Well hello there! If you’re still reading my blog posts, thank you very much for sticking with me 🙂 I’ve been reducing to fewer but hopefully more interesting post frequency recently. Today’s will focus on 3 elements: 1. the return to ‘normalcy’ in Perth/Peel W.A. from Lockdown; 2. the experiences of teaching relief work contrasted between Mother Teresa Catholic College and a previously alluded to but not mentioned publicly by name, W.A. Department of Education institution in Perth’s South Eastern Suburbs where I have had the good fortune (for which I am genuinely grateful) to have worked reliably many days now since T1 2021 and will as of this coming Thursday, be back paid for prior work up to and including this week ahead till Friday 14th May at a rate of over $60 per hour and 6.33 hrs per day with a 20% casual loading in lieu of sick/annual leave and in recognition of the insecure working conditions inherent. Nonetheless, its very reasonable pay for the degree of work involved as well, which again makes it something I appreciate. It must be said however, that Education is not uniform and the outcomes and achievements of students from different institutions are coming off the base of wildly different circumstances and conditions. If a child were to graduate from the State School I am observing and working in, having kept their head down and avoided drugs (including alcohol), pre-marital sexual activity and sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy and emotional entanglements, fights/brawls and social cliques, been physically active and eaten healthily plus achieved a reasonable ATAR or Certificate level by the end of Yr 12, well then, that would be a wonderful achievement and very much would be something to be even more proud of considering some of the unhealthy and contrary social and cultural pressures in the other direction, which I am ‘on the ground’ observing in my time at this institution. Thirdly I am wishing to talk about my family experience on the Mother’s day weekend just gone as a positive conclusion.
Part One: It’s been a longer than expected journey for fellow Perthians and Mandurans (the Peel region) including missing out on spectating the recent ‘Derby’ (I pronounce this DAR BEE in my head) between AFL teams WCE and FRE – which I correctly predicted would be a drubbing of the Dockers once again and was unsurprised by the result. All last week and the preceding one, I was expected to wear a facemask at all times except direct teaching when it would interfere with ‘enunciation’ and clarity of instruction. As of today that is relaxed again, thankfully as my beard was a hot-house of tropical rainforest proportions during these past weeks in the classroom!
Part Two: Often pictures speak louder than words so see below for how some students like to leave classrooms…
To their credit, two students remained back after the classic ‘stampede’ to leave at the end of day bell, and offered to pick up rubbish, but without dustpan or vacuum I said it would be too onerous and time-consuming to do by hand, so I dismissed them and reminded them too that cleaners would be used to it at the College in question as its the worst I’ve ever seen but not by that much.
I have had both very positive and negative relief teaching experiences in the past fortnight, ranging from complements from happy students who get needed help and are grateful and successful test completion by autistic students who had avoided for 2+ weeks prior to me being available to facilitate them, as well as students holding respectful if impassioned debates about fairness of school uniform policy and expectations around sex/gender clothing choices. On the flip side, some absolutely disgusting behaviour from students such as flipping the bird and saying ‘f*** you’ directly to me for challenging them on literally playing a game on a school computer right in front of me blatantly whilst completely ignoring set work and making no effort, the boy in question I asked rhetorically “are you an idiot as well as defiant?” as a form of escalation when he refused to move after playing games for around the first 15 mins of a lesson, I sent a student to the nearby ‘Student Services’ for a supportive upper/middle teaching administrator (in this case a ‘head of faction/house’ came to back me up and removed the child from the lesson to isolation. I had asked him 3 – 4 times low key to do as expected, then directed him to in-class isolation all with stubborn refusal. The very next lesson was with ‘delightful’ boys from a woodworking class who were again in the computer labs and by the end of lesson had been yelled at by a deputy principal, a desk had been broken, two boys who were truanting from another class were kicked out, and several boys had been sent to ‘buddy class’ withdrawals.
Part Three: Mother’s day has been and gone now with much success – it was a lovely time spent celebrating my darling wife and Lily’s mother – Jessica + my own mother ‘Grame’ was video called from her new home 6+ hrs south of us in Albany. Finally we were able to visit my mother-in-law for an afternoon catch-up with my sister-in-law too and it was so much fun this is how Lily was by the end:
A big thank you to all of our Mothers’ without whom humanity would cease to exist, truly we wouldn’t be here, without you ❤