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The definition of insanity June 23, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Uncategorized.
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Is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different response.

So, next term we’re doing things differently.

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Funny how these things happen… June 21, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Infertility.
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I was lamenting, in my last post, that things were going nowhere.

Unfortunately, on the job front, they haven’t progressed at all, other than finding out that the job went to someone with 25 years experience.

With regards to the emptiness though, we have arrived at the decision to get the ball rolling. I am calling the clinic tomorrow to find out what happens next.

Empty June 17, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Infertility, Rants, Uncategorized.
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I had a job interview today, and I was pretty confident that I would get it. It just seemed to fit so well with everything. I have been consoling myself through the past few weeks of misery at work with the fact that I won’t be there next term. With 8 school days of this term left, that is looking unlikely. Obviously the interview didn’t go brilliantly, because I didn’t get the job. This, oddly, for someone who has been in the workforce for 10 years, is a wholly new experience for me. I have never before today interviewed for a job I didn’t get.

Had to go back to Funkytown to clean some crumbs so that we could get our $1000 back. Yes, that is as ridiculous as it sounds. This was our first house, where we lived with our pets, where we got engaged and married. After mentally saying goodbye last time I was there, going back left me with an odd sense of disconnection.

While I was in Funkytown, I visited the Cattle Clinic to get some sort of advice about my knee. Saw Dr Dur0mine, who at first was convinced I was having knee pain because I’m “heavy” (yes, I quote). When he finally understood that it was more acute than that, he diagnosed a probable torn meniscus, and possible torn ligaments. Playing the waiting game.

Driving home, after finally shaking off the headache that had forced a freeway nap on the way down, I got to thinking about the dream I had woken from this morning. In it, my baby son was in a sling at my side.

I am feeling this ’emptiness’ with a lot more focus recently. Zappy and Mixy went some way to filling the void, but with them gone, I am noticing it much more. Having recently found out that our IUI/IVF plans need to be put off for even longer, the emptiness is becoming more painful.

It doesn’t feel right, having lived with my boyfriend –>partner –> fiance, gotten married, then moved in with his parents, then moving to a (part time) long distance relationship, then putting off starting IVF until we’re more stable, then facing work uncertainty on top of things. The very core of my being is reeling with the illogicality of it all.

I have only recently acknowledged my inner need to plan things, to have a goal, and directions. Right now, I’m jumping between a complex series of ruts.

Things I cannot do June 12, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Life, Rants, The Daily Grind.
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There are many things I can do. Things that I even do well. Teach, take photos, cook.

However, I cannot seem to be able to concentrate on deadlines, even when they are looming close. Like tomorrow.

Part of the reason for this, and I am talking about the reports I have to write, in case it wasn’t obvious, is that I really have a problem with the way that we have to write them.

I was having a discussion today with an older teacher, and she was recalling when she used to write reports, they were one page, with tick boxes, and a whole list of skills that a student of that age would be expected to have achieved. There were little tick boxes, never, sometimes, usually, always.

Simple, plain english statements. Parents understood them, kids understood them, and most importantly from my point of view, they made sense. The fact that they wouldn’t take nearly as long as the essays I have to write, is a bonus.

In Victoria, it would appear that we have the best education system in the world. Not a single student ever fails!

This may seem incredible, and of course it is. The reality is, that as teachers, we have lost all power to actually tell a student or their parents that they have failed. Now of course if we’re talking Prep students who have only been in the schooling system for 6 months, of course this is perfectly reasonable.

The problem with this is when we’re talking about middle and senior years students, some of whom are willingly deciding which classes they attend, which teachers they choose to listen to, and which work they choose to do. The choices some of these kids make are none, none and none. The very worst thing we are allowed to say about these students is that they are performing 12 months behind their peers, and they have yet to achieve the expected level. In fact, I would probably be censored for phrasing it so bluntly, and much of the detail would be hidden in some averaged out, standardised ‘dots’.

When it comes to the comments, the style of which was phased in during 2006 in an effort to make teachers write plain English statements that parents could understand, things get even more obscure. The sheer verbosity of what we are required to say, borders on the ridiculous.

In 2007, I had a student, let’s call him Billy.  Billy was of average intelligence, and had demonstrated on one or two occasions that he could actually do the work required of him if he chose to do so. Unfortunately, this was not a choice that he often made. More often than not, he would rock up to class late, with his straggler chronie of the day, and disrupt whatever lesson I had started. He would then open the door (or climb through the window), burst into class, screaming, run around the room, yelling, knocking student’s books off their tables, before sitting down at his seat. There goes ten minutes trying to regain some semblance of order. He would choose this point for a repeat performance, sometimes managing to get another student or two involved. Some variation of this, happened nearly every lesson.

I’m sure it is fairly obvious what his actual achievement was.

His report comment was required to read something like this:

It is difficult to accurately determine Billy’s true level of achievement in Literacy as he has completed very little class work or homework. In testing, he has demonstrated average levels of understanding, and has displayed a limited degree of creativity in his journal writing. Billy discusses with other students the ideas and issues raised in spoken texts that deal with common challenging themes.

In Numeracy, Billy has not yet achieved a satisfactory understanding of the Whole Number, Measurement and Data Analysis areas of study. He has faced problems demonstrating understanding of basic number concepts, including multiplication. He also struggled to apply this knowledge to a real-world context. In class, he has demonstrated a basic understanding of multiplication and basic operations with numbers, and has shown that when he is focussed he can attain good results.

In our Integrated unit related to sustainability, Billy has made progress in his research and analytical skills, through participation in activities related to the *Unit Title* investigation, which examined the extinction of an Australian species. He was able to demonstrate his understanding through a limited range of activities including poster making, model construction and multimedia presentations. Billy is increasing his proficiency and confidence operating unfamiliar scientific equipment.

Now a teacher can probably read between the lines and get a fair idea that young Billy isn’t the best of students. His parents however, in an area of generational poverty, low literacy levels, and low community engagement in education, surely don’t have any understanding of what a day in the classroom with their son is like.

Billy was promoted to the next year level, and the next, and is now one of the most difficult students in the school.

The only thing failing in the Victorian education system, is the system.

Reflections on a misdiagnosis. June 9, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Life.
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I wrote here about Mum being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Thankfully, in my sojourn from the blog, it was discovered that this was not actually what she had.

She presented with some scary symptoms – blood work showing all kinds of crazy, run down, lethargic, niggling cough, chest x-rays showing shadows, Full body CT scans showing what looked all the world like stage 4 metastasis, in her kidneys, thyroid, around her heart and all over her major organs. Being sent in for a lung biposy to determine what kind of Chemo schedule she would be put on was horrendous.

When the results of the biopsy came back, we were preparing ourselves for the worst. Unbelievably, the words she said were not only completely different from what we were expecting, but also strangely familiar. She told us she had sarcoidosis, which Mr G had been diagnosed with less than a fornight earlier.

From Wikipedia: a systemic disease that can affect any organ. Common symptoms are vague, such as fatigue unchanged by sleep, lack of energy, weight loss, aches and pains, arthralgia, dry eyes, blurry vision, shortness of breath, a dry hacking cough or skin lesions. The cutaneous symptoms vary, and range from rashes and noduli (small bumps) to erythema nodosum or lupus pernio.

Sometimes, the Worst Possible Thing, doesn’t happen.

They’re both ok now. Mr G remains on steroids, and notices symptoms if he doesn’t take time, Mum has been off hers for months, but still has a nasty skin lesion on her head.

Still way, way preferable to the alternative.

Fresh Starts June 9, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Latest Obesssions, Life, News and Drivel, Photography, The Daily Grind, Wedding.
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Another year, another blog left to collect dust.

I’m back, I think.