Saturday, December 31, 2005

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

With a month or so left to finish of the part time Dip Ed in Secondary teaching that I have been playing at for the last two years I went to a BBQ for a friends first wedding anniversary....

Sounds fairly simple so far, eh?

I only knew a few people and was chatting with them when a woman came up to talk to one of the group who she had met and had a great drunken argument with at the wedding. I heard she was a teacher and decided to chat with her for a bit. I am a fairly sociable person and like to hear the stories of people who are already teaching, they might have good advice for me or there might e something in their experiences I can learn from (- which is what, I guess, I would like this blog to achieve other than allowing me to clarity and record my thoughts in a systematic way) and being near the end of my course, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking they may know where the jobs are.... She certainly did.

So we talked and talked... we talked about how she got into special ed, what the students were like, ideas for hands on science pracs her students could get something out of, what being the head of the senior school was like... Her enthusiasm for her job was infectious and early on she started trying to convince me to come and see the school and apply for one of the jobs they had going for next year. After two years of preparing myself to teach science and health I didn't feel at all confident that I could start teaching in a special school as a graduate teacher with no experience in the area. I was promised that that was understood, learning on the job was expected, there would be plenty of support and enthusiasm was the most important factor in making it work. I got her phone number and five weeks later I had a job!

OK, so in between I had second thoughts about applying, went to visit the school, researched, applied, got an interview, bounced around in excitement, had my last day of classes and our group presentation, went to the pub after, then went out to see a classmates band play. Had my interview the next day and was a huge bundle of nerves, asked them more questions than they asked me, the principal said she felt like she was being interviewed and in a way she was probably right. I had to know it was the right place for me to be. At some point soon I may try to find the emails to people that contained my initial impressions of the school, it might be useful to have all this in the one spot to look back on later and compare it with whatever happens next.

I organised to spend 2 days out at the school to get an idea of what I had let myself in for... That was went I found out I would be teaching in the primary end of the school! The first day was very full on and a bit much to take in but the second was better. I got to meet a lot of people around the school and asked lots and lots of questions. The head of the junior school, who I will be working closely with, said that she like the way I asked lots of questions. I told her that was great because I'd probably have 10 times as many once I'd actually started!

I went to the school's end of year concert. It was great fun! (apart from finding out I was getting a prep/1 class). I got to have a good chat with one of the parents I was sitting near and was introduced to a few other staff members, including the OT I will be working with at drinks later in the staffroom. I also got the inside goss on who sits which table and decided I would make it my personal challenge to try out every chair in the staff room 'cause I hate those kind of social divisions based on work role. It also became apparent that lots of people know the story told above about how a chance encounter at a BBQ brought me to the school! They were all really welcoming which was very reassuring.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Freaking Out

OK. Now, I'm freaking out. It's 10pm, wednesday 28th december and I have finally had time to read the stuff that came in the mail today... A nice big package apparently useful information, well, I presume it would be if I could make sense of it! So now the kettle is on and I'm going to have a nice cup of tea and take a few deep breaths...

Given that it is a balmy 27°C in the house, my tea is paired up with a cold beer. I know it sounds bad but it's not the first time nor will it be the last and I'm too old to give a rats what anyone who may read this thinks of it. Where was I?... Yup the pile of documents is still looking at me (figuratively speaking, of course).

The last couple of weeks have been alright, I was having minor moments of fear/terror/panic/alarm after I found out I was going to get a prep/1 class to start my teaching experience, but this makes it so much more real. I have a sketched out weekly time table with acronyms on it that i don't understand, actually, there are lots of bits of paper that I don't understand that all seem to be related. Thankfully, the AP who sent it to me has included her home contact details for if I have any questions. I am thinking I'll spend til mid Jan trying to make more sense of it and then work up the courage to give her a call. I particularly like the check list for the start of the year, I just wish I knew what the things on the list I am supposed to do actually meant....

I also got a nice little letter from the 2 teachers I will be working closely with and a copy of what they have sent to parents of new students outlining the program for the first few weeks. Big sigh of relief came with that bit. 1. I can make sense of it. 2. Maybe half my kids wont be there for a full day until late february. 3. They will be free to help me and the kids get settled on tuesday morning, my first day with students.

Other things of note: it appears one of my students will go to a mainstream school one day a week; my fears about having to deliver literacy programs have been eased as I get a specialist teacher for 3 sessions of that a week; and the principal has included a VIT booklet with dates for PD seminars for provisionally registered teachers and a circle around one that would be good for me to go to. It seems to be close by the school so I can make it easily by the 4pm start, very thoughtful.

They seem really well organised. I feel I will be well supported which is a lot more than other beginning teachers will get. Deep end, yes, but looks like I'll be given floaties!

Today's New Words

AP – Assistant Principal
VIT – Victorian Institute of Teaching (Registration body for teachers)
PD – Professional Development

PS... well that is my first real attempt at doing an electronic journal... I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that anyone call read it as it will be posted in a public domain (not quite shy, rather wondering about self censorship), but trust (hope?) that those search for areas this includes find something helpful to them and those who stumble upon it randomly aren't too bored... I feel better for writing it so with any luck I'll be able to start a pattern I can continue.

In the Next Exciting Episode...

Perhaps I'll muse on how I came to be in this situation... Talking to drunk people at BBQs will get you into Trouble...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Testing 1, 2, 3...

No really, that's it for now...
It's nearly Christmas, I have just moved house and have bigger things to concern myself with.
Like how to get grog into the MCG for the first day of the boxing day test......