Saturday, October 10, 2009

I am a sick chick.

Stuffed up, hacking, snuffling... and I have to teach tomorrow.
Oh, the joys of a seven-day week. Frick. It's fair to say that interacting cheerfully on a daily basis with children and parents is challenging. When half out of brain on Codral it's VERY challenging. When not half out of brain on Codral and therefore unable to breath properly it's ridiculous.

When dancing around like an idiot at the ballet hall it's a certain recipe for collapse. I've been sitting in bed since about 8pm tonight surfing the interwebs and attempting to read Carpentaria.
Missed out on a party and a show... oh, the sadness. And just to rub it in, I can clearly hear someone down the street rocking on with their beats. Bastards.  

Then watched the embarrassingly awful clip of Red Faces on Hey Hey's reincarnation, or whatever the network wants to call it. Stupid. I'm not linking to it here, either you saw it or you can go look for it on youtube, but please don't think all people residing in Australia found it funny, clever, or... anything. Can we just pretend it never happened? Please? My next half-hour was much more profitably spent on episodes of The Guild and now I'd like to attempt a little oblivion.

Our night formula in capsules,
codral be thy name,
your dosage come,
your effects be done,
in my sinuses as in the adverts.
Give me tonight sweet peaceful sleep.
Enable my respiratory function,
as I enable the learning of innocent children.
Lead me not into the depths of primetime "humor",
but deliver me from the auditory abuse of doof-doof from down the street
For thine is the phenylephrine hydrochloride, the codeine phosphate and the paracetamol 
forever and ever
shoot me now.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Apparently it's Friday.

And what a Friday it's been.
Today I've realised that one of the seven-year-olds I teach is in fact no ordinary child, but my nemesis. This epiphany was compounded by her cheery "Look, Miss Chelsea, I have hair cut the same as you now!"

Yes, yes you do. I generally don't have issues with challenging kids. I have rules, there are consequences. I'm happy to be the responsible adult that doles out tough love and kicks them into some kind of understanding about group activity, cooperation, participation, personal space, respect, manners, grammar, grooming, musicality, deportment, and oh yeah, ballet. Nearly forgot that one.
It's a little hard to get onto sometimes when it's October and eight months on parents haven't taken the hint about writing R and L inside school shoes so their child sees this information five days a week. I wrote R and L on the feet of three girls today.

It's not that they're slow kids, or "too young" (HA!), it's that their parents have failed to provide consistent opportunities for this information to be assimilated and integrated. This gets me a little tetchy, as you might have noticed.

Evidence of their capability to learn and retain information: over the last ten weeks my littlies (predominantly six and seven year-olds) have learnt two ballet routines. They have not only learned the dances and spatial information (where to start, order to line up in, direction to travel and formation/pattern changes) but can sing the music. Yeah. Forty-five minutes once per week.

So, what's wrong with their parents/teachers/every other adult in their world? Is it just that the kids live down to their (the adults') amazingly low expectations?

In other news, celebrated six years of coupledom with my lovely hubs tonight. Yep, six years ago he decided that perhaps I was actually the girl for him and proposed some kind of going out arrangement to my skeletal and pathetic post-glandular self. The rest is history.
He's remarkably able to view the world with a child's perspective. While sometimes this kills me, I'm reassured by his idealism and sunny disposition.

He's certainly a much nicer and more deliberate person than I will ever be, and I'm quite sure he will be a parent who teaches shoe-tying with infinite, graceful patience. (From my earlier ranting, the attentive reader will deduce this to be a compliment of the highest order.) uhnm, yeh. He's awesome.

Now, if only I could sneak him into ballet to deal with my nemesis.

Thank you, my lovely commenters...

For you have all cheered me up no end.

Especially the indivisible & indistinguishable one, who has made me shed a few late night tears by leaving SEVENTY PERCENT COCOA FAIRTRADE ORGANIC HEAVEN on my doorstep.
And a card. A LOVELY card, which made me smile even before I opened it because that design has history, man!

The card will last much, much longer than the chocolate, but she really is the bomb. I get to steal her little boy every Thursday and channel some type of Mommy vibe. GIRLFRIENDS who give you chocolate, people. (And their firstborn on a weekly basis!) There's the REAL sisterhood. A guy who give you chocolate? Yeah. That's nice and all. Considerate, even. But when your girlfriend looks you in the eye and says "This is for YOU" that's real love.

Actually, this is me being flippant about something a lot more important than chocolate (which keeps taking me six goes to type), but I can't go getting all mushy and teary now, for I am a BIKER CHICK!
Granted, it was more an "on the back of the bike holding onto the BIKER" chick experience, but oh baby, how I want a motorbike. I'd probably be awful at soloing it, can't really imagine hurtling down to the peninsula with fire-engine-red fiberglass case containing violin on back... hang on... I kind  of can.
Probably not so great with a baby seat though. Or a trailer, which  would need for towing about all my teaching violin/ballet stuff. It was a nice dream though.

And herein ends my post for today. It's been a lovely day. Visited the Toy Library, enjoyed lunch with suzukisinger (yes, she of indivisble fame!), taught kids, they all set nice goals, went to dancing and got my tango on, had my little BIKER CHICK excursion, danced with my lovely hubs (and some other people. Dearly beloved, some of them. Hang on, I only danced with the dearly beloved ones tonight. That's extra nice.) Had a few 'breathing dancing' moments.

Um, this is a little odd. it's about 1am and the pug is sitting on the decking outside grinding away at a bone. And I do mean grinding. It reminds me of that scary story about the couple in the car who hear on the radio that there's a serial killer on the loose.

Then their car breaks down and the guy says he'll walk to get help (GENIUS!!!) and while he's gone the chick hears this scratching sound on the roof alternating with a weird thumping... and then police turn up and it eventuates that the killer grabbed her boyf, decapitated him, and has been alternately scratching his way through the roof of the car and thumping the guys head against the duco... (as one does when one has nothing better to do on a Saturday night, being freshly jailbroken and all) AND he was only a millimetre from busting through the roof!!!

I'm sure there are far better versions of this story, but my point is this: Lucy (pug)  is reminding me of the serial killer. I need to let her in before we seriously freak out the neighbors. Or I have really bad dreams. Hang on, I have chocolate! No bad dreams for me, just sugary goodness!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's a bit sad...

When sleep deprivation thanks to hubs' swine flu (flight flu, Seattle flu, whatEVER, I just don't want it in my lungs) drives me to the couch to sleep. Get a mute button. That's NOT a request.

It's cold on the couch. Even with a double fleecy blanket and a quilt, so I keep waking up because my feet are cold and my legs are cramped, and then they cramp more when I try to pull my legs up closer to my chest (aka going foetal) to tuck my toes beneath blankety goodness. Doesn't this mean I lack salt in my diet? Quick, someone work out a way of adding salt to chocolate (in a delicious way, not ewwww, this chocolate is all salty and gross).

When the resultant back pain has crippled me all day. And continues to do so. I am not a nice person when in pain. I've untwisted my vertebrae four or five times and still feel kinked up. I really have to call my osteo tomorrow. I just don't feel like explaining myself (and taking any level of responsibility for my irresponsible absence).

When I fail to understand just how late "not late" is. Apparently the "not late" that goes with cards is not the same as the "not late" that goes with shopping. FAIL.

When, three days into term four, I have devolved to my regular teaching wardrobe of jeans and a top. Ok, it's a particularly nice navy-blue button-down in some lovely italian yarn (which I subversively paired with GREY jeans) but ye gods, jeans and top. Again.

That yoghurt makes me happy. Strawberry easiyo, in fact. I've discovered that if you top it up with more boiling water about six hours in I can get it to set JUST RIGHT. I know... excited about the consistency of yoghurt. Shoot me now.

I think I'm done. Ok, not so bad. On the positive side, my wallpaper-goal-setting initiative is off to a good start. Everyone seems to have the idea of goal-setting and I think small gold stars are going to make an appearance next week for those who feel they've attained their goal. If the goal's still in progress, the star can wait, so it's not an automatic Hey! Now everybody gets a star!

I'm sure this would earn me disapprobation by the warm fuzzy lot, but I go forth confident in my position that Suzuki philosophy is not merely about being 'nice' to children but sometimes doling out the tough love. If I have to withhold small gold stars to do this and encourage a sense of self-assessment and accountability, so be it. (Just getting all comfy on my castle, thanks.)

I'm going to bed now. There are some things that only sleep can make better. And tonight I'm retaining the bed. I've decided the person who will spend the most time with small people on any given subsequent day retains the bed. Ok, so that's always going to be me, but that's really (and why wouldn't it be???) fine. With me. Hmmm. Oh frick. Now I'm coughing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New idea!

So, new term, new concert, new idea.

It may have been discussed at PD last week that Western society is very good at seeing the glass at not only half empty, but unwashed, chipped, and the wrong size/shape/color/SOMETHING. Oh, and full of the wrong substance. Of course. Translated into teacher-speak, our students seem to get really hung up on what they can't do, to the point of overlooking the twenty things they CAN. I thought it might be useful this term to give very specific and targeted goal ownership... which then facilitates achievement ownership... which makes everyone happier becasue they're force to own up to all the things they CAN do. Hooray.

How does one do this, I hear you ask? Well, in my INFINITE brilliance, I availed myself of some very attractive scrapbooking card and two packets of post-it notes, one star-shaped, one arrow-shaped (OF COURSE the shapes are significant; do you people know NOTHING?!) and sallied forth to change the world. My studio now looks like:

I really ought to have moved that chair out of the way first...

mmmm...that's my deliciously fire-engine-red fiberglass case on the shelf there...

And here you can see my nanna trolley that I take to school every week, plus THE bookshelf.

Isn't that paper beautiful? I LOVE it.

There's 29 sheets up, one for each student to claim (that's their name on the star) and post their goals and accomplishments on each week. I'll put the other dozen up at school for my primary students who I see at school on Wednesdays.
This term our concert falls at the end of the eighth week, so enough time for everyone to see progress being made! I visualise children replacing the arrow with a star as each goal is achieved, then I'll take them all down and display them at our concert. Very boring post today, I know... I wore myself out after teaching by spreading 250 litres of mulch. I need another 250 litres.
But if any teachers/parents out there want to advise I'd be happy to hear it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I was so totally organised today.

Set an alarm for waking up, for leaving, packed violin and stuff and dressed in a teacherly fashion (ooh, that sounds a bit tweedy two-piece with pearls...), consulted for directions, WROTE OUT directions because I don't trust gps and therefore don't own one (I don't know a single female who can identify a distance of 500m in a moving vehicle) and deserted my traumatized, sickly hubs right on schedule. For an event that will happen NEXT Sunday.

Fifty minutes after leaving my home I'm pulling up outside the designated venue and thinking gee, not many cars. Oh well, they did say there were less attendees scheduled than usual. Hm. No signs, either. That's ok, I'll just drive around to the other side of the school. I am at the right place, yeah? (retrieve event handout from diary, which hasn't been consulted much lately, what with having been on holidays and all). Shit.

Serious four-letter declamations of outrage, fury, and a certain manic irony ensued and continued for some time. Which is how I come to be shamefully exploiting the free internet at chadstone while drinking something like a pint of chai latte. It may seriously BE a pint, where my concept of a pint is a little less than a litre. Frick.