Posts Tagged ‘life’

A post about rejuvenation…

I’m one term shy of my long-service leave and have been taking the moment to reflect forwards… should that be proflect? Without ever intending the flow of events, thanks to a range of circumstances, I managed to move from school to university to a teaching job before I’d graduated from university. At the end of nine years, I changed schools and in doing, missed the first chance for long service leave that I might have earned. At the time, the challenge of starting a new job meant that I probably didn’t need the break.

Now, nearly eleven years later from that switch, I’ve decided that a break is probably a good thing. I’m one term shy of 80 terms and aside from the regular school holidays, have moved from term to term in succession. So, I have been taking the time to enjoy the looking forward and the need for time down, which I’ve decided to take over two school terms. And while I don’t want to plan too much, I thought a bit of proflection, in thinking about how I should spend the time, mightn’t be a bad thing.  I’ve got my Masters of Ed on the go, so a couple of units there are factored in and I’ll mostly be around as the kids will still be at school. We might look to go on a holiday, perhaps to Fiji. But I’m enjoying the daydream of what else I might (loosely) occupy my time with. Here is the current list:

  • Might try to build in a bit of exercise – bike riding, swimming, maybe even a bit of running. Something 2-3 times a week would be great.
  • An art class – pen and ink is something that I’d like to have a go at.
  • Or maybe work on trying to crack cryptic crosswords… at last.
  • Some regular piano time
  • Maybe a bit of writing
  • Not re-reading school text books that I’m teaching…

    setting up for a different sort of routine

    setting up for a different sort of routine

The last one leads on to my aim of reading (more or less), one book per week. Being ‘off’ from mid December till mid July means a goodly number of books. Books that I have often overlooked in lieu of school texts or waiting for a time to enjoy them fully. Which is now…

The list, only in its infancy, might include:

  • Catch 22
  • Margaret Atwood (generally)
  • Michael Ondaatje (likewise)
  • Cormac McCarthy – No Country For Old Men
  • A Russian novel… not sure which… not even sure I’d want to do this! Perhaps Crime and Punishment?
  • More of Peter Carey, more of Tim Winton, more of George Orwell
  • Maybe some novels I ought to read again… Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying which I read in 1990, comes to mind
  • Maybe a run of a literary award… like my gaps in Booker Prize winners
  • A poem a day
  • More non-fiction. Probably some history.
  • Possibly a little literary sugar, in the form of the odd “page turner” or two, to balance out the literary “vegetables”

As mentioned, this is just a general musing as I write this post. I haven’t even visited the books that sit patiently in our spare bedroom! Feel free to let me know of anything that you think would be worthy of factoring in for the proflection, whether it be reading or recreational!

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The Storytelling Group

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Education
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve noticed that, despite all the excitement around iPads, iPhones and laptops, classes still enjoy a good story. While doing a unit on memoirs, I told some of my Year 7s some stories from my past. I asked them when it was that their parents had stopped reading to them; for most, it was when they were about 7-8 years of age. With this in mind, and seeing the obvious pleasure that listening to a story can have, I’ve decided to start a group for storytellers that will (hopefully) meet once a month at lunch time, starting next term. At the moment it is going by the working title of the Verbatim Club… we’ll see if a better name comes up!

But for now, a story from my own past – one that I told my year 7s. A story of shame on my part and the absolute fear it brought about. Just so as you know, for politeness sake, I’ve changed one “rude” word, to ‘fortunately’… I think you’ll get the actual context… Anyway, hopefully you can settle back and enjoy this one, that dates back to my first year at high school…

In the afternoons, I would walk to Ashfield Station to get the ‘school special’ bus home. The bus would start from the station, and be filled with students from schools such as Ashfield Boys’ High (my school), Bethlehem College and De La Salle College.

This is 1976, but the same type of buses on the same route - cnr of Milton St and Liverpool Rds. Photo by Dave Wilson

This is 1976, but the same type of buses on the same route – cnr of Milton St and Liverpool Rds. Photo by Dave Wilson

Each day, once full, the bus would head down Liverpool Rd towards my home. At the same time, boys from Trinity Grammar would come running down the road towards Ashfield Station, having been dropped off at the top of the road. They would run past the parked bus en masse, in an attempt to make the train. Being private school boys, they were held in contempt by the public schools, purely on the basis of ignorance. And so, on one day, my friend dared me to spit out the window onto a boy as they went past. Being 12 or thereabouts and always up for a dare, I of course agreed. My first critical error.

And so I picked my target, a blonde haired young man who was probably about 3-4 years older than I and a good deal bigger, which, with the benefit of hindsight, was a further mistake (mind you, hindsight would have had me not doing this in the first place). He had slowed due to the press of people ahead and I tool my chance. I spat as nonchalantly as a ‘non spitter’ could do out of the window, and proceeded to make yet another error. Rather than nonchalantly closing the window, I slid it way too quickly, thus adding to my guilt. By now the boy, sensing something wrong, had stopped, put his hand up to his hair and brought it down before his eyes. His focus went from his hand, up to my window where I sat framed, and back to his hand again.

There had been the usual after school chatter on the bus at the time, but this immediately ceased as the boy, bringing his hand into a fist slammed it into the side of the bus. This was followed with his bellowing, “You are FORTUNATELY dead! Get off that FORTUNATE bus now!!”

By now I was doing my best impression of a Warner Bros cartoon, one of those ones who gets the fright of one’s life and melts down the steps. I was already making incomprehensible sounds and trying my best to slide, like water, onto the floor. Hands damp, saliva thin, heart ka-chumping away…

“You are soooo FORTUNATELY dead! I’m going to FORTUNATELY kill you!” Sylvester_scared

And I believed every word he said. I was already half-muttering, half-thinking desperate prayers. Please can the bus go… go now…. please start.

“I’m coming to FORTUNATELY get you!” he said, making his way, with steely purpose and straight resolve, around the back of the bus. My life would be over in about 45 seconds. This is where he made his critical error. In seeking to get to me directly, this shortest possible route saw him barge through large rugby boys from my own school. Or rather, saw him attempt to barge through, to which they took exception.

In those few moments while he was detained, the bus coughed into life and started off, thus sparing me. It was months before I raised the nerve to catch the school special again.

Not one of my finest moments, but one that has worked well in the telling in class.

I’ll let you know how the Storytelling group goes…

The Great Unravelling!

Posted: January 27, 2013 in Summer Writing
Tags: , , ,

It took the death of our computer for this collection (see pic) to occur. As a result of our new computer arriving, I decided it was high time to go through the great morass of computer paraphernalia that had accumulated over the last 5+ years. Most of it is cabling… 3.5mm jack cords, USB Device-specific cords, power cords. But then there are remotes (some never even used) for a variety of devices such as USB TV recorders and Digital radios (I’m still happy to press a button to change the function when working with the radio operating in the kitchen!) and in-car chargers for long gone mobile phones. I took this photo when the pile was about 60% of the household total – I’ve yet to go through the range of NI-CAD battery chargers that exist in the shed!

Now, with our new computer being much quieter (gone are the days of the friendly fan that would hum and rattle away just to make you feel part of the whole computing experience) and less “cordy”, I’m looking further afield and thinking that 2013 will be the year of the de-leveraging. Unravelling. Uncluttering.

Decimate: Despite the students that I teach thinking that it means to “wipe out”, the word suggests reducing by one in ten. I’m thinking this mightn’t be a bad place to start – clothes, books (perhaps more than 1 in 10 here), general household detritus, those unpacked boxes from the last move, you name it. If I can have more going out of the house than coming in, I’ll feel like the Great Unravelling of Clutter has been a success for 2013. And, if I have thrown out some critical cable… well, we’ll come to that bridge if we ever come to that bridge…

What are the items that you still hang on to… just-in-case you need them in 2022?