Sunday, December 28, 2008

I am so married. :D

I love being married. I love having my own house, getting to cook and clean when I want. It's wonderful. I love having a husband - it's still funny to wake up and find i'm having breakfast with the same person every day. I feel a bit like this is just like a holiday - but the exciting thing is that it will never end! Ok maybe the happyness and new-ness of it all will fade, (mostly because everything that is new becomes old...) but it really is fantastic. :)

Things that I remember from the wedding day:

1) No matter how much people say "this is the bride's day" it is only the bride's day untill she has to get driven to the church. Then the drivers and dad's get a power trip out of deciding exactly when they will be leaving - and it's sometimes not what is wanted.

2) Yes it is a serious day, but make the most of it! You only get one --> my most faviourte parts of the actual service are Steve and I High-Fiving and me fixing his bow tie. :) yay!

3) Get the formal part of the reception out of the way so you can chat to people --> this was the best thing that Steve and I decided to do. I loved being able to dance and mingle and just have a party at the reception. :)

Thanks to everyone who was and wasn't there. It is awesome to know that people wanted to see us get married. Good and happy times.

Recently, i've also managed to graduate!! (I seem to be doing so many crazy and grown up things recently! I'm not sure how that works!) I donned the gown (and the kimono) and walked/shuffled across the stage to get my shiny piece of paper and now i'm apparently qualified to teach - look out world here i come!

On that note, if anyone wants to spare some prayer for a job oppourtounity or just general guidance for me in the way of future work - please do! God is faithful and he will provide!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friday 14/11/08 – Prac Block Day 30

Well I got my prac report from the music department. The biggest thing it tells me to watch out for is my spelling. Not really a surprise at all there. It’s fairly satisfactory though, nothing terribly outstanding about it at all. I feel like it sums up my prac fairly well.

I wonder if I could have done better at all, but I feel like a number of factors, both in and out of my control were working against me. Oh well. I wonder what Tara’s report will say, possibly much the same, I suppose.

This week has been a fairly bludge week for me, all my classes are wrapping up and having assessment, so I’ve not done much teaching. Today I helped kids move chairs from the classrooms up to the hall in preparation for tomorrow night. It’s really hot, but it keeps showering every now and then.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

05/11/08 Practicum Block Day 23

< Happy Birthday Melissa! >

I’m supposed to be in a class, but apparently the grade 11’s are doing an exam, and so there is no point in my being down there. Meh. I can’t say it’d matter either way. I don't have lessons to plan and I don’t have marking to do. Oh well.

I took grade 8 music this morning. I’ve realised I’m really boring when it comes to class introductions. I think it’s because I’m under the impression that the grade 8’s just want to do their work, and so I don't want to waste time trying to “capture them” :P Oh well. Something to work on I guess.

As far as everything goes, I defiantly feel like prac is winding down for me. The grade 8’s are finishing up their sibelius, the grade 11’s are getting ready for their performance → so my teaching is done in those classes. Next week the grade 9’s are working on their manga of their life, so it’s not like I’ll be teaching much there either.

I guess now I just have to finish well.

Friday 07-11-08 – Prac Block Day 25

It’s Friday. Yay. I feel like I’m running around trying to make sure everything is done and everything is not really done at all. And, I got my referee report from my first prac supervising teacher yesterday, who wrote lovely things, and it just makes me remember how much of a difference this prac is.

Last prac, I acted like a teacher, I taught like a teacher, I was a Paula-style teacher. This prac, I’ve been everything but and worse, when I am asked to do what I would so, I copy what other people do. I’m a fraud.

It doesn’t bode well for my future job prospects, or my final report which will be given at the end of next week. ☹

Anyway, yesterday there was a lot of running around and busyness – which was a first for Thursday; usually the slowest day of the week. I had a meeting with the prac liaison officer person who finally showed up after 5 weeks of prac. She was supposed to be here at 11, she turned up at 11:25. Sam, Karen (another prac student) and I waited in the office wasting time. Then she didn’t tell us anything new. Pretty annoying really.

And I was in the middle of making worksheets for the grade 8 music kids and other random worksheets so that Sandy could see what my literacy is like.

Today has been pretty standard. Grade 11’s were practicing. It will be interesting to see what they come up with on Monday for their performances. I unpacked all of the new headphones and sorted out the general keyboard problems. Sandy had some other filing for me to do, but I’m a bit over everything at the moment. And I need to get ready for Jap this arvo. It’s so hot, I wonder if I can find a video for them to watch… humm.

In other non prac news – I’ve finished watching pride and predjudice and I must say I prefer the BBC version to the 2005 movie version. It’s a lot more detailed, historical and has a better story line. I also like that they haven’t made as many concessions to make it more “modern” and “popular”.

Monday 10/11/08 – Prac Block Day 26

This is my last Monday. Yay. I got to mark grade 11 music students today. They were pretty phenomenal. The boys who were ripping it out on guitars came early to set up and orginised big black blocks that they could jump off and worked on their head banging and everything.

The grade 8’s are just wasting time now. I sorta wish that Sharon would come up with something for them to do, but she’s a bit like ‘they can just do this’ which I think is a waste of time. They are practicing their platitude performances. I wish there were a way I could record their piano parts to play with… hum… maybe I’ll spend tomorrow morning trying to figure that out. Oh well. The good thing about grade 8’s is that they forget things that you tell them.

I think honestly though, that their assignment was super easy. And really easy to pass too. I marked so many drafts, if the kids have been dilligant enough to fix their mistakes – they will get an A on their final. I’ve only given A’s and B’s and I’ve marked 2/3s of the class.

The grade 9’s are about to start their manga task, but I doubt they will have it done by Friday. Maybe I’m being pessimistic though. They were really annoying and unfocused today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday 03-11-08 Prac Block Day 21

No matter how many lessons I take, I still never get kids and why they are in the mood they are. The teachers in the staff room blame the weather, the time of day, the food they eat. I dunno what it is, but kids are so unpredictable (except possibly with the exception of Friday afternoons last period when they want to do absolutely nothing and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change that.)

Monday again, only one week and 4 days to go. The more organised I am for my classes, the quicker the week seems to go. It’s really annoying though, when technology fails me. This happened today. I want to play a dvd, the dvd does not work *sigh * I’m glad I test these things before the class, but still. I guess it just shows me the great need for a contingency plan. At all times – have a contingency plan.

Also needed is a dictionary. Or some way of predicting the words students will use so that I can look them up before hand. As always, my greatest let down in the classroom is my spelling.

Anyway, how do I feel about teaching?

Teaching is fun. I like to do it. I am capable of doing it.

How can I improve my teaching?

By being more aware of students needs and understanding their learning difficulties. By creating lessons which are applicable to all students, rather than just some (though I don’t think I do this, it’s good to improve on).

Honestly though, after having struggled to write my 500 words of blah about why I’m going to be a teacher and what I’m doing that makes me a good teacher, I can see that coming up with stuff to say about it all and actually putting it into practice are two very different things. And I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do everything that I say I can do, but don’t tell the teachers that :D.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday 21/10/08 – Prac Block Day Eleven

I’m ready to go for the grade nines in about fifteen minutes. I can do this. I’m a teacher.

The professional development day yesterday was really helpful for my grade 8 music tech class. In fact, it seems like there is a lot of really useful and well thought out music technology out there, it’s just fiddly to set up and is still fairly expensive. I did learn though, that to get the grove music encyclopaedia for the school, it’s only 500$ for the year, which is good.

Japanese was good. The kids were a bit drained by the writing, but after hearing the “what is kanji?” and “what is hiragana” comments, I’m glad I made them do it. The Asian kids tend to speed through a bit, but on the whole, they all need to practice their writing of kanji and hiragana.

The lesson dragged a bit in the middle, I think sometimes I’m a bit too efficient for the kids. They liked the using clocks that they had made to practice turning the hands to find the times. They understood mae a lot better than I think Tara anticipated. It was a bit strange, because Tara spent quite a bit of time stressing to me that it would take them ages to understand how to say “ten to balh” and then on Friday she says “some of them wont’ get it, and we will just have to move on.” And then today, it didn’t take them too long at all. Bit strange really.

I think they kids are really wanting to get on with things and use all this time stuff in a real life situation. I think had I been taking the class, I would have moved on long ago. Strange.

Thursday 23/10/08 – Practicum Block Day 13 (and apparently mole day for the chemists?)

Tara thinks I worked the kids a bit too hard on Tuesday and said that they needed a break. I’m a bit like, meh they can take it. ☺ They did get a break, we revised mae on Wednesday and then they did a cultural activity, investigating the lives of these school kids in Japan. The resource for it is really good, but because it wasn’t my activity, I did a bad job of introducing it. Could have done a lot better.

In any case, the kids were happy to be doing something in groups where they got to find out stuff so that was good.

Tuesday’s music lesson – last period, went really well. The students bought in a huge range of stuff, Sara Bellis, John Farnham and Bullet for My Valentine. It was interesting to see the different reactions to the music. The boys thought that the Sara B chick was boring and the girls commented that screaming is not a talent after listening to Bullet for my Valentine.

Good times.

On Wednesday, I taught the grade 8 kids how to melody write and they took it quite well. They skimmed through the stuff thtey knew, were quiet when writing down the rules of melody writing and only one kid didn’t actually do the group task at the end. Yay! Also, we practiced our Platitude rhythms which was good. They really like to make music.

For a music tech class, I think half of them are more into the making than the tech part and half of them are wondering when the tech stuff gets to happen again. Also, some of them also do music foundation or music extension (lucky ducks!) so some of what we are doing is revision. Oh well!

In Wednesdays grade 11 music class, I went through the filing cabinet for a song. I’ve decided that if they want to learn to conduct, they might as well learn something to conduct. ☺ Yay! We are going to sing “My Guy” from Sister Act. Hooray! I really like that class, even if it is because they are enthusiastic about learning.

Today, I’ve planned lessons for most of next week, and got the internet working on my computer (yay!) I’ve got my music tech class in 20 mins and then I’m off to ice skating with Tara and the students. I like having things planned. It’s a good feeling.

Friday 24/10/08 Prac Block Day 14

Music Technology yesterday went pretty well. The students actually get the melody writing process, but they forget bits of it. Oh well. I also actually went ice skating this week. The kids that go are pretty good, and also pretty decent. There was a whole heap of boys who decided I was American or Canadian and subsequently followed me around wanting to know the maple syrup content of Canada. Grade 8’s probably.

Today, I took the music lesson this morning – students were just doing performance practice. Nothing too stressful. I got to hear some of them and they sound really good. There are a few boys who just want to bludge, one of them is talented enough to, but it didn’t take much to shake them out of it and get them practising.

Then I have two break lessons to plan stuff. I typed up a criteria sheet for the grade 8 music tech kids and then organised activity sheets for Japanese. I’ll probably work on another one for Tuesday soon, but I’m actually teaching after lunch, so maybe not. We will see.

I can’t believe I’m half way through already. It’s the end of week three and only 3 weeks (and one day) to go. Wow.

Wednesday 29-10-08 Prac Block Day 17… no wait… make that 18. :D

That’s right – I just called the prac office and they said that the day that I did professional development counts as a day that I was on prac. Hooray! No extra make up day for me. :D unbelievably happy. Only 2 weeks and 2 days to go. :D

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Friday 17/10/08 – Prac Block Day Ten

Spares again, and nothing much to prepare. Annoying. Yesterday was a long day of planning and orginising, but I think I did so much that I now have nothing to do. The morning started with Clan – a long and extended clan. Tara ended up taking the kids to the library and using the internet to find out things like how often they need a break at work and what not. Apparently the year ten clans all have things like this to work though, because the students should be developing their SET Plans and thinking about jobs and what not, but it also apparently takes a lot less time than they allocate for it.

After this, I had breaks until 1:00 when I had the grade 8 music tech class for 35 mins. I taught the kids to sing in Japanese, which went down seriously well, but then doing scales – which I knew they could breeze through, they decided they didn’t want to work. They were chatty and distracted. It was terrible. So hard to get them focused. I was racking my brains on how to get them through it, but nothing worked. *sigh * One of my serious weaknesses is this lack of understanding the class, and how to pull them in… but not in a behaviour sense.

Anyway, then I rushed for the bus to get to ice skating, which I made. Hooray! Tara and I had a chat about homework on the bus and how to give it. I think it’s really hard for me to understand needing to baby kids through things, because I never needed it. (ok, so I probably did, but not to this extent). If someone told me “this is your homework” I would have done it. I wouldn’t have needed it to be written down and explained out to me. But these kids do → all of them. It’s hard to try to pull back for these things when they seem so simple.

Ice skating was fun, we had 33 kids, all having a skate – they were pretty good. I just watched, the ice was so slippery we had heaps of kids fall down and I didn’t want to add myself to that tally. They have a good go at it, and then we all pile back on the bus and were back at school by 2:45. Easy, if somewhat boring afternoon.

This morning I had the grade 11’s for music, they were doing practice. I cleaned up all of the keyboards and pluged some in and what not. Out of the 38 keyboards, 13 are not working due to some fault. I didn’t have time to do headphones as well, but honestly, it was good to be doing such things, rather than just sitting around. I hate sitting around.

Which is what I’m doing now. Time to go through the lesson plans for next week and see what I can do.


Humm… spent a lot of today not doing a lot. Thought about my teaching though, while driving home. I feel like being at Macgregor, I’ve somehow lost it. Like, I knew how to teach, but all of a sudden, I’m not teaching. I feel like I’ve lost the plot for some reason.

I was reflecting (again) on Thursdays music lesson with the grade 8’s, and I think I would have done it completely differently, but I’m so out of my zone at the moment that nothing is connecting. Including my teaching. I think maybe I’ve been trying to do things “the Macgregor way” I’ve forgotten what “the Paula way” is. And that’s bad.

The thing is now, if I walk into the classroom and try to relive the Paula way, the teachers are going to freak out, not to mention the kids. So I’ve pretty much got to struggle on the Macgreor way and try my hardest to do it so well that I pass this prac with flying colours, make it out alive and with job prospects to go to.

Back in the real world, my Jap lesson last went well, though the kids were jumpy and not in the mood to work. Tara doesn’t’ think that I predict the kids well enough for the lesson to flow. Also, my lesson on Tuesday, she’s not giving me feed back on the plan. She just wants me to teach and then decided weather or not I’ve planned it well enough.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's been up for a while and it's gotten me a pass for that 50% assignment, but if only it were getting me jobs as well. :P
Tuesday 14/10/08 Prac Block day Seven.

Today was the first day that I left a class thinking, I could have done that better. *sigh *

The morning began with doing a few lesson plans and running to the library to ensure that the power point would work and things were going smoothly. Then, I had Japanese. My supervising teacher was under the impression that the grade 9’s had a SOSE event on this day, and that I’d lose 12 of the students. With this in mind, we had arranged for a cultural day for the other students, so as not to let anyone miss out on “important” work. The grade 8’s also joined us, as their teachers had been away and what not.

Then it turns out that the grade 9 SOSE thing is in fact tomorrow. So I all of a sudden have 60 grade 8 and 9 students to talk to about Japanese culture. Right.

The lesson turned out well, the students listened fantastically → so much so that I went over time in the presentation and they didn't have enough time to finish the activity at the end. But on the whole – a great lesson – HOORAY! I felt really good.

Music this afternoon however.

I took Sam to the music department for a visit at lunch time; the staff were in crisis mode getting the extension music kids stuff in for panel and verification and also trying to decided how to pull of the Macgregor music concert in 6 weeks time. But of a rushed lunch, but still good. I went to K3 (music block is called K block) to check my dvd worked – success it appeared fine!

After lunch, I went into music and set up. Half the class was late, but I started the dvd of the performance anyway. The kids were ratty and chatty and not really wanting to work. They were distracted at every little thing, including the words farce and clowns, and not wanting to participate fully. *sigh * again.

My lesson was 5 mins short, but I fleshed it out with more discussion questions (again like pulling teeth), but I couldn’t help feeling that there was something I could have done better.

The last lesson of the day was Grade 8 Music Tech. They were distracted to begin with, and I didn’t recognise that they just wanted to do their sibelius stuff, and tried to get some involvement in rhythmic dictations which was honestly not even worth going into. I just didn’t recognise the kids in their “last lesson of the day” mood.

So I pushed on with rhythmic dictations, and it did work, but it was gruelling. I could have done things better. I know that, the supervising teacher (Sharon) knows that, heck, even the kids probably know it. :P

Something to learn I guess → I’m not going to be doing hard core stuff on a Tuesday afternoon with grade 8’s again. Tara thinks that grade 8’s tend to reflect the weather more than any other grade, so that’s something to watch out for.

After school the deputy gave the preservice teachers a talk about getting jobs with Education Queensland (EQ) (even mentioned Clermont (there’s one for you mum)) in his country service list. I’ve got to have an interview with him and 2 other HODS (Head of Departments) from the school (who have never met me) which will only be 30 mins long. That’s good news. ☺ All I need to bring, is my previous prac report, my 2 referee’s reports and my 500 words about why I want to be a teacher.

Yeah I can do that.

Wednesday 15/10/08 – Prac Block Day 8

When I get to Wednesday I know I’m nearly there for the week. After having to teach 9 classes in 3 days, it is a relief to know that I’m only going to have to teach 3 classes in 2 days now. Does that make sense?

In any case today was busy. I began music by getting the students straight on task and letting them go. 80% of the class is finished doing their seblius work (GREAT!) and the other 20% is about… 2/3rds done. Makes me glad.

After doing Morning Tea duty with Tara (in the same place that Sandy has lunch duty on the same day (what are the odds?)) in which she went around and took photos of grade 12s. Apparently they aren’t allowed to make hand signs (peace, west side, whatever) because of the gangs and some of them might be gang signs. Talk about crazy school.

After this, I watched through the grade 11 Japanese class, and then took the grade nines. Apparently they were going to be too tired to be able to handle new work, so I had to change my lesson plans at the last minute, and just do revision. The students took a while, but we got it done. I am continually surprised at how much my supervising teacher babys them. It’s one extreme to another with this class, either it’s too easy for them, or too much for them to handle. Time they sucked it up and got on with it I reckon, but they aren’t my class, so whatever.

I will say though, that since yesterday, when I took the class on living in Japan, and turning up today in yukata, the kids are realising that I’m more of a real person now, and that I do have something of value to teach them.

After lunch duty with Sandy (where we had to stop a group of 5 boys just walking out the gate), who gave me great feed back on my class, I had about 10 mins free and then took the grade 11’s. They had performance practice, but I walked around and got the song choices and what instruments they were performing on for their assessment. 85% of students have chosen a song, and all of them know their instrument :D YAY!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Prac Block – Day 6 - Monday 13/10/08

You feel really satisfied at the end of a day when your lessons which you worked so hard to plan went really well. On Friday, I had music in the morning, Grade 11’s practicing for their performances. Then I had breaks all day until last lesson when I took the Japanese class. Half of the students were missing because of dance oddessy (performance Saturday some how meaning they didn’t have to go to school on Friday (go figure)) but we introduced how to tell the time in minutes anyway. We got through quite a lot of stuff for a 35 min lesson last class on a Friday.

I got home on Friday to find that some quality uni/student life friends had pulled together and gotten me some flowers. It was awesome to know I wasn’t being forgotten while I was on prac, and they were all still praying for me  thanks guys you are legends!

This morning, Sam (who I’m car pooling with) and I were a bit late, but it was alright none the less. I took the grade 8 music tech class and it went surprisingly well! YAY! I had 3 or 4 students almost finish their work, and the rest are generally on task – except for maybe one or two. I’m now going to have to think of more things to plan for next lesson, but it’s awesome to think that they can work well! Yay!

After that, I took the grade 11’s for music  we studied Mack the Knife (after starting the class by singing in Japanese). A few surprises though, they were happy enough to listen to the song, but they got fairly bored with it after a while. Also, (after listening to Louie Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald sing the song) when I put on the Robbie Williams version  there was almost a riot! No one was impressed with Robbie Williams at all. Bit of a shock. We got through the stuff though, and they did do all the work, so that was good.

Sandy gave me really good feedback from the lesson  most major point is that I need to work on my questioning technique and make sure I’m asking specific people, after I’ve asked the question (otherwise the kids will turn off). So that’s pretty good; something to work on for tomorrow.

After watching the grade 11’s do Japanese, I then taught the grade 9s. First lesson I’ve begun with actually writing things down and doing sentence patterns and even though it was quite a lot of material to get through, and it was hard to bring all the students up to date with what we had covered (students who missed out on Friday needed to know minutes information etc), the students worked really well for the lesson. I was impressed. I’m glad I’m giving them a break tomorrow, because there is some strange thing on and so we are doing a culture lesson.

I planned the last two lessons of the day – feeling a lot more on top of what I have to do this week. Glory to God for giving me the peace and focus to do what I need to do! I’ve also taken my flowers to school to put on my desk, because that’s where I currently spend the most time in a day.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thursday 09/10/08 – Prac Block Day Four

I feel like I’m still falling down a rabbit hole and there is no hope of a light at all. Welcome to Prac. Macgregor State High School is a large school, consisting of over 1000 students, grades eight to twelve. Located right next to Garden City, many of the students use public transport as their means of commuting to school and as a result, many of the students are also late to school.

I am with the Japanese teacher, Tara Jenkins, for grade nine Japanese, the Music Head of Department (HOD), Sandy Armstrong, for grade 11 Music and another music teacher, Sharron Collis, for grade eight Music Technology. My staff room is with the other LOTE teachers (about three times the size of the music staffroom (for the same number of teachers). Languages offered here are Chinese, German and Japanese.

My lead in days were hectic and rushed, most of the students were doing exams and revision. The Japanese teacher wasn't sure what to do next, so even though I planned a unit in the holidays, I don’t really know the students very well and we’ve had to completely re-do everything. One of the craziest things is that she doesn’t seem to be very organised at all. I’d like to have a plan for the next eight weeks done out and on my desk – ready for small modifications as they occur (learning difficulties, unexpected deaths, the school burning down), but there is nothing like that here and my attempts to create one have been foiled at every possible moment.

The music department is significantly better, although still experiencing the same types of upheaval that the LOTE department is. The original music HOD left suddenly sometime during the year (middle of last term perhaps?) and as a result the music department went through a serious rework of their staff, what classes each teacher has, where the curriculum is etc. The new Music HOD (Sandy) is organised and only has two classes now that she is a HOD but she also has to rework all of the task sheets at every year level because someone in some office somewhere has decided the CCE (Common Curriculum Elements) need to be listed on the Task Sheets (because that just might be the first thing that students look for).

Sharron, during the reorginisation of the music department found her contact work doubled and all of a sudden teaching grade eight music technology. To give you some idea of Sharron’s reaction to this, I asked her yesterday if she had an email that I could contact her on and she laughed. She is a very lovely woman and quite a good teacher, but music technology is not her strong suit.

This week, I watched, supervised, team-taught and took a number of different classes. Monday started with the grade eight music technology. These guys were practicing for their performance (on keyboard (that’s where the technology comes in)) of the Man From Snowy River theme. They spent seventy minutes practicing/making sounds on the keyboard. I really liked the way that Sharron opened the lesson by telling the students what was going to happen, and then ending the lesson with a focus of what they will be doing next lesson.

I then had year 11 music with Sandy. She look the class, while I memorized the twenty-two students names, giving them back their composition results, making sure that they understood their next unit and also writing out goals for their performance unit. This music class is really talented and quite good and respectful.

I then observed grade 11 Japanese, which I pretty much don't remember any of now and the grade nine Japanese class → These guys had a revision lesson on their hiragana and combined sounds (having done quite badly on both on their recent test). They are a bit of a strange class – apparently some of the students had only done Japanese for six months in grade eight and some of them have only taken it up this year while others have come from primary schools where they did it from grade six. It’s really hard to cater to all the different levels of ability.

After that, I had two spares (WOAH! Spares!) in which I planned lessons for Japanese the next day.

Tuesday started with a spare, where I revised everything that I had planned for Japanese. Then I taught the grade nine Japanese class. I did a lesson on numbers and kanji. The students got through everything maybe only 10 mins faster than I expected, so I just played a game at the end. The lesson on the whole went well, some times I need to remember to slow down and write stuff on the board – even though I don’t like to be slow, it’s a good thing for the students → something that I’ll learn as I practice I guess. My other problems came from not really knowing the class. I still didn’t really know which students would respond in which ways.

My supervising teacher (for Japanese, Tara) gave me a run down of the lesson → pretty much telling me what I already knew. Her suggestions were things that were related to knowing the class better, which I can’t do until I’ve taught/observed them more. Bit of catch 22 really.

The year 11 class are very chatty and some of the students tend to use Japanese as a bludge. They are all able to do the work, but I think Tara’s disorganisation lets her down and while she fusses around trying to pull out sheets and find the work, they chat and then continue chatting. Also, most of Tara’s instructions are given while fussing around, so they don't seem directed at the students at all, and this just tells the students that they can keep on chatting.

I then had music, grade 11’s. Sandy ran a discussion on good rehearsal techniques and collated all of the student responses → easy way to do a lesson on rehearsal techniques without actually having anything planned. I’m looking forward to doing an actual listening lesson with the students next lesson! Exciting! (I’ll get on typing up that lesson plan as soon as I’ve reflected and evaluated and what not here and then looked at my overviews and resources and what ever else I’ve got to do :P)

The final class of Tuesday was Music Technology. The students kept practicing and although Sharron wanted to start doing their performance grading, most of them didn’t do it. It did keep the practice fairly focused though, the students knowing that eventually they’d have to go play for their teacher – which was good considering it was the last class of the day.

The staff meeting after school (every first Tuesday of the month) only went until about 4:00. There was year level meetings first (3:10 to 3:30) and then the actual staff meeting. Quite different to my last school, but a fairly boring and completely irrelevant staff meeting none the less. ☺

Wednesday the Music Tech kids did their performances – everyone except one girl went I think (yay!). I then watched another lesson of grade 11 Japanese where the kids talked (and slept) and Tara revised their verbs with them.

The grade nine Japanese class, I had actually planned for, but I didn't end up teaching. I wanted to see how Tara would give the students new content and also get to know the students a bit better. I think I finally did that – which was good! They began to learn how to say the time and ask each other what the time is. We also made clocks which we can use again for different activities.

My final class for the day was year 11 music and Sandy was away. Sharron was the sub teacher, so she just let me have the floor. They were only practicing for their performances, but it was good to be able to roam around and get to know them and their instruments more.

Thursday started with assembly, students got prizes and were roused on for coming to school late. I now have spares until my grade eight music tech class in 30 mins! Hooray!

I missed the bus for ice skating and so now I have all afternoon free to plan more lessons! Bit of shame that I missed the bus, I was looking forward to being some where the is not Macgregor and also talking to Tara about Japanese plans for next week, but oh well! Such things can not be changed.

My music lesson went well, although the students were a bit distracted at the beginning. Also, quite a few of them found Sibelius too hard to comprehend, and as such, we did not get much done. Some of the students had computer problems which I couldn’t fix (log in/password changes) and others just didn't really want to work. It dosent’ help that the lesson is the last one of the day before sport – which a lot of the students are looking forward to.

In reflection, I need to have a small activity at the start to get them focused and then clear instructions ready to go for the next part. Otherwise they get a bit lost and distracted. After the lesson, I chatted with Sharron who also suggested to do a group activity at the start to get them focused but otherwise said the lesson was really well done. (yay!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This is it!!

Translations for you:

8 MT = Grade 8 Music Technology Class

.... the rest of it i'm sure you get. :D

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Lead in Day One

That's right - you read correctly! I have offically started prac!! Yesterday I got the call from the prac office and they had found me a place at Macgregor State High School. Praise God! Just when I thought that I wouldn't be able to start my prac on time, God provided a school that is close and ready for me! hooray.

I'm with the Japanese teacher predominately again, but I also went and had a chat to the music teacher and hopefully she's going to put me in somewhere. The school is big and multicultural - it's almost like a big version of the school i already do after school care at actually (especially considering i work at the primary school....), so it's pretty easy to fit in. The students range, as they do in any school, from super good to really uninterested in school. There is a huge range of curriculum as well, there are 3 languages offered (Japanese, German and Chinese) among all the other subjects.

The vice Principal was really into telling me the students here were students who were here to learn but i feel like he was only talking about half of the student population... again, it's probably the same in any school.

Anyway, all in all, in some ways i feel like it could be harder than last time (bigger classes, less apparent resources) but at the same time easier (free spare lessons!! WOAH!!) so if i take one day at a time, it will probably be ok. :)

On the way out, i ran into Katie... :D so fun! weee!!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Yep that's me and Steve being super silly! yay! This was just before Aunty Tracy's wedding - we had about an hour to wait in the church before anyone showed up :P Interesting though, having a civil union in the church. Also interesting was the Livitical blessing that the non-priest-civil servant guy gave at the end.

This is Kristin, Aroha and I. It was super excellent fun to see these girls again. :) Yay - my future extended family!!

Me trying to be arty with the cake photos. It was only 2 layers and was a rich marble cake with white, seriously sugary, icing. I didn't eat much - Steve and i were too busy carving up the dance floor and showing up all the old people!! Honestly, ususally i last two songs, but for some reason, we kept going all night! yay!

Just a random shot - it's my fav from the engagement party and i've learnt how to use the smudge tool in whatever photo program i have :D yay!
My life is whirlwind.
A whirlwind of activity, happenings, photos and stuff.
And somewhere in all of it, God brings me through.

I was recently thinking about the time when Jesus walks on the water, Matthew 14:22-33. I think I can relate to Peter a lot in this story. It's interesting to notice that the wind and the waves do not stop when he steps out of the boat. The wind and waves go on being crazy, but in the long run it is better for Peter to be out of the boat with Jesus right next to him, than holding onto the material protection of the boat in the middle of the storm.

I love that I'm out of the boat, in the middle of the waves with Jesus. I know that sometimes I'm actually walking back towards the boat and it's illusion of protection. Something i've noticed though, is that Jesus says to Peter when he starts to sink: "You of little faith!", but when you think about it - Peter had more faith than the rest of the disciples in that boat! He was the one that stepped out and yet to Jesus - he's got "little faith"?!

I suppose it's true. Sometimes we believe that we've done the best we can do by just getting out of the boat, but in reality, that's only the first step on a long journey.

Whirlwind life with rolling waves and ferocious winds? I'd rather be trying to walk the waves with Jesus than stuck in the boat.

Bring it on.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday 20/06/08
Prac Block Day Twenty Nine

The final day had arrived!! It was very much a normal day. I arrived at school, I set up the classroom. The students came in and I revised kanji with them. Then I gave them their tests to do – most of them did pretty well! Hooray!! Then they got on with their work and I just did supervision.

After Japanese I went to music and the students worked on their compositions.

Then I had maths, the students actually worked well. The final class of the day was also maths – but the students did not work well here. Honestly I was surprised to find even one person working in the whole half hour that I spent walking around the classroom. A lot of them wrote on their trail sheets that they had only done one question.

After school I was setting up for trivia with my supervising teacher. She said that I had really been great. She said that my ability to anticipate the needs of the students and teachers in a classroom and be able to react to that was a great quality. She also said that my classroom management was fantastic. It was funny to hear her keep talking about how good I was.

I don’t know if there is any area of teaching that I’ve particularly grown in over the last six weeks but I do think that on the whole, my ability to teach a class and know how to approach the students has been refined. I think that I’ve learnt a lot about different approaches to teaching and how to manage students which has been very practical.

I’m looking forward to getting my final report back so I can see on paper how I did.

I’m going to be a teacher!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prac Block Day Twenty-eight

My last day in C2!! HOORAY!! I can’t believe that I am so excited that I’m done with that class, except that today almost every single student in the class asked me at least once (most of them asked twice or more) some kind of question about Russian. Can I speak Russian? Was I born in Russia? What is the time in Russia right now? So glad that at the end of the day I could say dosvidoniya – no more C2!

Ok, so yesterday was a fairly good day. Was able to pull everything together in my last class for the beginners, we did counting but I had to modify the lesson. It went pretty well, my supervising teacher says that my classroom management is improving because I had the students do a task and after the allocated time I said “if you haven’t finished by now, you’ve just been wasting time.” Pretty funny that that’s how my classroom management has improved, but ok.

Today was a very observing kind of day. One of the students had the Third Day the Frost by John Marsden, and considering I’d just read books one, two and four of that series – I was pretty happy to pick up book three. I read it during the last ten mins of class and lunch. Then I got to guillotine paper for the origami cranes we are making tomorrow night. I think I was even over being a teachers aid. A lot of the students in C2 seemed to have a fair few issues that were really playing up today and I didn't want to deal with them.

I wonder if as a teacher I’ll ever get so sick of my class I’ll want to stop teaching them? I guess when you are a full time teacher and you have a whole class from the word go, you have a lot better relationship with them, and you’ve got more of a desire to teach them. That’s probably why many people say that prac is totally different from real teaching. I’d probably agree. Being on prac has been like being a free teachers aid for the last six weeks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday 16/06/08
Prac Block Day Twenty-Five

The last week! Hooray! Today started with Japanese and my kankyou class. I had them work on sentence structures again and had them write it down to start with. They still seem to not be able to get how to rearrange the sentences completely, but they are doing loads better. Also, they are getting heaps better at their particle use and are putting them in almost everywhere! Hooray!

After this I let them work on their own stuff. Quite a few of them are nearly done, but I think it will still take a bit to have them all finished by next Friday. I wrapped them up 15 mins early and did a quick revision of their kanji again. They have their test on Friday and I want them to do well. Most of them know the meanings and almost all of the pronunciations so that’s good. I hope they do well on Friday.

Next we had maths with Boat F – noise level 10/10, working productivity 0/10. It was a struggle to get the students to do work. I sat down with some of the struggling ones today and worked with them on the first question in their booklets!! How could they have done two whole weeks of work – four lesson – and not even done the first question?! Outrageous!

It was a similar story in Boat E after morning tea. I separated a group of girls because they weren't doing anything, but they snuck back together. My supervising teacher said I should have told her sooner because that's a deliberate disobedience to a teachers request and it’s one that you usually get sent to the office for. I’m more worried about the amount of time those students wasted instead of doing their work. How does anyone in this school pass grade 11 and 12 if they haven’t done the grade 8, 9 and 10 work??

After Maths, I had music last lesson. The students were working on their compositions in the library. I wrote a lesson plan for my lesson tomorrow. Not much to report here. Some of the students are almost done, others have barely started. Meh.

Prac Block Day Twenty-Six

This morning started with me doing another Japanese lesson. I continued on last weeks pet lesson by teaching the kids how to count animals and then starting on jobs. I didn’t get through as much as I thought I would with jobs, the vocab took longer than I expected and tended to drag. Also the students are pretty quiet, so I had to work quite hard to keep the energy up. I think last week an aspect of the lesson that helped that was to get the students up and walking around.

The day continued with Maths – no one wanting to work as usual – and then Maths again, a few more people wanting to work here.

The final lesson of the day I actually ended up preparing for my class tomorrow. I’m going to take the students through how to count animals, but I had to modify the lesson a lot for the younger students, otherwise they really won’t get through what I have planned.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday 13/06/08
Prac Block Day Twenty Four

Ahh… after 5 weeks of remembering everything and being super orginised, I finally forget stuff. Firstly, lunch and secondly, the kanji bingo cards for my lesson. *sigh*

Yesterday was the best day ever in C2. I was amazed! So much work got done in the morning maths lesson which then flowed on into the literacy lesson next. It was honestly stellar.

Some of this could possibly be credited to the fact that two of the boys who notoriously do no work, were sectioned off from the class in their own little boxes of working environments. Literally. The boys had their desks up against the front walls of the class room and then they were boxed in on two other sides with sections of moving walls. Amazingly – they both did work (one of the to a greater extent than the other)! The older boy had “You can do it!” and “Do your work!” signs stapled to the walls of his little study room.

I know it could never be replicated in a senior school classroom where students come and go, but it was an excellent idea to see.

After this they had science (most of them working on making their volcanoes), which meant that they were in group activities. There was some productive work, and other not so productive work during this time.

After lunch the students had rich task. For some unknown reason, Boat E wasn’t allowed to do rich task this day, but F and C2 did theirs anyway. Through this miss communication I found out that some of the students do cooking for their rich tasks. So when they left, I followed them. Half of them were cooking sushi (in a way that made me cringe) and the other half were making potato and corn fritters.

After watching these students for a while, I visited the art room (really boring, students sitting around everywhere chatting and every now and then “working” on their art). Then I headed back to C2 and watched the dancing people some more.

I was wearing a yukata but the students in C2 are obsessed with Russian at the moment and kept asking me if it was fro Russia. One of the boys commented that he thought it was stupid and got a long talking to by the teacher of C2 (who loves to monologue) and subsequently apologised to me when he saw me next.

Friday. Today I forgot my lunch and the kanji bingo cards, so when I got to school, I sat down and ruled up some more. The lesson went pretty well (despite the bingo cards). I challenged the students with another long sentence at the start of the lesson – I think they are finally getting it! Hooray!

Then we reviewed the kanji and played snatch – the girls were pretty good. Then I had them do “Who am I?” for a kanji each – which would have worked a lot better had the five of the students not chosen the same kanji.

After this there was music – students worked on their compositions in the computer labs. Then maths and more maths. My supervising teacher had to leave early (just before lunch) to take her son to the doctors, so I was left running Boat F’s maths lesson. Pretty challenging, but overall a good lesson. Most of the students did nothing, some of them even wrote that on their trail sheets.

Another day, another lesson. Quite a few of the prac students finished today, so there will be less around next week. I’m one of the few that will still be here. Lucky me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday 11/06/06
Prac Block Day 21

Cheryal was back today – so glad. My first class was music – which I was taking!! It was pretty exciting, but I knew I didn’t have enough planned. The music teacher didn’t give me any feed back on the lesson plan I gave her (in fact she had lost it) so I just told her it was going to be too short and to be prepared to fill it out with something (ie – compositions) and began preparing!

I hadn’t been able to find a piano score for the song that I was using, so I ended up writing my own song and giving the students the score to that. The lesson started well, and the students understood what was going on. My questioning work was a little broad and I didn’t bother writing stuff up on the board that I should have, but oh well. The students were pretty on the ball anyway.

After we listened to the songs and discussed how to write for piano, myself and Megan, the other music prac teacher, played my song for the students. They really got into it an understood what was going on with the piano writing. Apparently I could have expanded that activity more (and I probably would have) except that the second time through the song, my eyes just started watering and they didn't stop. It was so painful, I could hardly see! AHH!! It’s like teaching nightmares come true. My mascara was everywhere, I couldn’t open my eyes (I ended up finishing the song with my eyes closed!!) it was a painful experience.

Luckily there were two other teachers in the room or it could have been a very awkward legal matter, but as it was, one of the students took me down to the loos and I washed out my eyes (and all the make up off my face) while they just worked on their compositions. When I got back (with my incredibly blood shot eyes) Megan was showing them some basic chordal structures and then they worked on their compositions.

As far as me teaching – the lesson was over. I finished it up pretty well, and Megan played her composition for the students, but I felt so unsettled for the rest of the day.

Maths and maths again for the next two classes, nothing terribly eventful here (especially compared with music that morning). The students really are working well on their maths this time and about a third of each of the classes are already on their second books! Hooray! We had some more work handed in too, of which I marked the money games work. One girl hadn’t even done her final task... sad day.

The final lesson was Japanese and as I had done the lesson on pets the previous day with out my supervising teacher, I did it again with the beginners today. It was A LOT harder today simply because the sheet was in hiragana which the beginners struggle with a lot. Also, because the students are younger they are a bit more chatty than the older class.

As a result, we spent the majority of the lesson just translating the hiragana into romaji so that they students could read it. I also had some boys who simply didn’t do any more. After we had done that, I showed them how to ask each other who had pets and then had them play pet bingo with each other. It worked pretty well (although walking around the classroom and literally being lost in the sea of thirteen students (ten of which are taller than me) was an experience and a half) apart from two boys who kept wasting time and asking in English.

I ended the lesson with a quick recap on the names of animals and let the students go. My teacher (who had spent most of the lesson up the back with a glazed look on her face (long day, still sick and had a headache coming on)) said I had done well. She said there wasn’t really any other way to do the translations (hiragana to romaji) although I wonder if I couldn’t have had them work on a few animals each in groups? Oh well – something for next time.

My prac folder is stuffed full of lesson plans and resources that I have collected from the last five weeks. One week and two days to go.

Today I learnt that tissues are something that are always needed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday 10/06/06
Prac Block Day Twenty One

After the long weekend, it was strange to go back to school on the Tuesday. What made it stranger was the fact that my supervising teacher was away and I had classes all by myself! Of course at the end of the day – I was told I shouldn’t have taken classes with out a supervising teacher, but considering they didn't give me one – I fail to see where that’s my fault.

Anyway, I was supposed to be taking the class this morning on pets, so I did just that! The students dribbled in but were fairly ready to work. We started by reading all the pet names in hiragana. It was pretty good – they did better than I expected although there were a few people who didn’t even try. After this I told stories about pets in Japan and then introduced them into asking weather or not people had pets.

The game of bingo that I had the students do was where they had to walk around the classroom asking their classmates if they had the same animals. It worked really well because the students were up and moving and because we had practiced the sentence structure, they were confidante to ask their classmates.

After this I had 15 mins to spare, so I let the students choose from three activities and then monitored their work. At the end of the class, I did a quick run down on counters for animals which is something we will do next lesson. In hindsight I could have introduced the counters earlier and had the students integrate them into their sentences, but at the time I felt like they needed a break.

All in all it was a good lesson – one which I will repeat tomorrow with the beginners class. Hooray!

After this I went down to maths with D1 and then after lunch D2. I got the students organised on their work, collected old work and answered questions on the new work – I’m feeling like an almost accomplished maths teacher :P I also used the 3, 2, 1 rule for the first time!! Scary but fun! The students really do respond well to it because it is so basic and they are very used to it.

After lunch I had a spare and since sport was cancelled and all I’d be doing in any other boat would be drifting around be unhelpful, I decided to stay in the room and do some work. I did. ☺ I marked the maths stuff, I reflected on my Japanese lesson and then I prepared for my music lesson tomorrow.

Then I went out and did bus duty. All by myself.

I feel very much like a teacher today – because that’s what I did.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday 06-06-08
Prac Block Day Twenty

Hooray Friday is here and what a wonderful Friday it was!

Thursday I was in C2 again, but while they did the best maths work that I have ever seen them do in the first lesson, the rest of the day I found that they just wasted time! Seeing students waste 70 minuet lessons on chatting and nothingness is the most frustrating thing ever!

By the end of the day I was ready for a break, so when the girls turned up for Bollywood dancing, I took off to go look at what the Art students do in their rich tasks. I didn’t get as far as the Art students because I saw the prac teacher from Music sitting outside with a group of students playing and clapping rhythms. I ended up joining their group for the lesson.

It was a lot of fun to be working with younger students on practical, hands on stuff like rhythms. It was also a challenge to say each of the rhythms correctly as the students clapped them. All in all it was a good way to finish the afternoon.

At assembly that morning, the principal announced that there would now be awards for bad language and bullying in the school. He showed the students the trophies he had made up. The “Bad Language Award” for Girls was a truck drivers singlet in a frame. This was, the principal explained, because girls who used foul language sounded like truck drivers.

The Boys “Bad Language Award” was a pink tutu, a set of fairy wings and pair of ballet shoes, again in a frame. This was because boys who used bad language are confused as to what makes them a man.

The “Bullying Award” was a yellow jacket (I think) which was to say that all people who bully are cowards.

The principal continued to explain that if anyone was awarded any of these trophies for any month, they would have their photo taken with it and then that photo would be sent to all contactable members of their family.

Interesting concept.

I’ve noticed that most of the students refer to the principal by a nickname and it’s not a bad thing, but it’s a familiar way of referring to him. Interesting again.

Today started with my prac teacher letting me know that her youngest daughter has chicken pox.

We then had Japanese and I got to go over sentence structures again with the students and expand on the basic work I did last lesson with them. One of the girls (who turned up late) has suddenly decided that (despite doing really well in Japanese) that she doesn't like it any more and wants to go back to her usual class. I can understand that it’s important for students to be able to have choice in their studies, but at the same time, I think it’s important for them to see a commitment they have made through, at least until the end of the term.

As it is, I’ve seen more than one student tell my teacher that they want to leave Japanese since the time that I’ve been there. It’s sad to see them not sticking by their commitments.

Music was next and the teacher had bought in a didgeridoo to show the kids and play. It was pretty fun and all the students really got into it and wanted to have a go. It was excellent to see them all so engaged in the lesson.

I had maths twice more today, and I started collecting the final lot of money games assignments to mark. Around 50 students did Money Games across the four maths classes that I’m in, and I’ve marked about 39 assignments already – it’s almost a record for work handed in! Hooray!

Also today, the teachers form a team to play against a group of boys in soccer at lunch time. It’s funny to see the principal running around in his good pants, shirt and tie with his joggers on. All the students really get into it and there are a lot who come just to watch. Pretty fun really.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wednesday 04/06/08
Prac Block Day Eighteen

I’ve come to discover that the life of a teacher is very repetitive. Especially if you only teach one subject at the same level all the time. But I’ve also noticed that the students tend to make every lesson interesting despite this.

Tuesday was a standard Tuesday at school. Japanese in the morning started off with some revision and then a listening and reading test. The students won’t be graded on their tests, but they will give an idea of how they are going with the language. I got to mark the tests, and on average the students got about 70% right. Not too bad.

After this we had maths and maths again. We have started the new unit of maths, so this meant more photo copying and handing out booklets to students. It also means collecting the old work. Some students are very on time about their work, others however, need a lot of encouragement to remember to hand their work in. My teacher is still collecting work from over 5 weeks ago now! Shocking!

I have marked most of the money games work, and the students are on their next unit. These are on topics such as taxes, “the cost of living” (house hold bills etc), home improvements (costing do it yourself jobs around the home) and “wages and salaries”. The units are also smaller than the others have been, so students are able to complete more than one in the 3 weeks that they have to do it.

The students have been working fairly well, we had maths again today and they did work for most of the time. The rain craze is fading (thankfully!) and things are getting back on track.

Sport on Tuesday was cancelled (the ground was still soaking) so I just did marking and photo copying during the spare.

Today, I had music first. The teacher took the students though how to play and write for drums. It was a pretty good lesson – especially considering we didn’t have enough sticks for everyone and drums are one of the hardest things to play. One of the students got really frustrated that he couldn’t get it, so the teacher gave us all a prep talk about why we keep trying. It was a pretty good lesson. I love the small class feel. I’m excited about taking them for piano writing next Wednesday!

Maths and maths again for the next two sessions, before I had Japanese for last lesson. In this Japanese class, the students had to do the same tests as the previous class and then they wrote out a good copy of the family trees and descriptions they had been working on in class.

I was pretty shocked, about four of the boys hadn’t been to class for a while and so the teacher took them through the basic outline of what they had to write (almost hand feeding them the answers!). I can’t say what shocked me more – that they were almost hand fed answers or that they didn’t realise it and did some of the most shocking work I’ve ever seen.

I guess when you take a class for a while you begin to really like them and want them to succeed so much that you will try to feed them answers.

Staff meeting cancelled, so I came home early to write my music lesson plan, my lesson plan for next Tuesdays Japanese class on pets, my over view for the kankyou unit and my overview for Australian Music. Yay planning!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday 02/06/08
Prac Block Day Sixteen

Rain rain go away, come again another day. The students go crazy – especially when there is no place outside for them that is undercover and they have to spend all of the day inside their classrooms. The school is on a slope, so when it rains, the water just runs down. There is quite a lot of grass, but once that is soaked to the max, the water runs over the cement areas down the paths to the back of the school (which by the way, is a dam). The low area under Boat F fills up and looks like you could go swimming in it.

Anyway, today was the first day I’ve had problems with getting my grade nine kankyou students to actually work. The girls just wanted to chat and the only boy just wanted to check every second thing he did rather than progressing. I ran everyone through some practice sentences at the start of the lesson and that really helped with how they approached their writing tasks, but on the whole, it was a pretty slack day. I think I’ll start the next lesson with some more sentences so that they can really get a grasp on it all.

After this we had maths with Boat F. They started their new section today, so we handed out their work and they got going. Most of the students worked fairly well! Hooray! One of the girls even managed to get her whole book done in one lesson – so that was exciting. She’s working on another one next lesson.

After lunch we ran the same thing with Boat E who were so rowdy I kept confusing them with Boat F. They got a lot of work done too when it came down to it.

In the afternoon, I went to music, and the students practiced their aural skills by singing do, re, mi solfa intervals and then learnt about how to set a melody. The music teacher spilt her whole hot chocolate all over the floor and had to clean it up, but the students worked fairly well under the circumstances.

Another day over, and that’s more than half of my prac done! Yay!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Friday 30/05/08
Prac Block Day Fifteen

We cooked today for the final time this term. As it was the most senior Japanese group we were making tea as well, so I took my tea ceremony stuff to show them. The group were super efficient – they made yakiniku and stir-fry in twenty five minuets! This meant that we got to spent a lot of the lesson doing teaching and tea stuff. Pretty fun!

Afterwards I went to music where we learnt how to write riffs. I think riff writing could be the hardest thing ever. The students did pretty well though, especially as they got to sit around and play on instruments making their riffs – and it will be useful for their compositions. Again, the positives of having a small class shone through – I couldn’t imagine 20 students sitting around a class room working as effectively (or a school having enough resources to facilitate that anyway).

Something I noticed today was that one of the boys, (from Boat F) who isn’t so intellectually talented, gets to spend some of his time on Fridays with the groundsman. It’s really interesting to see the school facilitate and encourage hands on learning. The boy spent all morning with the groundsman doing a stock take of the schools desks and chairs and writing up the findings.

After morning tea we had maths with Boat D2. Most of the students worked fairly well, although there were a group of boys who were not at all productive. I separated one pair who continued to work together after I told them it was an individual task only to have both boys sit and do nothing for the rest of the lesson (one sulking the other talking to the other people around him).

Maths with Boat F was not too bad today. They were very noisy, but a lot of the students had finished their work and did other things. One of the boys who usually doesn’t excel at maths handed me his finished final task at the very beginning of the lesson! Hooray! I think it’s small victories like these that really make it seem worthwhile to be teaching.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday 29/05/08
Prac Block Day Fourteen

Ahh, another day in Boat C2. Today started with maths – a very disorganised maths lesson, where all the students – even those not completing the Money Games section, had a lesson in games. I helped run the billionaire, but it’s not one of my favourite things because the kids take ages to put it all together and hardly ever understand the writing each trade down.

After this, I walked around as the students did … man I totally can’t remember now. It would have been some kind of literacy though.

After this and morning tea, they had science. They have just started a new unit for science on Volcanoes. The lower group have to do basic volcano information and research, resulting in making a volcano themselves. The higher group have to investigate ways that volcanoes erupt and then, imagining that there is an active volcano in the area, come up with evacuation plans and road closures and general information about what to do when it erupts. They also have to present this information in any way they like – news reports, models, documentaries etc.

The students got into this fairly well, especially considering they are allowed to work in groups. The class had booked the school laptops for this lesson and I caught one of the students looking up volcano information on the Japanese version of Google. Man it’s great to be a language teacher sometimes.

After lunch the class had rich tasks and I stayed and watched the Bollywood dance group again. They didn’t do too much productive work, but they did plan out what they want to do with the performance of their song and have active goals for next lesson.

All in all a pretty standard day for school.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday 28/05/08
Prac Block Day Thirteen

Today started with music – we learnt how to play some bass guitar! Pretty fun. I love having the small class, because it means we can go really in deep with teaching stuff and everyone can have a go. There is no way I’d be game enough to give a class of 20 students all guitars and expect to be able to teach them as much as we got through in one lesson.

I then had maths with one of the D classes – not sure which – I always get D1 and D2 mixed up. Most of the students were working on their final tasks – I only had 2 students who were finished early who were playing games. It was their last lesson too, so that will be it for that class! New unit on Tuesday!

I sat with a group of students and tried to encourage good working habits by displaying them, but I’ve found it doesn't work so well. Even though walking around is a lot more effort – it produces much better results in the students’ work.

After this was Maths again with Boat E who worked well. It was their last lesson on the second unit, but about 10 students were already finished their work and were playing games. I sat with some students who were just talking and coaxed a bit more work out of a few of them. One of the girls though, kept making excuses for not doing work and saying she had left it at home or on the computer or on the usb or wherever. It’s disappointing because she was blaming others for her own failures.

The last lesson of the day was Japanese with the beginners. We did cooking. They weren’t as efficient as the second level students were, they were a little bit more boisterous and distracted. I reviewed their hiragana recognition, which was still pretty bad. Trying to think of ways to get the students to remember the characters is so hard! Ahh!!

At the end of the day, I ducked back to Boat E where I had accidentally left my folder in the previous session. When I was there, the music prac teacher asked me if I’d like to teach the piano writing lesson for the music class. Pretty exciting although I don’t know where to start!

I think now I need to write out some lesson plans – I always tend to be writing my lesson plans after I have taught the lessons… it’s a strange strange situation. Another cool thing though is that I get to mark all of the Money Games final tasks! Hooray! Exciting fun! I’m a teacher!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday 29/05/08
Prac Block – Day Twelve

Today we went out to interschool sports. For the entire day.

My prac teacher wasn’t down for a sport – so she stayed at school. I signed up for volleyball, and went with two of the other teachers and the prac teacher from Boat C2. There were twenty-five girls all playing volleyball against 3 other schools. The day was organised by the teachers (of others schools) but run by the students.

I was pretty intrigued, but when we got there, after organising the girls into teams and giving them their run sheets (that told them which rounds they were playing in and which courts and when to do court duty etc), the girls just took themselves off and made it to all of their games with no supervision or coercing from the teachers at all.

The students were allowed to roam around the venue (some big gym) freely and were expected to know where they were supposed to be for games and duty and did it. I was shocked however, when the teachers with me simply sat and did marking all day. They didn't even watch the games to encourage the girls. The teachers from other schools were there, some watching and some marking, but pretty much, none of the teachers actually paid any serious attention to the games they were sitting near, or made any active effort to encourage the girls playing.

As a result, the games were pretty shabby and the Kimberly College girls got down heartened a fair bit because they weren’t really pulling anything together. Some of the other schools suffered the same way while a few just had teams of girls who really didn't care at all.

I sat by the court that they grade nine’s were to play on and supervised the two year nine teams. One won two games, and the other only one. They had a good time playing after a while though.

Later on, I was talking with some girls and they were saying how they usually had some problems with the Shailer Park girls. Then one of them came up to me and told me that a group of Shailer girls had been teasing one of their school mates and had dumped soap on her while in the toilet. It was a pretty weird situation which we handed over to the Shailer Park teacher (who did a fairly good job of handling it all).

Back to school and we were back at about 2:10 – pretty early for a 3:00 finish. I snuck off to the Languages room to do some work and I walked in on the principle having a “serious talk” with one of the grade ten boys. I quickly vacated to the staff room next door only to find that too was inundated with students.

The reason for this all too soon became clear as the principle came back in, had a go at some of the students for lying and then telling them that the person they had been called up to the office to give information on was going to be expelled (it was his birthday and he thought it would be cool to bring some alcohol to school).

Ahh yet another expulsion. I wonder if we will have class talks about it tomorrow.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday 26/05/08
Prac Block – Day Eleven

Ahh Monday again! After the problems of making English sentences into Japanese ones I decided to begin this lesson by taking my kankyou group through deconstructing sentences so they would have a better grasp on it. Sadly this was not to be because they were putting in another building, and as the crane was going to swing the new building over the one we were working in and they didn't’ want any horrible accidents we had to go outside to work.

The lesson went fairly well, given that we were outside, but I still had to help a fair few of the students with sentence structures. One of the girls was getting a grasp of it before the end of the lesson though, so that’s progress! Hooray!

After this, we had maths, with class F. They worked fairly well on their tasks, but quite a few of the students just wasted time in the lesson wandering around and “looking” for their “lost” booklets.

The same kind of thing happened in E. I sat next to one girl who is notorious for not doing much work so that she would get on with it. She finished one part of her work, so provided she doesn't loose it between now and Wednesday – it’s ready to be handed in!

At the end of the lesson, we collected the money trail sheets and about four students had lost theirs. It is really appalling the state of the classroom etiquette. Hardly any of the students are organised or care much about their belongings. The amount of times I see students use a half a page and then rip it out and start again – wasting a whole page from their books – is just outrageous. Has no one taught them they need to start at the beginning and then keep going? As it is, most of the students go through books like rain – changing them every few weeks and then they wonder why they can’t find their old work – it’s in the “old” books.

Anyway, after this, I had music. It was a pretty fun lesson. The prac teacher played a game with the students to start with – dividing them into teams and playing a chord quiz. After this they listened to a song, which had a good example of the bass guitar – the focus for the week.

And that is all.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday 23/05/08
Prac Block – Day Ten

Today was the best day ever! Hooray! But I’ll start with Thursday, considering I missed it before.

Thursday I headed down to Boat C2 like last Thursday, I was there early enough to see the head teacher opening up the classroom and letting students in early. She chatted to the students fairly casually, and they helped her set up the room for the day. Then one of the students needed help with homework stuff, so she sat down with him to help him out. It was really interesting to see her interact with the students on such a casual level. It was clear that the students respected her and felt comfortable approaching her.

The first session of the day was Maths, the students worked fairly well. I’m getting to remember more and more maths by helping them out! Hooray! After maths, the students worked on literacy. During this lesson, a group of students at the front of the room continually chatted to each other and didn't get much work done at all. One of the teachers had a group outside, while the head teacher took a group in “the lounge” (the couch area at the back of the room). The other two groups worked on their literacy books by themselves.

At the end of this lesson, quite a few of the students took a long time to put their work away and sit down ready to be let go for lunch. The head teacher at the back of the room and her group of students watched as the rest of the class wandered around and talked and wasted time. Then, she dismissed her group and talked to the class.

After selecting specific groups of students who needed to stay back she let the rest of the class go. Then she spoke to the students either individually or in groups about what was going on. To a group of girls who were clearly friends she reminded them that they needed to not abuse the privilege of being in the same class together.

To another boy who was a drifter she asked what they could do together to work on fixing the problem of his disinterest. It was obvious that she really cared for each of the students, addressing their specific needs. She spent all morning tea talking to the students, not really with the intent of punishing them by not giving them a morning tea break, but with the intent of speaking to them seriously about the issues they each had with their directions and how to follow them better.

After morning tea, the class had science, which was quite a distracted lesson. The lesson wasn’t given so much to science as to catching up on work for the students portfolios (which included science work, but also their poverty reports, maths and literacy work). I sat with a group of students outside who were very prone to talking and not working. I tried to encourage them to work with minimal chatter, but they continued to have extensive conversations without doing any work.

After lunch, there was Rich Task. This was my first Rich Task session and I sat in on the “Bollywood Dance Group”. Most of this group were girls, although there was one boy – who was playing the drum. The girls had been working on a dance in the Bollywood style and were given the lesson to come up with their own moves.

It was a fairly productive lesson. The teacher sat with the male student and patiently taught him drumming patterns. It was so good to see this student (who is in one of my other boats for maths) who isn’t interested in school at other times, really apply himself to master the drumming patterns. It was also great to see the teacher take the time to really encourage him and work with him on something he could succeed at.

Friday started with Japanese – which I worked with my kankyou unit. The students are really getting along with their work. Most of the groups have finished at least 3 pieces of their final product. One of the major problems in this group was translating English sentences to Japanese. They find it very hard to grasp the concept that a Japanese sentence is backwards compared to an English one. I had to really focus on the sentence structure with the students. I really want to start the next lesson with deconstructing a sentence from Japanese to English with the whole group to give them a better grasp on how it works.

After this, I sat in on the Music class. They worked on their lyrics and how to set lyrics to rhythms.

At morning tea, my supervising teacher and I realised that the maths class we would have was away on camp and so we had a spare! Hooray!! I sat down and worked out a Japanese unit of work on school based on some literacy activities that I had acquired from C2 the day before. It was good to get a whole unit planned.

Lunch left us feeling very relaxed and peaceful because we had had the extra hour to work. After lunch we headed down to Boat F expecting the worst, but finding that the students were ready to work quite well. It was really good to see a class who was jumping off the desks last week settle down and get into work. I handed out final task sheets for the money games and then most of the students (except for 3 girls who still had a game to play) started on their game design. (One of the students, a boy, finished his whole game in one lesson, so I’m not sure what I’ll put him on next lesson, possibly another unit of work).

Because most of the students were fairly content and working well on their games, I went around and asked students to hand in their booklets from the last unit (it was due about 2 weeks ago). One of the girls I stopped at had only done one page in her booklet!! That’s all she had to show for six 70 minuet lessons of work!! I was shocked, and after asking her why (apparently she couldn’t do them but didn't ask for help) I sat with her for the lesson helping her out.

It’s shocking to think that some students just don’t do anything instead of asking for help!! AHH!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday 21/05/08
Prac-Block Day Eight

Today I started with music. The teacher had the students attempt the challenging task of writing their own lyrics. She used stimuli for the students and once they had something basic allowed them to try to fit these to their chord patterns.

Next I had maths with D1. Most of the students except for a group of six started on their game design this lesson. The six played one more game. Some of them have now only played two games, but they will still start on their final task next lesson. Other students have finished their activities and tasks already, so I can imagine they will be playing games next lesson.

At morning tea, my prac liaison came around and spoke with all of the Griffith students. Some of the students are worried about their observations and how much feed back they are getting. I only asked about weather or not my maths teaching can count and she said that it would be good to put on a resume – that I can take other classes. So that’s good.

After morning tea we had maths with Boat E who were about the same as D1 except that I had everyone designing games and no one playing them any more. I’m not looking forward to organising Boat F on Friday. The majority of Boat F should be up to designing their games, but I suspect that many of them haven’t done enough work playing the games to be able to move onto that.

Finally we had Japanese. There was an ancient History test being held in the Languages room, so we were relocated. Many of the students didn’t come to Japanese today, because they had their Rich Tasks, and also because two of the Boats are on camp. We only had 6 students in total.

First we revised the hiragana alphabet that we learned last lesson. Sadly, the students had very little recollection of the hiragana alphabet characters and we had to reteach them. After this, my teacher showed the students a scaffold of how to write a paragraph describing the people in your family and then had the students use it to write their own paragraph.

The lesson finished with another revision of hiragana.

I have noticed that the principle takes it very personally when things happen in his school. At the staff meeting this afternoon, Danielle, the music teacher, asked the other teachers if a list of students had been in their classes in the morning. All of the students were in the dance group who had an eisteddfod that day and had been out of class practicing when they shouldn’t have been. On hearing this, the principle said he would have a quiet word with those students, but recognised that the students in question were ones with excellent reputations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday 20/05/08
Prac Block – Day Seven

Today was another usual Tuesday. For Japanese in the morning we did cooking! Together we made Teriyaki Stir-Fry with Udon. It was pretty good, and I was impressed to see the students participating really well. At the start of class we ran through the names of the ingredients and some basic sentences in Japanese – clean, cut and cook.

Then the students had to wash, peel and cut the veggies while some other students set the tables with bowls and chopsticks and others boiled the Udon. After the students had cooked everything they served it up and we ate together. After this, they all washed up and packed everything away. I was so impressed at the efficiency with which the students worked together!

When they were waiting for things to happen (like when two students were cooking and the rest were waiting) they played Hiragana Snatch to remember their hiragana. At the end of the lesson I revised the words we used today for the veggies and the cooking. Then the teacher revised all of the hiragana they had learnt and introduced them to chon-chon pronunciations.

After this, we went to D1 and had a maths lesson fairly identical to the previous days. D1 worked really well on their games today. About 80% of the students were playing their third games and so I handed out their final tasks which they can start work on straight away next lesson.

Following morning tea was maths with D2 who were fairly similar to D1 although they had less time to play their games. The principle came to talk with the class again today about bullying and the use of mobile phones at school as a bulling weapon. He said that recent events portrayed in the media about mobile phone bullies have convinced him beyond doubt that mobiles should be banned from schools. He also said that if he heard of any of his students using mobile phones to bully others even on the weekend he would take those students to the police.

After lunch, I watched the two dance groups practice for their eisteddfod tomorrow. I then attended bus duty with my supervising teacher. Ice blocks have been banned from the busses and the principle has spoken to the tuckshop about selling them after the school day has finished. The students (although much fewer than last week) still bought ice blocks, but then put them in their bags to get them on the bus.

All in all it was an interesting day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday 19/05/08
Prac Block Day Six

Another day of teaching! Today I had a more relaxed approach to the classroom. Mostly because I felt like I had been quite hard in my approach last week and the students had responded quite well, I felt like it was time to relax a bit. Japanese was first up and I supervised and facilitated the kankyou unit. I also played a game of Kanji Snatch at the end (at the suggestion of my teacher).

Kanji Snatch involves putting the kanji cards on the table and then calling out the readings or the English meaning of the kanji. The students have to be the first to grab them. At the end you count who has the most – they are the winner! It’s a pretty fun and relaxing game that is good for kanji recognition.

After this I did Money games with Boat F who were better than they were on Friday, but at the same time, still quite rowdy. I had to start one of the students on other work because he continued to be disruptive and not wanting to work. Other wise the lesson was uneventful. Boat E was the same.

In the afternoon I attended the music class. The prac teacher who is taking the class had the students play their homework (making a 12 bar chord progression) on guitar. It was really interesting to see her challenge the students to put their theory into practice on guitar. It might have been better to have a keyboard or piano available for the students who were not so capable on guitar, but all the students had a go – which is an advantage of a small class!

After this we listened to The Land Down Under where we looked at the lyrics and other musical characteristics and how they were uniquely Australian. One of the students protested at having to study a song they didn’t like, but the prac teacher dealt with it really well by saying that to be a musician you need to understand all types of music, not just the genre that you play.

And that’s pretty much it for today.


These are my flowers - aren't they lovely! When Steve gave them to me I thought "... could this be happening tonight? ... surely not..." - in hindsight how wrong I was!

This is my shiny new ring! It's so pretty! :D:D

This is me trying to tell both of my sisters at once - at about 12:45 at night. :D

And this is me and Steve being over the moon that God has blessed us with each other and also being totally excited that we are GETTING MARRIED!! :D:D

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday 16/05/08
Prac Block Day Five

Had the best morning today because the day started with Japanese and was followed by Music. I took the advanced Japanese group and facilitated their solar system work. I was really happy with the work the kids did today. They seemed to enjoy having a set amount of work to do that they could choose from. Most of the students have now finished their first piece in the unit and are either started on their second or ready to start on it next lesson.

After this, I had music. The prac teacher took the lesson again, and I met the final two members of the class. It was a pretty fun lesson because after a rhythmic dictation we played Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil. Two of the girls had to learn how to play the chords, so I took the boys outside to practice. After running them through a few times and giving them tips and pointers, we re-joined the girls and we all played together. Homework is to write a chord progression for a 12 bar piece.

After morning tea I rejoined my teacher for Maths. Maths, maths, maths. D2 worked quite well with their maths – I ran the money games again. One group of boys wasted their time outside. Next lesson they will be taken off games and will have to do another activity. It’s disappointing when students are unable to follow instructions and abuse their privileges.

The final class of today was Maths with Boat F. Boat F was fine on Monday, but last session on a Friday they were not in the mood to do work. I continued to ask the students to do their work and followed through with behaviour management. At the end of the lesson however, I had to report to my teacher that some of the boys had not worked well at all and would have to be taken off games next lesson.

It really amazed me in Boat F, because there are only four or so boys who are continually being disobedient. The rest of the class is unimpressed by their behaviour. Being kept in after class at the end of the day continually requested for their fellow students to be quiet and listen to the teachers. It is interesting to see that even though they are not gaining popularity from their behaviour, they continue to display it.

I spoke with my teacher today about how much I should be teaching. She suggested that she give me ten minuet sections of lessons over the next week to do. It sounds good. I’m looking forward to doing more direct teaching in Japanese rather than maths.