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Archive for December, 2009

Today was my last day of teaching, so this’ll probably be my last blog entry for the year.

I saw my Y9s for the last time this morning. They’re probably been my favourite class to teach, and the bulk of the students in that class are really funny, interesting and engaged. I made the all certificates for their various achievements, and everyone seemed pretty happy/amused by theirs with one exception – the one girl who seems to really actively dislike me anyway, and who I had to really struggle to find something nice to say anyway. A lot of these students have asked whether I’ll be their teacher next year. I’ve asked if I can, but the vagaries of timetabling mean that everything is still up in the air.

A note about relieving teachers. Remember how, when you were a kid, relieving teachers never really seemed to know what they were doing? Well, you weren’t just imagining that. It’s actually true. I am feeling particularly antagonistic towards relievers because I had some PRT1 professional development on Monday and left relief for my LAST EVER LESSON of Y10 Media Studies. The class had one period to finish/export their Sweded films. I left handout and explicit instructions for the reliever. And he or she failed to show. Which meant that not a single student finished and exported their final film, which they’ve been working on ALL TERM. The last few weeks have been quite frustrating in terms of Y10 Media. The class was too big anyway – 30 students – which meant resources/my time was always stretched. But we’ve missed so many lessons over the last few weeks due to exams, Marae visits, “fun days” and various other end-of-school activities.

Anyway, one group came and saw me today, wanting a copy of their film on DVD, so I got at least one completed Sweded film out of. These were the same students who won the Kickstart Breakfast competition – they smart, creative and earnest, which worked in their favour all all year.

And here are some promotional posters they made for their film:

These particular students seemed to really enjoy the course, and were a real pleasure to teach. I know I really need to tighten things up for next year with the year 10 course, but I’m pretty pleased with the successes I’ve had, given it’s the first time the course has been taught, and that I’ve developed all the resources myself.

Well. I made it. One year as a high school teacher. Whilst there have certainly been lows, they’ve been outweighed by a bunch of amazing highs. And – now – the final payoff. Seven weeks of paid holidays.

See you next year.

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Term 4, week 9

This morning for our weekly all-staff PD session Milton organised a talk on the Treaty of Waitangi from Jason Fox. It was very good, both in terms of being extremely informative, and also in the way that he framed everything without laying down any guilt trips on the Pakeha in the room. One particularly interesting point that he made was that, with Maori arriving in Aotearoa/New Zealand only a thousand or so years ago, Maori are the youngest indigenous people in the world. I think the staff really enjoyed the visit to Orakei Marae a few weeks ago, and really saw the value in it, so it was nice to have something a little more academic/historical as an end point for the year’s professional development. (On the down side, just discovered that, up until the beginning of this year, there used to be breakfast served at PD in the mornings.)

The two top scholar awards for Y9 English this year come from my class (Junior Performing Arts) and not from the Advanced class.Heaven knows whether this has had anything to do with my teaching, but for today at least, I am feeling a little smug.

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Term 4, week 9

I had my final appraisal interview with Clare this morning. I think it went pretty well, and I handed over a gigantic stack of paperwork – Hong Kong telephone directory big – (and URL of this blog) to Milton to check through. Can’t believe I’ve completed a whole year as a high school teacher. Hurrah.

I have my final lesson with my Y9 English class on Thursday, so I spent a few hours today making some certificates for everyone in the class. Most of them are pretty funny, although there are always some students for whom it’s hard to say much, due to their lack on interaction with me or the rest of the class.

For the last few days I’ve had students come up to me and say “I saw you on 7 Days“. I had no idea what they were talking about so I thought I’d better see what/who they were talking about. Turns out that a) it’s some sort of celebrity panel discussion/game show, and b) woah! – I have a doppelganger. Check this guy out …

A bit tubby? Check. Sideburns? Check. Plastic-framed glasses? Check. Paisley shirt? Check. Turns out the guy’s a comedian, Jarred Christmas. I am disturbed.

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Term 4, week 9

I’ve been slightly remiss with my reflective blog over the last few weeks. I was honestly expecting post-senior school to be very calming and stress-free, but I’ve still had a lot of jobs since my Y12 and Y13 classes left last month. For a start, there were junior exams, and all the associated exam supervision and marking, plus I have been sucked into the English department vortex and had lots of admin/paperwork/planning things to do. Sorry Teachers’ Council.

Today was the last day of my PRT1 advice and guidance program. The three first year teachers, as well as the second and hybrid teachers met for a day of reflection and discission with Milton and Irene, before being visited by a woman from Team Solutions who had some excellent insights into the teaching practice, namely …

1. Teaching is a CRAFT

2. It takes time to learn a craft

3. Change is not linear

She also talked about her three principals for teaching:

1. High expectations

2. Teaching as enquiry

3. Do less – do it better

Good advice (especially the last piece – I know I have a tendency to rush things in order to get them done).

The day culminated with a shared lunch at Mission Bay and some excellent conversation. A nice way to end a successful year. Roll on 2010.

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Term 4, week 8

I just got back from the junior school production of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Some magnificent performances, and in my opinion, far superior to Grease in term 1. I felt really proud seeing so many of the students I teach up on stage. Bless …

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