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Archive for October, 2008

Smash the System

One of the aims of this blog was not to devolve into me just bitching about things that annoy me. (One of the reasons I stopped posting on LJ a few years ago … I realised I’d just become ranting guy, and it wasn’t much fun re-reading old posts.) However, I really need to offload about one of my dumb university papers. It is entitled Influences Shaping Education in Aotearoa and is about biculturalism in education. The existence of the paper, and the fact that it involves us learning a little te reo Maori has annoyed a lot of students – particularly some of the dozen or so from that country north of the USA. I’ve tried to be positive about the paper, because I am fundamentally in agreement with its goals, and don’t really want to align myself with the disaffected because I know most of them are disaffected for slightly … ummm … redneck reasons. Unfortunately, the paper has been incredibly badly organised, with coursework requirements changed at short notice, contradictory messages from different tutors, and a group assignment due after nine weeks away from University with no opportunity to meet and regroup and sort details out in tutorial time. The course, which is supposed to make us more aware/sensitive to the Maori educational perspective, has mostly been a bunch of long, boring lectures where we’re basically being talked at, and seemingly bears no relationship to the good pedagogical practice we’re supposed to be modelling ourselves. Roll on end of November …

OK, rant over.

Things to look forward to tonight:
– Lindsay’s birthday party
– Cut Off Your Hands album release show
– The 24 hour book sale at ASB Stadium

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Procrastination

Things I have done this morning to avoid doing assignments:
– Haircut
– Washed and waxed my car
– Checked FaceBook about 400 times
– Written this

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Yesterday was mostly spent working on two pieces of compulsory coursework which aren’t actually assessed, but are required for course completion. (See previous posting about the amount of busywork in the Graduate Diploma course.) Having finished those (and I’d be lying if I said I’m terribly worried about either of them) I can now get started on one of the two Media Studies assignments I have due at the end of the week. As part of the first assignment, I have to write an Excellence-level model answer for the Media Studies achievement standard 3.4. What’s scary is that this seems more difficult and academically rigourous than any of the actual essays I’ve had to write for my own course. Joy.

On the plus side, I have the new Luke Buda album, Vesuvius, to listen to as I work. It is a prog masterpiece.

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One particularly irritating thing about the Graduate Diploma in Teaching is the amount of busywork that you’re required to do to pass. Given that the course is essentially a trade qualification* it seems as though the lack of academic rigour is compensated for by unusually large amounts of coursework. Given that I’ve finished my teacher placements for the year, and have a job next year, having to spend hours painstakingly creating units for topics I’d never dream of teaching seems like a colossal waste of time. Oh well, four weeks to go …

I should say something about the title of this blog. You Can Hide Your Love Forever is the title of a single by British agit-pop band Comet Gain, which in turn references the title of Orange Juice’s debut album (and my favourite album of all time) You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever. (Actually, I wanted to call this blog Rip It Up And Start Again, but that name was already taken, and one Orange Juice reference is as good as any other.)

* Although don’t get me started on the MLIS. How come you need a Masters to be a librarian, but only need a graduate diploma to teach secondary school students?

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Guiding Pedagogical Principle #1

If you have a year 9 class, and they’re unruly at the best of times, and it’s Friday last period, and there’s a holiday weekend coming up, never ever walk into class with your trouser zip undone. Because there’s no way you can ever recover.

(Thankfully, it was my last day of my second practicum, so I never have to see them again.)

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Thanks to the wonders on Google Calendar, it’s pretty easy to check back and see what I was doing this time last year. On the 25th of October, 2007, having just come back from three weeks in London, Copenhagen and New York, I had my panel interview for admission into The University of Auckland’s Graduate Diploma In Teaching (Secondary) programme. At the time I still wasn’t sure whether I even wanted to pursue teaching … all I knew was that my then-current job was slowly turning me into a bitter and frustrated individual, that my long-term employment prospects were marginal, and that I really wanted a complete change in my life.

Here I am, 366 calendar days later, with four weeks to go in said course, and a job as a high school Media Studies and English teacher waiting for me at the end of January in 2009. It’s been a hard year, but I’ve made a couple of really good friends, and generally feel much better about myself and what I’m doing.

The purpose of this blog is to document the next twelve months (maybe longer), both as professional reflexive practice, and also to try to keep tabs on the things I often say I’ll do, and don’t. Plus, there’ll probably be random musings on pop music and general media related topics and links.

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