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Archive for March, 2009

Term 1, week 9

Clare and I took our Y13s to the Censor For A Day field trip at Manakau City. Bill Gosdin put on a great show, and the film (Defiance) was pretty good. The Office of Film and Literature Classification did a really good job of presenting their material, and everyone seemed to have a really good time.

Once again, most of my classes have been disrupted because of the rehersals/matinee performances of Grease. We have assessments for Y12 and Y13 next week, so hopefully everyone is back on form come Monday.

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Term 1, week 8

Went to Jack’s IEP today. Was good to catch up with Judy, him mum, today. Was good to get more of an insight into his learning difficulties. I still maintain he’s one of the more interesting students in the class (amazing taste in films – way better than any of my seniors) and I just want to see how I can get stuck in/activate that in some way. I know he really wants to do Media Studies next year, so hopefully he’ll enjoy the practical stuff.

Went to the A&E last night to see about going back on Prozac. I have all the symptoms of depression – sleeplessness, racing thoughts, anxiety, difficulty concerntrating etc. The doctor I saw was really helpful and agreed that a course of anti-depressants would be a good idea. Fingers crossed.

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Term 1, week 8

Started showing Heavenly Creatures to my Y12s today. Woah! Talk about freaking them out. “What are you showing us this gay film for sir?” was a typical response. Strangely, teen lesbian fumblings proved to be far more interesting to them than the fact that it was a true story about two girls who committed murder in New Zealand. Strange …

Generally, I’m starting to feel pretty stressed out at school. Not so much the teaching, but just the sheer amount of stuff we need to so. The classes seem big and full of people I barely know (apart from 9/1) and the amount of admin – esp. for formclass – seems huge. Victoria said that I was “a pushover” today, which really depressed me. On one level, I know she’s right, although I don’t relish the role of being Mister-Shouty-Man and like to try to be quiet and reasonable. I don’t know what/how I should change, although I need to do something because I’m just getting more and more stressed.

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Term 1, week 7

Disruptive week. Hopefully things will get back to normal (although the production is in week nine so that will probably be a messy week too). Started working on The Outsiders with my Y9 class – I figure the fact that many of them are involved in Grease might mean that they have something invested in the narrative of the book. We’ll see. Today we did some brainstorming to activate prior knowledge, and some of the stuff they came up with was pretty funny.

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Term 1, week 7

Oh FFS – another disrupted week. This time it’s drama camp. Half my Y12 and Y13s are missing, and we’re doing important lead-up work for both Close Reading (13s) and Narrative (12s). Have set work for them to take on camp but, really, who am I kidding?

Sheryll came into my Y9 English class today. They were doing peer marking/peer assessment and were 100% engaged at the point she arrived. Fantastic timing! (Generally, really pleased how that worked, and how maturely they responded to the task.)

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Term 1, week 6

Got Lindon Puffin in to talk to my Y13 class and Clare’s Y13 class. Both classes seemed to really enjoy his visit, and he gave them some pretty good advice about making/watching films, and gave Man On Wire a good plug. Success! (Actually, they were far better behaved for him than for me.)

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Term 1, week 6

Started screening Star Wars: A New Hope to Y12s today. Whaddya know? They mostly seem to hate it, or at least think it’s “gay”. I have learned a valuable lesson (as mentioned by Ngaire last year) – don’t be too emotionally involved with the material you’re teaching.

Need to find a way to make the narrative stuff evident in SW. It’s the classic three act, Propp narrative. How do I convince them that it’s the perfect thing to write about.

Am starting to develop a good rapport with Basil in that class. He started off as such a smartass, but once he realised that I could out-sarcasm him, he’s been really interesting and insightful. Bravo!

Am about to tie up the loose ends with my Y9 class and their Thinker’s Keys unit. I think I need to be a lot more structured about this next time. Some of them have worked really dilligently, but many have used the learning as enquiry model to muck around and not produce much. I am having difficulty deciding how involved I need to be with the whole process – do I knuckle them down, or give them freedom to learn at their own pace.

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