Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Like Swallows

Or this one. 'Like Swallows' by Laura Henry. The description she provides of her creative vision is wonderful:

This piece is based on how the first portable typewriter played an integral part in the human aspect of WW1. I found letters that had been written by soldiers from the trenches ,still maintaing a poetry, whilst the noise and horror of war surrounded them.


Wow. Just discovered this at Aniboom. I am definitely going to use this site in my teaching next year. I can imagine bringing a wonderfully enigmatic short film like 'Beton' (above) into my year 11 literature class and sharing/discussing possible readings and interpretations.

Hypertexty blogs

Man. I am going to get really carried away with this labels/categories thing (check out my labels menu in the sidebar). And that's just three posts worth of 'em! But I really like the way that they can make the experience of reading a blog more 'hypertexty' (excluding a good blog-writer's use of hyperlinks, of course, which I really want to aim to be doing more of) by allowing the reader/writer to explore the posts via 'connections', rather than through the typically linear, reverse-chronological order in which the posts appear on the page.

Beta rocks

Ok, I'm loving this new 'blogger beta' setup. For those of you who haven't switched over yet... do it! (that means you, Scott). No more mucking around with html (unless I want to!) and I can finally categorise posts- a feature that I almost switched over to edublogs for, but in the end couldn't bring myself to for fear of losing all my old posts in the process.

It was slightly annoying to make the move to beta only to discover that I had lost my counter, sitefeed and other funky encrypted thingies and whatsits, yes, but that wasn't difficult to remedy.

It was a good move. Now I just need to move house in January...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Opening Windows

I've been thinking about the way that teachers define what it means to be a 'teacher'.

I said my goodbyes to my principal today, who is leaving the school, and he said, 'good luck with everything, nb, whatever you do, whether it's writing or teaching or academia. But I do hope you stay with teaching.'

Someone else was saying to me recently that he thought that teaching was a 'craft' and that he was glad that I was doing an MA and not an MEd for that reason. 'Teaching isn't a science or about theory,' he said, 'teachers are teachers because they either like kids or they like their subject.'

I think it's interesting when those within the teaching profession help to perpetuate, or at least believe in, incredibly narrow definitions what it is to be a 'dedicated classroom teacher'. Perhaps these definitions are remnants of a bygone era when teachers were supposed to be solitary creatures who entered a classroom, conjured mysterious learning spells in front of kiddies, and then returned to partitioned desks for more lonely lesson planning. I don't know- probably such a time never existed. I am beginning to notice however, that if you are the kind of teacher who likes to throw open your classroom windows occasionally and stick your head out to see beyond the 'immediacies' of teaching, you can make people nervous. Especially if you're a young teacher. Other teachers (esp. those in leadership positions) start shooting suspicious, sidelong glances at you, as though you're secretly plotting an escape route from the teaching profession, just because you show an interest in how your little piece of the teaching puzzle fits into the 1,000 piece jigsaw. As though they're just waiting for you to leave the classroom and go off to a university and read 'intellectual' books with those other 'academics' who simply have no idea about 'schooling'. It's the same sort of binary-thinking that underscores that tired cliche often spouted to (and sometimes spouted by) pre-service teachers: 'you don't learn anything about teaching in uni. Just wait until you get out into a school and all that stuff you heard at uni will go out the window'.

It's very strange. I don't understand it at all. But it is vital to think about and talk about what teachers mean by the label 'classroom teacher', especially when our profession is in the midst of developing standards for professional practice and putting in place processes to encourage ongoing professional renewal.

I used to 'play' with the phrase 'my professional identity' all the time, especially during my first year of teaching. It doesn't appear in my writing quite so often these days, perhaps because it doesn't seem quite as tentative and provisional to me now. I don't need to write the words so often, because my professional identity colours every word. In fact, after all this writing and thinking, 'my professional identity' has become precious to me. It feels like something that I need to protect, fiercely, in case other people try to define it for me, or even take it away from me. It has many facets, many shades, many sides, many layers, but somewhere close to the centre of this luminiscent, shimmering identity is the belief that I have a responsibility to continue to shape it and feed it. It's a responsibility that I take very seriously, and to do it right means looking beyond where I am right now.

So, next time you spot a young teacher sticking her head out the classroom window, don't ask her to shut it and get back in front of the whiteboard, where the 'real' teaching happens. Hand her a telescope, so that she can see even further.

Don't worry. She's not going anywhere.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Last day of school tomorrow. Feeling very ready for it. Colleague/friend 'L' and I over spending long days and nights on new year 11 curriculum. Happy with it, but sheesh. Over it.
Good (sometimes) to be in an organised, meticulous faculty but other times... sheesh. Over it.

No longer able to write in full sentences.

Fluency: spent.

Wits: L and I crossed into hysteria at exact same time... last Friday.

New favourite words: Sheesh and putz.

New favourite food: chicken, swiss cheese, prosciutto and avocado focaccias from The Grange. Good for curriculum writing.

Other new favourite food: raspberry and lemon curd friands from Food Depot. (next door to Grange). Also very good for curriculum writing.

New realisation: writing new year 11 curriculum can cement bonds forever. The dynamic duo will live on.

Current thoughts: wondering if fab 'Kath and Kim' pic that L and I put on the front cover of the Year 11 English Handbook will survive the editing process. Yes, it's relevant. But clipart usually the status quo.

141 pages... sheesh.

Must... sleep...