Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Feels right when it's going wrong

Today was very full on.

Trying to get my head around enough of it to write it down is difficult.

This may sound weird but the time today when I felt like a teacher was when I was in front of the class and it was going wrong, not as I expected or in a different directions (I have some very strong willed students). This was a familiar feeling from teaching rounds, where it rarely went to plan or even well, but it was reassuring somehow. Like, I know this feeling and I can learn and make it work, if only occasionally... it's hard to explain but it was a good thing.

There are three main areas I am trying to cope with at the moment. My students (and today their parents), planning (I have no idea what I am doing) and the school (as in “I have yard duty? Now? Really? Sorry. Where was I meant to look for that? Sorry.”).

My students a cute little strangers. They are fine when their parents are out of the room. Hopefully the parents will get that tomorrow... They cried, well really, one of my grade 1s howled setting off a previously unperturbed prep and another who was quite upset already. 3 out of 5 on the first day ain't bad! I'm not so worried about them crying now. Done that. Thankfully, I only really had the morning session with them today as they went to music and library. I met a lot more of my 'team', my physio is lovely and makes me relax – we will plan things together and we have an idea about what we will be doing tomorrow and I met my speechy briefly and she seems nice.

Tomorrow I have someone in who specialises in early years literacy in the morning, so that should go ok and the physio and I have a rough plan for the middle of the day. Then my preps go home and I can spend some time in the afternoon getting to know the other two. The overall plan will evolve and this is apparently normal in this school and I am getting lots of help from the other two prep teachers. They don't want to step on my toes but I need all the help I can get at this stage. I am learning so much already but it seems so fragmented.

I have to go to a meeting with a teacher from the mainstream school one of my kids will go to once a week, before the kid has even started full days, about 30 mins or so from my school, with the AP who organises integration because it is understood I don't know anything yet (and she reckons she'll just have to pretend that she does). It will be an interesting experience!

I got a hug from one of my kids when I said goodbye at lunch time, already!

Yard duty was kind of fun.

Monday, January 30, 2006

My brain hurts: Day 1

So much to take in that I think I must get a fairly shell shocked vacant look when people ask me how I am going... We had meetings in the morning and refreshers in swallowing/feeding from the speech pathologists and a lifting thing with the OT. I will go to a proper lesson on Friday arvo to learn this stuff with the other new staff members and my students will hang out elsewhere, I guess. In the arvo there will only be two to redistribute for a bit as my preps will only come to school for half a day til the 24th of feb. Jeez, PD already!

My room is nowhere near as organised as I would like it to be . There is heaps of junk in it from the previous teacher but as I am not sure what I will need, I am loath to move it out. I have a plan for tomorrow but not much of one (heh – just like my lesson plans for teaching rounds... lots of options, see what works and pretend you meant it that way). I do have to admit that my plan was given to me by the other prep teachers that I will be working closely with. They asked if I had some ideas for what I wanted to do tomorrow... I didn't. So with the assurances that they didn't want to push their ideas onto me and if I wanted to change anything I could etc etc. I have things to do. It also means that the classes are doing similar stuff at the same level and that is a good thing, I reckon, even if it feels like a bit of a cop out.

[I have so got to get over the idea that I should be doing it all myself... and soon!]

My OT is planning to wing it til we find out what the 3 new girls are like so I'm happy with that. We'll work it out when we know what we are getting.

One thing I learnt from today that I am getting is anxious parents! Someone handed me a pink phone message slip from the office as we went to the lifting practice. Already! I asked B2 what I should do and she said she'd handle it for me unless I really wanted to. It was about 10.30am, I wasn't feeling very sure of myself at that point, but felt like a complete wuss all the same. Turns out it probably wasn't something that I could have dealt with on my own anyhow and something even she could give limited advice on as it was the responsibility of someone else to organise integration placements for the kids at mainstream schools. My second phone call came later in the day when I had more of a grip on things but I was still a bit chicken. Anxious parent II wanted to know if it was ok if she came in for a bit at the start of the day as she hadn't met me before (subtext: before I leave my precious baby with you) etc. I reassured her that B1 & B2 whom she had met already would be there in the morning and she would have time to help her daughter settle in. She wanted to know what other parents usually did... so I'm thinking – I dunno, I've never done this before either... what I say is that we will play it by ear depending on how the kids settle in. Actually, a plan has already been made with B1 & B2 about how we are going to deal with the parents tomorrow but no need to tell them we intend to have them out by 9.30... The parent seemed nice on the phone and admitted it was more for her than for her kid. It must be hard to send your babies off to school for the first time and even more so when the child medically/developmentally compromised. It must be very hard to trust them in someone else's hands. I felt like a real teacher then, however, a fleeting emotion...

So, with that in mind what do I tell them tomorrow? My thoughts are that I will be honest that it is my first time too and it will be a learning experience for all of us; parents, students and myself. I will let them know that I will be working closely with B1 & B2 who have the other prep classes and are very experienced... I will be very positive that we will all have a great time and lots of fun together and hope they buy it! I will also be getting lots of help from a teacher who is only at school til easter as she is 5 months pregnant and doesn't have a class of her own. She was great today. I would have been a bit a lot lost today otherwise.

Time to iron a shirt and get an early night... hopefully.

OT: Occupational Therapist
PD: Professional Development

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Breathe and relax... breathe and relax

2 SLEEPS!!!!

I'd love to be able to write about what I am thinking now but to tell the truth, I'm trying really hard not to. Every time even a smidge of a thought about Monday creeps into my head I feel nauseous. Seriously nauseous. My mouth even waters.

So this weekend's major campaign is one of distraction! Anything not to think about it, I'll be better prepared to cope if I'm relaxed and it's not as if it's an exam and I need to cram some answers... it's going to be a really really really really ridiculously big learning experience and if I relax and ask enough questions it will be fine... I should probably iron something to wear though... tomorrow. When distraction is failing badly in the evening...

Pot luck dinner, lots of people and DVDs, tonight distractions!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Talking Shop & Pathways to Knowledge

This blog is quite free form and I am happy with it's change in direction from my whiny anxieties about starting work to more of an exploration of what it means to be a teacher and questioning who I will be, or become, as a teacher. Very soon it should metamorphose into it's originally anticipated form of me talking about teaching (which will very likely include the above whines and worries too – sorry). Think of the earlier stuff as more the grub before the butterfly...

Just before Xmas I was told that teachers can get really boring to be around because all they think about is their students. As they become overworked and focused on their job, they lose touch with the outside world making them very dull dinner companions. It could be worse though, the company of two teachers inevitably ends up with both talking shop. I replied that it's common of all professions to talk shop to some extent and was told 'No. Teachers are different'.

Perhaps they are. Last night I ended up talking shop with a woman I met briefly about a year ago. It seems that now I am becoming a teacher, I bump into them everywhere (that's even how I ended up with my teaching job) and, of course, when you do, you chat. So what is different about teachers? I think it is the isolating nature of teaching and lack of opportunity to discuss work within work. Sure it is great to be relatively autonomous how do you process your days work? With other responsibilities, yard duties and students interrupting breaks when do you have time to evaluate your work with someone else? Is there an element of hesitation involved with exposing what may be perceived as weaknesses within your own school environment? I'd like to live in my happy land of naïvety a little longer and think it's the former, rather than think teachers would not help each other to learn and grow in their profession. You can slag off management and colleagues with like minded co-workers at the pub after school but venting is not really the same and evaluating and exchanging ideas. Blogging is a great modern way of overcoming this, with the opportunity to explore your own teaching as a blogger (and safely vent...) and get ideas and reassurance from other bloggers in similar situations. Will blogging prevent the onset of boring?

The shop talk last night covered what it means be an educator, disability, and how pathways of knowledge are valued (Which pretty much says – yes, you are boring already). She teaches disability in a TAFE and confirmed one of my biggest worries about becoming a teacher – attachment to students. I think this is going to be a really hard aspect of teaching for me to deal with and establish some professional detachment. One of the reasons I never wanted to teach primary kids was because I like them too much, but found when I was on rounds that I care as much about teenagers – they just aren't as cute! I was told last year that adult learners capture your affection just as much. Last night confirmed it. She teaches adults who are often very much older than her and is still concerned for them as much as she would be for a younger student. All students are needing something from you and that must be taken into account whether they are 5 or 50.

I told her that I was concerned that I didn't really understand what disability as a construct really means to my students. It affects every part of their lives and many of their meanings in learning will be constructed though this filter. I'm probably thinking too far ahead, but once I get the hang of the basics of this job I am going to need to do some specialist study - assuming I like this area of education. If I head back to uni, I would be doing a post grad certificate in special ed that would lead straight into a diploma or further to a Masters. This would be giving me an understanding of educating students with special needs and inclusive education but focuses my knowledge into how to educate rather than giving me a broader understanding of the concept of disability. A couple of people I have met recently have advised me to do a certificate IV in disability at a TAFE to get a broader understanding. I find it odd though, that this would be considered a strange pathway for me to take. I don't understand why university education is valued so much above more practical pathways in learning. It's all good, right? Why be snobs about it? It will be interesting to work out what seems most valuable and convenient in a year or so...

TAFE: Technical And Further Education

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Contraption!

You'll have to read the previous 2 posts to understand the significance of getting this pic up here. Don't know if it was disabling the fire wall or changing the image to JPEG that did it. It was more frustration than scientific enquiry, so I'll probably have to experiment properly next time. Ah, learning! It never really stops does it? I must be well sucked into this 'being' a teacher to think that's a happy thought!

Early thoughts on disability

I don't turn on the telly that much but happened upon a great show on Channel 31 called No Limits (Monday 7.30pm). It's about disability related issues and products. It was great to see what disabled adults are thinking and getting up to and gives me more of an idea about futures that are possible for my students.

The world of disability is a strange one to be entering without one. A real outsider's perspective. The last few weeks with the contraption (which you will see I haven't managed to get up the picture of yet... or not see...) has given me a small glimpse of how difficult the construction of the physical world can be when faced with only a minor mobility issue. I am having trouble with steps where there is nothing to hang on to in order to steady myself. Imagine it in a wheelchair, with limited upper limb movement... If everything was built accessible it would make everyone's lives easier, even if only for a brief period in their lives.

It makes me wonder. How do I understand the world my students live in? I guess any kid has a radically different perspective on the world to a teacher who may be much older or have a different background, how do any of us understand their world? What will this mean to the interactions and relationship I develop with them?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Turned a corner… or going round the bend?

Feeling much more positive today, I was able to start swimming again and the difference it has made to my state of mind is amazing. For me swimming is like moving meditation. I can let everything move through my mind without any physical manifestation of stress. Exercise has been a bit difficult of late as I have a stress fracture in my foot. Am going to add a pic to this entry to record the contraption I have had attached to my foot for the last 7 weeks (and to work out how the pic thing happens). It was taken with my phone and rotated, so it will look at bit strange. It's not easy to take a photo of your own foot.

I will have the contraption (otherwise known as a cam walker) on for about half the day by the time I start work and my Dr wants me to have it on if I am walking around a lot at work. The school already knows about it as I had it on when I went to the end of year concert in December and apparently it has happened before with one teacher starting there as the swimming and sports teacher with thigh to toe plaster! If nothing else, I guess it will be a good conversation starter in the staff room. I can’t walk very fast with it on so I’m lucky the school is totally set up for disabled access and my students wont move too fast either! I’d hate to have this on starting at a great big high school somewhere. Trying to move through packed corridors with kids you don’t know and get to classrooms at the other end of the school…

I am actually starting to smile when I think about my new job. A very good sign! I am much more confident today that it will all be ok. They know I will ask a lot of questions and are expecting me to do so. I am a proactive person and will be able to find things out… I get a classroom to stay in – I can put up posters and have a plant (perhaps) and have lots of cool and stimulating stuff around me. That’s got to be heaps better than moving around classrooms that are dull and functional. I have almost remembered all my kids names, I will just have to put faces to them.

Have decided that I will try to get my shit together this week and get all organised and do all the little things that need doing so then next week I can deliberately go out and enjoy myself. Go to galleries, go to the beach, catch up with mates, see the big squid thing at the aquarium (maybe – I might wait til I get my VIT card for some stuff coz then it will be free – who would have thought that there would be perks to being a teacher… apart from the holidays!), eat, drink, be merry! Before I am busy, exhausted and overwhelmed!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Things that make you go hmm?

I went back through my uni readings on disability and inclusive ed and was surprised that a) it was very useful and b) I couldn't remember reading it, nor writing a reflective 1000 word essay on the topic. That worries me. I know I wasn't particularly interested in doing the subject as I didn't feel it was teaching me anything I couldn't do already. Ed Contexts was basic sociology of education. Having done sociology before, and finding that the issues in health and education are very very similar (access, appropriateness, funding, discrimination, propagation of social inequities, blah, blah, etc. etc.), I really wanted to learn how to teach, not spend time on something I felt I could already do. Doing things part time over two years apparently has interesting effects on my memory...

When I read the essay now, it makes an interesting contrast – or even a point making a continuum - with my second teaching round, in a school in a very high socio-economic with heaps of money and very few of the underlying problems, and where I am about to teach, at the far end of the disability scale.

According to the computer I finished this on September 24th , 2004. Looks like it was just in time to catch the last mail... It's not a great piece of academic writing and as expected, got the mark it deserved. I don't like referencing when I'm writing reflectively. I would write it differently now, having at least learnt that I need to go back and insert comments from relevant readings after the main body is written. Academics like references, it shows you have been paying attention..........

Reflection on an issue in teaching

Disability and education.

During my teaching round many of the issues covered were topical at one time or another, however, one issue had an effect in every class: disability. A large number of students at this school were considered ‘integration’ students and provided with extra assistance. The way this issue was handled varied and consequently the educational impact on the ‘integration’ students, teachers, aides and other students varied also.

Most of the classes I was involved with on my teaching rounds had at least 2, up to 4 integration students. There were frequently aides present in classes to assist these students. Initially when observing classes I had trouble distinguishing which were the ‘integration’ students, as many students seemed to have behavioural or learning difficulties. Students came to the school with many factors impinging on their ability to learn such as low socioeconomic status, English as a second language, cultural differences, low literacy and numeracy standards and a lack of support at home where little value was placed on education.

Chatting with the aides I found out that all students were tested on entering the school but some borderline cases did not make the ‘magic mark’ that would allow extra funding for aides. This situation was recognised within the school and aides would often help not only ‘their’ students, but also others in the class who were struggling as well. As the aides were not attached to any one student this seemed to decrease the stigma attached to being an ‘integration’ student. Unfortunately the number of aides and the students requiring help did not quite match and often aides could only stay for half the class so they could move between a couple of classes depending on the needs of that class. During observations on rounds I was frequently asked if I could keep an eye on/assist the integration students so the aide could help in another class.

This was a great opportunity to interact closely with these students and see the many and varied barriers they faced in an ordinary class. Behavioural issues often meant that students lacked the skills at interaction needed to seek help when they didn’t understand, especially at the beginning of a task. Those with learning difficulties required a lot of support to attempt tasks even when an inclusive environment was provided. However, like all students there were good days behaviourally and tasks that suited their interests and abilities better than others.

Inclusive teaching was recognized by the aides as being a complex task for teachers, but one that made a big difference to ‘their’ students. My supervisor was of the opinion that if primary school teachers were routinely expected to teach different stages and abilities there was no reason secondary teachers shouldn’t be expected to do the same. To create an inclusive class environment the presentation of material was varied, not just talk and chalk to introduce topics. With language, literacy and motivation being big issues in this school he took as many opportunities as possible to give the students a range of choices in what tasks they had to complete. Sometimes this was done with a few, often 4 activities put up on the board and the students told they must complete at least 2 before the end of class. The activities were usually a mix of questions, practical work, creative, research or diagram/drawings. For an entire topic these may have been written into a grid with topics on one axis and types of activities on the other. There were restrictions – there must be one or two from each topic and/or learning style and marks were weighted according to difficulty or importance. Students could then choose to do many easy, small tasks for the same amount of marks as a few larger or harder activities or concentrate in the learning styles they felt most comfortable with. This gave all students achievable goals while allowing brighter students to extend their scope.

In the literature there was discussion of the disadvantages of running pull out programs when trying to create an inclusive environment. At this school, pull out programs were common across the school for not only integration, but also literacy, numeracy, ESL, sport, and while I was there also the school play and a reward trip for the students with no demerit points. Whilst this created a fair bit of disruption, it meant most students were doing something outside class at some stage so there was no stigma in being taken out of class for a bit.

Handling behavioural disabilities is easier with an aide present but having the same expectations for all your students and enforcing fair and consistent rules outweighed other factors. Behavioural problems in teenage years are common even in so called ‘normal’ students. It still has an effect on learning and class function when you have a girl in tears because her boyfriend dumped her at lunchtime and her friends are trying to comfort her or grumpy, confrontational boys with problems at home or in the play ground.

Evaluation was something I found to be a difficultly when teaching students with learning difficulties. There were many opinions amongst staff as to the best way of assessing their content knowledge and understanding. Formal testing can give an indication of how they are doing in comparison to other students but may not be a true reflection of their understanding. The chance to have an aide explain or reword the questions and the student to talk aloud their answers in a separate room made quite a difference in results for an end of topic test I gave the students. Talking to the aides about what was working for the students and how they were getting on with the subject matter made informal assessment far easier than for other students.

After being at this school I can’t see the value of the integration over an inclusion model. Sure it may be more work for the teacher but all students seem to respond to an increase in variety, choice and opportunity to use different learning methods. A positive and inclusive learning environment may have a positive impact on the educational outcomes of all students in the class.

P.S. 15 more sleeps! ...or 14 with the prediction of nervous insomnia the night before I start!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

It could be worse...

I could be stressing about having to teach 20+ unruly teenagers in disconnected segments throughout the week, having to re learn heaps of science I forgot years ago or never really understood when I was at high school (or just never got to learn, like most principles of physics), or worse, i could have a senior class who believe their whole future rests on their final two years. I would most likely be terrified of having to teach a subject I had an average understanding of but no love for – as I most probably would have got a job teaching math and science.

I don't understand the planning sheet for using with unit development. I have spent a lot of my time in the dip ed trying to get an understanding of lesson planning and how to construct sequential learning experiences, trying to find a method I was comfortable that wasn't completely ad hoc and I get something completely different when I actually find a job I want. Typical. If I was Alanis Morissette, I would probably say it was ironic.

The whole CSF/VELS thing, I read it, I understand the words and ideas, how it is going to apply to me in the real world with the students I have, NFI. At this school some of the 'Domains' are taught as 'integrated studies' topics that create a theme for your learning for the term. So in science at level 1 we do pets apparently. I got a sheet with all the topics and levels for this year. It looks really boring. The level 1 and 2 stuff I can't see anything in, but I also can't remember what things tiny little kids need to learn at school! I also have no idea about what tiny little kids need in the way of class room management (new warm fuzzy words for rules and discipline). Teenagers actually make sense to me when compared with 6 year olds! I have some understanding of what they need... maybe I need to find a book or something on primary level classrooms.

Am reading all the info I have been sent or acquired about the school. I just noticed a lovely line in the letter from the two teachers I will be working with, not only will they be free to help me on my first day with the kids, but “We will also organise the rest of the week's activities with you.” That's a relief. Today, the way I am thinking is that they hired me knowing that I had NFI about this kind of teaching, they hired me for enthusiasm not experience. And from conversations with the teacher there, it seems a lot of them started out that way.

Looking at my draft timetable, it looks like I only have 4 sessions that I need to fill up, I can do that. 4 - that's only the equivalent of a day and the bit before morning recess.

To end on a positive note, I only have to learn 5 kids names! That is so much more achievable than +100, including the quiet kid who never says anything and you haven't got a clue who they are for most of first term...

Today's Acronyms:

CSF – Curriculum Standards and Framework

VELS – Victorian Essential Learning Standards

NFI – No Idea

Friday, January 13, 2006

Intermittent panic

I must have lost count of how many sleeps were left because when I realised I had only this weekend and 2 full weeks left before I start teaching I get a wee small sensation of rising panic. Oh crap, here it comes again. Breathe, relax, breathe....

I feel woefully under prepared. It would be easy to blame this on the fact that I decided to do something a little different and go and teach 6 year olds at a special school after training as a secondary teacher but I suspect I would be feeling this way anyhow right now. I think it really needs drumming into you through a dip ed that what you are getting is the equivalent of a a road map (and I'm not talking something as comprehensive as a Melway – more like sketched on the back of an old envelope that was the first thing to hand and has a coffee stain and... nevermind.) something that will give you an idea of how to get to your destination without too much difficulty but gives you very little idea of what it is going to be like when you get there and what you really need to be getting a grip on.

I have been lucky in that doing my dip ed part time I met people in my first year who then went out and taught whilst I was finishing another year... They have great ideas about what you really need to find out about on teaching rounds and from your lecturers. It has very little to do with the theory of education . That said, I have this huge urge to get out readings from the week we did on special/inclusive education in a subject called ed contexts, (i think?) and find myself a pile of readings. Unfortunately, this is, I suspect, a coping mechanism developed over waaaaay too many years at university and it probably wont help me feel any more prepared here. I wish I felt brave enough just to wing it. That's my usual way of doing things, on instinct and relying on natural ability to get me through, but this is actually important to me and I feel I should give it more. Not sure which is the right approach to take. The former will not stop the rising panic...

Distractions, must find me some distractions....

I will make fruit salad!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Scraps (or Early Thoughts)

I said I'd put this up, so here it is... assorted bits of emails I sent when I was first looking into this job. A lot of them may seem familiar to various people and for that I apologise. I cut and paste a lot of my emails when I want to tell lots of people stuff but slightly differently and that's another reason (justification?) for the creation of the blog. You'll all know everyone is getting the same thing and it doesn't seem quite as rude as a group email....

Actually, rereading this stuff has made me feel far more positive than I was when I put up the other post this evening. I can remember why I was excited!


Have organised to go on a school tour tomorrow at the Special school. The woman I met at the weekend talked to the Assistant Principal and she suggested coming on the tour that is run weekly for potential volunteers and that it would give me a good over view of the place and then I would probably know whether it was for me or not...


At the moment I'm trying to think it through and can't be sure whether the positives outweigh the negatives. It sounds like a really creative teaching environment with lots of support available and the chance to feel like you are really making a difference to individual student's lives in a more concrete fashion than with able kids... Less conforming to uniform and other irrelevant standards found in schools, less prep work, marking and stress... Able to be involved in more aspects of personal and physical development of the individual... Possibility of pursuing special ed academically with an Ma...

On the down side, I wonder if I'd get too emotionally attached to kids with poor potential life outcomes... If I start in special ed am I cutting off possibilities in other schools as I wont have the experience in an average classroom? I need to find out where the students go after school - are they institutionalised or is there a continuation of the rich experiences provided by schooling?

Dunno, dunno... And my thoughts are just chasing round in circles when I have too much other stuff to do!


it were grouse! am definately goign to apply for a job there...


Went for a tour and a chat with the APs at the Special School yesterday. It was great. They have a fantastic school culture of supporting life long learning and are really open about the problems in dealing with special kids and the support available. Will have to get my bum into gear and work out this online recruitment process and come up with some decent sounding answers to the key selection criteria as applications close on Monday!

I will be applying for other jobs too, but I think I really want this one. It's going to be head first into the deep end wherever I start (and at least they have a pool! ;o).


Apparently there is no longer a qualification for teaching special ed and the school is very supportive of grad teachers. I went out last week to visit and had a tour of the school and a chat with the APs. The school was great. The kids are very high need physically and the teaching style is more like primary teaching but in very small classes and a team environment with Physio's, OTs, Speech therapists, volunteers etc. The school seems to fit well with what I believe teaching should be and has a really holistic approach to student development.


Met a woman the other week who works at a special school, went out for a visit to the school and it was fantastic! Have applied for a job there and am really hoping to get one of the 4 jobs going! Applications close today so I hope to hear something this week.... am soooo nervous!


I hope I get the job too. I don't get very excited about much stuff, life just happens but I really want this and its making me feel very strange... Mostly terrified that I'll be disappointed!


T minus 21 Days and counting... But who's counting?

8 days left of my shit kicker, paper shuffling admin support job, which I will probably miss immensely, if only for the good company and campus lifestyle (no more beer and bands at lunchtime...). Today in an email I said I was bored and I'm trying to hang on to that thought. To the thought that I really want and need the stimulation and learning experiences this new job will give me.

...and only 20 sleeps! Technically this is one night less than sleeps expected but I can't see me sleeping much the day before I start. In fact I have it on good authority from the head of the junior school that no matter how long you teach, you never sleep well the day before school goes back... is that meant to be reassuring or not?

With the new year has come a crisis of confidence... can't say I'm very happy about it either. Where did the excitement go? Where is the sense of a grand adventure, a new beginning? I know I had these things a while ago when I was thinking 'Yeah, I can do this, and better still its going to be heaps of fun!' I still have time to find it again, I guess.

So what am I worrying about (other than 'normal' performance anxiety)?

  • I've never done a monday to friday, normal hours type job before...

  • I have never like defining myself by my occupation but teaching seems to be the kind of job where that's what you are. A teacher. Some people are, they teach unconsciously in what ever situation they are in and bring the joy of new knowledge and experiences to everything they do. Not all of these people even work as teachers, but some do and that's something to be thankful for. In more 'primitive' cultures people with wisdom, knowledge and the ability to share it were revered and respected, what they did was who they were. As much as I hope teaching will not just be a 'job' for me, I don't think I will ever see myself as wholly or solely a teacher.

  • How long will it take for me to become jaded and bitter? I know that this is a crap thing to be thinking about before I start but friends who are teachers seem to think it is inevitable. I don't think teaching in a special school will be as bad as a high school for sapping my enthusiasm and energy with it's structure and rules, but maybe there are worse things when you are dealing with kids who have a lot of physical, developmental, cognitive and medical problems... That's a wait and see issue. I'd like to be naïve and optimistic for a little while at least. Not that I reckon much of that is coming through into my writing here.

  • Any blogs I have found by education students or teachers other than those at university level seem to go for about a week to a month. If I get too busy or overwhelmed to continue with this then I suspect it should be the least of my worries!

  • What if I make them cry?

  • What if I can't actually teach them and they make no progress? A mate who's a teacher said at least with preps there is another 12 years of different teachers to take the blame in the future... but that's not going to help me get it right is it?

Off to go looking for my missing mojo!