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NOT just an English teacher

New Year- same goals and refreshed hopes...BUT almost toppled on day one.
Almost toppled- My thoughts:
In a changing school environment that seemingly embraces new technology and strives to be a growth mindset organization, I am gobsmacked that other professionals and sometimes colleagues refer to me as 'just an English teacher' or  "you who uses too many words...". REALLY?
I am a mother with experience...of nutrition, allergies, love, life, survival, heartache, death, sports performance...But I guess at school those are all unseen skills.
I am a wife of a production engineer who talks and explains energy footprint, Cadmium, Mercury Telluride, lithography systems, spatial dimensions, practical "commonsense" solutions to vacuum sealing, wire bonding and Oscillator systems and production.
I am an aging athlete who loves exercise, from pilates to walking, running and a new found sport- Surf-Ski paddling. btw, The brace stroke is the most important action a novi…

I can not spit the dummy

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In a week of conversations about stereotypes and the power of voices, it is very clear that teachers can not "spit the dummy."!
My reasons:
1. I am  accountable to future citizens for behavour, responses and respectability
2. I will think before I use my words to express when and why I am totally irritated
3. My pay scale implicitly expects better behavior- the masses ( classes) are watching me.

Besides my students do not pay to watch me perform. Their parents' trust that what I have planned for the day is most valuable and mildly entertaining.  My opinion is that dramatic emotional outbursts are the domain of millionaires and those armchair critics who support entertainment in sport.
This image was circulated today- love it! thank you Matt Miller



The three A’s

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Affirmations

Monday morning tea was in the English workroom. It was my birthday. Colleagues had taken the time to bring a few healthy snacks and we sat in a circle while one by one they each shared a few lines affirming me as their colleague and friend. A tradition. Oh, my heart! Those words from each of you are soul food.  I often hear "good for the soul". I wonder what that really looks like for each individual I know. It had been the school ball on the weekend, I got to wear my expensive dress again, I’ve gained weight since I last wore it...argghh...must conquer this emotional eating habit and stick to the exercise and SLEEP plan. The 'postballphotobuzz' is fascinating as each student sees and squeals at their photo. Admittedly I'm just like a student in that way. But I ...
I miss my family in South Africa especially much on celebration days...those traditions, seeing my Mum and Dad's handwritten cards and reading his few poetic lines. Facebook fills a ga…

Metaphors on Mothers Day

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My posts are mostly about things that inspire or challenge me, always something ‘in the moment’ to encourage you- my readers. This photo is just that -a collection of little gifts; metaphors for growth. 

This post is also a tribute to my beautiful Mother Avrille Yvonne Grant( née Schroder) and partly to thank 3 beautiful young, vibrant girls who spoke on stage at Elim Christian Centre on mother’s day.
The theme of growth sits here: in fact this ‘mature tree’ has been uprooted, bent, snapped, mocked, excluded, falsely accused, bits broken off, bits have died BUT new shoots have sprung up- this ‘mature tree’ has experienced kindness, invitations, nourishment, perfumed words of promise that drew out potential, the tender care of a gardener, the watering of friendship and sisterhood, and her roots have gone deep, deep down and now she provides rest, refreshment, shade and nourishment for many in this beautiful Oasis called Elim, in a community of determined passionate people and leaders w…

Crazy busy?

It’s the last Tuesday in October. I’m sitting on one of the benches facing the main quad area; catching up with a colleague to finish off a section in the performance appraisal documentation. Should have been in the library but that room was as cold as a fridge - a student had turned the air conditioner down to 17degrees. Prank. Freezing. The department budget gets discussed so that the final proposal can be agreed on before submission. Must be in by Friday...Then we discuss the new additions to the stationery list- must confirm with all appropriate teachers as these lists must be formalised by Friday...The seniors leave on Friday... at that point what looked like a flash mob was coming our way...silly senior student prank. They have an idea to baptise a teacher in the nearby stream. Really! No. Quick thinking as the centipede of legs...looks like half the school, are oozing out the side gate.  “ stop, this is not a good idea”. “ aw cu’ on..”. “ it’s a leavin* prank”. “This is a Teach…

EC- Emotional Capital and solutions based outcomes and Making sense of change

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One of my favourite NZ authors, Sheryl Jordan in her fascinating novel The Sign of the Lion, has Elmo say:' Confusion my dear is the greatest tool of the enemy'. That's true! Confusion erodes confidence. Its exhausting!

Embracing digital tools, digital teaching techniques and digital teaching strategies as part of a Blended Learning pedagogy is an area that i refer to as emotional capital ( EC). For a few years now a strange "fog" has sought to prod and poke and rob my confidence as a practitioner. "I refuse to be tired all the time" i say to myself. Now i say to myself- "i refuse to loose my confidence: i know who i am, i am skilled and capable. I am a perpetual learner and educator. " Two things have happened:                         1. At a recent and rather invigorating IT Expo i realized that experience has been a brutal teacher, but experience is also rewarding. I have trialed ed-tech systems and just when i felt mostly competent the sy…

Blame?

Day 1 Term 2.
I had fascinating conversations with two of my classes today.
I posed the question:' Who is to blame when things go wrong?'  This is in preparation for a novel study where a lead character encounters a range of challenges that hinder and help her journey to freedom.
The answers the students gave ranged from parents, teachers, the system, the government, the family, the friends...and then one answer floored me...'I am'. This junior college student really meant that they are responsible for what happens to them in challenging situations - WOW!
 I'm still mulling on this one.
A similar question to one of my senior classes was meant to leave them with something to think about for homework- critical or creative thinking i guess.
Who is to blame when grades aren't successful? Is it always the teacher and the school... I'm hoping to be delighted with their comments tomorrow...this is going to be a great term!

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