Saturday, 22 June 2013

Want Ads for Teachers Who Walk On Water and Other Miracles

Hyperbole in teaching positions appears to be all the rage. I am looking for a new teaching job and the standards seem very high. I consider myself a good teacher, not great, just good, but I’m not sure I’m at the standard required to actually get a teaching job these days.

If these ads are to be believed then the standard of teaching is so high these days I’m shocked we are not leading the world in education and turning out actual world leaders!

These examples are taken from real ads. (Just reading them made me so exhausted I had to have a Bex and a lie down.)

They want really good teachers who:        
  • Demonstrate experience in developing exciting, innovative and age-appropriate curriculum to engage all levels of students.
  • Have an ability to foster positive relationships with students, with a commitment to their personal growth, education and care.
  • Demonstrate ability to work as part of Learning and Pastoral Teams.
  • Have strong communication skills.
  • Have a commitment to excellence in girls’ education.

 Hm, yes, we all have to be involved in teams now: Pastoral, Learning, Writing Curriculm/ Rewriting Curriculum/ Writing The Curriculum to Satisfy the New Improved Independent Schools Standards/ State Standards/New Improved National Standards . . .

Surely if we got it write right the first time we wrote the curriculum we wouldn’t have to keep re-writing it.

Or they want us to be energetic and innovative. Well, I row twice a week, is that energetic enough?

This is an opportunity for a talented Maths teacher to join a supportive and engaging work environment that fosters diversity, communication and professional growth.

Talented? Probably not. And fortunately I’m not a Maths teacher so I won’t be applying for that one.

ABC Teaching Agency is seeking dynamic, outgoing and enthusiastic secondary teachers to work with our client schools.

Er, dynamic? Outgoing? Enthusiastic? I’m afraid my enthusiasm gets worn down just reading the ads.

I enjoy teaching, like the kids, and want to do the best by them but I just don’t think I can live up to all these new expectations.

Anyway, you’ll be relieved to hear that I keep my new found cynicism to myself and should I actually get invited to interview for a teaching position (which hasn't happened yet, must work on my water walking skills) I will not be saying anything at all about my blog.

Stella x

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Believe it or not. . .

I have been sitting on the couch flipping through the TV channels and scanning the TV guide for something to watch, in vain. I have also been feeling pathetic that I am doing this and not something more interesting like yoga (which I was scheduled to do with a friend but I am sick) or the Ballet Classes for Adults that I have signed up for - I just can't wait - but right now I am sick and need to stay near the tissue box. 

So, I muse about things I just cannot believe:
  • That there is a show on TV called Auction Hunters.  That they've actually made a show about men who make a living buying other people's abandoned storage units.  And they show this on TV. (Maybe I’m more incredulous than unbelieving.)
  • I just saw the credits. Now I also can't believe that there was an "original concept" involved in the making of this program.
  • That there are men who consider buying other people's storage units a career. Seriously.
  • That the majority of programs on TV are reality shows - to do with cooking. Master chef, My Kitchen Rules, The Great Australian Bake Off etc. 
  • Also can’t believe I was wrong: the majority of reality shows are not to do with cooking after all. Look at these reality TV shows - The Biggest Loser, The Block, The Block Skyhigh, Embarrassing Bodies, Cops, Judge Judy, Fear Factor, Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn, Pimp My Ride, Supernanny, Celebrity Apprentice, Highway Patrol, Motorway Patrol, Hoarding: Buried Alive, Swamp People, Auction Kings, Operation Repo and so on.
  • Also, I cannot believe the number of cooking shows on TV, even if they're not reality shows: Huey's Kitchen, Ready, Steady, Cook, Good Chef Bad Chef, Everyday Gourmet with Justine Scholfield, (and they're all on ONE channel), Poh's Kitchen – or are they reality shows? I’m confused now.
Anyway, you get the picture.  But so who cares? Well if they were any good then I'd be watching them . . . not scouring the TV guide and writing about them.

That's all.

Oh, and while I was still sort of watching TV . . . also that Americans call pizza "pie". Why? I know we have really dumb names for things but surely it's either a pie or a pizza. Decide already!
And finally, despite selecting all the text AND changing the font about ten times so it is consistent throughout this posting. . . it WON'T do it. 

Stella x

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Men Behaving Badly

Many years ago, I was a foolish thing and attempted on-line dating. Well, it worked. Recently, still being foolish, I have been trying on-line dating again. Specifically, RSVP, and an old flame saw me again, recognized me despite the intervening 14 years and the change of hair colour, and contacted me.

I was mildly horrified.

He was pleased to see me. He said if I wanted to catch up for a coffee, or chat, or whatever to get in touch with him.

It appears I am the only one with a good working long-term memory. We dated for a couple of months and had some good times. However, during that time I learnt that he was rather passive-aggressive, and not really someone I wanted a long-term relationship with. Fortunately he then went overseas and didn’t maintain contact. Ever.

On a couple of occasions while dating him I should have re-thought the wisdom of continuing with the relationship. At one point he photo-shopped a photo of my head onto a naked woman with . . . hm, how shall I say this. . .  different attributes to mine and emailed it to me, thinking it was funny. I didn’t and was quite upset about this and rang him to tell him so.

Instead of being apologetic, or even simply understanding, he become angry with me for ringing him late at night, leaving a message on his machine, and disturbing him when he had to get up early the next day. I’m not even certain I actually got to speak to him but he was annoyed with me anyway. Nor did he ever see my point of view. Then he maintained radio silence for several days.

Eventually, because I am was a sucker I contacted him and said that this felt like we were breaking up, etc. Anyway, to bring an embarrassing story to a close - he did not apologize and we picked up where we left off and continued dating.

Then he accepted a short-term contract to work overseas, Chile. Previously he had failed to mention that this was a possibility. (Nice of him.) So we went shopping for him and I mentioned I had a discount card that I’d be happy for him to use. Buying shirts is boring so while he was looking I explored the cosmetics part of the department store on the same floor. Not too far away.

When it came time to pay I was not there, hovering, with the discount card in my hand but elsewhere. (Gosh, what a bad girlfriend.) The option of leaving the clothes with the sales clerk and seeking me out was, apparently, not open to him. So, angry, he paid for the clothes and then went and stood outside the shop and waited for me to find him. Which I did eventually.

Things were patched up eventually when he decided to speak to me again, then he went away, and even lent me some exercise equipment. I was, for some reason, still interested in pursuing this relationship, and took this as a good sign. I had a brief phone call when he first arrived but then no contact at all, despite a couple of emails on my part. After a week I asked what was going on, why the radio silence again?

He informed me, angrily, that although he worked at a computer all day, he could not email me as the boss sat right next time him/ in front of him/ in close proximity to him etc which made it difficult. He also requested that I return his exercise equipment.

It was at this point that I finally concluded that this guy was a jerk and I didn’t deserve to be treated like that. I drove over there while he was still overseas and put the exercise equipment in the garage by rolling it underneath, as he had requested, and encouraged my little dog to poop in his yard. It didn’t.

Then my self-respect raised its head and I realized that I had made a lucky escape from this manipulative, passive-aggressive man who never apologised, or listened to my feelings. Phew.

When he contacted me again I recoiled with horror, read his email, and replied “That’s nice, yes, it’s been a while. Good luck on-line.” Or words to that effect.

I have not heard from him again.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Rock the boat, don’t rock the boat, baby.

The damn “fun” regatta has raised its ugly head again. It’s a charity regatta, we went in it last year and it was fun, mostly. This year I thought it’d be OK to row in it with my crew. After all, we work reasonably well together and we’d have six weeks or so to practice.

That was the plan anyway. On the other hand, this is how it is actually panning out.

Week One Crew – Stella, Ann, Mikaela, and Amanda.

Our coach, who also runs the rowing school, decides that Amanda will row with another crew. Amanda rows twice a week and the other crew has also entered the regatta, so she’s gonna row with them.

Amanda is then replaced by Julie.

Week Two Crew – Stella, Ann, Mikaela, Amanda, and Julie

The only problem is that Julie can’t row with us for practice. Darn. Still, we falter along and keep practicing. In effect what this means is that our coach keeps yelling at our stroke seat person as she’s ‘rushing the slide.’ It is very, very hard not to rush the slide. It is something we are all working on at all times.

We have some practice races against another crew. Coach does her nut roaring at us:
Don’t let them get away from you. You’ve got them now hang on! COME ON! KICK IT UP A GEAR!”

And so on, and so forth.


We practice for a couple of weeks without Julie as she is not available to practice with us. Then after a not-particularly-good row our Stroke, Mikaela, hurts her neck as we are carrying the boat back to the trailer. And pulls out of the regatta.


So we replace her with Jane.

Week Four Crew – Stella, Ann, Julie, Mikaela, and Jane.

Then we have ONE practice row with both Julie and Jane. Julie has bravely volunteered to be Stroke. The problem with being Stroke is that all the pressure is on you to set the pace, the rest of the crew simply have to follow her lead.

The other problem is that our coach acts as if this is the Olympics, but it’s not and we’re just semi-fit middle aged women

Not Olympians. Hell, we’ve all been rowing less than two years.

Anyway, we have a practice row together. And we are crap. The entire time: the boat lists to the left, we’re out of time, we simply can’t “kick it up a gear,” ever, and our racing start looks like we’re all splashing around in a kiddy’s pool.


Anyway, this doesn’t matter because it turns out that Jane cannot row with us in the regatta anyway. So her daughter is going to row instead- we’ll call her Leeanne. (I am running out of names here.)

Week Four Crew – Stella, Ann, Julie, Jane,  and new newbie Leeanne.

Anyway, despite my misgivings and wanting to get out of the damn thing, and despite the fact that we HAVE NEVER ALL ROWED TOGETHER, I’m still in.

The day before the regatta the river is flooded; we have the largest single rainfall in one day in June since records begin etc. So the regatta is cancelled.

“Yay!” I think, but alas, it’s only postponed a fortnight. Instead it’s this Sunday.

Today, Tuesday, Ann texts us to say she has a family commitment on Sunday and she can’t row. Julie offers to find a replacement or just leave it if I don’t want to row either.

Week Six Crew – Stella, Julie, Leeanne, and Ann.

I can’t stand it any longer and admit that I’d like to pike also. I tell Julie I’d be happy to leave it, assuming none of us are rowing now after three members of the original crew are unable to make it. However, Julie agrees to take responsibility of what remains of the crew and find two extra people. (I assume Leeanne is still rowing in the regatta but I have never met her, and as a result never rowed with her either.)

Week Six Crew – Stella, Julie, Leeanne, and Ann.

Several hours later, on reading all the texts, Ann feels bad and texts back, apologises to Julie, and says she will row after all.

Week Six Crew 2 hours later – Stella, Julie, Leeanne, and Ann.

I’m not completely certain of my rowing status as a result.

I believe the last text I sent said I wanted to be replaced. I am thoroughly sick of any mention of the regatta and will be happy if I never hear from any of them again. Ever.

Just sayin’ . . .