Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Zealand, Baby!

Good news: I survived my first term as a full time teacher! There were many ups and downs, but I made it through, and rewarded myself by going to New Zealand for two weeks with a friend, Sara.

We were there for two weeks, rented a car, and drove over as much of the two islands as we could, to see as much as we could. It was a spectacularly fantastic trip. New Zealand has always been at the top of my "to visit" list, so it was amazing to finally go.

Now the question is, how do I sum up 2 weeks of amazing traveling into a blog post? The honest answer is: I don't. I took notes each day on everything we did and I have a billion stories. I can't possible put it all into one simple, measly post and have that be anywhere near adequate. So the plan is to write a post for a day or two and post them sporadically over the next few days/weeks. I won't make any promises, though, because clearly I'm bad at updating this blog. In my defense, I'm really busy! But I do want to share my trip with you, so I will do my best.

I've made up a map showing the road that we took to get from Point A (Auckland) to Point B (Queenstown). We traveled over 3500 kilometres! Check it out:

View New Zealand Trip in a larger map

I'm hoping to have the first day or two up by the end of the week, I just have to get all of my photos onto my computer. The only ones you can see right now can be found on my Instagram account, just click here!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hello, holiday!

I can't believe we're almost done Term 1. Week 6 is over tomorrow! We've got 3 weeks left, and I'm so impressed and proud that myself and my fellow newbie teachers are going to survive it.

It's taken 6 weeks, but I finally feel like I'm getting it. Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) are due tomorrow and I've got one more to write. Yesterday I had 4 to write. I actually feeling like I'm getting my crap together. Like I know what I'm doing.

Today was a really good day, behaviour-wise. I have two very stubborn students, and they sometimes (often) drive me bonkers, but I think they're finally getting that it's my classroom, so it's my rules. I have another student whose behaviour can escalate really quickly and he can become violent. He's new to the school so it's a really big transition for him, and he's been struggling. But I think he's getting used to the schedule and the rules, too, and he's settled down a bit. We're working on it. But he had a really good day, and that makes me super happy.

Anyway, I WAS just going to quickly say that this coming Monday is a holiday!! It's Labour Day here in Australia on 11 March. Which means we aren't working on Monday. So myself and some of my friends from work are driving up into the mountains for a rodeo on Saturday and some camping and outdoors activities until Monday afternoon. We're going to Alpine National Park. I'm so excited, I can't remember the last time I went camping.

Really, that's all I wanted to say.

So chances are, I'll have photos to show and stories to tell. Hopefully I'll be able to find some time next week to write about my weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, February 15, 2013

In Which I Intend to Scold Myself & End Up Being Self-Motivational

I'm the worst blogger ever.

I know.

I'm terrible.

Please don't hate me.

But honestly, every time I think about updating my blog (which is maybe once a week), I just can't be bothered. I'd love to let you know about my days and my class and everything, but I'm so. freaking. tired. This job is exhausting! We've been going swimming with the kids all week, so that's totally tuckered me out and makes the kids tired which causes more behaviour issues. It's just been crazy.

I'm loving it though. Every day one of my kids will drive me up the wall, but I love them. And I feel like I'm so behind on paperwork and I have a million things to do that I never manage to remember to do or have the time to do. And sometimes I just have a really really bad day where want to run screaming from the school and drown my sorrows in a hot bath and feel totally overwhelmed.

But we're all still adjusting. It'll probably be like this for the whole term, and I'm willing to bet I'll end the term with several things I was supposed to teach, un-taught. But I'm a true believer that we can only do our best. And so if we do the best we can and work our hardest, and the students are safe and learning, then it's a win. Don't sweat the small stuff. You have the teach the student not the material. [Insert inspirational quote here.] And so on and so forth.

I wasn't intending this to be a self-motivational post, but it's feeling like that. I suppose it gives you an idea of where my head is at these days. Which is scattered right now, actually. So much to think about and do....

But it's the weekend! And so I say THANK THE HEAVENS ALMIGHTY. I'm looking forward to going to the beach tomorrow and having a relaxing day. I think it's funny how I can power through the week and, yes I feel tired in the evenings, but I never really know how tired I am until Friday afternoon comes around and I realize it's the weekend and I can sleep in tomorrow, and then my body totally shuts down haha. A few of us went out for pizza since it was the end of the week and we were total zombies, we were so tired.

So, seriously, I'm taking a cold shower because I feel yucky after such a hot day, and then I'm hopping in bed. Chances are I'll be asleep before 10pm.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The End of a Year

Well, hello again! A new year has started, and I'm hoping it brings me a lot of adventures!

Wow the last time I updated, I'd just gotten my job. That's kinda crazy. I'm now a few days away from officially starting it. What's happened since then? Well, considering I'm sure the majority of people who read this blog are my family, there's probably not a lot to fill in. Although I realize I never talked about our time in Sydney...

Our last weekend in Australia was spent in Sydney and we had a great weekend! I don't know why but I really liked that city. We left on Thursday, and since I had to work that day, I took a late flight. Becca spent the day driving up since she had so much stuff to take with her that there was no way she was getting it on a flight from Melbourne. So she picked me up at the airport, and by the time we got to the hostel it was late, and we were both tired from long days so we just went right to bed.

The next couple days were really busy. Since we had the car all weekend, we drove out to the Blue Mountains for the morning. It was a really nice drive, and great to get some fresh air.
The Three Sisters and the Blue Mountains

We had some ideas about what we wanted to see over the 2 days we were there, but hadn't really hashed out any concrete plans. So we drove back to Sydney and parked near Darling Harbour. We walked the pier a bit as we made our way over to the Wildlife Centre. It's weird, because it's right in the middle of downtown Sydney, right off the pier. But it's a little zoo. We had some passes so spent a couple hours just walking around. Among other things, we saw:
A baby wallaby feeding
Rex the Crocodile

But my favourite by far was this guy:
It's a wombat sleeping on its back!
Ha ha ha it looked so funny! Just like a little puppy...

In the evening we walked down to the well-known Circular Quay which is the place where the Sydney Opera House sits. We grabbed dinner, watched the sunlight fade and the spot lights come on, had ice cream (in our shorts and t-shirts on December 15th), and then stumbled upon a night market where we wandered for a bit.

Saturday was busy as well. We started the day by hopping on a tour bus around town. It was one of those hop-on/hop-off all day things so we stopped at the Sydney Opera House again to see about a Harbour boat tour. The one we wanted wasn't until later so we watched some street performers before getting back on the bus and making our way to the Sydney Tower. I think that's one of the coolest ways to see a city: from above. We walked back to the Harbourfront for our boat tour. We couldn't hear any of the information, but it was still fun to just see the harbour. Then we were back on the bus and went to Darling Harbour again, this time to have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. We actually got lucky because, since it was the holiday season, they were having fireworks there every Friday and Saturday night. And since it was Saturday, we got to see them. Also, leading up to the fireworks they had karaoke for the kids just outside the restaurant in front of a big Christmas tree. It was cute, and I think it was a nice way to end the year in Australia.

On Sunday we were off to the airport and on the way home. Even though it was still a long flight (14 hours), it didn't seem as bad as the first time. I've worked out that it probably has something to do with getting the long flight over and done with first, then having the smaller flights. It was, again, a long journey, but I made it home safe and sound.

Here's a couple last pictures of our time in Sydney to send you off with:
Of course, the Sydney Opera House
Merry Christmas, I'm in shorts and a t-shirt!
View from the Sydney Tower of the Harbour looking towards the ocean