 months later) and I felt it wouldn’t be fair on either the school or the Middle School students, to have an on-again-off-again Head of School. Not with 11 to 14 year olds. At that time of life, they need stability, not more uncertainty and inconsistency!

So I resigned, had Miss8, and later Mr7, and started my Masters. Ran a business. Taught contracts. Raised kids. Finished my Masters, closed my business. Scored permanent part-time work.

And then I saw the position advertised. *My* position!

Went for it.

Got it.

And am LOVING it!!!

Plus, now that the child-bearing thing is done and dusted for me, this position is what I’m planning on being in for a very, very long time. I’m smiling broadly about that one. Feel free to smile along with me!

And have a great week, dear reader 😀



#AtoZchallenge Blogging challenges Christianity More about me teaching

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #7

As a teacher for *cough* over twenty *cough* years, I’ve had a few student teachers in that time. You know, the people who study ‘teaching’ at Uni, who come and practice teaching for a few weeks, or months, to learn the ropes of how a classroom operates. Or should.

Some of those student teachers were fantastic. Dedicated, willing to learn, like little sponges eager to hear and absorb ‘the pearls of wisdom that dropped from my lips’. (Ha! I just quoted from my own Film and TV teacher, from my own days as a Senior. She was a fervent teacher, Nicky Bricknell.)

Other student teachers? Not so much.

But when it boiled down to it, they weren’t in charge. I was. The responsibility for the cherubs in my classes lay entirely with me.

Likewise with God.

FullSizeRender (3)In the book of John, chapter 10, verses 11 to 14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”

I like the idea that I’m not in the class where the student teacher has assumed entire responsibility. I’m in the class where my teacher is the Head Honcho. So I can be confident that my needs – all of them! – will be attended to. He’ll look after me, because I belong to Him.

And that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 7. Because God is the GOOD shepherd, I can be confident. (And if you’re interested in seeing what BAD shepherding is like, and how God feels about it, read Ezekiel 34. But be warned: He doesn’t like it!)

So on that note, have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

Life More about me my novel-in-progress Random thoughts teaching Work

What’s new…

Well now then, let’s see. It’s been months since I’ve posted ‘news’ from my world. Getting to finally introduce Vicky and Troy last week was lovely, and yes, they’re an important part of my writing life, but other stuff is pretty important too, such as…

I’m teaching less this year. Down from 0.7FTE to 0.6FTE. It feels weird, and Hubby and I have certainly noticed the back pocket is a LOT lighter now, but – on the upside, it’s leaving more time for me to get stuck into this writing thing that I’m falling more in love with. So that’s pretty… ummm… wonderful! 😀

I’ve also started learning harp. Which I thought wouldn’t be *too* hard – seeing as I’m a Music teacher an’ all – but boy was I wrong! Getting the technique right is painful!!! (Both on my self-esteem and my thumbs. I never realised just how much harp strings take it out on your thumbs.) So that’s a bit of fun, and in two lessons I’ve learned six notes. Wow. That’s humbling. Just six. Thumb and two fingers on each hand. Uh huh. That’s all.

So yes, that’s new. And having my eldest in her final year of Primary School is a bit of a major emotional milestone, too. She’s the school’s Music Captain too, so insert proud Mummy faces here. I’m so incredibly stoked about *that* one! Now for her to live up to the job…

And finally, in writing news, I’ve been vacillating between finishing the mess that is GUARDIAN (a Christian novel for 10-11 year olds) or editing the adventure for 7 – 8 year olds that is JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT. Both have strengths and weaknesses. And I know I need to focus on just one of them, and get it finished and off through the query process; but I don’t know which I should complete first! JUSTINE BROWNING has less work… but GUARDIAN is what I’m feeling that I *should* be writing…

Anyway, it’ll all pan out in the end, I’m guessing.

So yeh, that’s where I’m at. How about you?

Have a fantastic day!

— KRidwyn

Life random scribblings teaching

On death and other such stuff…

So I wrote last week about motivations; what’s the *real* reason behind people – and characters in novels – doing what they do. Is it all explainable? If so, then is it forgiveable? When is a crime a crime? All that kind of thing. I was trying to puzzle out how to go about writing a torture scene for my current WIP (Work in Progress). I was concerned that, having had zero experience with torturing someone – physically, anyway; I’m fairly sure that I hurt people emotionally in my past, and I’m sorry and I regret it – and having zero experience also of being tortured physically, that my writing of a torture scene would be just simply inane. How could I write something successfully when I had – you guessed it, zero! – first hand experience? Yes, imagination is all well and good, but in my opinion it’s not good enough when potential readers *have* real experience of torture, and who may find my treatment of it inane, hurtful, derogatory, deprecating. So I was worried.

And so, after several hours stewing, chewing my nails about it, and so on, I did the only thing I could do. I needed a torture scene, so I sat down and wrote it. As best I could. I guess it’s just a wait-and-see what my beta-readers think of it when I finally get it to them, huh?

I had death on my mind rather more than normal this week. Not only because I wrote my first ever torture scene, in which the character died as a consequence, but also because my doctor suggested it to me on Monday. You see, I was finalising the paperwork for Mr6’s future autism allied health visits, and needed his signature. He signed away happily, then looked at me, and asked how I was going. If I was sick at all. I said yes, I’d been sick since last Thursday, and it had gone through the throat on fire and the runny nose, to my chest. He said, “Come on in, let’s check you out” and ushered me into his office quite smartly. I was surprised, I didn’t have an appointment. Long story short, I was at 50% lung capacity and hadn’t realised. He’d asked me what my athsma was normally like, when I wasn’t having an attack like I was right then. I replied that I wasn’t having an attack, that my breathing had been like that all day. He was very, very concerned. I explained that my reason (there’s that word again!) for not using my ventolin was that, whenever I use it when I have a headcold, the ventolin reacts badly with that nodule on my vocal cords, and I end up with laryngitis for AGES. The last time, it took over 6 weeks to clear. And as a 0.7FTE teacher, I can’t afford to lose my voice.

He said, “Just imagine if you got to the stage where you’re down to only 30%, and you’re in the shower, with all the humidity, trying to get air in, and then something triggered an attack. I’d hate to think what might happen.” Which made me think. Seeing as my husband regularly works a ridiculous-number-of-hours-week, I’m primary care-giver to my three gorgeous cherubs. And I would hate them to be traumatised by one of them finding me curled up on the floor of the bathroom, turning blue, gasping for air, at 10pm at night [not to mention I couldn’t afford the therapist fees], so I reluctantly agreed. Laryngitis versus death. I guess one is infinitely preferable to the other.

I was amused, initially, at how ‘serious’ it all was… until it occurred to me that having only 50% lung capacity was kinda like I’d been walking around and doing stuff with just one lung. So I did as the doc suggested. I bought my own Peak Flow meter (my God, those things are expensive!!!) and have been diligently taking my meds (so much for the ‘drowsy’ side effects; I’ve had insomnia all week) and my stats have slowly risen from the 240 which I blew Monday afternoon, and the low of 150 that I got to on Monday night, back up to the 340 mark. Which is good. Someone of my height should be blowing at around 480, apparently, so I’m getting there.

So yes, death has preoccupied me a little. This morning though, I’m more thinking about pain. Because for the first time in a few weeks, I did my Krav Maga session yesterday morning. And boy, oh boy, am I feeling it today!

Have a great week, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

#blogjune Random thoughts teaching Work

four days behind…

And I was so proud of how I’d been going with #blogjune this year, too! I guess I hadn’t really realised just how incredibly busy I would be this week. And how little time I’d get to blog. And I’m sad about that.

On paper, this past week seemed a fairly normal week. Sure, I’d have our school’s semester one performance night on Thursday night, but then I’d have Friday off, so I’d be able to recuperate while the kids were at school, and get myself ready for the two weeks of school holidays 🙂

But the reality didn’t match my expectations. Two days of sports carnivals and not-as-helpful-as-I-would-have-liked colleagues meant that although I had *planned* that the performance program order was finalised by Tuesday 9am, so that programs could be written, printed, photocopied, and the powerpoint made… in reality, the program order was only finalised at 12.45pm on Thursday. Dealing with this caused numerous headaches – and the sleepless nights caused by a sick child, and stress over other work issues didn’t make things easier.

Cue swearing and throwing of inanimate objects at other inanimate objects,  (discreetly, of course, where there was noone within earshot, no witnesses, and no harm came to any of the inanimate objects involved,) and a crazy-busy period between 12.45pm and 4pm on Thursday where I managed to get an insanely huge amount of work done WHILE running a choir rehearsal then two Year 3 lessons where the classes were learning and playing recorder (and, of course, fielding several phone calls during this time too) and also collecting two children from their various excursions that had happened that day, and getting Mr6 off to a doctor appointment with Hubby while Miss10 also decided to do a disappearing act on both Hubby and I… just thinking about it, two days later, makes me shake my head and wonder how on earth it all managed to happen! Still, it did, and by 5.45pm, Miss10 and Miss7 and I were fed, ready, and they had also helped me to set up the venue (including supper area, of course, and it was at this point that I realised that I had NO tea, coffee, milk or sugar organised. Whoops.) Cue more swearing (inside my head because students and parents were arriving for the 6pm performance) and some immensely helpful parents, and then it was 6.02 and I was on stage, welcoming everyone to our major evening for Semester One.

Home and collapse by 11pm. But you know those nights when you have so much adrenalin you can’t sleep? That.

And then Hubby couldn’t do the school run on Friday, so the kids stayed underfoot all day. But 95 square metres of tiles *did* get delivered at 5.15pm that day, ready for laying starting 7am this coming Monday, so from then til this minute, I’ve been attempting to empty 95 square metres of furniture out of my house so that the tiles can be laid. And that particular task hasn’t been anywhere near as successful as I’d like it to have been.

So. Four days late for my 24 of June #blogjune entry. Whoops. But I think my excuse is valid, yes?

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn


#blogjune Life momentous events teaching Work


A few months ago, I shaved my head for #ShaveForACure. I raised quite a bit of money… but more than that, I raised awareness of blood-related cancers in the hundreds of kids I teach on a weekly basis.

Today, for the first time since I had my head shaved in front of them all, I’m hat-less.

Here goes!

Have a great day, dear reader!


#blogjune family anecdotes my novel-in-progress teaching

On the relationship between libraries, teaching, and vocal nodules

I’ve been teaching ever since I can remember. Well, not when I was 4, or 5, or thereabouts. Of course. But since my early teens, I’ve been earning money teaching. Back then, it was teaching violin to children who’d just started learning, and whose parents wanted private lessons. It was easy enough – I knew how to play, and passed this knowledge on. At 21, I got formal qualifications in the field, and went on to teach kids as young as four, to students older than me, in subjects that varied from English and Music to Drama, Geography, Christian Studies, History, Dance – and there was also a Sex. Ed. semester long unit in the late 1990’s – to a class of Year Ten boys!

My younger brother commented once, “You’re such a born teacher!” He’d been staying with Hubby and I, and all of us were in our late twenties. I’d just finished teaching a private violin student, and was helping her to count out change from the money she’d paid me. Rather than just giving her the money (4 or 5 coins), I had asked her to count it as I put the coins, one by one, into her hand. My brother watched this, laughed and shook his head, and made the comment – which has stuck with me ever since. I realised that, ‘Yes, I am. Teaching is something that I love doing. Imparting knowledge, helping children develop skills, watch them develop attitudes – hopefully positive ones! That’s what I love.’

Back in 2010, I decided to qualify myself as a Librarian. So that, when my children were old enough to go to school, I could return to full-time work as a Teacher Librarian.

Life didn’t work out quite like that. I’m back at work, on a 7-day fortnight, in a permanent teaching role. And my kids are all at school. Those Library qualifications, earned last December, are just that. Qualifications. At the moment.

But the good thing is that I’m only working a 7-day fortnight. Which means that, every Monday for a while now, I’ve been able to volunteer in a Library for a few hours. And I love it!!! In fact, I would love to be heading there this morning. That’s what I was planning to do. And I was planning to blog this afternoon about it.

But again, life intervened. This morning, it was in the form of that annoying nodule on my vocal cords which sometimes decides to make its presence known. I developed it about six years ago, when I lost my voice for over three months. It was pretty bad. Speech therapy worked wonders though – however, at certain points in time, when I’m sick, it must feel neglected or something, and so it flares up. And that’s what has happened today.

I know that if I don’t rest it, it’ll get angrier and angrier, and I’ll lose my voice for longer than just a few days. So, unfortunately, home is the only place I’ll be at today. Home, and quiet. No Library time for me. And that makes me sad. But it can’t be helped.

On the upside though, I guess, I’ll be able to get stuck into that children’s book that I finished some weeks back. The one that I’ve been procrastinating editing. Because all the advice that I’ve read says: ‘leave it for a month’; ‘wait, let it rest’; ‘return to it with fresh eyes’. Or maybe it’s just because I’m scared. I don’t want to edit it! I’ve never edited a full work of mine before… because I’ve never written a full work before! But today’s lack-of-voice provides a perfect opportunity, so I’d best not waste it.

Hold me to it, dear reader! And have a great day yourself!

— KRidwyn

teaching Work


Today I watched children perform. I watched them turn sing, dance, do gymnastics. I watched them support each other, applaud each other, and do this voluntarily. I watched older children organise, compere, stage crew, and sound crew.

This would not have happened without my instigating it. Teaching the older children how to run it. Supervising. Smoothing over the (very few) rough patches.

It was beautiful.

I loved every second.

Sometimes, life is just wonderful.

Here’s wishing your day is just as wonderful, dear reader!

— KRidwyn