YES. IT IS TRUE. ENTHUSIASM. As in, I actually like this gig.
It's a miracle.
Seriously though, (Ohai, beteedubs) I am having so much of a better time on this placement. Let's start at the very beginning (join in if you know the words):
Turned up on Day One at 8 a.m. or thereabouts, as they had told us there was going to be a pōwhiri
to welcome us. Which was totally awesome of them for the sheer fact that I immediately felt so much like they actually wanted us to be at their school. Way more than the utterly uncomfortable 'oh well I guess we have to have student teachers' that I got from my first school (yes, I know I am not naming names, this is on purpose, so please to be refraining in comments due to the google-fu, yes?). There are nine of us (!) on placement there this time, and from a range of subject areas, which has been really fun.
Anyway, our coordinator person took us on a tour of the school to find our classrooms and everything - again, way more than my last school did (I should probably stop saying that now, but take it as read that my last school was less than stellar on some of this stuff, yes?) - and told us all the neat things about the school and introduced us to the awesome Year 12 (that means he's 16, to you non-NZ folk) who runs his own business at the school whereby he makes and sells coffee and gets it hand delivered to the staff, also. This should tell you rather a lot about the school - they are big on having students be self-motivated and follow through with ideas like that.
Apparently he started this business up when he was 14 and training to be a barista (he is now more than fully qualified), and the school said to go for it. Because the senior students start classes at 10 a.m. at this school (unless they have classes for scholarship or whatever), he gets in before basically all of the staff (he has a key, because again, the school is all about the treating you like an adult thing), and runs the coffee machine (that I believe the school bought? No idea if he paid them back for it or what) till before he has classes. He also has hired his friends and younger students as lackeys to run around and deliver coffee and I suspect get trained as well so that when he leaves school the business will remain. He's my hero at the moment. Because come on, that's awesome
So. Yes. Now, keeping in mind that there are nine of us (!!) they didn't exactly have our timetable sorted in an altogether timely fashion, but they've also been really accommodating - I appear to have been taken on primarily as a Classics teacher (YAY), and had two classes for that plus a Year 9 (13-year-olds, oh god) English class, but that does not give me enough hours of teaching by a long shot to be good enough for the requirements of Victoria Uni. So we emailed them and said 'hey look here is the deal: we totally can't', which they were actually good about (GOLD STAR, VIC. GOLD STAR FOR ONCE), but the school also let me hook into a Year 13 journalism class, which I will probably be doing not much in, but is totally awesome anyway and gives me some more in-class hours. Probably helps that I'm a nerd on the internet who reads stuff, let's be honest. Blogging makes you brainy!
My associates are interesting. The teacher for the Year 9 English class is a little crazy (we're surprised, let me tell you. This school has so many sane teachers), but nice at the very least, even if the fact that she doesn't follow through with behaviour management threats means the kids are joining to tell me to fuck off if I try and make them do, well, anything, but I'll come to that when I come to that. She knows all the kids really well, and I have a lot of respect for that. The Classics teacher is a little crazier, in fact. Rather an institution (as those on my flist who went to this school will attest), but not exactly in the best of her years. As much as she is a total fount of knowledge (god I love the ephemera of Classical Studies), the fact is that she is severely impaired by the fact that she needs to have knee replacement surgery, like, two years ago, and her husband is at the moment dying of cancer. Yeah. Exactly. It has been mentioned to me that it's actually pretty neat I'm here, because I can take on some of that workload, even if it is just for the next seven weeks (well, six now, but).
And oh, my kids! Bless. My favourites so far include one who is leaving me next week to start his hairdressing apprenticeship, and I am sad about, because he is the most gay you can be at 16, and obsessed with hair (the salon who is giving him this apprenticeship is one he works at) and obsessed with boys, and is basically adorable. Plus he and the three other girls who turned up to class that day (to be fair, that class has a roll of seven, so) were amused by my statement, after he had told us of his boyfriend ('Of seven weeks! That's, like, seriously the longest-term relationship I've ever had!'), that I wasn't sure if two hairdressers should date each other, as I am pretty sure that the amount of product involved would probably cause the world to explode, or something ('Okay, actually, to be honest, you should hear our conversations. All we talk about is hair!' 'You know P., I can probably imagine it. And I'm already a little scared').
Also in the same class is a totally-awesome-girl, who is actually good at Classics and is a theatre nerd and we geeked out over Shakespeare, before I told her that I was very much looking forward to seeing Titus Andronicus
later on this year (I have seen a lot of Shakespeare on stage this year. I know that Wellington is trying to do that whole Compleate Workes project, but still) and she told me she's going to be in it
. THIS IS AWESOME. Plus I got to tell her My Thoughts On Measure for Measure
, because she was possibly going to be doing it and didn't really know it very well.
I mean. Come on. This is basically awesome. Yes, some of the stuff is still terrifying to stand up and do, but in a lot of ways that has to do with coming into an established classroom and trying to do things when your associate teachers are different from you. I love love love having senior classes though.
ALSO: I have worked out that I have issues with teaching English. Because I am a English nerd for life and know all the secret handshakes and so forth, but I was (and am?) a gifted English student. I say this not because I am trying to brag, but in all seriousness. I groked things that other people took a long time to get. I was way ahead of my peers in English. I got it in a way that had in a lot of ways nothing to do with the admittedly awesome teachers that I managed to get most of the time, even though many of them undoubtedly made me use that gift and extend myself and all that good stuff. The point of which is that as an English teacher I find it difficult sometimes to understand why students might not get stuff. The might not like stuff I at least understand from my own experiences of not liking stuff, but I cannot really understand the position of someone at the age of, I don't know, 14 or so, reading To Kill A Mockingbird
and not getting that there are themes. It's right there! You know what a theme is cause you've just been taught it, what is not to get? One theme is racism, guys. Also, the role of women and girls. Also, truth as a construct of our environment. Okay, yes, at 14 you are not necessarily going to be able to articulate some of this stuff, but I just... it's right there
. So yes, difficult for me to understand that, and I get frustrated.
Not so with Classics! With Classics I had the skills of an English nerd, but I also had to work, and stuff didn't always just make sense. So I am much much better at seeing where they're coming from.
Oooookay, long entry. I haven't talked about some stuff, like the first Classics class I had where my associate teacher didn't turn up and I had the class on my own without a reliever even though that's actually illegal. And nearly falling asleep in the staffroom because this is way tiring guys. And even not-related-to-school-stuff like hanging out with Liz, Lee, Aimee, and Ben and watching High School Musical. And spending too much money on clothes for my placement. And reading Mark Abley's The Prodigal Tongue
. And not catching up on my flist even though I'm doing that now. So let's just pretend like I did.
Much love to you all, I am full of the frustrations of life and renovations and choir and friends-in-bad-places and all of this stuff, but I adore all my friends for putting up with my crap and entertaining me and making me think of what would happen to Gilderoy Lockhart if he went to the Underworld in His Dark Materials!verse and had to tell the Harpies a true story (if it's a true story but it isn't yours, does that still count?), and letting me edit their Honours essays, coincidentally. And making me laugh, both in person and on the internet (seriously, between aimeesworld
and okay, let's just say my whole flist: so much talent. So much life and fantasticism) ♥
-Let's argue in the kitchen, for hours and hours, tomorrow is a travesty, tomorrow should be ours, musicians are cowards!-