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New beginnings

10 Jul

Here we are, half way through the year, and things are looking up. It’s been a long time since I posted anything here, because things have been hideously stressful and I really didn’t feel the need to inflict that on the whole entire internet. Or even my personal part of it.

Anyway, the worst of the stress is now officially Over. Readers of my Twitter account will know that we made the Fateful Decision in May to move Otto to a new school in the middle of the school year, rather than waiting for the end. There were lots of reasons for this but the main one was that we were starting to worry that her (old) school was failing the children so badly that she wouldn’t actually be accepted into Year 4 next year if she stayed there. There’s a whole rant about culture of mediocrity there that I am valiantly suppressing. You can take it as read, if you like. This was 90% of the reason for the move but the other two parts are more fun to talk about.

Which brings me to my next reason: I was turning into an angry, bitter person with nothing better to do than find fault. And make buzzword bingo cards to share with Fraser during school events. Like this one, of which I am secretly rather proud:

create, creative learning

scaffolding

exploration

space(s)

experiences

outcomes

development

diverse

community

child-centred

environment

leadership

neighbourhood

interacting

collaboration

one-to-one

journey

agreement

reflect, reflection

ICT / new technologies

21st century

engagement

conceptual

professional

And finally, there is a side benefit: I am no longer Involved With The School. No longer a member of School Council, no longer convening one subcommittee (Community Relations, now there’s irony!) and participating in another. I am free to help out at the new school without paying lip-service to something that I disagree with. Which of course is not exactly something I am good at.

The best thing, though, is that we can look forward to the rest of the school year. Bigster has blossomed this year as she started high school – she comes home every day with stories of the wonderful things she has done that day. That’s what we want for Otto too – and that’s what she did after her two “trial” days at the new school.

Of course, leaving her school wasn’t easy. I think it’s telling that her complaint was “Why do I have to leave in the middle of the year?” and not “Why do I have to leave at all?”. I put in a lot of work to make the transition as easy as possible. We bought gifts for her teachers (have no real issues with them, the new directions are coming from higher than them) and had a fabulous party for her friends and ours.

OK, so perhaps a Pokies venue is not the most obvious location for a child’s party. But it had an indoor playroom and great food – and we sat and chatted while the kids monstered the play equipment. A good night for all.

Since then, we’ve re-equipped her for school: New schoolbag (trolley case thing), new lunchbox and pencil case. New pencils for the pencil case. It’s all part of our transition to a new school year, so it makes sense for it to be part of our transition to a new school as well.

And we’ve taken the time to visit the old school’s website and check just one page against our Bingo card.

create, creative learning

scaffolding

exploration exploring

space(s) physical environment

experiences

outcomes

development

diverse

community

child-centred children as participants

environment

leadership

neighbourhood

interacting

collaboration

one-to-one

journey

agreement

reflect, reflection

ICT / new technologies

21st century

engagement

conceptual reconceptualising

professional

 

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4 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2011 in children, parenting, rant, school

 

4 responses to “New beginnings

  1. John Farrell

    July 11, 2011 at 11:47 am

    The source of the mediocrity is the fact that all the smart people are working with you, leaving distinctly average people to run the schools. When I went to a presentation at my son’s high school, the deputy headmistress couldn’t work Powerpoint. I realised OMG, everyone I work with is smarter than everyone at this school. So I told my kid “when you get a job you’ll work with smarter people than this”. Maybe a bad thing to say about his school, but I’ve always been a fan of telling it how it is.

     
    • Melissa

      July 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      Perhaps that is why we love Bigster’s school so much – the teachers are smart and enthusiastic. I agree that attracting smart people into teaching is a real problem, although the salary gap is perhaps not quite as severe a barrier anymore as it used to be. In particular, finding primary teachers who actually can do maths seems to be a real challenge.

      On the IT skills: I had huge concerns at Bad Old School which was proposing to start a 1:1 MacBook program for the 8 year olds. Apart from all the issues shared by other parents (H&S issues, values, core skills, cost), I was concerned that I did not want people “teaching” my kid to use web 2.0 tools when they clearly demonstrate, over and over again, that they don’t actually understand how to use them themselves. See “class blog” with a total of 12 posts since March. And a bajillion other examples. Like banning parent email contact lists because they might be used to spread sedition. (See “Community”, highlighted above on Bingo card.)

       
  2. Margaret

    July 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    You seem to be putting a lot of energy into this for someone who says she is not bitter. You must be easily identifiable as you seem to have a strong internet presence and have photos of your children online. You say you have no issue with the teacher, yet the comment above suggests a lack of competence. That teacher would surely be hurt by this post and the comment. Do you really need to be this negative to the whole world? Perhaps it was a similar lack of electronic discretion which led to the email ban.

     
    • Melissa

      July 20, 2011 at 11:27 am

      Hi, “Margaret”. Perhaps you did not read the name of my blog when you came here? There’s a reason why it’s called Obsessing About Everything. This is the place where I over-think lots of things, and rant about many of them. I even have a category of post called “Rant”.
      Let me clarify something else: I didn’t actually say that I am NOT bitter. In fact, I am deeply bitter. I am bitter that my children’s education was compromised, and bitter that we have now been forced to go to the private education system to find a school that is willing to educate. Bitter, even, that teachers who know how to teach are being stopped from doing what they are good at and forced to implement new programs without support or training. Bitter, bitter, bitter.
      Trust me, this is not a lot of energy: this is a smallish rant and a bit of chit-chat about the positive things we are doing in moving on, keeping my Friends and Relations informed and hopefully giving them a smile at the same time. “A lot of energy” would be a website or blog, a readily identifiable domain name, an alliance with rabble-rousers and other members of the community – not to mention naming and shaming, of the school and of its IMO poor and overly-defensive leadership. That’s what being negative to the whole world looks like.
      But I have better things to do.
      xx

       

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