Monday, March 28, 2011

skip counting.

I decided to skip class this morning.
As Nic so helpfully points out: I'm a Uni student, that's what I'm supposed to do when I don't really want to go.
8am is way too early for maths, anyway, particularly when the teacher reads off powerpoint slides. Occasionally she asks us a maths problem, or shows us an activity we can do in our classroom, but if you get the answer wrong, she's terribly condescending and if you get the answer right before she's 'ready' for you to get it right (ie: be the first person answering a riddle/puzzle/whatever and get it right? She'll accuse you of having read the powerpoint already, or having seen the problem before. Or something stupid. And I mean accuse, as well).
So, I figure, I can read the powerpoints from home, and the other articles she prescribes, and not worry about never answering questions anyway because I don't want her to think I'm stupid (like when she asked if anyone uses their fingers to count, and I said I do, and she asked when, and I said pretty much for anything, even simple addition (which is true. Something like 8 + 7? That'd be on my fingers. Yup. The more I read, the more I think I wasn't taught maths very well. People who look at that and just know what the answer is? Yeah, can't do that. Kids who would look at that and go, I dunno, 7 + 7 + 1? I don't do that. Sucks.), and she looked at me like I was a complete moron)...
Ironically, I'm staying home (with kitten on my lap and dog next to me on the couch) researching progressive education/alternative education schools in Australia, and BC, Canada. Then I'll finish my assignment, then I'll probably start a different one.
So it's not like I've slept in- I still dragged myself out of bed, not having decided at that point that I wasn't going... No, I'm still actually going to be productive. That makes things better, right?

Nic brought up an interesting thought this morning, having spoken with his mom last night...
We don't know where we're going to live, in the future. Not in the short-term future, once I finish Uni, and not really in the long term future either. Washington? Maybe. BC? Maybe. Australia? Probably not. But when I finish school, we're going to be fairly broke, and moving interstate costs a fair amount, so, y'know, maybe we'll stay here a year, then move to another state, or maybe we won't. Or maybe I'll luck in on some amazing teaching job in Canada or the US or something, and we'll move then. Or maybe we won't. Who knows, maybe we'd end up in the UK, for some reason. Point is, we don't know. Things are so changeable right now because we don't know where we want to be, and I don't have a job. I can get a job anywhere, which almost makes things more difficult because realistically I think we'd both like to be a little further out of a city, into bush/mountains/nature, which I can do, at a nice small primary school... but then, I don't know what Nic will do.
Which is a worry, but not what I was getting at.
So we say to my Mum, or his: "So we're visiting Canberra, to see if we might like to maybe live there." And then next time we talk to them we say we're not sure if we'll move to Canberra, maybe we'll look at, I dunno, NSW (another Australian state, for non-Aussie people... where Sydney is), near the mountains. And they say: "What?!?! But I thought you were moving to Canberra!"
Well... No.
And they ask us all the time if we've made plans or decisions, and of course we haven't, because it's March, and I don't finish till October, and in all likelihood, I won't actually have a teaching job until February. So there's no point in worrying about it right now. There's no point worrying about it till I know I pass all my subjects. If the School I volunteer at offers me a job at the end of the year? Well, I don't know, I'd probably be stupid not to take it- a) job offer, b) 'democratic' school that would sort of let me run my classroom however I want, where other schools might be more stringent or less lenient on say, me doing yoga every morning with the kids, or something, c) classes are small, therefore my workload? Probably less than if I had 26 students, d) they ride horses, and have goats. Reason enough.  So there's that.
And we're both getting a little sick of parents asking, then being shocked when we've 'changed' (as if we'd made a solid decision based on ... what... knowledge?) our plans. I know, they're only trying to look out for us, but it's just getting a bit old.

That being said, Dad will be booking my tickets to fly up and visit him in June. So I'll go from yucky Melbourne winter to lovely tropical Queensland for a week and a half. Plus I get to borrow his partner's BMW if I want to drive around. Mostly, I picture myself cycling, walking, and reading books by the pool in the sun, while Melbourne shivers and gets rained on. Ha!

Anyhoo, I should go do all that stuff I said I was going to do, and stop worrying about where we're going to end up. I think the both of us maybe need to stop saying what we're thinking about doing and adopt a 'going with the flow mantra'. Could be: "So, are you still thinking you'll move to Canberra??" "Oh, we don't know. We're just going to see what doors open up". Going with the flow? Check. Optimistic? Check. Not shooting anybody down or getting frustrated? Check.
Because, although I don't want to have to jump at the first job offered to me- and I hope it doesn't come to that- I don't know how in-demand graduate teachers are for primary schools. So, we shall see, as I said, what doors open, and go from there. Everything will work out.

(Edit: Just a thought. I think, for some reason, there's so much pressure on teachers. Like, 'we' have to turn out these geniuses who can do everything and are the best writers and can divide a hundred numbers in their head, and who understand the meaning of life, and who can spell every word in the dictionary, and who can do algebra when they're six years old.... and of course, that's ridiculous. We loose sight of the fact that we should be trying to get the most out of what each child can do... I'm terrible at numbers, but I'm ok, right? I'm going to be a teacher. I can work out money in the supermarket, I'll know if I've been ripped off. I can add-stimate (estimate) quickly if I need to, even if I need to use my fingers. I'm a good writer, I'm good at spelling, ok, I wish I was better at art, so despite all those primary school art classes, I'm not an artist. I can play music, but that has always been natural for me. So, although I may have not had the best maths education, I'm ok. I function. Maybe it was the best maths education- I have no idea, I can't remember. Maybe it was, but it wasn't for me. Maybe this is just for me- maybe it's for everybody who teaches, or is learning to teach- that we need to get the most out of our students, to let them be the best that they can be, and not feel like a failure if they can't do all those things... I think I need to keep sight of: instilling a love of learning. A joy. A love of reading, of writing, or experimenting with numbers. Of school. If I can do this, I think they'll be ok. Because they'll want to learn in the future. They'll want to do well. Ok, if I have Prep kids who need to learn their alphabet and how to count, we should probably do that... but I have to not feel like I'm going to ruin a child for life. If I do my best, and if I engage them and they want to learn... that's what I want to do, and that will help them be great. I hope).


  1. so i have to tell you..i read this post completely and will respond on that in a second...but mainly...i'm celebrity-fan-club-style geeking out over some of your the jealous wishing-i-was-from-somewhere-more-interesting-than-america kind of way.

    isaiah and i are in this SAME position. we're in texas...not our home in chicago...and we're just keeping our options open to moving or getting other jobs as they come...when you start driving things, i think that's when they get make decisions too quickly...yadda're doing the right thing.

  2. Not having any guidance is at once wonderful (the sky's the limit!) and terrifying, at least to me, because I'm a planner. I like to build my dream castles, not just have all the flotsam I'd use to construct them floating around. :) And having to interface with other people is really tough. I've ended up having to just say "We don't know" about things because other people would feel betrayed when it changed.

    And I kind of want to punch your maths teacher. Not okay to be a jerk.