Sunday, 29 April 2012

Frustration and Questions

It's Sunday (again), kids watching What now (again), I am still sitting here in my nightie (not photogenic!!!) and I just feel very frustrated! A million things I need to do and somehow I don't feel I am making much progress! If you don't want to listen to my whining and whinging, just skip this post! If you want to see more pics instead, click on the Quilts tab, I have updated it and added the more recent quilts.

School started back on Monday, and my goodness, I was exhausted by Monday night! I had the class screen printing like crazy, and by the end of the day all except one of the students who were there had two or more of their prints on their Calico (the other boy only managed one print). Tuesday another busy day, Wednesday off for ANZAC Day, and as my newly repaired laptop had arrived back from 'hospital' I spent more or less all day in front of it. Thursday paper work all day as it was my CRT (classroom release time - we are working under a primary school system here at my intermediate school where you teach all day every day for 9 out of 10 days and have one day per fortnight for your planning), and Friday back to teaching. Most classes are finished with screen printing now, I have started sewing them up into wall hangings. It took some working out, most prints are portrait, some are landscape. Some kids were better at lining everything up than others. One screen was taped smaller than the others (my mistake!). In the end I cut them down to 15x10 1/4" and using an over-locker, I put them together best as I could:
I saved it the right way around, why does blogger import it sideways?
So why am I actually frustrated???
Most the kids I get on well with now, most of them can't wait to come to the classes of my colleague and I (she does carving with them at the moment, some beautiful work coming out of there!). The few who decide to be eggs I can work around.
My own kids are pretty good at occupying themselves as long as I ignore the fact that more often than not there is a screen involved.
While we had to let the cleaner go (we're hoping to save for a trip to Germany for July 2013), my DH vacuumed and washed the floors on Friday.
I haven't gotten any sewing done, but I am counting down to my first ever quilting retreat next weekend, and my lovely DH is even building me a portable sewing table for that.
For school education, I truly believe in the future of e-learning - wherever, whenever, at your own pace etc. - and I am getting a chance of trialling some this term.

So why am I still frustrated??? 
* I have so many ideas of what I would like to be doing, but I simply don't have enough time!
  • I still haven't finished the thermofax design I had wanted to send off to Leslie to burn.
  • I haven't finished the screen print t-shirts and pillow cases for my own boys.
  • I want to print some t-shirts for my nephews in Germany as I missed our summer sales and I really need to send some prezzies over.
  • Oh yes, I had also wanted to print some tea towels for the newly married son of a friend! I want to get into painting fabric.
  • I need to scrub my developed screen and re-develop it using the black light bulb I bought in the holidays.
* I am quite disheartened by the lack of access to 'stuff' - from the next LQS which is an hour away, to specialised stuff which you might or might not get in NZ to clothes to public transport (none) to music concerts to choice of schools to selection of clothes.

* Regarding work, I have many frustrations: Yes, the money is good in comparison to other jobs in our region. The hours to do it well are horrendous, and I definitely didn't put in enough time in the holidays. Is the education we offering our students really good enough? I work very hard and I run a pretty good programme, and yet I feel other staff are working a lot less hard, their programme might be of lesser quality and yet they are getting away with it? I originally trained as secondary teacher for Music and German (which no one teaches up here). I have worked intensively in pastoral care for students at risk, but in our current school system the job opportunities for my skills and experiences are very limited. Now I teach Art, and while I am not an expert, I can make it work at that age level. I teach Music - fine. I teach Computing - something I really like and can make work. BUT: Out of the blue I come across things I am not allowed to do etc. without anyone telling me beforehand - you would think that either you are or you are not in charge of your programmes!
[Just a quick overview, New Zealand runs a fairly innovative system called "Tomorrow's Schools": Basically every school runs itself with a Board of Trustees made up from community members etc. A principal is in charge of the school. They are responsible to the Ministry of Education, but are pretty much in charge most of the time. Every school writes their own charter etc. Principal and BoT employ the teachers (the ministry gives the school the number of teachers they can employ and pay their salaries and the funding to run the school). An Education Review Office checks quality of schools - some are great, some are not so. If the ministry thinks the school is not run well, they might put in a commissioner instead of the BoT to run the school instead. Our new NZ Curriculum gives the schools a lot freedom to adapt the programmes to local needs, issues, interests. Sounds great, doesn't it? Except that a school is only ever run as well as the skills within the community allow it to be, and as it's not the ministry sending teachers to schools, a school is limited in the quality of their teachers to who applies for a job.]
If I was one of my friends who has to listen to me whine about work, I would probably see a pattern of 'Monika is never happy with wherever she is teaching'. So where should I turn, what should I do? DH has lately been suggesting to re-train for primary teaching (one year mainly online course), but my colleague advised against it simply for the amount of work involved to teach well at primary level. I need to earn a decent salary though, oldest DS goes to a private school which we believe is the best place for him, and possible the younger ones will follow (our choice of good schools is somehow limited here).
[I just had an encouraging call from a friend who said look at primary teaching, so I feel a bit better now :-)]

I think one of my biggest problems might be a kind of perfectionism, I want to do really well at what I am doing and I expect others to wanting to do so, too. I somehow feel like a Jack of all Trades, but I do nothing really well. I dabble in heaps of different things - a bit. There was this saying when I was at uni that mediocre musician become music teachers. I listened to an interview with a classical conductor on the radio recently, I got quite nostalgic about the time when I was heavily involved in music. Teaching is actually the one strand that goes through all the things I have been doing in my life so far - I used to tutor class mates at secondary school, teach the flute while at uni, taught at various schools since coming to NZ 15 years ago as well as in a parenting programme. I would really like to get more into teaching adults in arty stuff, but there is little opportunity for this in our local area. I have been following Leah Day's Sunday posts of getting into Quilt Biz, maybe they are going to give me some ideas.

So now that I haven gotten this all off my chest, I better go back and get some more of my school work done! I'll try to take pics at our retreat next weekend.

Thanks for listening :-)
 


1 comment:

  1. I was going to say... this is not work. But after reading your post... yes, in fact it is work related. I have no advice - I know what you mean - is it partly a northland thing I wonder?? The kids are taught to "be the best that they can be" and this is all that we ourselves can do. Unfortunatley we cannot change others.

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