Week Two: The Panic

Sunday – Nothing

Monday

As a mandated public holiday here in Queensland, the amount of work will be minimal. My plan is to at least plan ALL of my lessons for the coming week and to have the resources ready to do so. In the background is my growing panic about not having the unit plans for one my subjects done.

People might say ‘you have a whole day’. You are right, I do… however it is a day when my husband and children are actually home and time with them comes first.

‘But you had Saturday and Sunday…’ Ah yes, I did, but they were days put aside for other commitments. As the wife of an ex-serviceman, ANZAC Day is more about supporting him and what he wants to do than anything else. We also had friend commitments.

Then there is this nebulous time when I somehow keep house. I can already hear other voices telling me a clean house is not important. To them I would answer; ‘it is to me’ (I was thinking other words, you can extrapolate). I do not function in mess. My house is in no way spotless or without its piles of ‘issues’, but if there is stuff strewn everywhere, I can not think. When it gets so bad that I HAVE to clean, I call it ‘procrastocleaning’. I am doing chores to clear my mind to better work on what I need to do.

All that said. When everyone went to bed, I did the work I needed to be prepared for tomorrow.

Time Check: 8:30pm – 12:30am – 3 hours.

Tuesday –

Last night was about 5 hours sleep in the end and then I had an accident at school (ankle collapsed on me and I land on my knees – thought I was going to puke there for a moment. According to one student I was turning green). Its 10:14 and I have been working for two hours since my darling kiddo went to sleep. I am wrecked but I have done the job, I have a lesson for tomorrow (VICTORY!)

Time Check: 8:00 – 4:10 plus 8:15 – 10:15pm totals to 10 hours and 10 minutes.

Wednesday –

Rubbish day. RUBBISH DAY. These are the days when I sit and wonder why I bother trying to do what I do. These are the days when I am the worst teacher and the two hours of work I had put in the night before were meaningless and a complete waste of time. These are the days I wonder why I am not staying at home, keeping my house clean, sewing my projects, painting, crafting and tending my garden. These are the days I contemplate quitting. They are also the days I don’t work after hours simply because I need to recover my equilibrium.

Time Check: 8:10 – 3:10 totals 7 hours.

Thursday –

Still a little raw after yesterday’s disaster day, I managed to lighten up a bit better. However it was interruption after interruption so my to do list didn’t get touched until after school (thursday’s is my planning and administration days) Which means I will be working tonight. On a plus, all my resources for tomorrow are sorted, printed and ready to go. I am ahead, by a micro leap.

Time Check: 8:00 – 4:20 plus 8:30-10:15 gives a total of 10 hours and 5 minutes

Friday –

A good day today where my lessons either ran well or the students were lovely and I didn’t have to work to convince them to do what they were supposed to do. Friday equals no work at night. YAY.

Time Check: 7:50 – 3:40 gives a total of 7 hours and 50 minutes.

Saturday –

A day of shopping and an evening of work.

Time Check: 4 hours and 31 minutes

Overall time working this week – a 4 day week I may add –

42 hours and 36 minutes

Week One: The Rush

Monday –

I was sooo late to school, arriving almost bang on 8:30 when we start. With that in mind I was at school until 5:15 and almost didn’t stop to have lunch.

It’s now 10:53pm and I am beginning to wind down. This will take me an hour to pack and prep for tomorrow morning, wash and other personal ablutions that help me too centre and still so sleep actually happens.

Time Checks: 8:30 – 5:15 and 9:00 – 10:30 means 10 hours and 15 minutes working today.

Tuesday –

Become more and more dehydrated through out the day, I can always tell because my sinus’ flare up and I get awful headaches.

Made it to school by 8:10 and left at 4:30 after the meeting. Wasn’t going to be at the school the next day because of other commitments so I needed to do to put together work for my classes (this constitutes instructions, handouts, technology based teaching – what ever is necessary) but my headache was making me physically sick so I opted for bed at 8:30pm.

Time Check: 8:10 – 4:30 means 8 hours and 20 minutes working today.

Wednesday –

I woke up at 3:30am and started almost immediately gathering the resources I needed and writing up the instructions for each lesson. For most of them it was an email of instructions sent directly to the students but for one class in particularly, I had to make up the work I wanted them to work through as well. Thankfully I got it all done before my family woke up and wanted my time.

Made it to school by 7:50am to fight and argue with technology and photocopiers and was bad home for my alternative teacher duties by 9am.

Worked on an off through out the day to a tune about about 5 and half hours.

I am not doing any work this evening as I prepped for Thursday’s class in-between the other teaching stuff I was rostered to do at home. Edit: I forgot that I needed to have a wreath put together for ANZAC. To be honest I don’t think of things like this as work. I enjoy crafting and find it soothing, however I am including it as it is for school. So that’s another hour. (Wreath comprises of wire hanger, rosemary from our out of control bushes in the front yard and paper and button poppies).

Time Check: 3:30 – 6am, plus 7:50 – 8:30am, plus the 5 and half hours, plus the hour of ‘wreathing’ gives a total of 9 hours and 40 minutes.

Lest We Forget

Thursday –

I took the night off. Thursday is my favourite day as I have two lots of spares, which gives me the time to settle into the work that is necessary to set up the rest of the week or lead into the next. This Thursday was productive but not as much as I wanted, however the immediate things were accomplished. The problem is the work that needs to be done later (and thus getting ahead) if not done, becomes the immediate stuff. *sigh* The goalposts keep moving.

Time Check: 8:10 – 4:20 means 8 hours and 10 minutes.

Friday – FriYAY!

The ANZAC chapel was deeply moving and I am so stupendously proud of our students understanding the gravitas surrounding this ceremony of remembrance. I started crying about half way through the message and didn’t really stop until after singing the National Anthem. It’s hard to sing at the octave I tend to settle into due to always singing it there when we were kids at school (and I could reach those notes and maintain them), trying to sing it while crying is not fun.

I DO NOT work on Friday nights. I am done for this week.

Time Check: 8:05 – 4:40 means 8 hours and 35 minutes.

Weekly Total: 45 hours.

Next week, Term Two, Week Two, Starts on Sunday Night.

PERSONAL GOALS 2021

Well, the new year arrives and I naturally come to reflect on how I preformed on my goals from last year. To remind you, here were my goals for 2020:

  1. To be around 65kg and around a size 12/14 by the 31st of December.
  2. Commit to set devotional and work out times and routines.
  3. Edit and complete In the Shade of You by posting one chapter a week on WATTPAD.
  4. Create a writing journal that records the ‘practice’ of writing. Make it pretty using coloured pens, pencils and washi tape.

How did I do?

  1. To be around 65kg and around a size 12/14 by the 31st of December. – is a complete failure. I am the largest and the heaviest I have ever been. Which is more than this time last year when I wrote the exact same thing. It is literally killing me.
  2. Commit to set devotional and work out times and routines. – This past month I have started walking. It is incredibly painful. My leg muscles are simply knots on knots on knots. So I am not a complete failure at this. Out of all of my GOALS, this one is the one that needs to be the focus of all my efforts in the future.
  3. Edit and complete In the Shade of You by posting one chapter a week on WATTPAD. – actually did this, until I hit the points in the narrative that were not completed. So the first third of the novel is up on WATTPAD but not the rest of it. *sigh*
  4. Create a writing journal that records the ‘practice’ of writing. Make it pretty using coloured pens, pencils and washi tape. – I brought it and the materials and then NEVER TOUCHED IT. I stared longingly at it for a bit but no, not done.

What can I say, the same things get in the way every time, school and family. They come first because they need to come first. I need to be able to do my job well because there are many people who rely on me to be good at my job (There are days when even being a mediocre teacher requires tons of work). As for Family; they are hands down always first.

Thus, my Goals for 2021 is rinse and repeat.

  1. To be around 65kg and around a size 12/14 by the 31st of December.
  2. Commit to set devotional and work out times and routines (and actually do them).
  3. Edit and complete ANY creative project by posting one chapter a week on WATTPAD.
  4. Create a writing journal that records the ‘practice’ of writing. Make it pretty using coloured pens, pencils and washi tape.

What needs to happen if for me to maintain my motivation and not crawl into my hole and hide.

God Bless everyone, here’s praying for breakthrough and protection for 2021.

Year in Review 2020

1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before? Same as everyone else, I dealt with a Pandemic. That is not something you ever expect to say or experience – it is literally the stuff of films – As an introvert it was not that much different from my real life. As a teacher it was… enlightening, for myself and my students.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? See pending post that goes up tomorrow.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No, but two friends are pregnant and will be giving birth next year. Very excited.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Luke’s grandfather passed away.

5. What countries did you visit? None, not even in my imagination. This year has been a desert of creativity.

6. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020? Time to do things other than housework and school work. I need to put systems in place so that I can find a better balance. This past year I have gotten better but I still haven’t quite got it right yet.

7. Which date from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, why? So many. It’s more like months with a list of disasters attached rather than any one day, or moment. I am grateful that this is so hard actually. It does mean that in the year that was filled with bad news, none of it was so intimate that it impacted me to the point it is seared as one moment that stands out. Also, not all of it was bad. Joseph, my son, graduated this year and did well.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I don’t think I achieved much this year. I was this year. I existed.

9. What was your biggest failure? My personal goals were not … well see post pending about New Year’s Resolutions.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? So the mysterious illness… exhaustion due to sleep apnea. I was basically dying everytime I slept. Lack of oxygen and deep sleep led to my body being in survival mode nearly all of the time. I am grossly obese so the losing weight thing is now to become a very high priority.  

11. What was the best thing you bought? Definitely my CPAP machine, potentially the Apple iPad Air and Pencil I brought to help with becoming more tech savvy with school.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My son’s. Joseph has done great over the last two years to complete his final year very well indeed.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Mine. Always mine. But also some of our other fellow human’s choices.

14. Where did most of your money go? Food, definitely. Since my husband and I had essential work all this year, we decided to spend more money locally and invest in our local businesses during this time.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Nothing comes to mind.

16. What song will always remind you of 2020? Joy by King and Country. There were times when we just had to choose Joy.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Happier
ii. Thinner or fatter?
 Fatter
iii. Richer or poorer? 
Richer, always richer. We are in a rich country and I count my blessings for it.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Other than work on my Personal Goals, READ.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Sit and stare blankly at screens

20. How did you spend Christmas? Breakfast at home with the family then Lunch and afternoon with the extended family down at JaDe Park.

21. Personal goals for 2020, completed or not? Let’s see – Please see pending post tomorrow.

22. What are your personal goals for 2021? As Above

23. Did you fall in love in 2020? Well I am still married…. Hmm, maybe I need to come up with a different question here.

24. How was your relationship with Murphy this year? Murphy has been decidedly quiet on a personal level this year. Perhaps because he was having too much fun with others to visit.

25. What was your favorite TV program? Mandalorian and Discovery and BLUEY!!!

26. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope.

27. What was the best book you read? Out of the books I did read this past year, I have found the works of Maria V Snyder to be very interesting. Looking forward to reading the rest of them… when they come out.

28. What was your greatest musical discovery? Nothing this year.

29. What did you want and get? Better health

30. What was your favorite film of this year? This one is hard because hardly any films were released this year and we don’t tend to watch films at home. Mulan was a disappointment, although I can complete see what they were trying to do.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 44 and lockdown had started so we had take-out, at home.

32.What would you have liked to have had in 2020 to make it a better year? Motivation.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020? Desperately trying to fit into my clothes.

34. What kept you sane? Routines, the fact my daycare centre stayed open and so did my school. The idea of working from home with my little girls terrified me. they are getting old enough to play more by themselves, but they are also getting old enough to destroy the house and kill each other.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Nobody stands out or comes to mind.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?  Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope… not going there.

37. Who did you miss? A certain co-hort of students. I taught all year levels again this past year (8-12) except the year 9s. I really did miss them.

38. Who was the best new person you met? New colleagues at work. New additions to our family tribe. No names.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020: I am very disconnected from people and the world on many different levels.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: Joy by King and Country

Lately I’ve been reeling
Watching the nightly news
Don’t seem to find the rhythm
Just wanna sing the blues
Feels like a song that never stops
Feels like it’s never gonna

Gotta get that fire, fire back in my bones
Before my hard heart turns into stone
So won’t somebody please pass the megaphone
I’ll shout it on the count of three, 1, 2, 3

Oh, hear my prayer tonight
I’m singing to the sky
Give me strength to raise my voice, let me testify
Oh, hear my prayer tonight
Cause this is do or die
The time has come to make choice
And I choose joy
Let it move you
Let it move
Let it move you
Yeah, I choose joy
Let it move you
Let it move
Let it move you

Yeah, back when I was younger
My eyes were full of life
But now that I am older
I live at the speed of light
Feels like the cycle never stops
Feels like it’s never gonna

Gotta get that fire, fire back in my bones
Before my hard heart turns into stone
So won’t somebody please pass the megaphone
I’ll shout it on the count of three, 1, 2, 3

Oh, hear my prayer tonight
I’m singing to the sky
Give me strength to raise my voice, let me testify
Oh, hear my prayer tonight
Cause this is do or die
The time has come to make choice
And I choose joy
Let it move you
Let it move
Let it move you
Yeah, I choose joy
Let it move you
Let it move
Let it move you

Though I walk through the valley in the shadow of night
Oh with You by my side, I’m stepping into the light
I choose Joy
Let it move you
Let it move
Let it move you

I need that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay
I need that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

But I choose joy
Let it move you
Let it move
Let it move you
Oh, I choose joy
Let it move you
Let it move
Let it move you

Though I walk through the valley in the shadow of night
Oh with You by my side, I’m stepping into the light
I choose Joy
Go let it move you
Go let it move
Go let it move you
Oh, I choose joy

Joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay
I need that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

Still here

I am still here.

I had a Martha day today, when everyone was Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus and I was the one who carried the load or making sure everything was as it should be.

Husband sent me to bed for a nap and I slept for two hours.

I have not worked a normal week this week and was completely unmotivated to work this weekend, instead spending time with my husband and using the quiet hours when everyone else is asleep – like now – to tidy the house and prep food for the week without interruption, or another mess being made.

Week working hours: 42

Weight lost this year: 0

 

 

Finding the Balance…

…. oh how much I suck.

This week I have worked 44 hours and this is not when I have been working at my optimum. Usually I tend to work about 10 and half hours every day, 8 and half at school and then on average 2 hours each night – this is of course if my children let me. All in all I expect that with that work load I will be working 46 or 47 hours a week (that’s with taking Friday off).

I try really, really hard not to work when my children are home and awake. This time is for them. We may go out and do things or just hang out at home, but it’s about being their mother and not a stressed out, deranged teacher who has no time to actually reach the deadlines that are set (by myself I might add).

This week I was ill on Saturday and fell asleep at 6pm and slept until 1:30am when my sick daughter crawled into bed and scared me silly with how hot she was. I then spent the most of the morning, before the rest of the house woke up, looking after both of them as they tagged teamed in illness. As it is, I will be staying home to look after one of them because daycare would send her home and my husband starts his new job tomorrow.

I don’t know how other double working parents do it? My husband is constantly reminding me that no one is indispensable, but when you are teaching seniors and at a tiny little school that struggles to get relief, it can be hard to be the one that calls in the carer’s leave.

Still, family first – even if I do work crazy hours.

I would like to point out that my bosses are even worse than I. It is not unusual for them to still be sending emails at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.

Do me a favour. Hug a teacher today…. or just buy them coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

panda printed paper coffee cup on table

Coffee, the lifeblood of the staffroom.

 

Faithfulness

It takes a lot to be faithful.

There is sacrifice – putting another person or an ideal – a discipline – in front of what you want.

There is submission – choosing, constantly choosing to follow and to carry out what it necessary to do want you have chosen to do.

There is action – working, striving towards the vision you are being faithful too.

There is doubt – for in the work there are times when you question what you are doing and why, and those questions invariably become “I am enough?” “Have I done enough?”

There are other things but then all become sacrifice, submission, action or doubt in the end.

Finally, however, there is the reward. The funny thing about the reward is that is doesn’t come at the end, although there is a reward at the end of any faithful work, or a chosen action that is completed. Instead the reward comes in the doing. At times in our working, in our striving to be faithful, our actions, our submission is rewarded with achievement, growth, knowledge, and love.

Being faithful is an act of love.

Working hours this week: 49 hours and 40 minutes

Planning and Preparing

As many of your know, I am a teacher.

During the past six weeks I have spent most of it not thinking about school – except to keep my eyes open for interesting materials I can use in class, and the current issues swirling around the cyber social sphere – until this past week. This past week was my start of work week.

Today is my first ‘official’ day of school. I won’t have any students but I will be thinking about them. My fellow teachers and I will be conducting PD (Personal Development), looking at mandatory reporting courses, QCAA courses to increase our knowledge of new curriculum, IEP preparation meetings, special needs discussions and then the meeting with our head of department to discuss overall planning of what we are teaching, the assessments we are aiming for and whether or not those choices fit the Australian Curriculum, the school’s curriculum and the class it will be implemented with.

This is planning week.

But I have already started, for you see, you can not simply walk in planning week without having already done SOME planning.

For me, planning always starts with the calendar and the timetable. For my planning to be successful, I need to know how much time I have to teach what I am going to teach. This means the difference between a brief overview of historical events that at least give the students a taste of the Medieval period or we end the semester with a pot luck feast of authentic medieval recipes (I have done both).

I have already sat down with the three calendars that matter to me – the school calendar, the state calendar and the QCAA’s senior assessment calendar – and collated them onto one single calendar that will then be put up over my desk in my office at home. I will do another to be put up in my office at school. These are essential for keeping track of time, assessments, due dates, marking, feedback and other commitments that need to be kept.

I understand that some (most) teachers are moving to digital calendars, and I do tend to keep everything recorded on a digital calendar as well, but I keep the paper based because it is a part of my process and also more then a little bit ‘zen’ for me. You see, I love colour coding.

I colour code EVERYTHING. My students assessments are colour coded depending on what group they are in and what modifications they have. My filing system is colour coded, my diary (which I will get too) is colour coded, and decorated! I just need the colour. Although it takes a very long time to do, it is a small little creative thing I get to do through out the term that keeps me sane. Most of my creativity and time goes into designing engaging lesson plans, or improving them.

This year, I experimented with watercolour pencils that then turn to paint when you add water for the back of my diary;

Screen Shot 2020-01-19 at 10.14.31 pm

Where as with the front, I played with washi tape woven together. I am very happy with both of my efforts, although I must say the front is pretty boss:

Screen Shot 2020-01-19 at 10.14.02 pm

Other then mapping out the calendar and playing pretty with my diary (which is not yet ready to go, I haven’t done the inside yet, but I can’t do that until I get my timetable), I have been creating assessment for my year 12s, drafting a scope and sequence for our Humanities subjects from year 7-10 (with assistance from my fellow Humanities teachers), and completing overviews for the Humanities subjects with possible teaching times and assessment times.

All together I have spent 24 hours this week working.

It is important to note that all of this preparation – except for the diary – is really just draft work. I can’t write solid unit plans, lesson plans or assessments until I have had my meeting with my department head and have the go ahead. I expect I will, we have been doing this together for a while now…. Oh well, I will find out soon enough.

When a Hack is not a Hack – A poem

When did this irksome word

Appear in our lexicon

So insidious a worm to burrow deep

And render down our language

To a computer term

That doesn’t mean what it suggests.

A HACK! A life hack!

It screams from our screens

(which is ironic considering its anti-establishment birthings)

Instead is becomes the New Idea of cyber coffee tables

Pinterest pins

Facebook posts

and Youtube content for disreputable hosts

which in turn is proven or disavowal by reputable hosts

for laughs, no offence meant.

And the memes

Oh the memes

shall I go on about the memes?

I think not

for when is a hack not a hack?

When it does squat.

 

Breathing Deep

It is the 6th of January and for the past four days I have felt like I can breathe again.

There is a long, LOOOOOOOOONG to do list of household chores and projects and school work I need to accomplish but I am studiously avoiding it to simply sit and read, watch TV, play with the kids and just, not be on a schedule or simply ‘on’ around people.

Although there are many people who would be very put out by the idea of being ‘on’ around others – because their argument is that you shouldn’t be anyone other than yourself… an argument I agree with – there is still the niceties of society that I choose to follow. To be polite and kind and compassionate to others. To put myself in other people’s shoes and consider what difficulties they are experiencing, or what joys. To be dialled in and connected to others.

For some people this is very easy, its like a default setting in their DNA. For me it is much harder than those who know me might think. My tribe, who know me closely, know I need to be apart, or quiet, or even completely secluded so that I can recharge ready to be ‘on’ again as the process is very exhausting for me. Probably because I am a very selfish person and I fight those selfish tendencies all the time. Another possibility is that I am very empathetic and will get drawn into another person emotions and reactions. This too is very tiring.

Thus, being home, in my own space with the freedom to be completely and utterly myself (within reason, I still have my husband and children to consider) is like breathing pure oxygen; refreshing and a little heady.

I am also grateful that this process doesn’t take long. Already I see the mess that is my desk at home and I am ready to dive in and organise it, not avoid it. Whereas for most of last year my desk was a growing pile of slightly organised clutter (my work colleagues tease me for my ‘tidiness’, but it’s not organised, its just neat piles of my own work avoidance).

Today is a day for quiet, peaceful fun and then we will get into the projects that need doing to help sanity to be maintained when time and work and life takes off again.

Work Tracking: 30 minutes.