Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Sunday, 29 November 2009


The wind has stopped. I can hear birds chirping! But there is the mother of all fronts coming in over the sea. I think it might be the other side of yesterday's weather pattern. Maybe it will blow everything back over the other way and it will all be straight again? Wonder if that would work on the basketball post that blew over yesterday? Hmm. Maybe not. .....

Where was I?

Oh yes...reports....

"Junior is a lively, social member of the class............."

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Oh The Wind Is Blowing Gustily

After the record heat of the previous two weeks, the last few days have descended once more into a wintry bluster. Today has been amazing. The wind has not let up all day, in fact it's doing my head in. It's a bit like the Chinese Water Torture. From time to time rain lashes almost horizontally against the front windows and we can see white caps on the sea. Given that it's about 8km away Himself assures me that these would be waves higher than our house!

I am wedged firmly in the jaws of report writing. Ugh. How many ways can you say, 'This child could not care less about mathematics and makes no effort whatsoever to engage with the curriculum. He would not know homework if he fell over it and the concept of revising for a test is as familiar as Russian metaphysical poetry of the 14th century '?

Occasionally I can slide in a quick, 'works well in class' or 'contributes actively to class discussion' although the latter is not always a good thing; especially when class discussion involves either 'why we shouldn't have to learn maths' or 'what I did on the weekend'.

There has been no sailing for the past two weeks. Last week Small Boy had a birthday party to go to so Himself stomped about like a bear with a sore head who has been deprived of his salmon. This week of course the wind strength meant everything was canceled. The last recorded result was Jester 7th and Gunshot first! I think No 2 Son had a second last week too. At least one member of the family is having a good season.

Oh and The BA's team won their netball last night beating another team from their club who were in the division above but have been dropped down. She put in a scintillating second half after a slow start and was pleased to have found the measure of her opponent whom she has practised against in the past but never beaten.

Small Boy has been playing non stop with his two mates from up the street, of late. The three of them are seemingly inseparable and undeniably boys! This is the kind of spontaneous pose you get when you ask them to smile for the camera. At least Small Boy is well trained!! It's hard to believe he's the oldest of the three of them given his size isn't it?

Other bits and pieces: I've got a cold which came out of nowhere. I feel ok but can't stop sneezing! Very irritating! Also the Small Boy introduced us to a website called 'Grooveshark' where you can find 'any song in the world' he claims and stream it for free! Himself is currently on a quest to find a song that isn't on there. I am being treated to a soundtrack of Yes, Pink Floyd, Nils Lofgren, Rory Gallagher and Lou Reed. Bit of a time warp.

Ah well. I must stop procrastinating. Back to the grindstone. Let's hope this wind lets up soon.

Sunset on the Eucalypts: Nov 09

Thursday, 26 November 2009

For Our Lovely Auntie Middle Sis

Today was a landmark day for the Baby Angel. We went to her new school (my Alma Mater) and acquired her new uniform! Here she models the attractive summer uniform with jumper.The jumper appears to have changed not since my day! As she stood in the changing room grimacing at me and indicating her lack of enthusiasm for the design of said garment, I called to the shop lady,
"Do you have it another colour? I think she'd like another colour."

So here she is in the correct configuration of summer uniform and blazer, which must be worn to and from school if the weather is cooler. (HA!!! Fat chance!!!) Note also the attractive school bag. Oh! I forgot to get her to put the hat on. Bwahahahahahahaha. Sorry, sorry, must pull myself together. Let's face it; we didn't wear the hat when we went to the school either! Well, except for first day of school shots. Here's Middle Sis workin' that hat! Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
And just to prove that I'm unbiased, here is my Baby Sis modelling her uniform in the traditional family way. I think the dress has improved, mind you, it's a close call. Now here is the BA in her new sports uniform. Come on siblings! You have to admit this is an improvement! I tried to get a shot of her socks with the school name running around the top but I couldn't get the camera to focus in so close.!
Now I'm not being selective here. I have looked and looked and cannot find a picture of me in my old school summer uniform! If any of my siblings or parental body can find a pic and email it to me I will be pleased(?) to post it!

And a very quiet shout out to my Middle Sis...cos she will be embarrassed....a shout out of thanks and love from across the miles.

Yesterday In Year 9 Maths Class...........

There's a single stifled giggle from across the classroom, which quickly becomes less stifled and is rapidly joined by others. I glance up from the co-ordinate geometry I am explaining in time to see several red faced pupils, a couple of desks over, looking my way and choking back guffaws.

They are too far away to be the actual source of this hysteria so my super-fast, patented teacher eyes flick down at the speed of an eyelash to take in the 'usual suspect' perched innocently on his chair, right next to me. At about the level of my butt.

Now, had this little angel been bent forward, intent on his probability revision, he would be nowhere near my butt.........but........

"What's going on Luke (not his real name)," I enquire sweetly; voice laced with honeyed venom.
His long lashed, wide eyed mock innocent baby blues look brazenly up into mine. This kid is going for the Oscar.
"Why nothing, Mrs A! I'm just doing my maths."

The stifled mirth around me cracks the dam wall and spills over into fully fledged belly laughs.

This is not good.

As any teacher knows, when you are up against it like this, it is best to work with the humour. Think fast; what has probably been happening? My bent over posture would mean he was pretty close to my butt. Was he making gestures? Sticking something on it? No I would have felt that. Gestures maybe..... I take a chance.

Straightening up I glance down at my rear end and then fix him with a death adder smile.

"Well, Luke, all I can say is I'm glad someone is still interested in my arse after all
these years

His beetroot red flush was gratifying to behold.

The deafening roar of laughter from the rest of his classmates was the icing on the cake.

Who said teaching secondary doesn't have its moments?

Post-Script: Some judicious questioning of his mates, later, leads me to believe that what he was actually doing was taking photos of my butt with his mobile phone! Well, whatever floats your boat I guess!!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Serenity. Decision Made

Had a discussion with the Principal of the other school on Friday. The field through the gate is not as idyllic as it may first have appeared. Some of the time would be made up by a team teaching position on a year 5/6 class. It decided me. I'm staying where I am for now.

I feel very serene about the decision. Must have been the right one.


Meanwhile I'm watching 4 more overlockers on ebay; Himself is on Kangaroo Island for a few nights and I read 'Twilight' on the weekend. Rats. Addicted.

Where Do I Go Wrong?

Year 11, Language Disordered, ADD and acutely anxious.

For a term now we have been working on mastering the process of finding a percentage of a quantity.

First he does a sheet like this:

Change this percentage to a decimal.

He moves the decimal place back two places and gets 0.235. He does 50 of these in around one minute now.

Next he does a sheet like this:

23.5% of 252.5

He converts to a decimal and puts the numbers into his calculator.
0.235 x 252.5
He does 50 of these in under 4 minutes.

Finally he does a sheet like this:

What is 23.5% of $252.50?

He has to convert the words to a number sentence
23.5% x $252.50
Change the percentage to a decimal
0.235 x $252.50
And put the numbers into the calculator.

Today was his 'exam'. He had three pages: 50 questions like the above on each page. He completed the first page. He mostly completed the second. He froze on the third.

After his exam time was up he came to me and told me he couldn't do the third page, they were just too confusing. He had no idea where to start.

"You've done these problems lots of times before." I protested.
"I don't care, I can't do them today. It's too confusing Mrs A. I don't know what I'm doing."
"But it's exactly the same process as the page before only this time it's in words..."
"I don't care, I can't do it. It's NOT the same. It's too confusing."

I explained the process again. I showed how the three sheets built up, one from the other using the same skills. I gave him another 15 minutes to complete the last page. At the end of the time he came to me and said "It's no use. I can't do them," and flounced away in a state of high anxiety.

What am I missing? Where has my process fallen down. Can someone please give me his perspective because I am at a loss!!!!!!

Still, on a positive note, at the beginning of term he couldn't even do 1 sheet of any type without asking for constant reassurance and asking questions every 30 secs. At least he got through the first two pages unaided today......

Oh. This young man has an average IQ by the way! He has what is called a Specific Learning Difficulty.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

*&^%$#@ EBAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My next overlocker auction ended this evening. Half an hour before I went to place my final bids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was AEDST (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time) and we are ACDST (Australian Central Daylight Savings Time) a fact which escaped me because the last auction item was here in South Australia! AND it went for within my price range.................

It looks like I am not meant to have an overlocker............

Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

And In The Grey Corner....

Thanks to all those bloggy mates with advice on the job dilemma.

Here is the story.

Four years ago I was in a lovely school doing a fulltime job which I really enjoyed. I taught little kids with learning difficulties to read and spell, blundered my way through some Gifted and Talented groups, ran the school's standardised assessment program, liaised with parents, co-ordinated Special Needs and took a group of Y9 boys for Additional English (extra help instead of French). It was great. I loved the staff, my kid went to the same school so transport was not an issue and I got to help out in the primary and secondary musicals which I loved.

Unfortunately, the teacher who had been on leave for two years came back and I had to find new digs. Thus began my strange and unforseen journey into secondary teaching, a journey which has not been without angst and frustration but which occasionally offers glimpses of vivid white light at the end of the tunnel. I am challenged by the secondary kids but I am also motivated and inspired from time to time. I love the staff where I am and I am familiar with the routines and surroundings.

Last week they first school rang to tell me the job had opened up again and would I be interested?

Time and money are big questions here. My current job is 0.76 EFT and this other one would be 0.8-full time. However, my current job is increasing to 0.93 next year and having done the calculations it's only about $70.00 a fortnight more to move.

Some people have suggested I do a pros and cons chart and indeed I have already done one. There are equal amounts of bullet points in each box.

The real question is.....can I be fagged moving? Do I need this upheaval? I don't think I'm in the mood for change despite this post. The trouble is that was Term 2. Since then there has been The Musical and somewhere along the line this year I have let go of a lot of control issues both at work and at home (stop sniggering those of you who know me). I am settled and comfortable.

I am still undecided.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Some Are Lucky, Some Are Not

You know when you're standing in a field and looking over the fence and going, "Gee it looks good over there in that neck of the woods. Boy I'd like to get over there. My life would be SO different if only I could get into that field."

And then someone opens the gate?

And suddenly you're not sure why you wanted to go there in the first place and your own, mud ridden, bumpy patch seems very comfortable, thank you very much, and why on earth would you want to leave?

Well that's how I'm feeling right now.

Any advice? It's job related by the way ;-)

Saturday, 14 November 2009

PS: The Weather Widget Is Asleep Again

It currently says 27C.
Well, yeah! Here under the air conditioning vent MAYBE!!!! I wonder where their thermometer is???????

Bloody Ebay


I lost my overlocker in the last 10 seconds of the auction. Small Boy was by my side and giving me advice on the way.
"30 seconds to go...now you can get worried A"
"OK should I up my maxi,mum bid now?"
"Put it up to $100.00"
"oooo I don't know...that might give too much away, I can just put a max in and be ready to press the button.."
"you should refresh every 10 secs"

"Alright Small Boy, we're down to the last 5 secs....OMG I'VE LOST IT.....
"Quick....up your max! I TOLD you to go to $100"
"QUICK QUICK............."

Too late.

I think I may have sworn.

My highest bid was $98.89 and she won it for $102.50 :-(

I say 'she' of course. I just can't imagine men bidding on overlockers although I guess it must happen.

I have other news to share about a job offer but I'm off to see A Free Family in this disgusting heat so that will have to wait. The Small Boy and his Dad have left for sailing and No2 Son was dragged out of bed too. He is sailing with last year's champion this year so he is feeling pretty good about himself. Last week they won and Himself and Small Boy came second!

I shall have to come up with some 'names' for their boats so I can report race results more quickly, with less key strokes that is.

Hmmmmm.....let's call them....

Jester: Skipper; Himself, Crew; The Small Boy
Gunshot: Skipper; Dee, Crew: No 2 Son
The Other One: the main competition..previous State Champion.

Right. Off to commiserate my ebay loss with The Free Family!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

What I Would Like To Write About If I Had Time

The Hen Night.
The Wedding.
The recent visit of an old friend from Teacher's College.
The two day course on Maths I have just done.
The overlockers I have bids on.
My sick husband (it's like sleeping with a combine harvester...all that tossing and turning).
The school fees for the Baby Angel's new school for next year :-(
My wonderful Mum and Dad who are helping out with the above.
The heat................
Year 11s leaving this week.
Exams. Reports. Marking.
Being made chairperson of the Industrial Relations Committee hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Monday, 9 November 2009

Missing In Action

I admit it. I've kind of been living at ebay and facebook lately! I don't know what's the matter with me; I don't feel like writing. Maybe it's the weather? Over 37c again today and forecast to last til Saturday!! :-(

I'm currently in the market for an overlocker (serger for you US types). I lost out on one the night before the big wedding because I was so busy sewing the BA's dress that I forgot to check on the auction progress. I've got a lot to learn about this ebay thing. Turns out that one didn't do rolled hems which are apparently a big plus and certainly would have been a good thing on the BA's dress (I felt the hem I had painstakingly hand sewn looked neat but heavy; rolled may have been better) so maybe it was for the best.

I've tried to do a little research on the various brands but there's remarkably few user reviews. It's also tricky to find out whether the second hand machines on ebay do the rolled hem and whether they have an automatic setting or need a cumbersome needle and plate change. Predictably, companies are more keen to tell you about their current models.

There's a Janome Mylock 654D (I think) going and I'm in the running but I'm trying to decide whether to go over the Au $150.00 mark. Postage has to be considered as well. Does anyone know this machine and whether it's worth it?

Aside from that I had a very interesting weekend catching up with a friend from Teacher's College whom I hadn't seen for 20 years! She had tried to find me some years ago, phoning everyone in Sydney with my maiden name and asking if I lived there. I was deeply touched. Finally she found me on 'friends reunited' which lists people against their schools and training or tertiary institutions. I signed up for that site in 2000 and am still listed under my maiden name.

I picked her up from the airport on Friday night and we had a wonderful catch-up at the BA's netball match (they won and she played VERY well). Unfortunately, with a sleepy BA on my hands I had to drop her at her accommodation that night and meet up again the next morning.

Boy we can talk!

We talked all through the morning, all through lunch (Italian), all through my drive by tour of the city, scenic trip through the hills to my place, tour of the house, drive back to the city, pre dinner drinks, dinner (Thai) and nightcap. By 11.30pm my eyes were rolling in my head but I attempted to continue carrying on a conversation, surrendering only when I started talking about staircases in my sleep whilst sitting upright at the table!

I camped responsibly over on her couch and then took her to the airport in the morning, after MORE talking.

Well, we had a lot to catch up on :-D

Back to school today and I'm on a course about Numeracy Support for two days. So far it has been quite interesting and challenging. Much of the basic stuff I am familiar with but the challenge is how to apply it to disenfranchised teenage learners.

And just because I have been lazy of late and because you haven't heard much from my classroom babies, try these little beauties from the recent Y8 test on Co-ordinate Geometry and Line Graphs.

A graph is presented showing the weight and length of puppies on the y and x axes respectively. Pupils are asked to order the puppies according to length and then to order them according to weight. Surprise, surprise the order is different. The final question asks:
" Is it true that longer puppies are always heavier? Give a reason for your answer."

Here are some of the responses:

" No because it says Spot 's length is long but he ways (sic) the least of all of the dogs.
I had a dog really short but he weighs a lot."

"Not all the time and it depends what dog it is."

"No because Oscar is the heaviest dog and he is not the longest." (errrrr yes he is.....)

"If a puppy is longer than another it's going to be heavier because it has more fat and skin and bones."


Now I'm off to mark the Year 10 Taxation and Depreciation/Interest tests.

Wish me luck............

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Brightly Dawned Her Wedding Day

After about ten years solo, my Bestie has finally tied the knot with The Amazing Mumford.

Sunday afternoon saw us arriving in the parklands under a savage 36C sunapproaching the vine covered gazebo and witnessing their exchange of vows.

Afterwards we retired to a local hotel for a cocktail reception. That's all I have time for tonight. More juicy details to follow when I am back on en even keel.