Sunday, 17 March 2013

Getting to know kids, colleagues and family!

We've had some busy times since school has started so I've been extremely lax in getting blogs up on time - especially given that I HATE dragging my laptop back and forth between school and home (I take the train and then walk for 45 minutes so don't want to lug it around) so I have a number of blogs to do to update everything and then my plan is to keep things updated every two weeks at the very least!!!

The week of - and ending with - February 10th was a fun one at school and a great weekend as it provided us with time to socialize and get to know some Aussies! The school Swim Carnival on Wednesday gave a glimpse into the fun of sport at school. Kids dressed according to their houses (Hotham, Macedon or Stirling - houses by colour as in the photo) and the year twelves went all-out with many guys dressing (and swimming) in gowns or dresses. On Friday, one of the art teacher’s had a rooster hanging out in the office before he headed to his new owners and became a curry stew and this brought some excitement… Elaine (an art teacher) and I were worried the rooster may not have enough air in his small box, so I reorganized the top of the box for him. He later freaked us out as he got out of his box which resulted in Elaine using a student’s portfolio to herd him back into his box while I tried to find Anastasia (his human mother) to rebox him! I was worried that if I grabbed him and scared him, he may poop all over and I wasn’t into rooster poop all over me… Unfortunately, Sally (the vegetarian art teacher) had her preps surrounded by the clucking and we joked that if she could top Anastasia’s neighbour’s offer of $5 for the chook, that she could take it and set it free!

On Friday evening, we went my colleague’s home for dinner and for our kids to have a swim and a play with his kids - we had a great evening with lots of laughs, some Australian history, learning about Ned Kelly. Times at school are interesting as there is upcoming work action day on February 14th so it is interesting to see the similarities and differences between our situation at home and the situation here in Victoria. It is quite ugly here and things are also heating up at home so it will be interesting to see how things pan out for both groups. Teachers here are asking for 20% pay increase, the gov’t is taking issue with this and wants to include performance pay as part of the deal. The problem with performance pay – everyone against it has the same problems with it – is that it creates a competitive work environment that runs counter-productive to the collaboration required to grow strong programs and work together for kids. ANYWAY… enough on that! The situation the gov’t has gotten itself into is that the premier was elected on the backs of teachers after stating during the election that Victorian teachers are the hardest working and deserve to be the best-paid teachers in the country. Unfortunately, the past two years has not brought his promise to fruition so the work stoppage, including keeping all duties to a 38 hour work week are creating a unique climate in schools. So... onto other things!

On Saturday, we hit the beach after our night out on Friday and on Sunday we went to Michelle’s parents’ (Michelle is the wife of my exchange partner). It was great to meet her mom and dad and her sisters (Joanne and Andrea) were there – both with husbands/significant others. Joanne’s two boys were there as well and Hana and Eoin had fun playing with the boys (Luke and Quinn) – it was like having their cousins around as the boys are similar in age to cousins in Calgary and Okotoks. We had a beautiful walk along the beach with very rough tide, some running in and out of the water and bailing-out Quinn before the water could grab him or before he became washed away – he is pretty little and the tide was pretty wild! It was interesting to see such a different type of beach - so rugged! We were at the tip of the Mornington Penninsula and, as you can see, it is stunning scenery!

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