My last weekend in Australia has now come to an end. Let me rephrase- my last weekend in Australia, during this trip, has now come to an end. Do I really have to leave? Can I just get everyone to come over here with me? I would have loved another few months in Australia, but I’m anxious to get home and graduate. Not to mention, I also have to find a job to start my career of teaching.
Yesterday morning, Linda and Ernie picked me up early to head east to Cape Conran for a fish. We arrived at Linda’s favorite fishing location, where I caught the nice salmon a few months ago, and cast our lines out. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch a single thing but it was nice to be at the beach on such a beautiful, sunny day!
After a few nibbles, the tide started to come in, so we decided to call the fishing off. We headed back to the car and drove off to Sailors Grave, a short section of beach, named to honor those who had perished in the area after wrecking on the Beware Reef, just off the coast in the Tasman. We took the trail along the shore to the various coves and inlets along the coast. I had never seen seashells like the ones I did yesterday. Since Conran is a national park, taking them home would have been illegal...I got home a few of them had managed to appear in my pocket.
After the nice walk and soaking up the rays, we headed a few kilometers west to Marlo, a small town overlooking the flood plain and estuary of the Snowy River. We stopped for lunch at the Marlo Hotel, where we had a beautiful meal overlooking the Snowy, with Carlton Draught in hand of course.
I am very grateful to have met Linda and Ernie, and thankful for everything they’ve done for me since I’ve been here. I will miss fishing with Linda and “stirring the shit” with Ernie; he is certainly a stirrer.
Last night, a few of the teachers from school had dinner with me at the Main Hotel. It was great to see them one last time before having to leave. I had the roo of course, which was delicious. I was keen to try koala or wombat, but I’ve yet to see them on any menus since being here. Actually, koalas are a protected species, so I wouldn’t expect to see koala steak or ribs on any menu!
After dinner and some great conversation, we headed to the pub and played a few games of pool. I really needed Poyma (my best bud back home) to help me out; I was terrible. After a few games, a few of us headed up to Oz Mex for a few more drinks. I really enjoyed the night and it was great to see everyone one last time!
Today, after sleeping in a bit, I started the laundry for the last time here. Once it was done, and my clothes were hung up, Domenic and Sheryl took me to the Den of Nargun, a few kilometers north of Lindenow, where Sandie’s farm is located.
According to the Gunai/Kurnai tribal legends, the Nargun is a half-human half-stone creature that lives under a rock overhang behind a waterfall. The Nargun is said to take uninvited travelers into the den, and could turn any weapon against it back onto the traveler.
The den of this beast is located in the Mitchell River National Park. After parking the car, we hiked downhill along a cliff into the rainforest of the Woolshed Creek. The 15-minute walk down into the forest brought us to the creek, which we followed uphill to the Den of Nargun. The waterfall was small but the pool in front of the den was full and reflected the beautiful red-colored rocks of the surroundings off of its clear water. I was so happy we went!
On the way back, we decided to take the long route, following the creek, almost making it to the Mitchell, before heading back up the cliff face on a trail that reminded me of a Swiss alpine road, weaving back and forth until reaching the top. We walked in and out of black wattle cover before reaching the top of the cliff, where we had a view of the Mitchell River rapids below and the lush, green surrounding forest of eucalypts.
Tonight, Domenic and Sheryl surprised me with a few things they had picked up while I have been here. They gave me a footy jersey, a Driza Bone hat, a couple baseball hats, a shirt from darwin, coasters telling the story from "Waltzing Matilda," and an Aboriginal storybook. I couldn't believe it! I felt like my birthday came early! I will miss Domenic and Sheryl a lot. They have certainly made me feel like a part of their family, and for that i am very grateful!
Today was my final day in East Gippsland. Tomorrow, after Domenic and Sheryl get home from school, we are going to head down to Melbourne for the night. The plan is to go out to dinner in Carlton before retiring for the night at the hotel. My flight leaves Melbourne on Tuesday at 11 in the morning, so I’ll need to be at the airport somewhat early.
This will be my final blog from Australia. I will write one last time when I arrive home to conclude my thoughts and to reflect on my travels but it is hard to believe this post is the last one from Oz. I have loved writing and am looking forward to reading about my adventures in a few years. I’m sure it will convince me to come back!
A fantastic end to a fantastic experience! Today marked my final day at Bairnsdale Secondary School and the last time I would be teaching each of my classes. It was certainly bittersweet! I will miss all of my colleagues, but will miss my students the most; they have been a delight to have in my classes and this experience wouldn’t have been as great as it was without their engagement (most of the time) in class and their willingness to learn.
The morning started off with an early arrival to school on the bike. I wanted to make the most of my day and had to get a few things done before my last morning briefing and classes. After doing some photocopying and some other things, morning briefing started. Domenic was kind enough to make it known that it was my last day and invited me up to speak. I really wish I had enough time to thank everyone but had enough time to especially thank Linda, Pam, Sheryl, and Domenic for making the experience so wonderful! They have gone above and beyond to help me immerse myself into their culture and to make the most out of my time here.
After briefing, I headed over to the science center to start my long, 4-class day. The first class, “Bones,” started off well, and the students made the most of their time to finish off their projects about bone diseases and conditions. Without the netbooks today, the students used their research that they had gathered to write their papers to create awareness posters about each of their diseases to be presented to the class next week. Unfortunately, I will not be there to see the final products, but I’m sure they’ll turn out great!
During the last five minutes of each of my classes today, I shared a slide show with a few pictures of Miami University and Cincinnati for the students to see where I am going back to and where I spent my last few years. Many of the students were impressed with the pictures and had a ton of questions for me as they were dismissed.
I shook hands with many of the students in “Bones” and headed to the next class. During period 2, I had “Animal Inside.” Students were to finish their life-sized representations of the human circulatory system. They had the rest of the class to incorporate the heart, lungs, hepatic portal system, and major arteries and veins. I also asked the students to differentiate the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood by using different colors. The students were surprised the other day to find out that blood (in vertebrates) is always red. One of the biggest misconceptions in science is that blood is sometime blue or purple. No. Blood has an oxygen carrying protein, hemoglobin, which contains iron that can either be in an oxidized or non-oxidized state. The only color difference between the two states is the difference in red hue. After showing them a few pictures at the end of the class, I dismissed them one last time.
During recess, the science staff and a few other teachers, including Domenic and Sheryl, held a morning tea in my honor; I was quite flattered. Ian Hall, the principal, gave me a coffee mug with “Bairnsdale Secondary School” written on it with the East Gippsland Water Dragon logo. He also gave me a BSC pin. Pam gave me a pair of Australia thongs (no not lingerie but sandals), Linda gifted me an Australian flag towel, and a few native seeds to plant at home, and Domenic and Sheryl gave me a BSC student uniform shirt that I changed into to wear for the rest of the day! I didn’t expect any of it and was generally surprised! Along with the generous gifts, I received a card that had been signed, under my nose in class, by many of my students. I loved it and will keep it forever as a memento of my time teaching them. The food was great and filled me up to keep me energized for the rest of the day!
After recess, I had the year-7s. They spent the time on the netbooks finishing an activity that they had started at the beginning of the week. Their task was to use PowerPoint to animate the lunar phases. Each of the students had a different approach and their animations turned out really well. I was impressed with a few of the products! I was happy to see many of the students using the time effectively in class. A few of them needed to be reminded of how to use netbooks appropriately in class.
Full from morning tea, I skipped lunch to start setting up for biology class. I will admit that I will miss these students the most. They have been the most engaged of all my students in class and have been such a delight to teach. Their lesson today would revolve around the dissection of a pluck from a lamb. As a result of the lesson, the students would have a better understanding of the human circulatory system as well as the respiratory system.
After introducing the students to the lamb “guts,” they were shown what a blown up lung would look like. To do this, a plastic tube was inserted into one of the bronchioles and then I blew it up by blowing air into the lung. CAUTION: MAKE SURE THE HOSE IS CLOSED OFF BEFORE REMOVING YOUR MOUTH FROM THE HOSING. Sorry for the cautionary statement, but it should be known not to allow the air from the lungs to escape back into one’s face after blowing into the dead animal’s bronchioles- the taste and smell is not appetizing!
The students were then given a few notes regarding the heart and shown how to cut it open, exposing the four chambers and the various tissues entering and exiting the organ. After some talk about the pulmonary and systemic circuits, the students went on their way to finish up the practical. I was really happy to finish up my time at BSC with this task because I really felt like I went out with a BANG!
After speaking with the students at the end of the class about where I was from, I said “goodbye” to each of them, only to be surprised by a few girls in the class who had made me a card. I was moved by their gesture and will happily put it on my desk at home as a memento from the great class.
I finished up the day in the teacher’s lounge, cleaning up my desk, finding some time to do just a little more grading before retiring for good from my student teaching experience at Bairnsdale Secondary College. What an experience!
Tonight, I was invited to go to Rhonda’s home for dinner, so I headed to the bottle shop to pick out a wine to bring with me. Rhonda had kindly invited me to tea a week ago, and having eaten her cooking at school, I would have been dumb to decline! I have really enjoyed talking to her in the mornings, and she has certainly showed me what “school lunches” should be!
Rhonda picked me up from home and took me to her place, not far out of town, where I met her husband Wally as well as their son, a student at BSC, and their daughter who is around my age. Rhonda’s family, like true Australians, really made me feel welcome in their home and cooked a delicious salmon meal followed by a few glasses of wine. I had a wonderful time, and wish I could have spend some more time with them at the dinner table talking; there is nothing better than a friendly conversation after dinner about the world around us! Thank you Rhonda and family!
Tomorrow, Linda is picking me up in the morning to head east to try our luck in the waters of the Tasman. I’m really hoping to catch a fish and would love to take one home for lunch! We will see! Tomorrow night, Pam has invited a few of my colleagues to have dinner at the Main Hotel as a final goodbye get together before I have to leave! A busy day tomorrow and I’m sure it will be nothing short of exciting!
How could anyone complain about a day off from school during the middle of the week? It was really nice sleeping in this morning, but when I did, the weather was not cooperative. Today was by far the coldest day I’ve experienced since being here, and possibly the rainiest.
After some breakfast later in the morning, Sheryl and Domenic took me into town to attend the ANZAC service. After finding a place to park just up the street from the service, we walked through the rain toward the Boer War Memorial, situated on Main Street. We arrived to find a few hundred people, prepared for a downpour, along with veterans, young scouts, and a few familiar faces from school.
The memorial was covered in flowers and wreaths were laid down against the base. The ceremony started with a prayer, which was followed by a few speakers. Two of BSC’s school captains spoke at the ceremony and did a fantastic job; I was really impressed with their speeches! The ceremony closed with the singing of the New Zealand and then Australian, national anthems.
At the ceremony, I couldn’t stop thinking about learning about the importance of Anzac Day a few years ago when I was on a school trip to Gelibolu (more popularly known as Gallipoli). Ninety-seven years ago, on this date, the forces of the British Empire, along with the French, arrived on the shores of the peninsula of Gallipoli, At this point in history, the land was still under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Anzac Day is held on the 25th of April every year, traditionally, to commemorate Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) troops who fought at Gallipoli during the Great War. In modern times, the day is used to commemorate ANZAC troops who have served and died in the name of freedom for their country.
After the service, I headed up to the memorial for a closer look. At the memorial, I ran into Tim Bull, the Member of Victoran Parliament representing Gippsland East. He looks like a young Louie Anderson, if you ask me! He was nice enough to talk to me and I eventually got a picture with him. Its not everyday that you meet a politician!
After the ceremony, standing in the rain, we headed home. We were looking forward to the traditional Anzac Day AFL match between Collingwood and Essendon. We enjoyed the exciting game whilst eating pies. I had a seafood pie that was amazing, and I couldn’t help myself, so I had a second. I will certainly miss the pies when I leave next week!
Only two more days of teaching! Tomorrow I have “Animal Inside” and then have the rest of the day to clean up my desk and plan for Friday. This weekend, the plan as of now, is to go fishing with Linda on Saturday and then go out to dinner with a few of the staff that night as a last get together before I leave. I’m really excited for this!
What an exciting day! It was busy at school, and the day only got better after classes were over! I was invited to take part in a culture and industry that I had never had interactions with, except for at the breakfast table and when my coffee needs to be supplemented.
After school, and three great lessons, I was invited to join Sandie, another science teacher at BSC, to her family’s dairy farm just north of Lindenow, in an area by the name of Wuk Wuk. I know what you’re thinking- Kyle at a dairy farm, what the hell is he doing there? This was an experience that I will never forget and was so rewarding (I would recommend anyone to take part in it at least once in their life). I had never been to a dairy farm, let alone take part in a few of the jobs associated with this mega-Australian industry, so it was hard to imagine what to expect
The Australian dairy industry has a gross value of $4 billion, Australia’s third largest rural industry, behind wheat and beef. Fifty percent of the dairy is exported, ranking Australia the world’s third largest dairy exporter. Victoria, specifically Gippsland, has the highest concentration of dairy farms in the country, and I was lucky enough to see one today!
Sandie picked me up after my last class from school to take me to see another part of Australia’s rural industrial culture. I am not much of a farm person, mostly because I didn’t grow up on one and never felt inclined to take a closer look at one. The only time I’ve ever spent on a farm has been at my Aunt Donna and Uncle Frank’s farm in Pennsylvania on a few Thanksgivings as a young kid. I really had no idea what to expect...
Australia is one of those places where you drive around with your jaw in your lap and your eyes are fixated on the next bend in the road, preparing for the view to come. You could drive around, especially in East Gippsland, and anticipate beautiful views around the next bend, only to find more stunning scenery around each gum tree laden bend in the road. Sandie drove me from Bairnsdale toward Lindenow, driving up and down hills, each one having a characteristic view of the Mitchell River valley, full of lush vegetation and farm industry.
After a short drive west, we arrived at the 80-acre farm where the family dairy farm is situated, perched atop of a hill, overlooking the Mitchell River and the valley, with the Great Dividing Range in the distance to the West. I arrived unprepared, of course, without gumboots, and in shorts. It had rained for much of the day, until we arrived at the farm when it cleared and the sun started to peer out from the grey clouds. Thankfully, Sandie's son had a pair of twelve’s that I could fit into so I didn’t have to ruin my runners. The gumboots would come in handy!
After parking the car at the house and exchanging footwear, we headed to the milking shed, a short walk back up the dirt road, passing day to week old calves and what seemed to be the maternity ward of the farm, with heifers and cows about to burst with new life. We arrived at the milking shed to find Sandie's son and another bloke working on opposite ends of the rotary milking apparatus. Luckily, I arrived at the beginning of the process. The rotary had 60 stalls, each one was temporary home for the cows as they were milked and given a chance to feed on the crushed grain in the trough facing the center of the great rotor.
The cows lined up on one side, pushing each other, anxious to be milked and have a feed. I was surprised that they didn’t have to be enticed to enter the stalls. Once each cow entered, Sandie's son cleaned the teats and attached a teatcup, part of the milking unit, to each. The teatcups have a constant vacuum pressure, allowing the cows to be milked quickly and efficiently. The vacuum also keeps the apparatus attached to each cow until all the milk is removed, when the teatcups detach to prevent the delicate teat tissue from chaffing. The cows are milked as they rotate around the circle, until they exit, just prior to making a full pass, near the entrance.
From the teatcups, the milk entered into a few stainless steel pipes where it was collected with the rest of the milk from the other cows and transferred through a heat exchanger, where it cooled before being stored in a refrigerated holding tank. The holding tank at Sandie's farm holds 18,500 liters of milk.
Lucky for me, Sandie and her son made sure I had the experience attaching the teatcups to a few of the cows. Fortunately, with each cow’s excrement exits just over my head, none of them shit on me! If I had a list of things to do before my life retired, “milking a cow” may have not been at the top of the list, but I’m happy to be able to check that one off anyways!
A few of the cows seemed to be infected with mastitis, a bacterial infection associated with dairy cattle. Sandie showed me the difference between milk from a healthy cow and milk from a cow with this udder tissue infection. The milk from the infected cows was not as opaque, more watery, and saturated with clots throughout the liquid. The cows were marked with paint to indicate the infection was found, and were milked into a separate container to be discarded. Sandie's son treated these cows with an antibiotic, and indicated to me that the milk would not be viable for sale until the drug residues had cleared from the cow’s system.
After helping corral the finished cattle toward the pastures of the farm, Sandie and I started closing off the gates to the entrance ramp, pushing the stragglers toward the entrance to the rotary. A few of the cows were curious of me and seemed to be somewhat skittish. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about getting kicked. I wasn’t, but it wouldn’t have taken much for a few of them to take a cheap shot.
Next, with some fresh warm milk that had been set aside, Sandie took me to feed the calves. They seemed to be even more curious and were anxious to feed. We poured the milk into containers with malleable plastic teats on the sides, allowing each calf to have an equal amount to feed on. What a great experience! Once they warmed up to me, they had no issues with my petting them and a few of them even tried to suckle on my fingers. If I needed to teach them to suckle, I may have needed my fingers, but I think they were just hungry!
As the time on the farm came to an end, the sun started to set in the west over the Great Dividing Range in the distance, changing the sky to a bright pink and orange color. I’ve seen some amazing sunsets since I’ve been here, but nothing like the one I saw in Wak Wak. I really didn’t want to leave!
After helping with some of the clean up work, I headed to the house to wipe the manure and other cow juices from my hands (surprisingly, I didn’t get a whole lot of milk on me, just poop) and took one last look at the setting sun and the view of the valley before heading back to Bairnsdale. I would never want to own a dairy farm, let alone work at one for more than a few hours at a time, but the sunset could easily be an incentive to come out for the evening to help with a few chores.
With a fresh sample from the holding tank, Sandie and I left, driving up to the end of the property line, where we crossed the Wuk Wuk Bridge, traversing the Mitchell River, and found our way through Lindenow on the way back home. According to Sandie, the bridge used to be covered in boards and was very raggedy before being renovated. The bumper sticker on the back of her car (a few years old) said, “Wuk Wuk Bridge is Wuked,” further explaining the need to construct a new bridge only a few years back.
When I drink milk from now on, I will remember today, having gained so much more respect for the dairy industry and the people who put in the timeless hours to get the job done.
Sandie's enthusiasm about her farm and her willingness to go out of her way to share a different part of rural, East Gippsland culture, reaffirmed my notions about the nature of Australians- they are very proud of their possessions and the land they live on. It is one thing to be patriotic, like many people are at home, or at least portray to be, and another to feel so strongly about your culture, that you feel so inclined to share everything you have and know if someone from the outside (an argument well developed from my experiences here, maybe for another time). I thank Sandie for this great opportunity and for sharing part of her Australia with me!
Tomorrow is ANZAC Day and another opportunity to dive deeper into Australian culture; I can’t wait!
Language is the keystone of a culture...and there is no room for cultural globalization in schools- a few brief thoughts, make your own judgements
“Every 14 days a language dies.” How is that for a statistic? Before I discuss where I took this statistic from and why it is significant, I want you to think about a few questions first. What did you think about when you read the statistic above? What do you associate with language? How is language fundamental to cultural and community identity? How might dying languages lead to cultural globalization? Is cultural globalization a bad thing?
I found this statistic after reading up on some current events on Aljazeera, when I came across one of their programs, called “Living the Language.” This multi-part series focuses on various indigenous peoples around the world striving to preserve their endangered languages, and preventing their cultures, casualties to the increasing cultural globalization, from plummeting along with their patois.
One of the segments, called “Australia: The Aboriginal People,” really struck my attention. Australia, once home to over 200 different languages, according to the article, suffers from the greatest rate of language extinction in the world. Today, according to Aljazeera, Australia is only home to 20 of these languages.
The destruction of indigenous languages will only lead to cultural globalization.
Cultural globalization involves the exchange of ideas and values across the entire world, eventually leading to standardization. One of my goals as a teacher is to prevent this standardization by developing my students into “global citizens.” Being a global citizen doesn’t mean that you represent a single culture, rather, it means that you are accepting of the various cultures around the world. I will fail, as a teacher, if I cannot provide this environment for my students, and to fail would mean that I am giving in to the risks of cultural globalization and standardization. Too often, schools do not provide this environment and accept standardization. We should cherish and celebrate the diversity of the world, and to do this, we can show acceptance in the classroom.
Being a global citizen means that one understands that speaking to someone in a language that is understood is different from speaking to him or her in his or her own language. Nelson Mandella stated that the former went to the head, and the latter went to the heart. I couldn’t agree more. Taking away language from a community or culture is like removing the keystone from an arch.
What do you think? What does language mean to you? Could your language be translated into the same context of another?
Please find the video from Aljazeera below. If you have the time, I highly recommend it!
I cannot believe the weekend is already over! I’m ready to start the week at school, but how could it already be Sunday night? Does time go by faster in the Southern Hemisphere? It sure feels like it…or it may be because I’m just having so much fun!
On Saturday, I slept in a little bit and decided on an English muffin with margarine and vegemite for brekky. After lounging around for a bit, Domenic and I headed into town to get a few things at the supermarket and to have a walk around.
After picking up some bread for lunch and the papers at Woolworths, we headed across the street to check out the new store called BCF (Boating Camping and Fishing). Sounds like my kind of store, huh? It wasn’t as big as Bass Pro and certainly didn’t have the broad selection of gear, but it sure was nice! I found a fishing shirt that I really liked that had a few logos on it that would remind me of Australia when I go fishing at home.
After walking around for a bit more, we crossed the street once again to check out the ceiling of St. Mary’s, the Catholic Church in town. The steeple of St. Mary’s can be seen kilometers from town and seems to be one of the few local landmarks in town. We walked inside and were greeted by Jesus, who was kind enough to provide us with a few brochures about the church and their distribution of largesse to the people of Bairnsdale and the surrounding community. We walked deeper into the church to find the ceilings completely painted with vivid Christian themes, and all of the windows covered with stained glass. It was pretty and I’m glad I went!
After eating lunch at home, Domenic and I headed back out to watch the East Gippsland United Football Club under-16s play a match against Warragul. The young gentleman and lady defeated the team from the east 21-1 in a blowout. The game reminded me of my time playing soccer a few years back! I’ll never forget traveling to various international schools in Europe, including Budapest and Warsaw.
We then came home to catch the last half of a few footy matches. Luckily, there were a few more on later in the day! After a bike ride along the Mitchell, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing, watching the footy matches on TV.
Today, I also slept in a bit to catch up on some sleep, and again had some vegemite on toast for breakfast; I can’t get enough of this stuff! We were invited to go to Linda and Ernie’s place for lunch at noon and we were to bring the dessert. Last night, Sheryl and I had started making a Pavlova, and this morning, she had finished it up to bring with us.
I am always jealous when I go to Linda and Ernie’s home because it is so beautiful and they have some of the best views in all of town. They purchased their home a few years ago and since then had worked on building up the area around the home. I’ve seen photos of when they bought it, and it is so hard to believe that the two of them only took 4 years to surround their home with lush gardens of tens of different kinds of trees and various vegetables and herbs. They also built a pizza “shack” in their back yard where they have a pizza oven, and a view over the paddocks to the south and the bay in the distance; truly amazing!
Today, we were having pizza for lunch at their home. When we arrived, we were instructed to make our own pizzas from a variety of fresh ingredients. We each started with some tomato sauce on hand made dough followed by a combination of ingredients including: various kinds of cheeses, meats, and herbs, anchovies, salmon, tomatoes, olives, chilies, capsicums, capers, pesto, and probably a ton of other stuff that I forgot, or just couldn’t see among the piles of fresh toppings. Once our pizzas were constructed in the kitchen, we took them down to Ernie, who had the oven ready to start.
The pizzas were amazing and the beers were cold! It was another great ending to another great weekend in Oz! I could have easily spent the whole day eating pizza overlooking the beautiful views from Windy Waters (Linda and Ernie’s house’s name).
Since I’ve been home from lunch, I finished up my laundry and started this post. I’m excited to start my final week student teaching at BSC and plan to get to bed early tonight!
The final week of teaching is upon me at the end of this weekend; how could time have flown so fast? The bittersweet departure from my new home is right around the corner and will creep up so quickly I’ll be unprepared to leave!
Yesterday after school, I arrived home in time to change before heading back to school to the Bairnsdale Aquatic and Recreation Center, in the middle of the campus, to play some volleyball. I arrived in time to train with a couple of the teams that were there prior to the matches starting.
I wasn’t supposed to play until later in the evening, after the first few games, but I was invited to join a team who was shorthanded. This is just another example of the kind disposition of Australians; sadly, I wouldn’t expect this same kindness in the homeland. I helped the team to a loss but as their captain put it, “we here for fun not to win cattle stations.” Whatever the hell that means… I had a great time though and really enjoyed meeting some more locals.
I was then invited to play in the “A League” to fill a spot on a team that was short handed. Not having played volleyball since high school gym classes, I was a little concerned when I heard “A League.” I was really grateful that they invited me to play; my competitive spirit really started to come out! We won the first set but lost the following two, oh well! I was invited to go to the pub after the games, a tradition after a lot of physical activity around here, but I declined so I could come home to get a good night’s sleep.
I woke up a little later today to get every second of much needed rest after the game and headed to school shortly after my shower. At school by 7:45, I was able to finalize a few things for my students before heading over to the science center after the morning briefing at 8:30. I never left the science center until after all four of my classes.
Many of the teachers had indicated that the students had been somewhat wild this week, after the two-week holiday. Until today I would have disagreed with them, rather, my students had been quite mild and easily appeased. They seemed to get their work done and turned in on time- characteristics of students that no teacher could ever complain about! Today wasn’t full of chaos but it was hard to keep a few students concentrated on their work.
After school, I stayed at the science center to clean up some equipment that the year 11s had used during period four, and then headed over to Junior Campus for QLD. I’ve written about QLD before but never elaborated on what it stood for. QLD is a wonderful tradition at BSC, and I’m sure at many of the schools in Australia. It is something that would be frowned upon in the US and would never be allowed to occur. Quiet Little Drinks is a get together after every pay-week Friday allowing the teachers to have a few drinks together, with snacks, to unwind before the weekend. What a brilliant idea! It just adds to the obvious camaraderie the staff at BSC have with one another.
Tonight, I’m home watching St. Kilda play Fremantle. I’m pulling for St. Kilda since I chose them in the footy competition I signed up for at school. The game is currently getting close to the halfway mark and there is no one decisively ahead.
I have few plans this weekend and will take things as they come! I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow before getting on with my day. I’m hoping to get onto Skype to catch up with Mary Kate! I miss her a ton and am looking forward to seeing her at CVG when I get back soon!
What a day! I just want to quickly write about my day before I head to bed early...I'm exhausted and looking forward to the weekend! Tomorrow, I only have "Animal Inside" and will have a lot of other things to do, including some grading, and coming up with a few lessons for next week! I want to leave BSC with a bang, and don't want to just coast these next few days. Only 6 more days of teaching left (I have off next Wednesday for ANZAC Day). I will have experienced two of the most important Australian holidays before leaving in a week and a half- Australia Day and ANZAC Day.
Today, I arrived at school a little anxious and nervous, since I would be observed during both of my lessons. During period one I made some photocopies and went through the investigation that the year 11s would be doing during period three; I wanted to make sure the lesson would be flawless!
I met Rod over at the science center before starting "Bones" class. The lesson went really well and I received some great feedback! Rod spoke with a few of the students to see what they thought of me. The students with whom he spoke with indicated that they "enjoy my teaching style and find my questioning challenging and insightful!" I was quite pleased with this feedback from the students.
Before period three, I had some time to set up for the stomata investigation that the year 11s would be doing. Making sure all of the equipment was available, I felt confident that the students would get a lot out of the lesson. I was right- the students were extremely engaged and enjoyed the lesson! At the end of the lesson, I had a discussion with Rod regarding the lesson. His feedback regarding all of his observations made the hard work over the past three months that much more rewarding.
I am very fortunate to work in an environment where student can thrive, as all of their learning styles are being catered to. When I move home to find a job, I am antsy to see if I find any science classrooms that hold up to the standards they have here at BSC. I hope I do!
I am off to bed tonight feeling like a true Australian- content with life and optimistic for the future!
Tomorrow is my final observation in the classroom and will by the last "formal" assessment of my teaching during my student teaching at BSC. Rod will be coming to observe my "Bones" and year 11 biology classes. I am really excited to get some more feedback on my teaching strategies and management of my classes. In my opinion, the more feedback, the better, since I can use the feedback as a tool to make more meaningful reflections about my teaching. I really value the opinions of my peers, especially from the experienced, veteran teachers.
I will introduce "Bones" students to their new project asking them to research and write about a disease or condition that has a negative impact on the human skeletal system. I will start them off by talking a little about osteoporosis, the condition most of the students will think about first. I don't want them to research osteoporosis, because given the choice, most of them would probably pick osteoporosis to research. WIth their research, students are going to be expected to write a 2-page paper summarizing what they have found. After, students will construct a poster that will give public awareness to the disease or condition, which will be presented to the class at the end of next week, I hope!
The year 11 students will be investigating stomata of various types of plants. Sheryl took me today to pick up a key material for their investigation- clear nail polish. It was somewhat weird buying nail polish at the store today! The students will use it to make an impression of the bottom surface of a leaf to be viewed under the microscope. If it is done correctly, the students will be able to use the model to view the stomata of the leaf, and will be able to count the stomata in a given field of view. I will have a few extension questions for them to answer at the end of their investigation to probe their thinking.
Once tomorrow is over, it will be smooth sailing for the rest of the week, since most of my lessons are planned. On thursday night, I will be playing volleyball with a few of my peers and, hopefully, will come back with another win!
I'm starting to count down the days until I arrive home, but the thoughts of going home is certainly bittersweet. I miss my friends and family, but wish I could just transplant them here!
Welcome to the blog I wrote while student teaching at Bairnsdale Secondary College (BCS) in Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia.