Of holidays and poetry

(*featured image: http://www.intown.com.au)

The more he looked the more Piglet wasn’t there.

A. A. Milne ‘The House at Pooh Corner’

The above quote sums up how I felt last week after submitting a poem for assessment. I was waiting for the feedback and the more I looked, the more it wasn’t there. We were going camping for a week and of course a week feels like a long time when you are waiting for feedback… I received the feedback the morning we left to go away so I didn’t get to post the poem when I wanted to.

We spent a week camping on the Barwon Coast in Victoria. We had everything from 18C drizzly wet days to 42C scorchers. The weather becomes all important when camping – there wasn’t really much between our living space and the great outdoors except a piece of canvas. I love some aspects of camping, the main one is that everything slows down. It takes time to do anything and when life takes time, life also slows down.

I hope to get my short story submitted for assessment this coming week so that I finish my current study period before school goes back the week after.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy the poem that I got back from my assessors. I’d love to know what you think of it.

 

YOU WILL NOT WIN

Anxiety, unwelcome, uninvited

Not wanted, still you came.

A masked intruder with

Fingers choking, like dark tendrils

Squeezing joy out of the tender

Heart and mind of my young daughter.

 

With an icy cruel blow, you make your move.

And it’s –

Hands sweating, heart pounding

Breath racing, eyes widening

Breath racing, panic rising

She looks at me:

‘Mummy, why am I always so scared?’

 

Then with a crash, your friend, Anger moves in.

And it’s –

Eyes flashing, mouth screaming

Doors slamming, feet stamping

Doors slamming, peace fleeing

And I ask of myself:

‘How can I be the mother she needs?’

 

 

But Love rises up from the depths and remains strong.

And it’s –

Arms embracing, heart slowing

Breath calming, muscles easing

Breath calming, mind relaxing.

She whispers into my neck:

‘Mummy, I love you.’

 

Anxiety, you will not win.

 

 

 

Sarah Guscott

January, 2018

 

 

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Merry Christmas and bring on the Holidays!

The day that teachers never think will arrive, finally arrived yesterday.

Yep! Yes!! Hip-hip hooray! Holidays started yesterday. I have moved into my new classroom for 2018. It’s as tidy as can be before the cleaners steam clean the carpet. I completed my professional review with my principal. The review was fairly spontaneous as I had take all my professional ‘evidence’ home but it was good to get it done. I even got time to get a laminating head-start on next year (that is such a teacher thing!) and got to leave work even earlier so that I could see my eldest child complete his final assembly at Primary School.

On the home front, Christmas has been completed for one side of the family and it’s just my side tomorrow. The turkey is cooling off before being popped in the fridge and the kids are veging in front of the TV. I have just a few cheeky last minute presents to wrap which my daughter is hanging out to help wrap.

Then it’s countdown to relax and unwind and enjoy the five weeks break. Bring on January!

Merry Christmas to everyone and enjoy whatever time you get to unwind.

See you in 2018.

Catching Up

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. Maybe too long, but life has a habit of getting in the way. Also sometimes it’s hard to keep going when it’s quiet on the comments/reply front.

I’ve been slack on the writing course front too. I got sick, we went on holidays to Queensland, I got a new class and had what felt like a million follow up appointments and before I knew it I was writing reports again. I haven’t quite finished reports from this term yet, but they are very much well underway. I had to be more organised than normal because I booked a writing course for this weekend which was well worth the money and so being more organised was well worth the effort. I shall post more about the course later this week.

But amongst the busyness, I did squeeze in a small assignment. I have now included a profile of one of my friends who has changed careers in mid-life to become a nurse on my portfolio page. Yes, changing careers and studying later in life does seem to be a common theme with some of my articles at the moment, but maybe that is just where I am at for the moment.

Anyway, have a read and let me know what you think!

– Sarah

And around we go again!

Where did the holidays go?

For me the holidays were spent catching up with friends over afternoon teas, catching up with a bit of shopping, checking out different blogs on WordPress and getting our house renovated. We had the heating installer crawling around under our house one day and the electrician crawling around in our roof the next.

Well, after being back at school for one week the biggest topic of conversation among the teachers is how tired we are already! It’s actually been fascinating to hear how many of us don’t sleep particularly well before returning to school and during the first week back. The other topic of conversation is how challenging it is to return to getting up on schedule, eating on schedule and going to the bathroom on schedule. If that’s challenging for the teachers, how much more so for the students. At our school it is like starting a new year every term and that is exhausting.

I actually had to congratulate myself the other day: no one in my class has been crying and no one has wet themselves. (Yet!) What an achievement! The average age of my class has dropped by about another six months. I began the year with a Year 2/3. Term 2 I had a Year 1/2 and now I have got mainly Year 1. This term we had a huge influx of Prep children which is why my class is younger. The students have all been pushed up.

 

playground-hopscotch-snake-1441226

(image: http://www.freeimages.com)

Student B is back in my class for this term. He began the week looking very settled and seemed to be understanding most of what I was saying. He seems pretty pleased that he is now one of the ‘old students’ and I have had to ask him to help me with the ‘new students’. However by Thursday, he couldn’t help himself. He began niggling other students in line and got into a fight at playtime. After sorting out the lining up order, the next thing on my list to do is to instigate the floor seating arrangement.

One thing I find fascinating about EAL teaching with new arrivals is how much the students learn and how much one actually teaches in a short period of time. By Wednesday, my class was beginning to settle quite nicely. We had played ‘Classroom instructions’ – which is a bit like musical chairs. The difference is that when the music stops, I call out an instruction like ‘Sit on your chair!’ and the students have to follow. We’d also done colours, days of the week, making requests and numbers to 20. Then… on Thursday I scored my thirteenth student… and the poor kid is having to work out which way is up when the other new students have already learnt this. He gets a crash course in colours and numbers to 20 which we revise but obviously don’t get to do in depth again. The class dynamics change yet again.

Such is life in the New Arrivals Program.

One week down, ten to go.

I heard someone once say, that teachers always know when the next lot of holidays are. That is so april calendartrue. It is ten weeks until the winter holidays. But we have ANZAC day this Tuesday and the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in June first.

I got home yesterday and crashed on the bed for half an hour before I could do anything.  It hurt to even think. There is research out there that says teachers make a lot of decisions every day. I felt like I had blown my weekly total.

I have a totally different class from last term. At the end of last term, I had ten students who were staying for this term so I thought I had a chance of retaining some of them. Nope. Not one. We had a huge influx of very young students and all of the older students moved up to other classes.

I now have 13 different students with five from the class below me and one from two classes below me. I have seven brand new students including two gorgeous little identical twin girls, with very similar and hard for me to pronounce names. So the process of starting with teaching routines, procedures and expectations begins again.

I haven’t done any more of my writing course this week other than to submit my assignment on Tuesday, for which I did really well.

Five things people I am grateful for this week include:

1 – My husband – who allowed me to ‘crash’ on the bed last night, before I could even think straight.

2 – My mother-in-law – who comes down and helps get the kids to school most mornings and does my washing and ironing for me.

3 – My mother – who came and took the kids on a long bike ride and picnic on Monday which enabled me to get the house cleaned before school started.

4 – My teaching partner – who is also in shock along with me over how young our classes are. She’s great to bounce ideas off and for the most part we think along the same lines with what we need to do with our classes which helps with consistency at school.

5 – The soy-chai-latte maker – I grabbed a soy chai latte on my way home from work on Friday as I had a ripper headache and couldn’t just go straight home. Sometimes it can be like going from the frying pan to the fire. Anyway, this barista served me a soy chai latte and a complimentary hazel-nut chocolate. Yum.