Long time, no see!

I wonder if anyone is still out there?

Last time I posted I was off for my first day at my final prac. Wow, what a six weeks that was. Things haven’t been quiet on the home front either. Here’s a brief snapshot of the last two and a half months.

1. I have done my final prac, now I’m waiting for confirmation I can graduate. There’s one small assignment to go. I’m hoping to have it knocked over today. I got some great references, made some good friends, and more importantly, great colleagues who are always happy to help.

2. Hubby has changed jobs AGAIN after yet another redundancy. This job at least seems more stable, even if it is a contract position. Thank goodness for federal funding I say.

3. M&M turned 6. She had a family party and was thoroughly spoiled with lots of barbies and Hannah Montana paraphanalia.

4. My wonderful mother-in-law stayed with us for 6 weeks to look after the house while I was on my prac. She did a great job making sure my children got everywhere they needed to be and I could focus on my prac. She’s been gone a week now and I’m still looking for things *evil grin*.

5. M&M & Kiki had their ballet concerts, which required additional rehearsals, costume alterations (thank goodness for mother-in-laws hey?) and multiple makup practices. They were both amazing. M&M still has another lot of concerts in 3 weeks.

6. Kiki had her enrolement interview for Prep next year. She’s all ready to go. I just need to get the uniforms etc. More $$

7. I had the interview for M&M going into year one next year. She is more than ready, which is lovely to hear. Heaps of stuff came out of this interview, possibly enough for a whole post in itself. We shall see.

8. I’ve had several doctors appointments regarding Kiki’s eating and reflux issues. Again, another whole post on it’s own.

9. I had my interview for employment with Education Queensland. The feedback I got was very positive. Hopefully I’ll hear soon from a school that wants to employ me.

10. We surprised a dear friend in Airlie Beach for his 30th, just days after they surprised us with their wonderful baby news. We’re all so excited (not least because my cot and high chair can now go to a good home).

11. We spent a weekend in Toowoomba for another family birthday. There were a great many cousins on Hubby’s side to catch up with and meet.

12. I learnt that my life is crazy, but I love it like that.

So that’s my last few months in summary. What’s been going on in your world?

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First day of school!

Well, for me anyway.

I’m about to head off for my first day of school for my final prac *gulp*.

I’m very lucky with my school placement, and as a result I’ll have had a fairly wide range experience of schools through my four prac’s: an elite private school with one of the highest academic achievement levels in the state, and a very small school: a large regional state high school (ie as one deputy put it to me “a bit rough”): and a state school recognised as the most innovative in the state, and one of the most innovative in the country, even if they do have over 2000 students in years 8-12 *gulp*.

The downside (upside?) to this school is their split timetable, and split shift for staff which means classes for me start at 7:30am, and when I start my prac full time after the school holidays I will be teaching every morning at 7:30am on the dot. Ouch. Where’s that coffee?

Of course the upside to this is I finish school officially at 1pm (or 1:05pm if you want me to be really specific) so am able to spend a couple of hours at school before doing the after school madness with the kids.

And while this isn’t the most exciting thing that’s happened this week, it’s certainly the happiest. And with that, I’d better get gone and get myself sorted.

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Playing Catch Up

I always knew it would be tough coming back to my Dip Ed after a 6 year break. In Queensland the syllabus documents work on a 7 year cycle, which means everything I learned 6 and 7 years ago has changed.

The degree I’m doing has changed 5 times since then.

The teaching staff at university have all changed.

The requirements for teacher registration and employment with the state have VASTLY changed.

And I knew nothing about any of it.

So it’s no wonder really I’ve felt like I’ve been playing catch up all the time.

One of the new requirements is that pre-service teachers, in order to be provisionally registered and allowed to accept employment in a registered school, is that you have completed a certain number of days of “wider professional experience”. Similar to teachers’ professional development, demonstrating basically that you’re committed to teaching and willing to give up extra time to do stuff. As an example of some of my wider professional experience, I have used things such as:

  • Assistant coaching U6 soccer team
  • Austswim training course
  • Hosting Lions exchange students
  • Organising Lions Youth of the Year
  • Assisting with Lions youth camps
  • Helping out in my daughters Prep classroom

Still, all these new requirements and changes have left me feeling majorly uninformed. Because of this, I’ve also attended two conferences this semester, the first was the annual conference of the Business Educators Association of Queensland (BEAQ) and just this weekend gone the Beginning and Establishing Teachers Association (BETA) pre-service teachers conference. Both were so vastly different, yet at the same time very informative. I met some wonderful teachers who were only too happy to share their knowledge and wisdom, and even got some free accounting advice from an accountant with his own practice who teaches in a country school on his “day off”. I picked up some job leads, some tips for getting a job, a better understanding of new system changes, of curriculum issues. I caught up with perhaps my most influentual lecturer of my uni career - who is now a principal in a school near where we’ve moved from - in case we were considering moving back he offered me a job LOL.

Now, I would probably have considered attending these conferences anyway, particularly the BEAQ one, but these new requirements kind of forced my hand and I’m glad they did.

If nothing else, the freebies at these kinds of things are awesome.

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Assignments here, assignments there

Assignments assignments everywhere.

Well, that’s how it feels anyway. I have handed in two already this semester, and even recieved one back. I’m not entirely sure of my mark, what with using high school criteria sheets for a university assignment (ie 5 levels of achievement vs 7 levels of achievement) but since I had 4/5 ticks in the highest column, and one int he second highest column, I’m claiming that as a high distinction. Hooray for me.

Pity it is worth just 10% of the final grade for the subject. I mean, it is a plan for the other assessment for that subject, which is worth…. 90% of the final grade. Oh, and that’s due in exactly 11 days.

Why yes, I am procrastinating, are you really surprised?

Following that I have one other major piece of assessment, but it isn’t due for a month after this one, so I can take my time with it a bit more.

Of course I have a million other things to do. Like my prac, which starts single days the day of this great big assignments due date. Of course I don’t have a school yet, so I can’t plan anything. And you all know how much I hate not being able to plan. I have to organise child care, depending on the school before and after school care, transport arrangements etc etc etc, not to mention the actual organising of work to teach etc etc.

No, I’m not stressed at all. Although my shoulder/back problem is reappearing. You know the one my osteo said was “study back”. Yeah. Drugs are high on my list of priorities first thing in the morning. Actually most of the day at the moment, which isn’t great, but my doctor assures me is normal with my problems.

Still, that’s where I’m up to with my assignments. I’m fairly happy with how I’m doing - I’m not terribly behind in everything. There’s just so much to do and think about - and I need to start applying for jobs.

But one thing at a time.

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Two special visitors and a fun day out!

For the last three weeks we’ve had two very special visitors - two more Lions youth exchange students. I really had a ball with them this year, I spent heaps of time taking them places and visiting a few places I hadn’t been to for a while. If you’re thinking of visiting the Sunshine Coast here is what we got up to with them:

Mooloolaba Beach
Noosa Beach
The Big Pineapple
The Ginger Factory
Malany & Montville
Eumundi Markets
Australia Zoo
Brisbane Ekka
DFO at Brisbane Airport
Ettamogah Pub
Fraser Island

Miss Moo, gorgeous as usual

In addition to all that we dragged them to soccer games, ballet practice, family dinners, lions meetings and generally integrated them into our lives. By the time they left I was well and truly attached and even begged one to stay and take care of my kids (she wants to be a kindy teacher - perfect!). Both very much became part of our family and I can’t wait to catch up with them again when we (finally) make it over to Europe.

Here’s some pictures I shamelessly stole from them.

Miss Moo with our student M
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Some pictures, an apology and a recipe

I’ll just do a mad catch up. It seems this blog really is my procrastination, and when I’m not studying I ignore it.

For the first weekend of school holidays we went camping at Inskip Point. It’s gorgeous up there, and the kids had such a great time we’re going back in the September school holidays and taking an extra one with us.

Here’s just a couple of pictures:

The campsite from the beach

Hubby and Kiki fishing

Miss Moo, my Dad and uncle having fun on the beach

The weather was pretty ordinary while we were there. In fact the first night there was a storm and our tent was at nearly 45 degrees and I swear the waves were hitting the outside of our tent. We had a few leaks, but nothing major and the kids all slept through it.

But after that it fined up and we had a pretty good time.

As for the recipe, I have been experimenting with making my own pasta/bolognaise sauce and it’s been a big hit. I generally start with 2-2.5kg of tomato’s, and dice them up finely (because my kids don’t like tomato).

Bung it all in a pot with some salt, pepper, basil, oregano if you’re feeling adventurous, and mixed spice.

Simmering in the pot

Simmer in a pot until it reduces to the consistency you like.

Then let it cool for half an hour on the bench, and in the fridge overnight (or use it straight away) before packing into meal sized portions. I worked on about 400g given the size of a tin of diced tomato’s or a jar of sauce.

Packed for the freezer

I packed them in zip lock bags however when defrosting you need to be careful they don’t burst.

You can, as always, add to this basic recipe. Onion, garlic, capsicum spring to mind as options. My kids being the fussy eaters they are wouldn’t touch that, but they do eat this just plain on pasta, which was quite a shock, but very VERY handy when I’m in a rush.

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Uni results

With everything that has happened this semester, what with the moving house, spending exams looking for work rather than studying, and no on-campus session to motivate me, I was genuinely worried I wouldn’t pass this semester, let alone reach my goal of maintaining a credit average.

So it was a surprise to discover I managed a pass (for Property Law) and a credit (for Equity).

Of course I am disappointed not to get that credit in property, considering I did pretty well on the assignment, but I’m terrible in exams. The pressure is too much, I can’t think, I need to talk through problems to get to the solution, and most importantly as “technically” gen y, my hand gets sore after I’ve been writing for 10 minutes, let alone 3 hours.

Still, the good news is I passed, and while I can’t quite squeeze in a law subject this semester, I can see that long term I’m still on track to get there.

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Trapped

They had me cornered.

I had nowhere to go.

And they knew it.

One after the other they came to share their stories, show me tins of chickpeas, laptops they’d made, dolls.

To tell me stories about the giant that rides the big machines at roadworks.

And eventually to throw tantrums.

There was nowhere to go.

They knew it.

I was trapped.

When will I be able to go to the toilet in peace???

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Upside Down

Over the last 6 weeks our life has been turned upside down again.

Hubby’s job that we moved here for was made redundant, so it was back to the drawing board, although without the safety net we had last time since 4 months is hardly long enough to save up the 3 months of expenses we had last time.

Cue me looking for jobs and going for interviews instead of studying for exams, long, deep and meaningful discussions about the future and what we were going to do. And how to make sure it didn’t happen again.

After much soul searching, Hubby has decided to have a midlife crisis. He has taken a lower paying job, doing what he was doing a few years ago, with a smaller company who is open to the idea of him studying, and working fewer hours (so say working 32 hours a week, and studying at the same time). I gave him permission to have a midlife crisis as long as it didn’t involve a blonde or a sports car. You have to be practical about these things.

Being so close to the university here, he decided to check out their options and see what he could come up with.  Eventually he settled on the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is a 4 year full time degree. At the end of it he can go down the path of being a qualified Nutritionist or Dietitian. Personally I think this is a great option because then he can do our menu plans and I won’t have to think about it LOL.

He is taking his time though, and doing the tertiary preparation program this semester with introductory subjects like computer literacy, bioscience and mathematics to get back into the groove of studying.

As for me, we decided that the time was right for me to (finally) finish my Graduate Diploma of Education that I started in 2002, but which was interrupted by M&M, then Kiki.

I had been investigating the possibility for a while, and all the details were ready for me to send the forms in, which I did, and was given a lot more credit for previous studies than I thought - meaning I only have 3 subjects to do to finish by November. I am taking a semester off my law degree, but plan to go back and pick up at least one subject over Christmas to keep my hand in, and so I don’t drop out completely. My long term goal still is to finish my law degree and work in that field.

What we’re hoping is that by me getting my teaching qualification, and hopefully starting work next year when Kiki starts school we won’t be in this situation again. That I will be able to work and even if Hubby is out of work, my income will be enough to sustain the family.

On the plus side, we had a slight benefit with the payout from Hubby’s old job being for 6 weeks, and him being out of work for 3, so a 3 week head start to rebuilding our decimated emergency fund.

As you can imagine the next semester will be hopefully organised chaos. I’m currently working on the plan for the semester, so hopefully before I start next week I’ll have a plan to attack the semester and get the family through it unscathed.

Plus, you know, we had school holidays in there - and lots of exciting things happened. Stay tuned!

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Exams. Are. Over.

Yes, I’m just a little bit happy about that.

This semester was awful. What with the whole moving thing, M&M starting two new schools, ballet, soccer, swimming, etc etc etc.

The exams were awful. Just awful. After the Tuesday exam-that-nearly-wasn’t-because-I-arrived-and-noone-was-told-I-was-coming-and-thus-my-exam-wasn’t-there that eventually was faxed and so I started late but wasn’t allowed to leave beause I could be cheating (I’m not sure how though, but whatever) and it was AWFUL.

Then Thursday’s exam I though I’d done quite well, until I was talking to the only other person doing the same exam as me afterwards and it seemed I’d only got 1 out of 3 issues in the first question. Woops.

Anyway, I have since recieved my assignment results and while not brilliant, they are certainly encouraging considering the disrupted semester. Both putting me on target to maintain my credit average, although possibly not after the exams, but we’ll see.

Now all that remains is to wait for the results, and whether I’m accepted back into the education so I can get that finished.

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