August 19, 2011

High expectations and the book “Naked in Public”

Teachers must have high expectations of students, while at the same time having no expectations that anything will ever go to plan, or work. 



Today I was in the office finalising the prep for a year 9 class visiting from another campus when one of the teachers came passed and told me, “You’re supposed to be in the classroom now.  The students have arrived.” 


Of course they’re 20 minutes earlier than what was on the timetable.  Of course the day where it’s important to put on the fireworks to “sell” your subject, the internet is down and the printers are offline.  Accept the things you cannot change Q…  


I walk in and see they’re all sitting there waiting patiently for me.  A group of ten boys, fidgeting after lunch and already bored. 


“Alright guys!  Welcome to my class!  Have you been told what you’re studying today?”  I say, starting off brightly, enthusiasm masking up any fuck what am I doing with them feelings. 

“No… we just came in.” says one of the younger ones.


I am learning very, very fast to think on my feet, act confident and in charge and appear as though I know exactly what I’m doing as I lead the classroom.


Today was a good teaching day (despite the stuff ups).  I love teaching these students.


Quick dot point positives

  • More confident and efficient with planning my lessons in a very limited amount of time as I add to my metaphorical bag of teaching activities.
  • Doing many more activities outside my own classroom which helps me be more excited about school in general, including organising the mock court competition and coordinating a careers fair.
  • Have some respectful students who want to learn and are doing really, really well! 


After school, I went to the public library and came across the book “Naked in Public” by Bella Vendramini in the biographies section.  These days I seem to swallow novels up as a way to escape the craziness of school.  It’s escapism in cheap (free) quantities, without the hangovers or other drug-related side-effects. 


I wanted to read it because the author’s life seemed as far away from my life as I could get: she dates multi-millionaires, flits around the world, acts in New York theatre productions, and counts Quentin Tarantino as a friend.  And yet, the book also goes back to the very questions we all want answered: what we’re doing here, and who we are.  Her writing reminded me very much of another book I read this year, Thirty-something and over it: brutally honest, sassy, insightful and feminine.


Here are some excerpts from the book I liked:


I figure that power… is the result of discipline.  A person who truly wants something, has to sacrifice for it.  She has to put it before anything else, she has to spend years perfecting it and when she attains it, she attains the power it gives her – but it is the journey there that really gives her the power.  When power, fame, fortune, notoriety is earned like that, then she’ll also know how to wield it, how to control it and use her power sparingly – and that is true power… If things come too quickly to you, if power comes too quickly to you, you cannot know how to wield it, and that is dangerous I think. 


Dreams are not big mammoths that appear like Dorothy’s house smack bang in front of you; dreams are twitches and moments, and they are elusive and sparkly.  I imagined a magical cloud of glitter hovering, a cloud of dreams.  Some parts of it are almost transparent, some parts are speared with light, other parts are tense and fog-like.  Little scraps of dreams found under trees, in smiles, in heartache.  If you ask for something from the universe it doesn’t come as a complete picture, it comes to you in these little parts.  These moments, these bits of cloud.  So you have to identify the realisation of a dream when it arrives, you have to pick it out you have to give your attention to the dream to make it materialise or it will vanish into thin air, you have to find them embedded like jewels in your everyday life. 

On meeting Germaine Greer:

What happiness was for her, she answered that it was “being unselfconscious.”  I looked at her, her strength and intelligence and wit and raunchiness, and I felt empowered by it.  I admired her potency, her down home nature, her skilful intellect.  She was smart as a whip and deeply aware of life and the world… I think what I liked in particular was how unapologetic she was about herself, a stark contrast to how I could be sometimes.  She was who she was and that was fine by her. 

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