Fourth of July: My ex turns 28.

Americans everywhere would be celebrating the 4th of July. Suffice to say, I’m not American and this celebration always meant something different for me: The birthday of my ex. And it’s an impossible one to forget because the Americans will always remind me. So instead of trying to forget it, I will try to live with it.

Today is the first year that I have to live with the 4th of July being my ex’s birthday. Hopefully, by next year, it will just be the 4th of July, and I can celebrate it properly with my American friends. For today though, I’m going to contemplate and maybe, I might mope… forgive me, but I promise next year will be a different story.

Yes, this is the ex that you can see spread through this blog. He’s everywhere. If you scroll back long enough you can see all the great things I wrote about him. And if you were to find yourself very lonely and bored and need to stalk someone who’s life is worse than yours, I recommend you reading my posts from start until present. You will then be familiar with the roller coaster ride that was thrust upon me by the person who is turning 28 today.

I don’t hate him. That’s the worst part. I feel like I should, but I can’t. Everytime I think of him, I just get fluffy, sorry, cloudy thoughts. Because I truly empathize with him. Here’s a guy who (besides turning 28 today) has no idea where he wants to go in his life, and is so caught up by circumstance and never having the confidence to ride above it. I wish I could be his strength everyday, I wish I could always be the one to tell him that “Yes you can!” but unfortunately, I need a man to take care of me, not the other way around. I hope he finds a girl that can take him for who he is, because changing him will be impossible. For the longest time, I thought I was that girl, and I stayed because I felt that only I could save him. Nobody else would be able to put up with that!

He changes his mind like the wind. In the beginning, that was the trait that drew me to him. He was so unpredictable, so full of surprises! And I loved the ride. But when he took my heart with him, and started creating a yo-yo out of it, I realized the ride wasn’t so fun after all. But sometimes, when you’ve invested so much money + time in the ride, you just want to see through the end because quitting would just be too depressing. Not after all you’ve done!

Some people just aren’t build for commitment. Some people just don’t like sticking to one thing. Some people are just afraid of being bored, or maybe too afraid of leaving their comfort zone? My ex really tried. The fact that he kept running back to me asking for forgiveness and telling me he will try harder proves that he gave it his all. But it still wasn’t enough. Not for me anyway. He wanted two things. He wanted me and he wanted freedom. He wanted a girlfriend, a lover without the obligation to treat her well. He wanted comfort but didn’t know how to give it. He wanted to grow up but he also wanted to play with the toys. And for the longest time, I saw him juggling both ends, torturing not only himself but everyone around him.

Today, he turns 28. I’m sure he is lying there somewhere, hoping for a birthday message from me so he can tell me again, just how the “signs” are pointing towards a destiny where we can be together in some fantasy world where no rules are ever kept. Unfortunately, I live in this world. And this world has consequences for actions of fantasy. I want to live in the real world, where people hurt and have to sacrifice for each other to make something work. As much as I want to throw it all in the air, and ride roller coasters all my life and live the moment… it’s not real, it’s not human, and I was created for way more than a dream. I was created to live life to take every fall and every flight.

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Online Dating 1.1

So most of you know that I have been in the dating scene for quite some time, the online dating scene to be exact. I used to steer away from online dating because I had the thought that it made me look desperate. I always felt like people who went to online dating were those that have absolutely no hope of meeting anybody in real life, hence why they turn to the virtual.

I have since changed my mind, although I am still cautious about who I talk to about it. Only my closest friends know that I am on dating websites. I prefer to keep that information somewhat contained. I now realize that you don’t have to be desperate to go on dating websites, sometimes (like me) you just can’t be in so many places at once to meet so many potentials. So why not go through profiles and have access to groups of potentials? That’s how I see it. It sounds a bit like online shopping although I try not to think of it that way.

I like online dating because of the easiness of having the opportunity to “meet” or “know” several people at a time. It cuts down effort and it allows me to potentially meet people that I probably can’t ever meet in real life just because I don’t know where to go and may not be in the right place at the right time. I have had a few disasters with online dating, the first two guys I met (you must have read the stories) were creepy and only wanted a fling. But over time I have learned how to filter the genuine ones to the not-so-genuine ones.

My last post was about how I preferred European cultured men. I now filter my search profiles to those that have either migrated to Australia from Europe or I search for European type names. I know that may sound racist, but I just prefer the traditions of Europe when it comes to upbringing and family lifestyle. I am very conservative and I am one of those women who would not be offended if a guy offered to pay, open the door, take my jacket or help me to my chair. I guess because my only relationships have been with very traditional, conservative Europeans… I don’t know romance/dating any other way.

What I do with online dating, my strategy, if you will, is to have a few days of back and forth chatting (3-4 days maximum) just to filter out who I could potentially get along with and who I won’t. I’m all for meeting the guys early on, and I told this to the man I met last night on our first date. I met him after 3 days of chatting on the dating website. I do this because I want to eliminate my imagination or mind creating some kind of imagery about the man. I don’t know about you, or other women, but I tend to create an image of a guy as I’m talking to him. I will use his language, his interests to visualize what he might be like. And we all do that to a certain extent as human beings, it’s only natural. Because my visualization is strong and I have realized in the past that I always get surprised because the man I meet is so different to the “image” I have created, my solution to that is to meet the man early, and get as “authentic” an image as quickly as possible, so as not to allow myself to build some imaginary picture only to be disappointed/surprised with reality. After all, there’s only so much you can know about a person through chat messaging/e-mail. Once I have filtered the essentials, like their expectations, interests, family life, values etc., I want to meet them straightaway and see if we can work. And you can usually tell after about 15 minutes into the meetup whether or not it can go anywhere! So why waste weeks or months chatting?

What about you? If you were to online date, would you prefer to meet the guy straight away or chat a bit first to see where it might lead?

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Australian Men: Don’t go there! (Please!)

I have decided to “steal” MacKenzie Connell’s humorous book title as a title for this blog. I have not yet read the book, but I am in the process of ordering it through for my Kindle. I am intrigued, and I can already tell you that everything in me is going to agree to what she will say, even though I have not read it. But I have a good feeling, based on my experiences with Australian men, that what she experienced for herself is 100% true.

I have been on several dates with Australian men since coming back from Europe. And boy, what a shock! I have only ever dated European men. I don’t particularly look out for them, but we always cross paths. The difference between European and Australian men really stood out to me the last few months when I went on a dating spree trying to find “the one.” After several disasters, I’ve given up on dating Australians. I don’t really want to go there anymore. And yes, MacKenzie is right: Don’t go there girlfriend!

My hopes in writing this is that someone would read it and tell me I’m wrong and that there is hope in Australia for me and give me some tips as to how I can go and meet good Australian men! But until then, I’m just going to push forward and look at another continent because the current one where I’m living in just doesn’t provide a high enough standard.

#1: Severe lack of manners

I live in Melbourne. So maybe it’s just a thing with Melbournian boys? But they severely lack the most basic form of manners. (Please, thank you, ordering for the lady, asking for the menu etc.) They don’t know how to treat women politely and have this thing where they treat you like a “mate.” I’m sorry, I’m not a “mate.” I don’t appreciate the footy talk and the slang and the banter. Not for a first date anyway. MacKenzie mentioned something about “hanging out” and it’s true. The Australian men I go on dates with don’t seem to know that they are on a date, they treat you like a “mate” on a cool hangout session. And they justify their actions by claiming they are great because they are so relaxed and laid back. It’s not being laid back, it’s plain rude and it demonstrates a lack of respect for the female sex. I’m not asking for flowers or chocolates or romance, (although in Europe it’s probably normal for a woman to expect it on the first date) but I need to know that the guy is actually excited and interested in dining with me. All of the Australian men I’ve gone out with don’t seem to enjoy sitting in a restaurant with a lady. They much prefer a social group hang in the pub. Not impressed! When I was living in Europe, even friends demonstrated more interest when dining with me. Even friends (male friends) would offer to pay for the bill. They would lead the way into the restaurant/cafe (and not hang back looking at their phones like the Aussie blokes here) and would ask for the menu etc. I’m so used to that now I just can’t go back to looking at a child sitting opposite me, staring at the menu and complaining how things are a “rip off.”

#2: Lack of intelligent conversation/social skills to keep a conversation going

The topic of conversation is often very limited with Australian men. It’s either the football, getting smashed, how to cure a hangover or how the economy/job market “sucks”. They don’t know how to talk about a topic without insulting that topic or throwing a sarcastic comment that only demonstrates their lack of maturity. I have tried to get in to their conversation about football, and I have found that it works. Women who love sport do well with Australian men but I find that they often don’t give it back to me. I try hard to talk about what they like to talk about and when I turn the topic around to something I am passionate about, I can see the fire dying in their eyes. They look bored, and they don’t have the skills to manage a conversation in which they have no interest or knowledge of. And believe me, they have very little knowledge of anything else. Try asking an Australian man about his travel adventures to Europe. You find that he cannot articulate anything about the culture or the history. It will generally go along the lines of: “Oh yeah, great party place, but damn it was so expensive…” They complain a lot, and love giving off an air of “can’t be bothered” attitude. They seem to think that it works with women. Does it really? Am I just too different to find that fascinating?

#3 Casual, casual, casual!

It’s completely opposite here in that the more casual you are, the more attractive you think you are. (I use think because I honestly don’t think being too casual is attractive, but the men here seem to think so!) I don’t know where that rule came from or why it’s so accepted here. I’ve been on dates where boys would rock up in a wifebeater, thongs and shorts and when I make a remark, the response was: “Well that’s how I roll.” Yet, they expect women to dress “hot” all the time. Do they not care about presentation? I find that they really don’t. The women too. Walk around the city late Saturday night and you can see so many Australian women and men dressing with despicable tastes. And even if they did have something lovely and chic on, the behaviour would not match the dress code. You can see some wonderfully dressed Australians from afar but the moment you move closer you can hear a string of expletives coming out of their mouths, and the lack of intelligent conversation. No sense of history, no sense of language, no sense of culture and no sense of self-respect. It often leaves me confused, scratching my head thinking: Is this the kind of impression you want people to have of you? Or maybe I spent too long in Europe. I get it, Europe and Australia, completely different continents. But isn’t it important for men to act like men and treat women properly? It’s okay to slap your blokey mate on the arse and make a joke about him being a player but I find it completely disrespectful to do the same to your female “buddy” and comment on how she’s “a real catch” on a first date/group hang/whatever it is. I’m tired of it and I demand to be treated better. And yes, I expect the men to pay or at least OFFER to pay. And I’m not being weak when I say it, I don’t care what some feminists out there think. I’m a lady and I want to be treated like one. I have a career and I am independent but it doesn’t mean you can treat me with such casualness. I am a unique, intelligent and I am special. So treat me like that. Nothing more, nothing less!

I now filter my dating preferences based on cultural background. No more Australian men for me. Bring on the imports from Europe!

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Sometimes the time of life can get too fast, and the clock seems to be ticking and ticking away. It’s like having an out of body experience where you watch yourself live but you know you’re not alive. It happens to me all the time, if I am not careful, if I allow myself to get sucked into the business of it all. I automatically switch to this existing mode where I am alive and moving but I am only doing things to get it done, so my doing is literally chasing one thing after another in the hopes that I will finish and have a break. I teach, I talk and I move but my head is working overtime to try and slow myself down. But I can’t. I can never slow it down. I only delay the fastness of things. Because there is always something to be done. I have to eat. I have to shower. I have to sleep. I have to get to work. I have to drive. I have to talk to people. I reach the point where I am so overwhelmed by all the “have to’s” of life that I just wish I could disappear for a bit. Crawl into a cave and suspend time, or better still, crawl into a cave and allow others to just live and I choose when I can get out and continue the game of life again. But you and I know it’s not that simple.

I don’t know what I do to myself to get myself into such a situation. And it’s always the case that by the time I realize it, it’s too late and it’s impossible to press “pause.” It often gets to a point where eating frustrates me. Why do I have to eat? Why does my stomach get hungry? Damn you bladder! How can it come to this? How can life wear you out so much that you begin to start despising the bare necessities you need in order to be alive?

I thought about it the other day. I longed for time to stop. But time = life. And if I want time to stop, to suspend… then life must stop. I must cease to exist. But I don’t want to cease to exist, I want to exist but I want to pause my existence for a second, so I can catch up. Because my body is used to running marathons but my brain and heart aren’t fit to keep up with it. I don’t have the manual either. Do you? Do you know how to make everything in your body sync so you are in the present at all times? I sometimes find myself in my car wishing that time would not keep going, so I can just have some peace where I pretend that things have stopped.

I successfully suspended my existence today. I know it’s not entirely possible, but I tried and I think I may have possibly found a solution, though a bad one. I faked an emergency, and decided to drive to my friend’s house and watch movies all day. So a class of 30 was without their teacher. I felt guilty as hell, but I knew that if I kept on going and going… at one point I would burst. I am a perfectionist, and if I cannot give 100% to my students, I’d rather not be there at all.

Imagine playing catchup your whole life. I’ve done that. It’s not fun. You get tired. Exhausted. I hate chasing after time so that I can be at present with it. So I suspended it for a moment. I gave myself a breather, and now I’m in sync again.

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My School is My World

My School is my World. My job is my life. Being a teacher is being me. Not teaching will be taking away, essentially, me. I love my students; each and every one of them and I want to be able to give my best to them at all times. But I feel that there is a monster under my bed, in the closet, sometimes hiding under the carpet. This monster comes in all shapes and sizes, sometimes undercover or dressed as someone really important with a suit and tie. It tries to limit my teaching, it tries to tell me what is best for the children. It tries to tell me who is boss, when really, I work for the children. Only for them.

Teachers strive for the present and the future of their students. That’s it. Nobody else in the school does. And anyone who tries to get in the way or say so otherwise becomes the monster. As Phil Beadle said, no one in a suit can tell you what to do with your students. Why? Simple answer. They don’t know your students as well as you do. And it’s high time you told them the truth. Monsters don’t spend 6 hours a day with your students, you do! So why is it that most teachers, including me, are so afraid of standing up, defending and protecting who we work for (the children)? Why are so afraid to tell the monsters that our way is the best way?

My school is my world, so I am very protective of it. Because I love my students and the school is the environment in which they live in, I try very hard to make the school good for them. But these monsters come and try to tell us to use strategies that have somehow worked in School A and School B and that we should try it. And after a few weeks, they change their minds and transform into another type of monster and tell us once again to take on Plan 456 because someone very important in a suit and tie (who probably has not set foot in a classroom the last twenty years) found out that it worked with Group of Children X in Country X. And these monsters expect us teachers to experiment on our children like they are science projects!

The students in my school have not made progress in Mathematics and Literacy over the last several years. I have a theory as to why. Because they are so confused and so done being experimented with. The latest programs, the latest craze, the latest fashion-trends of education. When will they realize that the best person to decide is the teacher? Why can’t they trust teachers to locate and find the best strategies? Sure, professional development and knowledge is essential. Give us the research, give us the latest trends, by all means! But don’t you dare decide for us what should or should not be implemented! We can have the menu, but in the end, we decide what to order because we know what our children likes to eat! We know what types of foods they are familiar with! We know who is allergic to certain ingredients and we know their patterns and habits!

Only we (teachers) can create conditions under which students can flourish and personalize education for the children that we are teaching. In all honesty, I am tired of running around trying to catch up with the latest of whatever it is that I’m supposed to do. I remember a teacher once told me, “The best rule is the KISS rule.” Keep It Simple Stupid! Why the fuss? Why the constant need to be updated by educational reform? We know how our children learn best. It’s time we take back that power from the monsters!

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Teachers inspire teachers

I always tell people just how useless my teaching degree was. Everything I ever learned about teaching I learned in the classroom, through observations and discussions with my mentor teacher or just by drowning in the chaos and eventually learning how to swim. But I guess I do owe some to my University, as it was them that placed me in those wonderful schools with those inspiring teachers. So okay, University did help… somewhat.

I remember my mentor teachers, each and everyone of them. I also remember my lecturers very well, the good ones and the bad. It is very true what they say about the impressions you can have on your students, because I remember very distinctly the terrible lecturers that don’t have a clue about educating children, let alone have a passion for them. I could see it very clearly, as I’m sure my own students can see me clearly too.

I am the teacher I am now because of a culmination of the other teachers I have met, observed, discussed with and worked with. I am also trying my best NOT to be like some of the teachers I have met. We know what we don’t like the minute we see something we don’t like, and my conscience automatically steer away from ever becoming like THEM. But this post isn’t about focusing on the bad teachers, it’s about celebrating the ones that have inspired me.

1) Mr. L. He was my first mentor teacher. He inspired me so much that I often call myself Miss L. (We share the same first letter in our sirnames). The students couldn’t pronounce his sirname properly so he referred to himself as Mr. L. Plain and simple. My sirname is quite easy to pronounce, but over the years I have called myself Miss L too, as a reminder of just how much Mr. L has influenced me as a teacher. My core beliefs of building relationships, of the importance of rapport and the love for each individual child came from Mr. L. I didn’t pick up the technicalities of teaching from him, because his love for the children overwhelmed them and everytime he taught, all I could see was love, compassion and care oozing out of him. My theories of understanding children, my moral compass as a teacher… they all come from Mr. L. I owe it all to him!

2) Mrs. A. She was actually a colleague of mine. She was middle class, from London and originally was an actress on Broadway and theatre before becoming a teacher. She was marvelous because the moment she stood up in front of anyone, you couldn’t take your eyes off her! She was dramatic, and had a flair for words and gestures. She commanded attention everywhere she went. She was quirky, a bit blunt at times, said it like it is, and had the highest standards for herself and her students. She was also a little dodgy in a sense that she taught me how to cut corners before inspection, yet she did everything wrong with so much dignity that no one dared questioned her. My confidence grew with her and I have “stolen” so many of her teaching tricks. She taught me how to have difficult conversations with parents, she taught me how to use language and drama to get what I want from the children. She also taught me how to get away with useless protocol and procedures.

3) KS. I will never forget KS because she was the first educator who tore up a lesson plan in front of me and advised that “these are completely useless.” And she was always right. She did not believe in desks or chairs. She had creativity like no other and I once taught a fantastic lesson where I made students lie on their backs while reading notes taped under their desks and that lesson was one of the best I’ve ever taught and it was all because of KS. What a woman!

4) Phil Beadle. I have never met him. But it’s amazing how words on paper, written by a teacher, can change another teacher. I live by Phil Beadle. If you were to ever “listen” to how I manage my student’s behaviour, you can hear a lot of Phil in my strategies. He taught me how to use sarcasm and not to be afraid of making a mess. I actually silently hope that every teacher will become a Phil Beadle, then the world will be a better place. I also secretly wish that the school I am teaching in can have a Phil Beadle approach to learning. It will be ace!

I am who I am now because of these wonderful teachers, and someday, I hope to have inspired someone the way they inspired me. Universities don’t make good teachers. Good teachers do!

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When a teacher cries…

So I cried in front of some of my students today. (Not all, just a small handful). I was always told that a teacher should never, ever cry in front of their students. I remember walking out of a school in tears because the kids were so terrible and a teacher held my hand, looked me in the eye and said, “It’s difficult, I know. But don’t let them see you. Just go out quickly!” And from that day onwards, I tried very hard never to let the children see me cry or distressed.

But today, well, it was very difficult for me. Some of you might find this laughable, but I cried because I missed out on Coldplay tickets. Yes, they are coming for an intimate performance and I tried for an hour, in the midst of the chaos of the class, and teaching, to try and get tickets. I started at lunchtime, hoping that by the end of lunch I could secure my tickets, but after twenty minutes of refreshing the page, I had no luck. Two of my students helped me, (I recruited them, don’t judge me!) and they helped me press the refresh button too. But in the end, they were sold out and my two students saw me dabbing my eyes in disappointed. I wasn’t bawling, but I saw their faces when they told me the tickets sold out and I couldn’t help but have tears in my eyes. I thanked them and told them that I was very grateful that they tried, but sometimes, “You can’t always get what you want.” I think that it never dawned on them that their teacher could experience disappointment.

Word got round that Miss didn’t get her Coldplay tickets so all the students were extra nice and kept telling me that they would sing for me and have their own Coldplay concert specially for me. Bless them! I was honestly overwhelmed by their love and after a while, it didn’t quite matter that I couldn’t get Coldplay tickets. I was deeply touched by my kids, especially my two students who sat on the laptops and rigorously tried to help me secure those tickets because “Miss really likes Coldplay.” Now I don’t know if I could potentially get into a lot of trouble for recruiting students to help you secure concert tickets online but I was willing to take my chances.

I also think it was a good lesson for us all to have learned. Sometimes, you can’t get what you want, even teachers fail too. I tried, and I did my best and that was all that counted. Several times I said, “Oh it’s going to sell out, I’m going to give up.” And my student would say, “No, it’s not sold out yet Miss. We must keep trying!” They showed good persistence and even for something they don’t actually want. I also felt overwhelmingly cared for. The fact that the two students sat there and tried to help me by pressing a button really showed me how much they cared and wanted their teacher to be happy. But in the end, even the best of intentions and hard work can sometimes not get what we want… and I learned it today.

I love my kids. So much, and even more now. They have seen that their teacher is human. I cried because I tried for something that I didn’t get. And I was disappointed. Frustrated. They saw that these feelings were real and could happen to anyone. And if, one day, they try at something and end up failing, I can remind them of how I have been in that same situation. Remember that day when Miss really wanted those tickets and couldn’t get them eventhough she really tried? Well, she was disappointed, and sad and cried. But it doesn’t mean we give up or turn our heads in. No, we keep going because that’s all we can do. That’s all we must do!

Coldplay forever.

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A Workplace full of _________! (insert colourful adjective of your choice)

I have decided to go back to studying and starting up my Phd. For several reasons. One is because there is so much in education that is frustrating me – so many questions I need answers for and so many black holes just waiting to be revealed. I am a bit of a nerd, and I love challenging current trends of education and really, a Phd would be quite fun. Something to do on the weekends, you see. But really, to be brutally honest, the urge for signing 4-8 years of my life to a research project came about when I was sitting at a horrid, excruciating staff meeting filled with zombies that dressed like teachers who could not articulate anything remotely intelligent. I was so aghast and so worried about being dragged into their universe of stupidity that I spent the entire staff meeting Googling Phd scholarships and pathways into various Universities. I am NOT a snob, and writing the last few sentences may make me sound like one, but in all honesty, I am really not that smart. It’s just that, being around THEM, anyone with some kind of common sense or logic would suddenly be very smart.

It was a meeting centered around school data (fun! fun!), which, in my experience happens in every single school. There is no harm with that. We discussed data to death in my last school and had the words PROGRESS PROGRESS PROGRESS! tattooed and stamped all over our bodies. This particular staff meeting, however, was very odd – because there we were, me and the ghosts, looking at the data, all observing and agreeing that our Numeracy and Literacy scores have gown downhill (drastically) over the last four years. Student motivation, teacher expectation, student engagement etc all went down. Why? Numerous reasons were tossed all over the place. Really silly reasons like environment, or children not having enough breakfast, or the turnaround of teachers, or the implementing of a new curriculum etc. No one mentioned the quality of teaching. No one even hinted to it. I was burning with the desire to scream: “Are you teaching properly?” But because I’m a new staff I kept my mouth shut and started researching Phd topics like: “How do schools monitor teacher quality in Australia?” “Is there consistency in the delivery of lessons in Australian classrooms?”

To top it all off, the icing on the cake are the ghosts that I work with, my colleagues, who seem to think it’s perfectly fine to whisper under their breathes that data is terrible because “our kids are really dumb.” I’m sorry, but saying that just makes YOU look extremely dumb yourself. Am I the only one who notices? I nearly went mad in the meeting. I thought, at one point, something must be horribly wrong with me because I feel this way. Am I paranoid in thinking that poor results mean poor teaching? Lack of student engagement mean poor teaching? It has nothing to do with the colour of the smartboard or what the children ate for breakfast. Ultimately, the student’s progress or lack of, is linked to the quality of the teaching and the amount of effort the teacher puts into the lesson.

I am flabbergasted and at a loss for words as to why is it that my school never ever mentions teachers or quality teaching or how a good lesson SHOULD look like. Because the type of teaching that my colleagues get away with is atrocious. The standard is way below par and they don’t seem to really care about making any kind of progress with the children. There is a warm acceptance of our children being “dumb” and “useless” and “they wont’ be able to do that.” The amount of times you hear the word “dumb” floating around our classroom is enough to make any parent want to take their child out. But no, this does not happen because it is all behind closed doors and covered up by very beautifully made teacher-type masks. I feel like I am working in an environment full of phonies – and if I don’t do something soon I will be one of them. Just the other day I found myself saying: “Yeah, it’s because they’re all so dumb.” And I nearly died on my chair… Last week, I literally ran out of the school and got into the car, only to call up my friend begging for some intelligent conversation because I was just so sick of them complaining about how much they hate their jobs and how useless our kids are.

I know that the Phd is just a cover up. It is not going to help the children. It will definitely not help the school or the ghosts. But what can I do? The only strategy I have really is to focus on my children, to give them the progress and quality teaching that they deserve. And when the end of the year comes and I have the results to prove it, I can then show the Principal just how far quality teaching can take them. The kids aren’t dumb, the kids are just kids. It’s up to us teachers to make them what we want them be. And if they never get there, the blame is not on them. It’s on us! Why is it so hard for teachers to understand that?

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The Singleton at a Party of Couples

I work very closely in a team of 4 teachers. 2 of those teachers are engaged and getting married next year – 2015. The 3rd colleague just recently got engaged about 2 weeks ago and is also getting married next year – 2015. Then there’s me, the oldest member of the teaching team, at 27, still single: definitely not engaged and definitely not getting married in 2015. Which makes it a bit of an interesting situation because the rest of my colleagues have now taken it upon themselves to try to set me up with someone so that ALL of us can get married in 2015.

Tonight I have to go to the first colleague’s engagement party. She invited several other teachers from school, including our team of course. But every single teacher she has invited are married/engaged. So they will all turn up as a couple, except for me. I don’t think I need to point out the level of stress involved when I look at the invitation envelope of everyone that has 2 names except for mine: one name. Solo. Now, contrary to the general line of thought, I’m actually perfectly okay going solo and I’m fine with the current situation of not being engaged or having a boyfriend. What I don’t appreciate is people trying to set me up, or constantly reminding me that I’m the “only one left” that has to be married by 2015 so we can “all be the same.” It really isn’t that simple!

The thought of turning up to the engagement by myself in the midst of all the other couples and the potential situation where they are trying to set me up scared me for several weeks. I could see their excitement, and their whispers to each other, trying to work out who would suit me and who wouldn’t. I also fear that every other person in the party will have the “other” present and that leaves me as the third wheel having to mingle my way through the crowd and be the odd one out with no one to hide behind or depend on for small talk. The more I thought about it, the more desperate I got. I decided to try and ask one of my lovely guy friends to come with me to the party, that way I won’t have to put up with them trying to introduce me to anyone, or their talking about how I should “hurry up and get on with it.” I had a friend who was very obliging and understood the predicament I was in – but unfortunately had to pull out in the last minute to attend another function. I spent about 48 hours scrolling through friends on Facebook and my contacts section of the phone trying to find a suitable replacement. At one point I was happy to just drag anyone there. The mind games have started playing on a roll and I was imagining myself in the engagement party, tucked alone in a corner surrounded by loved up couples and a handful of men handpicked by my colleagues as “perfect” for me… The more I thought, the worse it got.

I finally managed to find a friend who would be willing to turn up and support me and I was very, very grateful. But for some reason, it might be the Italian food in the restaurant on a Thursday night or the long walk back to my car looking at the Melbourne skyline… it just suddenly dawned on me that all that chaos, and searching and panic… was for nothing. So what if they are engaged and all getting married next year? It doesn’t automatically make me a social outcast or someone “left behind.” Who decided that a 27 year old who is single needs to be set up and “cared for?” Surely, I can take care of myself and meet a suitable man on my own terms. And just like that, all the worries melted away. I realized I fell into that trap again, you know, the one where your mind starts creating worse case scenarios and does it so often on playback that you completely lose sense of reality. Reality isn’t that bad – and really, what could be the worse thing that could happen? They could try to set me up with someone I completely dislike but hey, at least they care and their intentions are good. In addition, isn’t it fun to dress up for a glamorous party in a fashionable venue?

Upon reflection, I don’t know why I was so afraid in the first place, and I honestly feel quite silly now sending numerous text messages to my guy friends trying to tempt them to come to this occasion with me. Once upon a time, those colleagues of mine were single. Once upon a time, all married loved up couples were single. It’s now my turn. Soon, it will be someone else’s turn. And maybe, just maybe, when someone is so happily engaged to be married, they automatically forget what it’s like to be single: that you can’t just force someone to love you, or someone to have the same interest. You cannot create chemistry between two people. It has to happen, in it’s own time. My colleagues have forgotten that, and it’s no fault of their own. I mean, how often can you share a wedding year with all 3 of your colleagues?

Planning days and marking time, staff meetings, before school and after school will now be replaced with wedding ideas and googling dresses, invites, first dance songs, table setting etc. All our conversations will be centered around this general theme. It’s expected, and it’s already happening. There’s no way I can be away from it. I can’t fight that. And I can’t fight that I’m single either. So what else can one do? Accept and enjoy. People always want to be what they aren’t, and have what they can’t.

But I…


I don’t want to be those people.




Categories: Life and Love Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Education = We are Raising Robots

Is anybody else really worried about this? Why are we striving to teach children like we are teaching robots? Did you hear the “voice” of that teacher? I’m sorry but I do not want to be taught by a virtual teacher with a voice that has no empathy or compassion. What about relationships? What about the social need, the basic need of being a human being? Care? Love? Kids don’t get enough of that home as it is, and we want to replace school with a virtual environment? I’m scared! May it not be like this!



Categories: Angry Stuff, Teaching Stuff | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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