February 20th, 2012

Marie Antoinette bath

Settling in at School and at the Hotel

So now I'm at the start of week 4! Hello everyone!

So what has been the low down so far?

I have a filing cabinet. Not a desk though. Apparently that'll be coming soon. Who knows how long "soon" is. But I have a place to chuck my stuff that I can lock. I was pretty happy about that. I have been pulling some kids out to do work with them. So far I'm totally just making it up as a go along, trying to get a feel for what they can do/what I can do with them. So far a typical session looks like this:
1. Read a book with them
2. Get them to identify sight words
3. Ask if they know [this] word (a repeated word in the text, or one that's easy to sound out)
4. Read the book, this time with them reading aloud the sight words and couple of extra words we've identified and me reading all the other words.
5. Repeat step 3.
OR!! If they have trouble sounding out a word, get into the phonics of it. What sound does "th" make? What words can we find that in? Let's say those words together! Oh look, it makes 2 different sounds. One sounds like "v/z" and the other sounds like "s/f"! Fancy that!

My diary and filing cabinet is very colour coordinated with retroactive notes in it to record the work I've been doing, rather than comprehensive lesson plans (who can plan when the kid might not even be there!?) So I've been settling into that kind of role so far. There's more professional development for me to come and I'm looking forward to getting my head around the ATAS role even more when that comes. I'm pretty happy with how I've been working so far.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow we have a Kagan PD, so we missed out on the morning service at church and have a couple of student free days. It's a pretty cool thing, this Kagan thingo. I rather like it, except more of it is suited to whole-class set ups and cooperative learning (a kind of group work with important, distinctive differences). Anyway, this led to us going to the evening service at the people's church on Sunday. There were definitely less people and it was WAY more casual, but it was really good and I super enjoy going! I couldn't really understand the talk at all, as the speaker was speaking with a very thick Aboriginal accent, and mostly in a kind of creole. But what I could understand was good, and the music was sung with loads of gumption by everyone. All the songs were done in a kind of country-style due to the guitar playing. But it was very encouraging to be a part of this church that is otherwise so foreign to me!

I've also volunteered for the kid's church and hopefully will be starting that up next week. I hope to get a few Indigenous volunteers to help each Sunday that can be trained to help leader too. Then we might even be able to run 2 groups to cater to age differences. There's about 20 kids from 1-12yrs old, so that'd be really good.

As far as friendships go, I think I'm super sensitive to everything that goes on. On one hand, Bible study last week was REALLY good and encouraging!! I felt a lot better about those relationships. On the other hand, that didn't lead to the leaps and bounds in close friendships like I was secretly hoping for, and that feels discouraging. Which I think is a problem with my own expectations. There was a geek themed party on Friday night we were invited to, so James went as greek and I went as Sikh (both of us playing on the theme). It was good fun at first, but as the night went on I felt a little on the outer. I felt I was outputting a lot of energy, but didn't feel much of a reciprocated input. Which, again, I'm new, I don't have a long-term-friendship-foundation with most of these people and they're still getting to know me. I understand. I get it. But I was still discouraged.

But then today, I feel fine about it all. My emotions are swinging a lot around that issue and again, I'm very sensitive to what's going on. People are very friendly at times, and then not friendly at other times. And it's hard when we're all in this same small town together. My work collegues are also my friends and there's no one else. We see each other 5 days a week and more when we all want to be social on the weekend (or have PDs scheduled). I'm still adjusting.

Finally, we moved some furniture around the room on Saturday. We also gave some of out junk "homes" around the unit. So now I feel that this space is more "ours" than it was before. We've taken some ownership over it and have made it a little into a home. And that feels good. The tv-table is now a desk, it's now in the corner and the lamps on it provide warm lighting for the lounge-area, instead of the cool, white down lights in the ceiling. Our fridge magnets cover the fridge, as do old letters, cards and wedding invitations that somehow didn't get packed in the removalist's truck. I covered a bedroom lamp with a patterned sarong we bought in Bali on our honeymoon last year, and that makes the room warm and orange. Dim lights are the go for me at the moment. But all of this helps me to feel more settled in this space. Even though I don't have all my STUFF, it feel like MY space, not just a hotel I'm staying at for 3 months. So yay for that. :)