Wednesday, 30 April 2014

for Z

is for Zita.

This one was really a no-brainer, but rather than rehash a previous post I am going to send you back to a previous post where I have discussed my name and where it came from. You can read it by clicking here

Here's a few other random facts about my name:

According to my name has the following meaning
Greek Meaning:
In Greek the meaning of the name Zita is: Reaper.
American Meaning:
In American the meaning of the name Zita is: Reaper.
English Meaning:
In English the meaning of the name Zita is: St. Zita was a 13th century patron saint of domestic servants.
Spanish Meaning:
 In Spanish the meaning of the name Zita is: Little hope.

Have you ever googled yourself or your name to see what comes up...? I just searched 'Zita' and clicked images and this was the first one that came up...
I can assure you, that is not  me! hahaha...

When you do a regular google search for 'Zita' this is what you get...

Saint Zita (c. 1212 – 27 April 1272; also known as Sitha or Citha) is an Italian saint, the patron saint of maids and domestic servants. She is often appealed to in order to help find lost keys.
A Saint! Now that is certainly more like me!! 

Linking my final A to Z Challenge Post up with Ms Mystery Case!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

for Y

is for Year 5

Year 5 is the only year level that I have not taught in my career, for no real reason other than it just hasn't happened. 

Even though a lot of my teaching career was spent teaching composite classes I still managed to miss year 5. For a number of years in a row I was teaching a composite class and there was a time when I never thought I was going to be 'straight' again! 

Teaching 2 lots of curriculum can at times be extremely challenging. In every class that you have there is a certain spread of ability levels that must be catered for. In a composite class, this spread becomes even wider. 

I have always preferred teaching in the lower to middle years, around year 3 and 4 as they know enough, but they don't know everything and are often still really happy at school and wanting to please the teacher! 

Having said that though, the year I taught Year 7 will go down as one of my favourites! (shhh don't tell the other classes!).. guiding those students through their final year of primary school and watching them grow into young adults and send them off to High School was great. It helped that they were also a pretty awesome bunch and we had loads of fun along the way.

Another fave was my Year 2/3 class. This class was the final class I taught before leaving the classroom to become a Behaviour Support Teacher. It was composite and a tough composite, in terms of the curriculum and assessment that happened in those year levels, but again there were many moments of joy amongst it all.

At the end of last year I wrote a post on just how hard teaching can be sometimes, if interested you can read that little rant here..

And just like that post I am linking this post with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Monday, 28 April 2014

for X

is for Xtreme!

Now I am a teacher and so yes I realise that extreme actually starts with an E not an X but for the purpose of this blog stick with me (couldn't come up with anything else!)

I am linking this one with Kirsty at My Home Truths for her Monday linky I Must Confess as this week's confession is what makes you weak at the knees....

Now this Xtreme post made me weak at the knees probably for all the wrong reasons. I was travelling back in 2011 and was in Interlaken in Switzerland. I had decided that on this trip I would tick something off my bucket list and do something a little bit crazy and out of character. I decided I would parasail off the Swiss Alps! arghhhh...

It was by far the most Xtreme thing that I had done and I won't deny that I was shit-scared! It was a long drive up the mountain with the tour guides, many of which spoke very broken English... "What the f#ck am I doing?" ran through my head many many times. There was times when I was certain I was going to pull the pin but Dave (my guide) was not going to let that happen. I think more than just my knees were weak as Dave pushed made me run off the side of the mountain as we lurched into the sky... I will admit that the views were breath-taking, providing I looked out, not down, and it really was an experience to remember, but not one I will replicate any time soon!

Before we 'set' off..

Some mid-air shots
Feet firmly back on the ground.
Dave reckons the smile at the end was the biggest one I gave him the whole trip and tried to convince me to go sky-diving the next thanks!!

What's the most Xtreme thing you've done?
Got a confession? Head over to My Home Truths and link up?
Got another post you want to share? Head to One Mother Hen for Open Slather!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

for W

is for Wobbly Bits.

This teacher reflection is from when I taught in Mt Isa. To this day this class is still one of my all time favourites. It was a Year 7 class and it was wonderful to work with them in their last year of Primary School. 

It was later in the day, the afternoon session I believe, and I was pointing, obviously rather enthusiastically, to the work on the board and explaining to students that they needed to get it all finished by the end of the session, when a student promptly announced to the whole class... "Miss, when you shake your arm like that all that skin under your arm wobbles!".... (cannot recall if any work was actually completed after that!

Yep.... thanks, way to make your teacher feel great!!! 

He would be 23 now....lets hope he's learnt how to talk (or not talk) to women!!

Friday, 25 April 2014

for V

is for Vicky.

My besty... 
There feels something so high school about being in my thirties and saying "she's my best friend"..especially when I am so blessed to have so many wonderfully close friends who mean the world to me.

Vicky and I met when I transferred to St George and we began working together. Teaching, and transferring as much as I tend to do, means that you meet so many people in so many different towns who you become friends with because of the situation you are in and often when you move on some of these friendships dwindle. I am grateful that my friendship with Vicky has stood the test of time and when I saw this picture on Facebook I shared it with her straight away.
 So given that it's been more than 7 years since we met I guess she's stuck with me!

Whenever I have some exciting news to share, need some brutal, no BS advice, need a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen Vicky is always the first person that comes to mind. She's not afraid to tell me to pull my head in or wake up to myself if I need it and I am often amazed at how she just seems to know what I need to hear and when I need to hear it.

I was super super chuffed when she asked me to be her son's Godmother and value the time we get to spend together which, since I now live 4 hours away, is not as regular as I would like it to be.

And it just so happens that I am spending this ANZAC Day long weekend with her and her family!

Linking up this Friday with With Some Grace of course!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

for U

is for University.

Twice I have put myself through the pain and torture joy of studying. When I was at High School I wasn't really sure of what I wanted to do but going to University was a given. I am not sure I knew if I had any other option and what that option may have been.

Looking through the University Guide I wasn't sure what to really apply for and I remember doing one of those personality tests where it gives you an idea of what types of careers suit your personality type. I think I always knew I wanted to help people and in Year 10 I did work experience in a hospital thinking a Nurse might be a good career...After the week at the hospital that quickly changed! Not the career for me.

So I started to flick through and thought teaching was another obvious choice, helping people and working with kids! I applied for several teaching degrees and some degrees in Social Work. I was offered a place at University of Southern QLD in Toowoomba to study a Bachelor of Education (Primary)... a 4 year degree. My uni days were not really that eventful. At first I lived on campus but really didn't enjoy it, after 5 years of Boarding School it kind of felt like I was right back there again, so after 6 months I moved off campus and rented a house. Not long into my second year at Uni I met a guy and we started dating and it wasn't long before we moved in together and were together until a couple of months after I finished my first degree, so I didn't really have the whole 'party' uni experience that a lot of people talk about. He was a student so apart from attending lectures and tutes I didn't really get involved in 'uni life'.

I then left Toowoomba when I got the position in Normanton, and then spent the next 6 years or so teaching around Queensland before realising I needed something more, I needed a break from the classroom and at the time I thought stupidly that going back to Uni was going to be the best way to achieve that. So I enrolled in a Masters of Education degree with a major in Guidance and Counselling, it was 8 units that I completed while I worked full-time over a period of 2 and a half years. It was tough going at times but I am not known for my amazing study abilities and think I probably only just scrapped through.

I am thankful though that I had the opportunity to go to University as I know not everyone is that fortunate. I am thankful that my parents encouraged and supported me along the way.
Dad, Mum and I before the ceremony for my Masters Degree
Got the paperwork to prove it!
Linking up with A Parenting Life for Thankful Thursday... What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

for T

is for Townsville.

If you read my N is for Normanton post you would know that that was my first teaching post. I started there in Semester 2 on a contract. I replaced a teacher who had moved to another school to be the Acting Deputy. It wasn't long after I arrived that I was told I would be taking the Year 6 class on camp to Townsville for a week... arghhhh!!!

There I was, barely into my teaching career, barely into my 20s and having to take this group of kids who I barely knew 790km from home!! What. The. Fudge...

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't packing it. The previous teacher had started the process but it was essentially up to me to put the itinerary together, organise everything and somehow remain sane. Wanting to make sure I made a good impression and hope that they did not regret giving me the contract I did not make my apprehension known and luckily I did have support in the organising and the Principal attended the camp as well (side note: kids LOVE school camps but they are secretly a teachers worse nightmare!)

Some of the students had never left Normanton and for most, if they had it was only to Mt Isa, so going all the way to Townsville was a massive experience for a lit of them. I can still remember the excitement in their voices and squeals as we drove into Townsville as they say shops and places in 'real life' that they had only ever seen on the TV. I remember one girl yelling..."Miss...look der Miss" trying to work out what she was pointing at I really had no idea and said "what?? what can you see?"... "Look der Miss, der.." and then she promptly sand the "Bob Jane T-Mart" ad... It was these little moments that made me smile so much for I was the one that was there for this first time experience for so many of them.

Normaton is not far from the beautiful gulf town of Karumba which has some of the best sunset views of the ocean you will ever see. It is such a big tease of a place though as the beach there is gorgeous but of course due to crocodiles you cannot swim in the ocean. So the students were so wary of swimming in Townsville and on the day we went over to Magnetic Island and I had to do some serious coaxing for some of them to get into the water. Some of them got a little overwhelmed and started grabbing hold of me in the water as well for 'safety', but really, they almost drowned me! The lady doing the safety talk to the students on the ferry on our way over to Magnetic Island really needed to chose her words more wisely when she asked the students "when you jump off the ferry which side will you jump off?"...well that sent a shockwave through the group as they looked at me with gasps of, 'why do we have to jump off the boat? what about the crocs?'...I had to convince them that the lady was talking about, if there was an emergency.

We had 2 trips to the Hospital while we were there, the first was when a student was running around the caravan park where we were staying and wasn't paying attention where he was going and 'coathanged' himself on one of the clothesline, falling over and hitting his head. The second was an incident involving 2 girls while we were ice-skating. Again, skating around, not really paying attention and ran into each other, ones head collided with the others chin, there was blood, there was a trip to the hospital... fun times had by all!!

The Rock Pool at Townsville that the kids needed to be convinced was safe to swim!
A day trip to Paluma Rainforest with a swim along the way.
Canoeing over on Magnetic Island
The trip was action packed with activities, visits to the Museums, the Zoo, meeting The Cowboys and The Crocs (Basketball team), and many first-time experiences for many of them. Hopefully it's one that they remember as well.

Linking with Ms Mystery Case for Words on Wednesday (because being Wordless do this A to Z challenge is not really possible!!)

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

for S

is for Songs.

It sometimes amazes me how hearing a song on the radio can take you back to a time and place. Songs are great memory makers and reminders in that way.... 
Charlie Pride is just one of the singers we listened to in the car growing up on our way to and from the bus stop. Mum loved him, Marty Robins was another favourite that we listened to regularly.
Zombie by the Cranberries always reminds me of my cousin... He used to wander around the house singing this song in his high-pitched pre-puberty voice and crack us all up!
Forever Young always stops me in my tracks, as one of the songs we played at my sisters funeral it will forever take me back to the moment we lost her.
One of my classes LOVED The Climb by Miley Cyrus. Whenever we were doing an art and craft activity the students would ask me to put my music on from my itunes and this song was always requested. They were a year 2/3 classes and the whole lot of them would sing along at the top of their lungs - was so cute! Every time I hear it it reminds me of them.
This song will always remind me of my Contiki Tour through NZ - it was our morning bus song that was played as soon as we got on the bus each morning and anyone that had done anything silly or embarrassing the day/night before had to dance in the aisle...I only had to dance once for reasons that will not be disclosed! ;-)
My tour in Canada with a bus full of Poms introduced me to The Killers! I will always remember those people and that tour whenever I hear a song by them

I could go on and many songs remind me of so many things from my past, some good, some not so good.

What song sends your thoughts hurtling back to a time in the past?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT!

Monday, 21 April 2014

for R

for Rottweiler.

I was in year 7 and staying in town for the weekend at a friends house. It was a rarity and I was enjoying the time with friends. The fact that we lived so far out of town meant that sleep overs went from Friday afternoon and then we didn't return home until Monday after school.

The people who I was staying with had a large Rottweiler dog as a pet and on the Sunday afternoon we decided to take to the dog for a walk. On the farm there was no such thing as pet dogs, all our dogs were working dogs so I loved the opportunity to play with a dog and asked if I could be the one that would hold the dog as we walked. The girls agreed but told me that due to the dogs strength I should wrap the lead around my hand a couple of times so I didn't let go. Seemed logical.....

That was until some boys from our class road past on their pushbikes and stirred the dog up, at first they just rode around us but then they started throwing little pebbles at the dog and then they took off on their bikes and the dog took off after them, dragging me along with him. As the lead was wrapped around my hand I was pulled over onto the bitumen and both knees opened up with cuts and grazes.

Eventually the dog stopped, I can't recall exactly how long I was dragged but the damage to my knees has been ongoing. I remember sitting in pain and the long walk back to my friend's house for her mother to clean me up and wrap my knees in bandages. I also remember the look of shock on my Mum's face when I hobbled off the bus the next day, bandages and all. 

I had no real medical treatment for the damage to my knees at the time and the following year, when I had gone to boarding school I was made to be more active through sport and athletics. Pain in my knees was, at times excruciating and eventually I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with Knee Effusion (or Water on the Bone) and I had treatment from a Physio for some time but even to this day my knees are weak and often there's a lot of pain when I do certain exercises (or even just on cold mornings although this could also be a sign of old age creeping up on me! lol..)

The scar on my knee that serves as the constant reminder, bit difficult to see but am sure at the time that I should have gotten stitches!

Now I am being a little cheeky and tacking on an I Must Confess post at the end of this blog... Kirsty had given us the prompt...
what does Easter mean to you? 
Do you take your Easter traditional, religious or with extra chocolate?

As soon as I saw this I knew it was what I had to share for this confession....

Also linking this post with One Mother Hen for Open Slather!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

for Q

for Quiet Time

Living alone a lot of my time is quiet time but there are 2 hobbies that I have that I partake in during this quiet time. One is cross-stitching, and in particularly making gifts for other people. This is something I confessed during an I Must Confess post on My Home Truths, which you can read here.

The other is Scrapbooking. It's something that I love to do but does take up a lot of time (effort and money) which means I have not done any in a long time (actually I think it's been about 2 years since I dragged it all out!). 

So here are some pics of recent scrapbooking adventures

Friday, 18 April 2014

for P

is for Poppy

Sadly both my Grandfather's passed away some time ago so my memories of them are a bit fuzzy. I called both my Grandfather's "Poppy" when we were younger but as we got older my Paternal Grandfather became Poppa, whilst my Maternal Grandfather remained Poppy.
My Mother's parents lived in Charleville about 8 hours drive from where we lived so we didn't get to visit very often. We would occasionally go out during school holidays and spend time catching up with many of Mum's brothers and sisters. I do remember at one stage they lived near a caravan park which had a little shop in it and we would traipse up with our little purses with change and get as many lollies as we could. 
Growing up my Dad's father lived at the Sunshine Coast and again we would often visit during the school holidays. Given that was physically closer to where we lived we would visit more often. I think he really enjoyed his house being overrun by his granddaughters! I have always grown my fingernails and have had long nails for as long as I can remember and I would often be enlisted by Poppa for a nice long back scratch! He had one of those long back scratching sticks but used to say that it did not compare to me scratching his back, so there I would sit (probably rolling my eyes) scratching his back and waiting for him to give me the ok to stop. 
Poppa with all his children, their partners and grandchildren at a family reunion

Poppa and all his grandchildren
 When Poppa passed away, not long before my 21st birthday, my father and his siblings went to his home to pack up and sort through his belongings. Amongst much paperwork and who knows what else in his desk they found this letter that I had written to him many years earlier.
Obviously I had a deep concern for our pillows we must have left behind!
Given this was how I addressed the envelope I'm surprised it got there!

Linking this A to Z Challenge Post up with With Some Grace for FYBF!!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

for O

is for Overseas

Once again I am being a little lazy and linking up a previous post for today's prompt.

One of the bonuses of being a teacher is that we do have good holidays (but it's not all good, but I am not here to whinge about that!) and I have made sure I have taken advantage of these holidays and even though it took me some time I have been able to travel overseas a number of times.

Last year one of our I Must Confess prompts at My Home Truths was to confess about good times and immediately my trips overseas sprang to mind! So if you follow the link here you can read about my overseas adventures to NZ, Canada, UAE, Europe and Vanuatu.

Am linking this A to Z Challenge post up with A Parenting Life for Thankful Thursday because I am so thankful that I have had these experiences!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

for N

is for Normanton

I finished University at the end of 2000, a time where jobs were pretty scarce for teachers. I didn't get a job straight away and that was pretty rough. I spent times ringing district offices asking if there were any jobs available, short term contracts...whatever! I was getting pretty desperate and down in the dumps feeling like 4 years of University was a waste of time while I continued to work in a furniture shop.

Finally the many many phone calls paid off when I was offered a 6 month contract in Normanton. I did not really have much of a clue where it was but given that I was ringing Mt Isa, I knew it was 'up there' somewhere! I quickly grabbed a map and accepted the offer. 
There is it way up in the Gulf!!
It wasn't long before the removalists arrived, the plane ticket was booked and I was on my way! Approximately 2050km away from my family and friends. I didn't have much time to think about it and if I did I probably wouldn't have gone. I started at the beginning of Semester 2, I flew from Brisbane to Cairns, and then got in the smallest plane I had ever been in and flew from Cairns to Normanton. I really am not sure what my first impressions were but I do remember being a little nervous, scared and hot! Yep HOT! It was the middle of Winter so leaving Brisbane I was quite rugged up, I was not quite ready for the muggyness that Normanton had on offer when I got off that plane. 

Normanton is an isolated community in the Gulf of Carpentaria (according to Wikipedia it's population is 1100 people, 60% of which are indigenous). I am not going to lie, it was tough. The kids were tough, the teaching was tough, the isolation was tough, the lack of many creature comforts was tough but I wouldn't change it for anything. I gave me such a great insight into what teaching was really like, it taught me how to be a better teacher, taught me more about behaviour management and differentiation better than any other school I have worked at since. 

I was lucky enough that there were some other young single teachers there in the same boat as me and we quickly struck a friendship. It was also typical of any of those types of rural communities in that it wasn't long before all the young ringers from surrounding properties came to town to check out the new teachers! Like any of those places, life is what you make of it and so many a weekend we would drive north to Karumba, the most amazing place to watch the sunset. We would often just go for 2 or 3 hours drives on the weekend just because we could! It was also nothing for us to drive the 5 hours to Mt Isa for a weekend, a bit of retail therapy and arrive back with a car full of shopping and KFC after people had put in their orders.

I left Normanton after a challenging relationship I was in ended, being in such a small community it wasn't appropriate for me to stay. I did a year and a term in Normanton and although it presented me with lots of challenges and I would never go back, I wouldn't change the experience.
This was home during my time in Normanton, my duplex was on the left. There was no street really as our home was tucked in behind the Police Station in what was dubbed 'Teachers Corner'. 
 Normanton's famous Purple Pub... Yes I did spend a bit of time there..
 Sunset on the Norma River during a Croc watching tour. We had the BEST sunset views from the river and also from our front balcony.
 "Krys the Crocodile" - no trip to Normanton is complete until you've had your photo with Krys the Croc. This is a replica of what is believed to be the biggest crocodile shot in QLD. Krystina Pawlowski apparently shot the Croc on the banks of the Norman River in 1957.
Athletics carnival on the school oval! No lush green grass here and most kids run without shoes (some of them didn't even own shoes) as they feel like the shoes slow them down!

So if you are ever planning a fishing adventure in North QLD, definitely put Normanton and Karumba on the list!