Two months in..

Hiya. Thanks for stopping by, I’ve been quiet on this front lately. It has been an awesome and crazy couple of months to kick start my years leave of absence. I have been in lots of schools, done my first set of labs at the uni and I am behind on my own uni paper!! It has been a little bit hard to know what to write about – I have some drafts I will probably never publish and I don’t want to accidentally ‘out’ places I have been working- but here are some ponderings from two months in.

  1. I am not missing school nearly as much as I thought I would. Not sure if this is a positive or a negative 🙂 I miss some students and classes more than others, but not consistently. I missed athletics day, and in no way missed going on camp 🙂
  2. Staff rooms are weirdly the same everywhere. Same slightly dated furtniture (except for one school I visited in Wanaka, but it was newly built), crush points for hot water and slightly dodgey fridges. Similar mix of staff, of the teaching and support variety, with some patches of laughter, tired ‘getting togethering’, some older, some younger. All have been welcoming and kind, and have not told me off for sitting in the wrong place.
  3. Year 3s are out there!! I have really enjoyed working with some primary school students. Maybe it is just the schools I have been in, but primary classrooms just seem more diverse than secondary. Especially yr 3s!! I’m not sure if it that younger kids grow or mature at different rates (And the little yr 10 boys next to the BIG year 10 boy really shows this isn’t just younger students, but somehow the behaviour of the big and little yr 10s is not as diverse) but the behaviours, actions, vocab, everything just seems more mixed up. And many primary schools I have been in are mufti, so maybe the students just get to be more themselves…..
  4. Teachers are tired. I have been pleasantly surprised by how receptive most have been (I did get ‘warned’ that when you become a ‘facilitator’ people magically listen to you – and have seen it first hand in a school where I suggested something and some-one went oh awesome – and the IT person was like ‘but I suggested that the other day….’). But even when they are trying to engage, you can still see that there is often a million other thoughts clicking away in their brains, little half conversations that need to be finished up. Most genuinely are interested in new ideas or wanting to find new things, but struggling to get themselves over the line. I do not miss that exhausted feeling, especially when it was so early in the term
  5. Things are not equal between schools. I know this is not new, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how stark this would be, even in my little bubble of southern schools I have visited. I have been to 5 different secondary schools, and 8 different primary schools, and skyped/teamed/googlehangouted into a few others so far, and the systems, set up and infrastructure are so vastly different. Sometimes it feels like it is just down to one person (the ‘IT guy’), other times it is a schools focus, or resourcing. My personal interest in the TELA scheme is being kicked into gear again, with the range of devices (some being used well, others not so well) in schools, and the lack of support with the new devices that teachers get. The lack of choice teachers are offered in some places. Or the expertise to help the mac user etc…..
  6. First year uni students are not diverse… at least not in their clothing choices!! Even though it is not yet that cold puffer jackets are all the rage, as are tight jeans and white sneakers. There have of course been a few notable exceptions, enjoying the fact they can have piercings and died hair, or perhaps they already could in their schools. I have had 5 labs, so about 400 students, and from the ones I talked enough to, there were 3 adult students. A couple had done gap years. Most are in halls. A few are flatting or from Dunedin so staying at home. Many are from Auckland (but only one said south and I talked up the mean feeds I have had when I have visited friends there) but there was a range of places (including Whakatane, Gisbourne, Hastings, Gore, Geraldine.. and a few from Christchurch that had never been to Dimitris – seriously, if you are in Christchurch just go eat there already!!) It has been nice to talk to students about the science teachers or MIEEs I know in their schools about the country. I guess the covid and the border closures there are not the usual number of international students, but all those grown up teenagers are still not wanting to look that different from their peers. Unlike the yr3s!!!!
  7. Despite having more time – I’m still behind! Maybe this is just a mindset thing – but I need to catch up on some uni work for my own paper that I am doing. It keeps getting shuffled back. And there are always those little touches to a presentation or a demo, or some planning and shared resources (Wakelet has been amazing for sharing resources…) But at least the house and the renovations have progressed a little, although we are still behind schedule. I’m fully booked with some bigs road trip days this week, but next week I’ll be back to finishing off some curtains so they are ready to hang when I finally get painting.

And I’m hoping to start some sort of tips and tricks of the week type posts – just to keep pushing me to keep sharing and reading other peoples blogs. I’m also aiming to set my google level 2 during the April holidays, so there might be some googly stuff in there too

Have fun

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