Wednesday 14th April 2021

Who’s A Volunteer? 34/2021.

Who’s a Volunteer? 34/2021.

It’s said, by many, that when you get to retire from paid work you might like to consider being a volunteer. I agreed with that notion.

Are you a volunteer?

Maybe you are not even retired but still a volunteer.

Here’s something about what this has been for me, and with a few notes about my husband’s experiences.

Retired Couple. 2015.

From this Australian government organisation in 2015 here is this.

           Definition: Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.

The following areas are not considered to meet each of the core requirements of volunteering (‘without financial gain’, ‘willingly given’ and ‘for the common good’) and hence are not included in this definition of volunteering. It is acknowledged that many of these have a constructive, positive and vital role in society and may exist alongside volunteering and / or provide a pathway into volunteering.

• Direct family responsibilities are excluded. It is recognised that direct familial relationships vary for different people and social groups and so this is open to individual interpretation. In addition, foster carers have many similarities with volunteers, but because of the family relationship, these are outside this definition of volunteering.

• A number of programs are highly structured, with fixed requirements and provide options of volunteering type activities but with limited choice and/or varying types of in-built financial or reward outcomes. These vary widely and are excluded from this definition. Examples include:  Compulsory educational service learning (where students are required to volunteer as part of a course) Mandated court orders including community service and fines  Internships  Formal work experience / vocational placements  Mandatory government programs  Limited choice labour market government programs

• Volunteering requires a donation of time. Other types of donating such as giving money or materials and donating blood are not considered volunteering, although it is acknowledged there is a time element required in these forms of donating

My Experiences.

These started around the time I was in partial retirement from around 52. Later, they were when I was over 65.

  • With caring for our grandchildren, over time, for no financial reward ever but the joy of memories made. However, see above, ‘not about volunteering.’

 

  • teaching English in women’s homes in the community. A one-to-one experience, for which I had to do some training, at no cost to me, and also provide materials for the women. I enjoyed it and I think the two women became more confident over time of having an English speaker helping them I found it a bit too one-sided as the women, who were at home because of child-rearing were not completing even the smallest of ‘between times’ work. 

 

  • helping in Smith Family Parramatta  office prior to Christmas one year taking phone calls from people who wanted to register for the Smith Family Christmas hampers. This meant I had to drive into Parramatta, park my car, and attend the office for about 4 hours. I took down details and recorded them so families could be included by Christmas. It was quite boring for someone who had only recently ran a school but I also needed “not” to have responsibility to assist my mental health recovery. That role finished abruptly when I managed to break my ankle getting out of the car at home after a shift there. No, I did not pursue work related claim.

 

  • becoming a volunteer at local art gallery did not even reach training stage. Once we arrived on the Central Coast, I wanted to settle in (as I thought then) with some busy activities. Trouble was that emotionally I was not up to this role’s training requirements (I.B.S. would strike any time) and I also add that by the time I decided to step away from this, I realised how ‘cliquey’ the other volunteers were and felt excluded anyway. I was new to the area and ‘felt’ I was an outsider.

 

  • looking after ethics program in local area when we first moved to the  Central Coast seemed like a win/win for me as I needed some work of a productive kind while my husband already had his weeks in retirement sorted. I liked the people I met at the schools and was already helping get new people on board to be teachers when I felt something that did not seem quite right. You see, I felt conflict. I am, NSW teacher/principal at heart, and this program was independent to schools and I could see a conflict of interest  that I could not brush off. I sensed, and heard for good reason that it was an Us vs Them issue and I could not continue. I tried to let them have this feedback but it was a political hot potato and I left.

 

  • teaching mindful colouring was something I was passionate about in the midst of my first year of doing my best to settle to a new way of life. The local independent bookshop was happy to support my plan where I would supply all materials and I just needed a space. A local cafe owner said yes to that as we would be buying coffees. And off we went. We had 4 the first week. Then down to 3. Sadly, I was not prepared to continue because of this. I really did think this would work. No it did not. 

 

  • creating bookmarks for the charity The Big Hug Box. This was a passion for me as I was using my distraction activities of art, designs and more to create bookmarks as part of my post-cancer treatments. I’d be helping this new 2018 charity with my donations of goods and time. I also donated more than 300 bookmarks over time and took part in a packing day. Still on call if needed but I stopped the bookmarks.

 

  • teaching mindful mandala making and colouring because I wanted to share the ways in which this is helpful for our emotional health. I instigated this idea through my local library. Honestly, just as well I have determination because so many stumbling blocks were put in my way… no personal indemnity insurance ( and no, I was not going to pay for it) and then, oh, you would have to do our volunteer course to do this here, and no we don’t have any training coming up. I was ready to give up, when the local librarian – all part of the huge council area – said, you can have the space and I will say I am the organiser. Truly. Anyway, it went well over 4 weeks. I provided everything. I did offer it again, and waited in the empty room on two occasions and after that, I did not return.

 

  • I also offered to a women’s shelter that I could do this course in mindful colouring if they thought there was a need. They said yes, but without my person indemnity insurance, I could not start. So, another loss.

 

  • I also supplied Chris O’Brien Lifehouse with books of my designs and many pieces of media for in-patient art and visitors’ mindful colouring as it was a practical contribution I could make as I lived 2 hours away.

 

  • I am an ‘unofficial’ supporter  of Public Education via my social media and other presence and it’s one way I like to stay supportive and connected. 

 

  • In 2017 I was diagnosed with a head and neck cancer, and in a way to help me understand more about my cancer (there are many types of head and neck cancer) my two surgeons directed me to what was then called Beyond Five. Over time, I learned more about Beyond Five and the almost 100% volunteer support it requires the website going, changing and being of use. About a year into my recovery, I shared my story with Beyond Five, and then following my head and neck team’s assurance I seemed to be doing the right thing with my social media and other messages, I was invited to become an  Ambassador for what is now called Head and Neck Cancer Australia.

 

  • Being a member of the local Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer support group which meets monthly and being a contributor to sharing knowledge and awareness to others affected as patients or carers or family members.

 

  • I was very pleased to know I could be a mentor for Public Education via another way, supporting a student with a funded scholarship. However, over the time of being accepted, and then getting ready to help this person, I was not confident of the ways in which the program was run. I wanted to feel I could find support as I was learning the program via on-line systems but with little to no communication, I have declined their offer. Sadly, with some organisations this can be what happens.

 

  • My blog has been a voluntary activity. I have been able to write, share, find friends from this amazing medium. I do it all on my time, when I can, and it’s a great volunteer role because “I” am in charge of this one. My blog is over 10 years old now and brings me a great deal of personal reward.

My Husband’s Experiences: not all as a retiree! The last 3 were.

  • P&C President at our local primary school for 7 years our son was there.
  • Scouts President whilst our son was part of cubs.
  • Volunteer Teacher of Children in The Westmead Kids’ Hospital.
  • Safety House Co-ordinator in our neighbourhood in the 1980s -1990s- remember those?
  • Local Community Progress Association President.
  • President Local Drama Society in a Country Town.
  • Musical Director of performances over 3 years in that town.
  • President Ecumenical Council at local Church in the country town
  • National Charity Telephone Crisis Support.
  • National Charity  Face to Face Counsellor.
  • Driver: Cancer Patients To Appointments.

Some feedback we would LOVE to give to organisations where we no longer volunteer. Do not, please, take our service or time for granted. In my husband’s case, he PAID hundreds of dollars towards his training to be National Charity TSC…and as he was also doing a University course to become a trained counsellor, there were costs there. However, he was pleased to be able to help and learn via his supervisors how he was proceeding. This is when it becomes tricky. Those ‘people’ in charge of volunteers are paid and for some, the power of the position became a lack of respect in dealings over time. It does not take too much guessing to know why volunteers may leave. In my husband’s case, he did leave to become my carer as I had just had my cancer diagnosis. In another instance, the driving role, the system was so poorly organised on some days he would leave our place at 8.00 a.m. and not return till 6.00 p.m. because of poor planning for patients’ needing being collected, taken to the hospital and then collected.

He no longer performs any volunteer roles. 

 

Some further comments about volunteering here.

https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/retirement-life/5-amazing-benefits-of-volunteering-in-retirement

1. Stay active and engaged with life

2. Helping others makes you feel happy

3. Make new social connections

4. Have new experiences and learn new skills

5. Change someone’s life – change your own

 

My husband and I also ask each other, is it because we have both been leaders in our work places that we find it hard(er) to be a volunteer….or maybe that is not the reason. We can also see that organisations who need volunteers  to assist their services must go through quite a bit themselves in judging suitability and more. It’s perhaps the reason why I wrote this post. I was so sad to relinquish the mentor role but I also knew, that understanding my need to clarity and certainty in doing this role well, I could not, if I had not a great deal of faith in the organisation’s representative. 

This post comes under a few of my topics, including stories about ageing which I write about from time to time. I know you do not have to be a retiree to volunteer but most of my activities were then. 

Are you a volunteer?

Tell us more.

Denyse.

Linking up here with Leanne for Lovin Life Linky

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

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Decision. 6/51. #LifeThisWeek. 17/2021.

Decision. 6/51. #LifeThisWeek. 17/2021.

Decision making is a process of choosing between alternatives. Problem solving and decision making are distinct but related activities. Time pressure and personal emotions can affect the quality of decisionmaking outcomes.

What are the 7 steps of decision making?

Step 1: Identify the decision. You realize that you need to make a decision. …

Step 2: Gather relevant information. …

Step 3: Identify the alternatives. …

Step 4: Weigh the evidence. …

Step 5: Choose among alternatives. …

Step 6: Take action. …

Step 7: Review your decision & its consequences.

Source: various. I have included these only because of the steps.

I had no idea just how much theory there is to decision-making. I have learned something new!

D E C I S I O N S

When I first began mulling through my ideas for this post, I listed some decisions I have made in my life: here are four.

To Become a K-6 Teacher.

 

To say “yes” to my now husband.

 

To apply for a K-6 principal’s role and accept it.

 

To see our Sydney house and move to the Central Coast.

Then as I thought through some of my decision-making processes it became apparent, it is NOT always easy, nor even ‘wrong or right’ in an outcome.

Oh gosh.

What next?

Perhaps for me, it is more about understanding what goes into decision-making.

This helped me see that at times we who procrastinate ( I do at times) can perhaps look more deeply into our why!

Decisions

  1. Address the fear of success. If being constantly late with your obligations causes you to risk losing everything you’ve worked for, consider the possibility that self-handicapping is keeping you from going full tilt to reach your goals. Challenge your beliefs that those who love you don’t want you to succeed because chances are that they will rejoice in your accomplishments.

  2. Build your self-efficacy to self-regulate. Convinced that you can’t handle your responsibilities in a timely manner?  Discouraged about your ability to organize and manage your time? Practise taking on small tasks that you know you can manage, focusing on jobs that are due in the not-too-distant future. Once you see that you can plan successfully, you can extend the range and time frame of your due dates, increasing both your sense of accomplishment and belief in your own abilities.

  3. Find your thrills in ways other than procrastinating. Stop flirting with danger by working too close to deadlines.  Instead of thinking about the times you managed to avoid disaster by coming in with your work at the last minute, focus your attention on the times you actually miscalculated and got into trouble. If you know you’re a hopeless deadline-pusher, though, then force yourself to adopt your own, internally generated deadlines. Eventually, you should be able to stretch those out over the longer term.

  4. Moderate perfectionism with an action orientation. It’s great to want to achieve the best outcome possible, but not if it comes at the price of missing out on an opportunity or seeming to be no more punctual than the careless procrastinator. If you feel that you can’t overcome this tendency on your own, find a work or study partner who is strong on “locomotion” and can help you learn ways to focus on getting the job done well and quickly.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201204/the-paradox-procrastination

Looking more deeply into my decisions from my present view  i.e. at a distance from the decisions made at the time.

To become a teacher

I always enjoyed the company of kids under the age of around 6 and found I could help them learn skills and had fun sharing their lives via stories, activities and more. I like being in charge and I felt an affinity to kids’ education in the age bracket 5-12. I did want a professional job which required training after school and nothing appealed to me even though I gave others some consideration. I thought of being a librarian or a film editor. I did try learning shorthand thinking an admin role might be good. OK, I did it because my father thought it was a good skill to add to my typing. Fortunately, the Teacher’s Scholarship Offer finally arrived and I could resign from my office job post HSC. I loved teaching. Still do. There are parts of it that can be tedious and test my patience but overall a decision that was 100% correct! For me.

Telling My Story Chapter Three has more about this here.

To accept my now-husband’s proposal

I fell in love with this man at first sight. He says the same about me. At around 8.00 p.m. on Saturday 17 October 1970 when we were at opposite ends of the table at an after conference dinner. He asked me to dance. Our longing to be together was strong. He asked me to marry him only a few weeks later and I have never felt so sure about anything. Yes, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Yes, it’s been full of many great times, sad ones, worrying too but overall, these past 50 years have shown me I made the right decision!

Telling My Story Chapter Four has something about this here.

To choose to apply for principal roles

Oh this one was not a straightfoward decision at all. I had years of experience at relieving principal roles (at two schools) in my 10 years of being a deputy principal. There were instances of parent interviews where I was so verbally threatened I wondered why “anyone” would want the role. There were also some good memories, over time and so, when faced with a difficult choice: stay as a deputy in a school where I had just been relieving principal for 2 terms or seek my own substantive principal role. It became an inner discussion of what would I want to say on my death bed...you know that one about what do you wish you had done that you didn’t. And I realised I did not want to die with regret I had not given it a go. These links below share to stories of how hard it was for me as my health suffered but I remain adamant: I did it and I tried my best…at the time.

Telling My Story Chapter Thirteen is about what happened here.

Telling My Story Chapter Fourteen shares more here.

To sell our house in Sydney to move to the Central Coast

I was unwell. I could no longer find the energy or motivation to work part-time to help keep our mortgage payments going for the Sydney house AND I had, sadly, lost my mojo for caring for our grandchildren. The obvious solution was to sell the house (we had been pondering this for some time AND my husband had been renovating room by room (and outside) for over two years. We would be mortgage free and we could move to rent to a nicer area on the Central Coast and have fewer worries. For me that is. I agreed. We did that. However, it was not a decision without many challenges for me, and even now I feel the insecurity rise from time to time about that choice for me. My husband has never waivered from the choice.

Telling My Story is in two parts (this week for part two on Wednesday) and goes some way to share how it was for me in part one. here. 

How To Make Hard Choices.

This video was eye-opening to me when I first  watched it some time back. The notion of needing to be “right” or “wrong”….or “yes” or “no” is a myth that is dispelled by Philosopher Ruth Chang in her Ted Talk “How To Make Hard Choices”.

Thank you for reading, commenting and linking up this week.

Denyse.

Link Up #226

 

Life This Week. Link Up #226

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

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* THANK you for linking up today! Next week: 7/51 Self Care Stories #1. 15 Feb.

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Learning More About My Country, Australia. 11/2021.

Learning More About My Country, Australia. 11/2021.

As I write this post for sharing tomorrow, it is 26 January 2021, Australia Day. I ask that you read the highlighted areas below before going on.

 

 

Content within is about Indigenous Australians and there may be readers affected by images or references of people who have died. In this case, please be aware.

And, I appreciate content here may be for some readers, controversial or they may hold strong views which are not in keeping with the learning I am doing as I share. In this case, it is recommended that you do scroll on and perhaps not comment. I remind you that I can delete comments if not in keeping with my blog’s purpose. Thank you for your understanding. Denyse.

 

 

For much of my life, 26th January,  has been known to me as day of commemoration. It’s when a flotilla of English Boats led by Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Sydney Harbour in 1788 and claimed it ‘as a territory of England’ …or words to that effect. The boats were manned by sailors and many had convicts aboard who would be prisoners in this colonial outpost of Mother England where gaols were filling. The stories of this are many, and I leave them to your research and interest.

What I have known for some time, however, is this. Australia’s east coast, where Captain Cook had landed in 1770 and declared it a place for habitation and settlement, was already populated.

There were indigenous Australians: Aboriginal people, had come from many places from the north, to make different parts of our wide brown land….home.

Today, 26 January 2021 I was delighted to see two flags representing Australia flying. We “still” do not have the best or perfect or representational flag but we do tend to see these two more and more.

Teacher Me Needs to Learn More.

Whilst I have known that I may have some Aboriginal heritage, and by appearance alone there are several members of my family, on Mum’s side who already could be claiming this. They are not. For their own reasons. Nothing by the way is verified as was often the case, because of the shame of Aboriginal heritage of yesteryear and the very real threat of children being taken ‘for their own good’ by church groups and welfare.

I have been, for the past few years, recognising my own likely heritage and wanting to learn more and accept what it is for me.

Books and Stories.

Many sites have books and resources. This is but one: https://koskela.com.au/blogs/news/25-books-on-indigenous-history-and-culture

I have read and listened to books by Stan Grant, June Winch and Bruce Pascoe.

One by Anita Heiss is a compilation of Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. Others by Dr Marcia Langton.

I found this site and then bought the map I show here.

And I liked what I could learn about here.

About My History.

From the AIATSIS Map: I am adding place names for where I have lived and taught, then the Aboriginal Country or land name next to it.

Born over 70 years ago, in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

Wollongong 1949-1959. Tharawal country.

 

With “my’ Papa. It is his line of heritage that we believe is of Aboriginal descent. South Coast N.S.W.

Sydney: 1959-1969. Eora country.

Specifically: Balgowlah Heights, close to Manly, a first place named in the early days of the Colony for the Aboriginal Men’s appearance. Near my then home is Arrabanoo Lookout, named for an Aboriginal person. Right next to Tania Park, Dobroyd.

Barraba, 1970 North Western N.S.W.: Kamilaroi country.

Just up the road to school!

Maules Creek, Boggabri, 1971-1972.  North Western N.S.W.: Kamilaroi country.

Merriwagga, South Western N.S.W.1973-1975 & Hillston. Wiradjuri country.

Weilmoringle, Far North Western N.S.W. 1976-1977. Muruwari country.

Where Our Daughter Started School & we were her teachers.

Kellyville, north-western area of Sydney. 1978-1993. Bella Vista 1994-1998. Glenwood 1998-2015. Dharug Country

Schools where I taught and lead:

Cherrybrook P.S. 1978.

Jasper Road P.S. Baulkham Hills, 1978-1982.

Walters Road P.S. Blacktown,  1983-1984.

Seven Hills West P.S., 1985-1987.

Shalvey P.S. 1988-1998

Rooty Hill P.S. 1998

Richmond P.S. 1999-2003.

Kellyville Ridge P.S. 2004-2010.

Hebersham P.S. 2007

  • In each of the schools above there were and are, students of Aboriginal heritage and who identify as Aboriginal. The majority are from the schools I have marked by highlighting in black. The other schools would definitely have some but nowhere near the numbers from the others.

 

  • What is significant now, and even in some of the years I was a member of that school community is the identification of students and the assistance, where required given that can boost learning and more. There are likely to be people from the local indigenous groups working with students and staff in the school to have a better understanding of history, language and needs.

 

  • I assisted in the establishment of Aboriginal community groups within our local schools’ communities, supporting them as needed until independence was established. It meant the ownership and actions lay with the local community representatives.

 

  • Some of these people, through other agencies and groups, were appointed to school selection panels to approve employment of people in teaching and leading who were, by their estimation, deemed to have understanding of and commitment to the Aboriginal education policies of the employer.

 

  • In 1976-1977, Weilmoringle P.S. was already doing this. My husband, the teaching principal, and I was the second teacher and we had an Aboriginal person as teaching assistant. The community also helped us (as we did them) with cultural understanding, and more. Now, I see some decades later, the school continues to thrive and those same families are continuing to help the kids of the school, and their community.

Where We Live Now. Northern end of N.S.W. Central Coast. Darkinjung country.

I know something about the place where we live now. I know the first peoples used the river and the sea to feed themselves and the bush around them to have shelter. I know too, that I need to learn more and I am committed to doing so via more local research and understanding.

I think, as a senior Australian citizen, I not only want to do this but need to. Ignorance should no longer be an excuse.

I do not have a firm view on changing of the Australian flag at this point, as I see my English and Scottish history within. I would like the way in which we come together as Australians of all kinds to be inclusive and understanding. Will it happen in my life time? I am not sure. I know my daughter will be definitely hoping it happens in hers and that of her children.

I shall see.

I hope to be better educated.

We shall be respectful of each other as change occurs.

Have you noticed what I have written here at the base of my blog?

If you can see the areas on the maps, can you find, if you are from this area, where your country is and what it’s called?

Denyse.

Denyse wishes to acknowledge the Darkinjung people as Traditional Custodians of the land on which this blog is written.

Linking up with Leanne here for Lovin’ Life on Thursday.

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What’s The Story Behind These Images? 8/2021.

What’s The Story Behind These Images? 8/2021.

Quite some time ago, years in fact, I began buying images from Dreamstime for use on the blog. I accumulated many and have used few.

I guess I have not used them in more recent times because the focus of those images was for my education category which I blogged about with frequency in 2012-2015.

I was also an Education Specialist assisting families and educators who were part of a group of pre-schools in the northern and norwest suburbs of Sydney.

I was very careful to only use approved photos from the organisation so I tended to add some of these images where there was a correlation between my written messages and the images.

Today, I am using my imagination to write something as I might see as the story behind the images.

Image One.

Here are the students in Year 9 who were asked to look as if we are reading and be interested too. However, you can see that that two of them who were excluded from being seated. Huh? Stand against the shelves and look like they are reading? We can do that. Still not sure what we are reading though. Guess if the teacher is smiling it might be a funny book?

However, in all seriousness it is good to see reading AND being in a library of interest. Far too much these days, books from libraries and students being able to access a library within a school setting is being denied. Something, something, funding! Rubbish. I wrote a post about it here.

Does your child’s school have a library and a trained teacher librarian?

 

Image Two.

This one is a very familiar image. Boy, in image, gets what they are supposed to be doing, as requested by the teacher, leaning over another student at a computer in rear of image. This is how it does happen in many schools. There is a computer lab or bank of them set up. Truly, it can be quite the challenge to keep this kind of lesson under control in terms of the students’ searches. Fortunately there are security set ups via the schools’ systems.

With a whole class of 30 this kind of lesson is exhausting! Back when I reckon this was the kind of way teachers may have “ticked” the boxes of computer education. This is less likely to be the kind of work done by students now as each classroom has a range of set ups for technology including interactive white boards. High school students have laptops and ipads too, as do many primary schools.

Do you remember this kind of lesson?

 

Image Three.

Taking the hand of an older and trust adult to be safe in terms of being outside, in a crowd, approaching the road, or even starting school. It is both reassuring and kind to the child as he or she makes changes that need some parental or adult support. However, of course, there can be hand-holding refusers and with those little ones, there needs to be a firmer grip…a kind one.

Did you know children need adult supervision to cross a road up to around the ages of 8-10. It is something to do with developing peripheral vision.

 

Image Four.

This is quite an homogenous group of four. Interestingly for me as I reviewed some of my images, I realised back when I was selecting them my unconscious bias took me to the familiar for me. White and anglo in appearance. I am quite surprised now that I look back and know that even acknowledging it is better than continuing this.

Do you think play and children’s ability to let off steam outdoors is allowed enough for these days?

 

Image Five.

I loved the connection of these two children as I imagined in this image. They seem comfortable with each other, and are moving along a bridge-like structure to another area. The simple parts of childhood can be forgotten in the hustle and bustle can’t they?

How much do children really get to play and explore within a relatively safe space. Food for thought.

 

 

And now for my images….I think I am missing return to school time in some ways but agree it is not something I could do practically nor emotionally but I still have the love of teaching in me.

My M.Ed. Graduation from CSU Wagga Wagga in 1991. My daughter used ‘the same cloak’ for her Masters of Education (Teacher Librarian) when she graduated in 2017.

 

Images Six, Seven & Eight.

Image Nine.

My Education Collage: Where two teachers met, our trip back to the area, farewelled by the Deputy Secretary of NSW Dept of Education, My Service Medal

Image Ten.

On 27 January 1970 this is where I began teaching. The classroom in background was mine, teaching a K/1 group. My image here: 50 years later we re-visited Barraba Central School.

That’s my  post about the stories and the images. It was thought-filled and a bit of fun as well as a trip down memory lane!

Did you enjoy being at school?

Tell me more.

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne for Lovin Life Linky here on Thursdays.

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Back To. 3/51 #LifeThisWeek. 7/2021.

Back To. 3/51 #LifeThisWeek. 7/2021.

Around this time of year, mid January for over 50 years,  this was it for me:

Back To School time.

With my principal’s hat back on and teacher one too, in case it’s helpful I have a post about going back to school and starting school here and believe this is still relevant. I always like to share this graphic too: courtesy of Kelly Exeter and me.

 

Not the actual ‘back to school’ but getting ready for being a school student, staff member, teacher, assistant principal, parent or principal.

This video link to a timely post about starting school is helpful.

It’s a reminder from the calendar here in my southern hemisphere that mid-Summer school holidays is also:

‘Back to’ …time.

 

Back to Normal.

Here’s something we have heard a LOT in COVID times.

  • “When can we be back to normal?”
  • “Is it possible to be back to normal once the pandemic has taken over?”
  • “What might normal be like?”

Did we take ‘normal’ for granted pre-COVID?

I am guessing if you are thinking a bit like most of us, and I am one, that there is no ‘back to pre-covid’ times which means, of course, what we took for granted as ‘normal’ is not happening.

I met my daughter for brunch recently. We both had masks on before sitting down to eat. We both needed to check in via the Service NSW app. We were in a restaurant that is part of a book store. In fact, I had a small morning tea here for my 70th birthday. This time round, the seating was different and more spaced out. No long table.

I think, as many are, that the term ‘new normal’ whether we like it or not is here to stay.

Back to Work.

Last year many of us (OK not us retirees) learned that there was a different way to work. That is if our job could be done from home. Working from home became the ‘normal’ and now, here in Australia, in our 10th month of living with the different states’ and territories’ rules about travel, transportation and working face to face who knows what “back to work” in 2021 looks like.

Back to Having Visitors In the House.

At the time of writing and publication N.S.W. rules under COVID health restrictions are that “we” the household of two, can only have 5 visitors to our home on one day. We live on the Central Coast, counted as part of the greater Sydney area. Governed by this, and with a hefty fine for non-compliance ($1000 each) we now have to hold our much-longed for Golden Wedding Anniversary lunch for our family over 2 days: one group on Friday 22 Jan, the other on the actual date the Saturday. It will be done according to the rules but still won’t feel as celebratory without each of our family being present. But…you do what you have to do.

Our Wedding Day. 1971

 

The last word on ‘Back to’ is that we can never recapture what was.

Just as we might long for it, time and circumstances along with we humans all change over time.

I hope your week, whatever it contains, goes well.

Stay safe, everyone.

Denyse.

Link Up 223.

Life This Week. Link Up #223

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School Education Advice From Denyse. Retired K- 6 Principal. 99/2020.

School Education Advice From Denyse. Retired K- 6 Principal. 99/2020.

Back in 2016 I published this post after questions from other bloggers.

Given we are at the end of the school and pre-school year 2020…a most extraordinary year thanks to COVID19 and many challenging experiences for children at pre-school and school, along with the parents and carers, I decided to re-fresh this post…and it may just go some way to helping as Christmas holidays beckon.

 

How you can best help develop your kids social skills and confidence?

  • The socialisation of school is such a rich part of the journey of learning and the new separation from the family once starting school. It is a HUGE leap forward in terms of change and we can recall what it is like to start a new job, or a new course or even…maybe school..so we have more than an inkling!

 

  • I believe that children will be, in many instances, influenced by their genes, their parents’ and siblings’ modelling and their age of readiness for school’s more formal learning and socialising ways. This influence can be one of encouragement, maybe of ‘fake it till you make it’ and of over-empathising too. Children will often mirror the emotional resilience in many ways of what & who they know and what they have been like since they were born.

 

  • Before starting school is the place to begin to build the social skills and confidence with encouraging extended time away from parents. By this I mean things like play dates at others’ houses, staying overnight with trusted people such as grandparents and joining in activities such as at playgroup, pre-school, sport/gymnastics/dancing. I do not recommend it all and certainly not at once. This can start occurring at around 3 years I believe if the children have not been used to out of home care at any time.

 

  • Look to yourself with the confidence about this too. I see that kids can take on board parents’ emotions so very easily and we, the adults, need to be extra careful of our words and non-verbal actions.

 

  • I have to add one of the things I like to ‘ban’ parents saying to their children when they start school is “I will miss you so much”. Why? I have known kids who would have settled well be unable to do so because they were worried about Mummy/Daddy/Grandma is  missing them!

 

Kids in the early days and terms of school will, ideally, know how to:

  • separate from their parent(s) with relative ease after starting school.
  • look after their own physical needs – toileting, caring for belongings, getting lunch and recess food out and being able to eat independently
  • know how to listen to and respond to an adult who is not familiar to them but in a position of respect at the school
  • be able to accept some disappointments and learn how to wait for attention
  • be a confident responder to questions posed by other children and teachers
  • make eye contact ( as culturally relevant, it is not always deemed respectful) and to ensure they can engage in a conversation at an age-appropriate level
  • join in with peer and group activities at the level at which they feel confident. Not everyone is a leader but some are very quiet and active participants!

Once they are at school it is great if parents can link up with like-minded families for more socialising after school, for birthdays and more as when the parents begin to engage socially with the peers’ parents this becomes a win/win in ideal cases. Much of this has changed with COVID restrictions in force and some states are different to others.

I do not say it always works..so pick your groups or friends with care but I do know that for some families, those friendships started when their kids started school have continued!

dreamstime_l_1262950-little-scared-one-100x100

Moving from being a bit concerned, worried and little shy….

 

dreamstime_l_3437894-1st-day-sch-boy-150x150

to becoming more confident over time…

How have you managed your children’s social skills as they started school and now they are at school?

What has worked for you and the children?

Denyse.

Interesting to read the comments from 2016. I have left them there. And, opened comments for this post.

Linking up here with Leanne and friends. Probably the last Thursday link up for 2020?

 

 

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Exams. 46/51. #LifeThisWeek. 92/2020.

Exams. 46/51. #LifeThisWeek. 92/2020.

Exams!

Exams, examinations, tests, testing, assessments, checking, observing …..all are seemingly similar in purpose:

to assess a student’s learning. 

But are they? And do they?

This post is actually not about that…because:

  1. I have no time for the pages of writing I might need to do
  2. I have been part of an education setting for over 65 years: student, teacher, assessor and I am done!

Memories of Exams.

Let me count the memories as a student of high school and tertiary years!

Before:

  1. A fluttery tummy at the prospect
  2. Sleeplessness the night before
  3. Concerned I have not read  nor studied enough
  4. Getting to the venue safely and surely
  5. Trying NOT to engage in conversations with others also waiting to get into the venue for the exam
  6. Making sure I had the requisite pens, pencils, eraser, water bottle (unsure if we could take this in, but I know I would have had one)
  7. Actually making sure I WAS at the right rooms, buildings
  8. Looking around the room, convinced everyone there looked much better prepared than I was
  9. Watching the supervisor/invigelator (weird word) as they set out the rules for the session and noting the clock.
  10. Seeing the papers handed out, and one landing in front of me.

During:

  1. Reading the paper as best I could and ensuring I could do at least one of the questions
  2. Taking my time to consider this without losing time
  3. Hating the multiple choices because TWO always seem right
  4. Preferring an essay style
  5. Keeping an eye on the clock
  6. Nervous glancing right and left at fellow examinees
  7. Hand hurting from writing so give it a stretch
  8. Encouraging myself to keep on going and F I N I S H
  9. Listening to time left warning
  10. Head down again and…..”Pens down”. Breathe again.

After:

  1. Out into the warmth of the November day
  2. Checking with others, if I know anyone there, about how they thought it was
  3. Not engaging in any post-mortems for long
  4. Home but first lunch or a snack
  5. Approach my desk and move the papers relating to today’s exams away
  6. Getting out the next exam’s papers and notes
  7. But first….a chat with a friend, a drive to see someone
  8. Go to the beach to relax – it IS almost Summer
  9. Count the ways in which I will spend my days once the exams are over
  10. Return to the study area and ready to repeat processes again!

 

But what did I do as exams?

As told here in Telling My Story Chapter I was in the first cohort in New South Wales to be part of the Wyndham Scheme (6 years of high school replacing the 5 years) where the previous high school years of attendance were 3 and 5.

After Third Year (Year 9 now)  was the Intermediate Certificate and most students left then to pursue trade and other training type careers. Only those, including teachers-to-be, went on to Fifth Year ( Years 10 and 11 now). My husband was one of those.

My high school education started in 1962 and in 1965 I did the first School Certificate at the end of Year 10. It was formal, gruelling and quite stressful.

I then did the Higher School Certificate in 1967. Being guinea pigs was not all fun and we were put through some very heavy testing/examination times.

At Teacher’s College we did all the subjects we would need to teach in Primary Schools and I recall with great stress, the onerous task of 18 examinations to graduate as a qualified teacher. I actually failed Science but was allowed to graduate and re-sit the examination in my 3rd year. I still hated it but scraped through.

I was exam-free until I was encouraged to do my Bachelor of Education, and then after that my Master of Education. There were many assignments but only a few in-examination room exams as I was doing my degrees as a distance education student and I could sit an examination at a church hall in Parramatta.

I did a TAFE course in sign making and ticket writing back in the early 1970s and did an at-home test which I think my husband supervised as he was a teacher.

Then there is this sign…about exams in Australia.

It is said, that by the time you see the jacaranda trees bloom, if you have not started your study, it’s too late. Examinations are ON..now!

 

Let me add, as a teacher, mum and grandmother, it’s hard to do exams for many.

In fact there can be so many reasons why an external examination  is not helpful for many students who may have a number of factors affecting learning. That said, so far, not much has been touted as fully replacing them. It seems, even at the highest level of tertiary study and beyond for specialist doctors there are huge pressures around both oral and written examinations.

I am also aware there are many practical examinations too. For example, music, drama and dance.

So, how do you remember exams?

Denyse.

Link Up 215

Life This Week. Link Up #215

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: 47/51 Taking Stock #5 23.11.2020

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Inside. 43/51. #LifeThisWeek. 86/2020.

Inside. 43/51. #LifeThisWeek. 86/2020.

Having some fun with the word I N S I D E via some photos and memories. Enjoy!

Denyse, aged around 5, off to her first class at school.

There was no official uniform for the seasons but I recall this was the tunic, and I see my mum’s influence there with the bow…the smart blouse…and what was I N S I D E that carry bag of mine was likely to be playlunch and maybe a cardi. I came home for lunch as we lived in the same street as Gwynneville P.S., Wollongong.

 

 

Denyse, aged around 63, decided as part of her retirement from K-6 education to become an independent consultant to pre-schools and teachers.

This is I N S I D E her part of the front room of our former home in Glenwood which we made into two office areas for us. Sadly I gave away or sold off most of my resources but the move to further places was already on the cards, and I admit, seeing my resources go to grandkids, schools and pre-service teachers was a good thing.

 

 

Denyse’s two grandchildren who were cared for by both grandparents in 2008-2014.

This photo, taken by me, is a firm favourite in our family. In fact, the enlarged version sits behind me right now, As to what was going on  I N S I D E   H’s mind as R placed her hand on him, we will never know. He too loves the pic now, as does she.

 

 

Denyse is/was a HUGE Christmas fan.

When the grandkids came into our lives, then much fun, planning, shopping, spending and hanging up of Christmas bags from us was the BEST. What was I N S I D E…no-one knew till Christmas Day. Sometimes Grandma forgot too. 

 

 

Denyse had her one and only OS trip to the US west coast and Hawaii.

Here’s she is I N S I D E Alcatraz. A highlight of her trip, and booked before leaving Sydney. This was freezing cold San Fran early January 2006.

 

 

Denyse with her 2nd youngest granddaughter.

She was, until a few days later, the youngest granddaughter, looking I N S I D E our then Sydney based GP’s fishtank. She is holding the Teddy we gave her on the day she was born. This child is now in Year One! 

 

 

Denyse. looking to smile and do her best to be well, cheerful and all.

However, she actually knew something was very awry I N S I D E that mouth, behind that top set of false teeth. What I see in this photo more than anything, however, is courage. It was the first time I had driven to see Dad after a long absence because of being anxious about driving on the M1. Thanks to my inner resources learned from my psychologist via exposure therapy I DID this. I was not, however, to know that it would be a long time before I drove to see my Dad again. Within 3 weeks of this photo my cancer had been diagnosed.

 

 

Denyse’s memories of the grandchildren care at Glenwood is aided by so many photos and little videos.

The photo of the two above, much older, is of them I N S I D E the kitchen eating the fruit kebabs they had made. 

 

 

Denyse’s Dad turned 90 in January 2014 and he wanted to celebrate.

Along with my brother, daughter and more, we made sure his celebration was indeed one to remember. Looking to decorate the tables for the lunch with a little thank-you, I made these….with little chocolates I N S I D E.

 

 

 

Denyse now lives about 20 minutes drive from Norah Head Lighthouse.

I totally love visiting and have been I N S I D E the building but not up top. I am pretty sure COVID has stopped tours. The glass and the light have saved many ships over the years. Our weather forecast and conditions comes from the weather station in the grounds. 

 

 

Denyse has a mammogram every even year birthday.

I am pretty sure this is my one from last year. Stepping up I N S I D E the pink van reminds me that it is a privilege to have this service and usually I am treated with respect. However, and I will mention it next time, the radiographer was pretty rough in her handling of one of my breasts, resulting in an abrasion underneath. It hurt on that thin skin. 

 

 

Denyse loved being part of an on-line Secret Santa one year.

I knew the recipient well, and that she has a very very busy life raising her challenging kids (yes, she would admit that too) so I N S I D E this I made it like a pass the parcel of presents and I know from her response, she loved it. The kids did too, apparently!!

 

 

Denyse is I N S I D E the lift at her Dad’s building after a visit with lots of food and goodies and spending some time with him. He talks. I listen. Mostly!

It’s a regular thing to visit like this but during COVID happened a lot less. I just went recently (not this pic)  and will be back in November I am sure. All being well.

 

 

Denyse is a very grateful head and neck cancer patient.

Here, from over a year ago, is a photo taken by my prosthodontist (his hand there) explaining how the I N S I D E of my upper prosthesis and the skin near it (my under top lip which is part skin graft from my leg and part what was there)  is progressing in terms on health and stability. I saw him in mid October 2020 and all is very well indeed. 

 

 

Denyse’s Sunday treat and nectar!

Getting one of these coffees by Randa I N S I D E me is so good.

 

I hope you enjoyed my little journey of memories based on I N S I D E

Thank you for visiting, reading, commenting and I always hope, linking up!

Denyse.

Link Up 212

Life This Week. Link Up #212

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: 44/51 Outside 2.11.2020

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