What Works For Me in 2013

P1060860I guess it is hard for anyone to predict what will happen in 2013 but given the events of 2012 I think I can make some educated guesses!

This blog just fell over.  It wasn’t because things weren’t working for me.  It was more because too many things were working well for me at times.  That situation hasn’t changed – there are many good things happening still!

I think I still have something to offer the blog world, perhaps even to more people than the 5 people who commented in 2012 (mortified blush).  So with all the New Year musings I’ve decided to give it anoehr red hot go.

So what are the good things?

I have a shiny new job for 2013!  It started as 1 day of supply teaching in term 3, then became four weeks at the end of term 3, then became term 4 and then best of all, a contract for 2013.  I’m in the state education system, somewhere I never dreamed I’d find myself, and loving every minute of it.  There are two reasons for this.  Firstly I’m a bit older and more able to stand back and see the “big picture.”  So when a child tries to kick the computer room door in (for example) or a parent gets really cranky about something, I know that it isn’t directed at me and it isn’t “my problem” in the end. Secondly, I’ve had a lot of time away from full time teaching, done lots of different things so that now I am more certain than ever in my life that this is what i am meant to be doing.  Some time away really shows you what you appreciate.

We also have a shiny new dog!  Our much loved Vera died suddenly on October 21 last year and even though we had only been her official owners since January 2011 we were all devastated.  Much to my surprise Anthony started researching “blue cattle dogs” almost immediately and 4 weeks ago came home with “Bronco” who we are all besotted with.  After several weeks of always having someone at home with him, our new little mate has to learn about staying home on his own bit by bit beginning tomorrow.  He starts Puppy preschool next Tuesday and after his 16 week needles will be able to go out in public.

Lots of other good things continue to happen – I’m still knitting, reading and always learning. I look forward to sharing more of “what works” with you in 2013.

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What Works For Me 66/365 Making Lemonade

The quote below borrowed from Facebook sums the last couple of weeks up pretty well.

You know how you can be terminated at any time during your first six months probation period without any reason being given?  That happened to me about ten days ago.

There was a charade of having a “meeting” and discussing reasons but until that day I had never heard of anyone being terminated because the father of a child in their care couldn’t find child’s shoes that were right outside the door (in the right place) and the mother got mad.  There were other “reasons” but they were just as trivial as that one so I won’t waste any more blog space on them.  So in the course of three days I had my employment terminated, I had to go back on the following day and pack up all my gear which totally filled my car and then return again the next day for a farewell morning tea – another charade of sorts carefully engineered to be held when as few people as possible would hear about it in time and scheduled for a time when the majority of parents would not be able to attend.

This will sound bitter and it probably is but don’t let anyone tell you that childcare in Queensland is about the best interests of children and parents.  It is all about the bottom line.  It is a way of companies making maximum money by paying the lowest possible wages – even lower than the award in many cases – and employing down trodden workers who are too scared to speak up about their rights or the way they are treated.  If they do speak up and question things (like how one centre could cut a person’s pay to $3 less per hour than they were getting for doing the exact same job in another location) they run the risk of bullying and reprisals.  There is a union for child care workers but they don’t join for fear of “upsetting” their directors.  It’s a shame because the “Big Steps” campaign is growing momentum throughout the country but if child care workers are too scared to be in unions how can it succeed.

I had an awesome 9 months being a Kindergarten teacher and I don’t regret my time spent with my beautiful preschoolers for one instant – it was so much fun!  At school, one starts with a list of things that have to get done in the day.  In early childhood I started with a list of things that might happen and then sat back to see how the day unfolded.  It was challenging and exciting to see where the children’s learning led us.  We sang and read stories every day.  I not only taught songs and rhymes to my preschoolers but to many other staff as well.  The other staff knew I was a good source for good books to read and ideas they might not have thought of.  We started a garden after being directed to by management and then with no other support apart from parents it flourished with carrots, snow peas and rocket growing everywhere.  I saw most parents on most days and so knew that we were delivering a program that fitted with the needs and interest of families.

My practice has been greatly enriched by contact and support from children and parent of many different nationalities.  I learned even more of what it means to “fly by the seat of your pants” as a teacher and was exhilarated by it.  Last but not least, I had the joy of working with a dedicated, loyal assistant who was blooming as an educator before our eyes.  I won’t keep going because it’s still a bit “raw” except to say that I will never work in child care again.

I want to be an Early Childhood teacher but I will only contemplate doing it in a school setting where my work is valued.  So for now it is back to supply work, continuing to sell Avon and looking for some students to tutor.

In the spirit of “what works for me” there have been some things that have worked in past week or so.

  • Getting out of bed.  It would have been much easier to just stay there on many days but after working so hard for the past 6 months I didn’t want to lose momentum.
  • Having a to-do list.  It is a massive one but it gives me a starting point when I literally can’t decide what to do next.
  • Getting out of the house.  Rather than move from the bed to the recliner, I’ve been out somewhere everyday – to the shops, to Church, to knitting or to drop off and pick up Avon brochures and orders.  And I’ve been talking to people, not necessarily about my employment situation, just about whatever is important.
  • Having something to look forward to.  A few months ago we had a kitchen flood (burst pipe under dishwasher) and lost SEVEN appliances including and slow cooker and rice cooker.  We were given a hefty store credit to replace them and it became even heftier when we found we were getting the goods for cost price.  Seven new appliances were delivered on Tuesday and I’ve done a lot of playing since then.  Lots of fodder for more “What Works For Me” posts there.

So if you see me out in the street and we talk about my job I will still look a bit sad but there’s nothing I can do about it (or indeed could have done) so my focus is on moving on.  Might make it into the Rio Olympics in weightlifting.


What Works For Me 35/365 Lots and Lots of Little Things

I started a shiny new job this week and it has a been a BIG week.  Five days of work with a late finish 6:15pm followed by an early start 6:45am, lots of extras being done at night and then a two day Regional Championships Little Athletics Carnival over the weekend.  I am the Records officer for our centre so I was a recording for the region over the two days with an early reprieve today so that I could take Eric to altar boy training – more on that to come!

While I sat between events yesterday, I had my basket of work stuff with me so I happily cut out lots and lots of letters for all the signage in my new room.  In fact, had I not been at the carnival I doubt I would have sat still long enough to get them all done.

It has been a week of “lots and lots.”

Lots and lots of:

sweat – it has been very humid!

work – but it is a lot of fun to work in such a happy, supportive environment

talking – to little people, big people and my new colleagues as we negotiate and celebrate how we are all going to co-exist

singing – Did you know that you can get pre-schoolers to do almost anything if it has a song attached to it?

research – Google and Pinterest are my friends (and my vices)

smiles – because I am so happy to be doing what I love once again!


What Works For Me 23/365 Getting my hands dirty

Despite a bit of chaos with new staff and children transitioning to different rooms there were many things that worked for me today on my first day back at work as an Early Childhood Teacher.

I’ve got green paint stuck around my fingernails.

Looking for resources to put out for children was like going through my own personal toy library – amazing gear!

I had cuddles from many little people and even some of the older siblings!

I learned all sorts of things about how a Centre can be run differently and was greeted and welcomed by every member of staff I encountered and there were many!

So glad to be getting my hands dirty again!


What Works For Me 21/365 Getting My Ducks In A Row

Yesterday was the day to get my act together for the week ahead.  I planned meals, wrote a shopping list, did a small grocery shop with boys and  organised clothes.  I did a green chicken curry last night so there was a serve of that left over for one of my lunches and I snagged a couple of spare buttermilk and blueberry pancakes from this morning.  I have few different things to help with scheduling.  On my computer I use iCalendar with colour coded events for every member of the family, meals and Little Athletics.  I print this out and put it up in the kitchen each week.  Because all my technology doesn’t link up I use a paper diary as well and I put some things on my phone if I am on the run.  I think the iCalendar printout is the most useful thing from a family perspective because they are looking at it and seeing what is happening.  It will be even better when I get my little kitchen notice board tidied up but it is all a work in progress.


Getting Things Sorted on the Home Front

It has certainly taken a while but we’re beginning to get things on an even keel here at home too.  I’m getting back into following regular routines especially getting the clothes organised the night before and making lists, lots of lists.

The temptation when I get home and I am tired is to sit in front of the computer and while away the time but since I acquired my new phone (Samsung Galaxy Android) I’m beginning to use more and more apps for organising and I’m tweaking it all into a system that work for me.  I’ll share more about the apps I am using a bit further down the track when I have really got a good system going.  But just as a taster, the Alarm Clock Plus and Drinking Water apps are some of my favourites so far.  I can’t get the Weight Watchers App because I have an android phone but I have been shown one that is just as good.  I’m tracking in e-tools for now and I have a lot of information stored so I don’t know if I will change or not.

Getting up early is really important so I can get a good head start on the day before my usual shift time begins (8:15am) and it follows that going to bed early is very much needed too.  I’m sleeping better than I have in years thanks to the increased physical work (and I am getting faster at putting away 24 beds after rest time while doing crowd control at the same time.)

I have to admit to being a bit apprehensive about the Christmas holidays when I will be working right through apart from school holidays.  There will be less children  but I imagine I will still be doing the same hours so Christmas itself is going to be quite an organizational feat.  Perhaps I should make a plan this week.  Thanks to book club at work I already have two of the boys’ presents on the way.