Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Well, great.

I've lost my voice. 

It's not completely gone, I can still communicate in this sort of strangled-sounding half whisper, but it's certainly not a normal voice.

All I can say is, thank God it went today (Saturday) and not during the week. I've called in sick to work – I could hardly go around selling spectacles when I sound like a crone from a fairy tale – and I’ll try to stay in bed (or rugged up in front of the computer, heh) and hopefully it’ll be alright by Monday. Not that I don’t have a lot of work to do tomorrow, but I can do that while all rugged up too.

Not that I can really afford not to go to work, but I don't have a choice. No voice = no sale!

“Blech” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

End of Week 1

Well, whaddaya know. I'm sick.

On Thursday morning I woke up with a slight sore throat, and despite deep misgivings, I dismissed it as dehydration and set out to drink as much water as possible to make it go away. Ha, yeah right. It got worse all day yesterday, and has now (Friday afternoon) developed into a full-on cold - sneezing, sniffling, coughing, and a raging burning sore throat of the sort that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Yeesh.

On top of that, prac has started so I'm flat out. And . . . my Monday-Wednesday co-operating teacher has had to have a knee reconstruction and the Thursday-Friday one is on leave briefly, so I have this idiot of a relief teacher for the first two weeks. She’s really old-school so I don’t like her style at all, and despite being told repeatedly by me and the supervisor, she seems to have no idea what the prac is for. She wants me to have beautifully presented lesson plans which I carry out exactly to plan with no deviations (we’re supposed to use our plans as our own personal working documents with as many scribbles as we like, and we’re supposed to change our lesson plans on the spot if needs be, because flexibility is the reality of teaching). She keeps moaning that we prac students can’t possibly learn to be teachers if we’re not strictly required to do everything perfectly.

Um, maybe we’ll learn to be real teachers, and perhaps we won’t kill ourselves with overwork in the process?

My supervisor from uni knows what’s going on and she’s been very supportive, so at least I know I won’t be unfairly treated by the woman without having anyone step in and tell her where to get off. And the prac is only pass/borderline/fail, so I’m fine – no matter how much she whinges about this irrelevant stuff, I’m a damn good teacher and she knows it already, so she cannot legitimately do anything other than pass me, even if she only gives me satisfactories on the informal report.

By the time I start my six-week *real* prac, which is graded, the two normal teachers will be back. I get along with both of them excellently and I like their styles, so I’ll do fine. Eventually.

My lessons so far have gone brilliantly, though – it’s stupid niggly things that this teacher is determined to make me feel small about (she has that stupid tone of voice that some adults use when they’ve spent most of their career talking to children, and can no longer imagine that anyone younger than about 40 is not a child – I feel like a disappointing high school student every time she opens her mouth). I have a great rapport with the kids, my lesson planning is flawless from a pedagogical perspective, and I know what I’m doing. I just wish she’d let me get on with doing it, rather than subjecting me to a ten-minute lecture about why I shouldn’t cross out and change the title of my lesson plan!

I feel bloody awful. I probably won’t get much chance to blog during the week for the time being, but I’ll try to update on the weekend as much as possible.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I went for another nature ramble on Wednesday, along a former railway line near where I live (it's now a well-maintained bridle trail). Unfortunately I forgot to check the camera's batteries, and thus I only have photos from the first 10 minutes of my walk. But I got some nice ones nonetheless, and here they are.

A tree near the bus stop.

Part of the old railway trail (it was a one-track steam railway).

Some wattle flowers, although not the ones truly native to the area. The place was simply alive with the scents I associate with home in winter - the honey-sweet scent of wattle flowers, wet clay, running water, crushed grass, sprouting lilies, damp earth.

A little waterfall in the winter creek that runs alongside the railway line.

More of the rocky creekbed. The creek is about half a metre lower now than it was in my childhood, but it's still beautiful.

Another stretch of the trail, showing one of the railway cuttings.

I'll have to do the walk again in two weeks' time, I think - it's supposed to rain all this week and into next week, so the creek will be higher when I go again. And this time I'll remember to take spare batteries, so that I can capture some of the things I missed, such as the vivid purple hovea growing from the granite outcrops, and the funny miniature swamps that are full of tadpoles.

I love my suburb :-)

PS: Amie: I'm very careful about not revealing where this actually *is* on this blog, as I don't want to be locatable. But I'm sure you'll recognise it!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yeee :-D

As I think I've mentioned before, my university and the federal government are offering 13 prizes of $2000 each for students who are willing to try teaching the new primary school science modules during their long prac. In order to be eligible for the prize, you had to write an application letter back in May, and then get a distinction or higher for all aspects of the Science component of the science and social studies unit last semester.

I got a letter today letting me know that I did get distinctions in all of the science components, so I’m eligible to continue and be in the running for one of the prizes!

I’m relieved as I wasn’t sure the science half of my exam paper was good enough, but evidently it was lol.

Now all I have to do is run one of the new science modules with my Year 1 class in the coming 10 weeks (easy, the school already has it and hasn’t used it) and then submit a 1000-word “rich summary” of my experience.

I’m curious about how many people are actually in the running, given that there’s only so many people in the primary grad dip course in the first place, and some may have fallen out at any of the previous stages or may now feel that it’s just too much trouble to try to do this during the prac, which is full-on as it is. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, I might just get one of the prizes!

If I did, that would mean being able to spend rather more on a car than I otherwise would be able to. Which is a nice thought! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

To meme, or not to meme?

Getting involved with an internet meme is always a risky business, especially when said meme has been around for a long time. Later contributions to memes often become too specific and/or too repetitive and/or too cheezy, and don't hit the mark at all.

But nonetheless, I couldn't resist.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Feeling Weird

Before I get into my random musings, I'm disclosing that I'm utterly beyond exhaustion and into some strange realm beyond it. The past week has been insane, with its phys ed and dance and drama and music and a group presentation and work and two after-midnight bedtimes in three days. Tired doesn't even begin to cover it.

But the weird feeling isn't much to do with the tiredness, it's merely making it more pronounced.

I guess it's because the end of the year is coming closer. Within the next eleven weeks I'll find out which school I'm going to be teaching in next year, and the future will really be on my doorstep. It's well over 18 months since I decided to actually become a teacher, and probably around 20 years since I first had the idea of being one. Suddenly it's almost here, and the proximity is dizzying.

The feeling is not dissimilar to the breathless moment on some rollercoasters when the carriage has slowly ground its way to the top of the first hill, and is teetering in a momentary pause before plunging down the incline and onto its wild careening pathway.

This moment of inhalation before the plunge comes with a strong feeling that everything should be moving forward, and that some things will be left behind.

I’m thinking more and more about the things I want to leave behind.

The people who bring out the worst in me, and the people in whom I bring out the worst. The people who use me and the people who drag me down. The people who’ve grown so comfortable in their assumptions about me that they don’t know me at all, who speak to some imaginary me that exists only in their own minds.

Beyond people, there are feelings I want to leave behind. I’ve never been courageous enough to write this down before, but I’m a food addict. I want to leave that behind. I want to be healthy and to enjoy life without obsessing about what I’m going to taste next. I want to be as fit and active as I can be, not as I should be.

I want to leave behind the emotional issues that got me addicted to food in the first place. I want to learn to value myself, and to leave behind the childhood lesson that my parents didn’t value my presence, as much as they loved me. I want to leave behind the fact that my peers didn’t value my strengths because of my differences. I want to leave behind the fact that I didn’t value my own strengths because of my differences.

I want to leave behind my fears of inadequacy and failure and the traps and pitfalls of underachievement and misery that they cause.

I want to stop hiding and start living. I want to leave the darkness and emerge into the light. I want to go weeks without wanting to cry, not hours.

I want to get a life, and keep it for more than a year without everything falling apart. I want to build and grow and decorate and nest and create comfort. I want every day to be worth something.

I want to move on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nice comment

Anyone who's looked at my profile pic will know that I'm overweight. Not dreadfully so, just a bit of an extra layer all round. I don't look really bad, but the weight does show.

One of the problems with being overweight, apart from the obvious, is that people pigeon-hole you. If you're carrying a bit extra, you "obviously" eat badly, never exercise, spend too much time in front of the TV, etc. Show most people a picture of someone who isn't normal size or slender, and ask them if that person likes to play sport? The answer will almost always be "probably not".

I'm overweight for a number of reasons. I started gaining weight after the hand injury six years ago (which barred me from even the most gentle exercise for nearly a year), and continued to gain steadily until I went to Sydney, after which I gained a lot in a short time. There were two main contributing factors to the rapid weight gain - first, I comfort eat if I don't concentrate on stopping myself; and second, I ate too much of the wrong sort of foods when I was struggling to cope in Sydney. I was also on medication when in Sydney, which didn't help, and a series of injuries and a lack of money have stopped me from getting into sport with any regularity.

My weight hasn't gone up since I came back from Sydney, so I've now got the eating under control and I've been exercising more. I've even managed to lose a bit, but I'm still overweight.

Anyway, today I had a two-hour class on how to teach various phys ed strategies. I was nervous about it because I'm so chubby and un-sporty-looking, and because as an unpopular child I was always picked last for teams no matter how good I was at the sport. Despite that, and despite a dodgy hand and ankle, I put in my best effort today, and really enjoyed it (although I'm sore now!). I was the first to volunteer to demonstrate the triple-jump step, and the workshop leader got the class to applaud me for demonstrating how to dribble a soccer ball. I got my partner to make a W by balancing together, despite the fact that she was really nervous and didn't know how to lock her arms and legs straight; and I managed to muster 12 people into making the word FITNESS with their bodies. Among other things lol.

After the class, the workshop leader was standing near me, and he turned to me and said "I can see the sports in your background, you must have done a lot". That was SUCH a nice moment, as I realised that he'd seen past the fact that my tummy jiggles when I run and my thighs are enormous and I have a double chin if I hunch over. He'd seen the skills I was demonstrating, not the body that was demonstrating them. It's really, really nice to have someone see past the weight and appreciate something more important, especially when it's something that contrasts so strongly with the image of an overweight person. *happy*

I did do a lot of sport as a kid - between the ages of 5 and 17 I was always participating in at least one extra-curricular sport, and sometimes several at once. I never stayed in any for more than 2 years at a stretch until I was a teenager, but I acquired decent skills at all of them. Off the top of my head, I did ballet, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, calisthenics, jazz ballet, acrobatics and karate. I also went to a primary school (ages 5-12) which had a proud sporting history, and we did weekly sports that cycled through a whole range of activities, including athletics, cricket, hockey, volleyball, netball, basketball, soccer, AFL football, rounders/longball, softball, tee-ball, ballroom dancing, folk dancing, gymnastics and swimming lessons. And last year I did ballroom dancing lessons for most of the year. So I've got quite a bit of experience and skill in sport - despite my physical appearance!

It's nice to be recognised for that.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sorry for the lack of bloggage!

I joined Facebook recently, and anyone who has experienced the addictiveness of that site will understand why I've forgotten to blog lately lol.

Holidays are over, and I'm back at uni for an intensive course called "The Arts, Health and Physical Education in the Curriculum". It's 8:30-4pm for 5 days - exhausting! But today was fun. We did a workshop session in which we brainstormed the health issues faced by primary students, then we went to the gym and learned some games that are useful for teaching fundamental motor skills; and then after lunch we had Introduction to the Arts (Mum keeps laughing at that, she has Harry Potter on the brain and keeps thinking I'm going to say "Dark Arts") in which we made emotion masks using only limited materials, then had to create group tableaus based on what our masks were like. We also learned the basics of drawing faces, by breaking the face down into sectors and finding the position lines that run through it. Below is the picture I drew of the girl sitting opposite me. Technically it’s a bit shaky, but it really does look like the girl I was drawing.

The point of all of this artistic stuff was to teach us how to get all four outcome areas (Arts Ideas, Arts Skills and Processes, Arts Responses and Arts in Society) out of one activity. We looked at how our own ideas were being put into the artworks, what skills we were using, how we reacted to other peoples’ artworks, and how those artworks related to arts in the wider community. Good stuff.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


I've just packed Sis off to her Year Six social, looking far more like a dignified young lady than an 11-year-old has any right to look. I can't believe how grown up she's getting - it seems just the other day that she was a baby in my arms, and now look at her - another year and a half and she'll be at high school! Then again, when she was a baby *I* was still in high school, so I can't really complain.

9yo-brother has his school's theatre arts performance tonight, and Mum had to go to that, because James has to be here dance with Sis at the end of the social. So I've been pseudo-Mum all evening, getting Sis into her dress, doing her hair, and putting in her very first dangly earrings (today is the first day that the piercing studs came out - she only had them done ~6 weeks ago). I wish I could have captured the look on her face when she saw the first dangly earring in her ear. She couldn't believe how grown up she was getting either lol.

We’ve taken dozens of photos for Mum, and hopefully she’ll get home only a little while after Sis does so she can see her all kitted out. I may just have to post one here, if only to show everyone how much Sis looks like Hermione from “Harry Potter”. Impossible hair, intelligent eyes, impish grin . . . she’s a delight :-D

Oh, wow . . .

In primary school, I was a kind of odd, detatched little Aspergers kiddie, and as a result I was bullied and teased pretty much constantly, and was very unpopular.

There were two girls in particular who teased me more than others – “M” (who was the ringleader) and “A” (who was her sidekick).

With it being 10 years since my year group graduated high school, more and more of us are appearing on “find old school friends” type sites. I’m on several, and yesterday “A” spotted my profile on one of the sites, and emailed me to apologise for the teasing.

I’m sure most people who’ve been bullied fantasize about their tormentors apologising to them, and I was no different, but I never actually expected it to happen!

I wrote her a very nice, friendly email back, and I feel great. I’d long forgiven my primary school bullies as they were just kids, and kids can be really stupidly mean to each other, but it’s just so nice to hear from one of them that I didn’t deserve it.

This looks to be a 5-Star day so far!