Friday, July 31, 2009

Melbourne This 'n That

I have now finished up three weeks of my internship at Baden Powell College, Derrimut Heath campus. I am in one of the "prep" classes, which is equivalent to kindergarten back home. I am really enjoying my time at this school - the teachers and staff are all really friendly. The teacher I'm working with, C, is awesome. She's in her fifth or sixth year of teaching and she has some great ideas. I've been writing things down so that I can use them when I get my own classroom. I am also going to see if I can take some pictures of the classroom so that I can have a visual of some things, rather than writing them down.
In the schools here (or most of them it seems), they do team teaching. There is one big classroom and in it there are two classes and two teacher. Basically, the teachers take turns teaching things. Sometimes the teacher would teach both classes together, and sometimes they break off into groups (like for reading) and both teachers are required to teach their own group. I can see a benefit to team teaching, but at the same time there aspects I don't like - such has having to teach such a large class. When these two prep classes are together, there are 40 children to teach; that can be a little difficult, especially with the noise factor.
My professor was in this past Monday to do my first evaluation. I had only received his email saying he'd be in Monday morning (at 10:00am), on Friday evening. Not much time to prepare. I felt very unprepared for that class, but I managed to do well and get things printed out and photocopied on time. Apparently he had sent me an email earlier in the week but I hadn't received it. He'd sent one to Sarah as well and she never got it either. She only found out Sunday afternoon he'd be coming to observe her the next day as well, though I told her when mine was and that he wanted to visit both people at the school (though Sarah is at the other campus) on the same day. Poor Sarah though, she hadn't done any teaching to that point and Monday was her first day for that. I think she did well, though. My evaluation went well also, so that's good!
The last three weekends we've had some excursions. One Saturday the group of us from ABU were taken into the city for a little walking around, a visit to the Victoria Market (got several souvenirs there), and an Australian rules football game that evening. It was a great day, and even though we didn't understand (or know) most of the rules, we still enjoyed the football game (or footy as they call it).
One Monday evening, a couple of the younger teachers from Sarah's school took us to the movies. One of these girls is the daughter to one of the librarians at my school. These two girls, Sarah (the librarian's daughter) and Julie are really great. We went for supper after the movie and had lots of laughs.
Sarah (from Canada) and I went back to the Victorian market last Saturday again because there were some other things we wanted to get there. We were there only for a couple of hours, then went and got some supper (or, as they say in Australia, tea) and headed home. We feel pretty comfortable with taking the train into the city and home; we know which stops we need to get on/off at and we did great taking the tram from Flinder's Street Station to the market. We asked someone to make sure it went to the market, and once we knew it did, there were no problems. We got one back to the station afterwards without having to ask anyone.
On Sunday, a couple of ladies from the schools took us to Lygon Street for lunch. This is Melbourne's Little Italy section. It was really nice. The prices were high, but the food was good.
Yesterday our professor let us have the day off school and took us to the Dandenongs. It's a rain forest and has really big trees, great nature, etc. It was beautiful! We stopped at a restaurant (he made reservations) called the Cuckoo, which is Bavarian. The food (buffet style) was delicious and we all ate lots. There was also a floor show with music, singing, and laughter, which was great.
Today, the girls who took us to the movies the other week are going to take us to the zoo. I think it's the Melbourne Zoo that we are going to. There are a couple of others around here, and one is like a safari. We want to go to those ones as well, but not sure if that is today or we'll do it another day.
Well, I had better go get ready for the day's excursion. Hopefully my next post won't take as long to write!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Come From A Land Down Under

OK, I don't come from a land down under...but I am currently there! I made it safely to Australia, with uneventful flights. Well, most of the flights were uneventful. In Toronto, our bags were late getting to where they were supposed to be (we had an hour and twenty minutes until our flight to Los Angeles was supposed to leave), and as a result, we missed that flight. It wasn't our fault in the least. They told us we could have gone on and not receive our bags at our destination for three days, but we were told it would be better to get on the next flight. Thankfully it wouldn't involve us missing the flight in L.A. So, instead of a twelve hour wait time, we only had eight.

The five of us (Sarah, Caroline, Adam, Jonathan, and myself) met up with the rest of the crew later on. Our prof, Mr. T. (no, not that Mr. T.) was the first one we met up with. He had been there a couple of hours before we were, and the other three (Maria, Ashley, and Jock) came along an hour and a half (roughly) before our flight was to leave.

The flight to Melbourne was sixteen hours, and that included a stopover, to refuel and change the crew, in Sydney. When we got to Melbourne, our host families were waiting for us. The mom of the house where I'm staying (she has three kids in their twenties) and the principal of the two campuses of the school where Sarah and I teach, were there, and they also picked Sarah up and dropped her off where she is to stay.

The family I'm staying with all seem nice (though I've yet to meet one of their daughters because she's in America right now). Maree had errands and whatnot to do (something every day), and took me along with her. This allowed me to see some of the area where I'm staying. I've not been to Melbourne yet, but Caroline, Sarah, and I are supposed to head in to the aquarium tomorrow (Sunday).

The weather, for the most part, has been quite cool, and I've been cold at night. Thankfully the blankets are nice and warm. The main part of the house has the heat on, so that's nice and toasty, but my room is in the old part and doesn't get much heat. Right now, I feel like I should have some mittens on because my hands are freezing! I guess that's what you get for coming in winter, LOL.

School starts on Monday, and I'm quite looking forward to it - though to be honest, I am a little nervous. Maree went to the school on Friday to look for something and I tagged along. I got to see the library (she's a librarian/teacher) and meet some of the people who work at the school. After that, she took me to the teacher's lounge and I met a few more of the teachers and the vice principal (I think that's who she was...she's definitely someone in charge though). The teacher I'll be with wasn't there, so I couldn't meet her or see the classroom where I'll be teaching.

Well, this post is quite long. I'll try to update soon - maybe after tomorrow's excursion to Melbourne. Sarah and I've decided that even if Caroline changes her mind, we're still going there tomorrow. Please pray for Sarah as she's come down with a bad cold already.

Have a blessed Christ-filled day!

Friday, July 03, 2009

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 40

Once again, it's time for 7 Quick Takes, hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary. Here is my installment this week:

1. The time for heading off to Australia is drawing closer - only three more days! I haven't started packing yet. I know, I shouldn't procrastinate. However, I am a last minute packer and I am wearing clothes and using items that I'll need to take anyway, so they can't be packed. I need to do some laundry tonight, also. I've been doing some shopping lately as well, as there were things I needed to pick up. Another reason for not packing is that I am afraid of getting everything packed up and then freaking out because I might have forgotten something, and then having to unpack (or root around) and pack up again to check. I will say this, though...I do have a list made up of things to take.

2. I have no idea what I did, but today my back started acting up (lower back near the top of my butt - I know, T.M.I...). It's not hurting, thankfully, but it does feel lame and stiff. I took some Robaxacet about four hours ago, and in another couple of hours I can take some more. I had a nap this afternoon, about the time I took the pills, and when I woke up my back felt stiff.

This is quite similar to what happened last year just before I left for Korea. The only difference was that I had muscle spasms last year and was in a lot of pain. The 16 hour trip (that's the two flights, not including waiting time at the airports), plus the 2-3 hours on a bus afterwards, didn't do anything to help my back then.

Please pray that my back gets better, and that I don't end up pulling something and/or having muscle spasms. I don't want this trip to be spent in pain like last year!

3. We had quite a downpour today. We've gotten a little too much rain for my liking lately, but there's nothing I can do about that. Anyway, we also had a little thunder storm this afternoon. I HATE thunder storms. Thankfully, this one wasn't too bad; however, at one point there was one really loud clap of thunder and flash of lightning - I think something got hit (hopefully just a tree or something like that).

4. My friend, F, can use your prayers. I hope she doesn't mind my asking on her behalf. I won't mention what her situation is, but the Lord knows just what she needs.

5. Yesterday would have been my parents' 49th wedding anniversary. Dad died 10 months ago. I think my mom handled things pretty well - she's strong and showed no signs of being upset. She's more like me though, in that she waits until she's alone to show her emotions (i.e. crying). When I was around, she didn't look as though she'd been crying or anything. I'm sure she was very much aware of the day and that it was the first anniversary since Dad died.

6. As of yesterday, my prof was still waiting for my police check. I had it done last Friday and they wouldn't let me fax it to him (he had asked me to do that). It had to be sent out in the mail, and I was told it would take about a week. A friend of mine said when he had one done it only took a couple of days. But, since there was a holiday here on Wednesday (Canada Day), that might have affected things. Hopefully he got it today. I should check my email to see if there is anything from him with regard to the police check. He didn't call me today, so hopefully that's a good sign! OK, I just checked - nothing from my prof.

7. I am now addicted to Farm Town on Facebook...I thought I'd check it out since my cousin kept sending invites and whatnot for it. I wanted to see what it was about. Big mistake. I am enjoying the game though. Unfortunately, when I am doing my travelling to the Land of Oz, I'll probably loose my crops. Oh well. C'est la vie!

Anyway, that's about it for now. If you are here from 7 Quick Takes (and anyone else), I hope you'll leave a comment so I can visit your blog, too!

Have a blessed and Christ-filled day!