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!