Teaching myth #1: teachers are lazy because they get massive holidays (at least, compared to the 4 weeks of annual leave that most workers in Australia get). This myth is perpetuated because it’s half-true (yes, we do get a relatively large amount of leave – roughly 11 weeks of breaks between school terms), but it’s not true. Teachers who are idle during their school holidays are the exception, not the rule. Case in point: here I am in the middle of summer, setting up my new workspace during the holidays.
Okay, I’ll admit that (especially given the new step-up in responsibility involved in my new role) it would have been plain foolish to not come in during the holidays to bring in all my resources and arrange my desk before the school term begins officially. Here’s how it looks at the moment.
It’s pretty bare right now, but that’s because term hasn’t begun yet. Just wait… the chaos is coming.
The staffroom I’m working in is quite different to the one at my previous school. It’s a combined staffroom, housing 4 faculties (Science, Technology, Creative & Performing Arts, Mathematics) and 67 staff. It’s not the first time I’ve experienced this kind of arrangement – Fort Street High School (where I did a practicum and subsequently had my first full-time job) also has combined staffrooms – but the scale of this one is still something to behold.
Click the photo above for a bigger version. This image is a pair of panoramas combined together, but the stitching in the middle isn’t perfect. It’s still good enough to get a sense of the working environment, though.
I have always loved to write. Since a young age, I have always owned little notebooks where I scrawled down thoughts and ideas. During high school, I always enjoyed creative writing and subjected myself to the vagueness of English Extension 1 (to me, anyway) so that I could enrol in English Extension 2 and create a major work. It was at uni that I discovered the joy of writing for its own sake – writing because I wanted to, not because I had to in connection with some external assessment or other requirement. Writing because it was a useful way to form, develop and retain thoughts. I started a blog, made methodical notes on anything I wanted to really learn, and engaged in all kinds of other writing to keep my brain going.
In the last 15 years, I’ve created and killed countless writing projects. It’s been a while since I started a new one – so, why a new blog in 2014? It’s a paradox, really. This year, I’ll be undergoing the biggest professional change since I started full-time work. I’ll be in a new role at a new school and the learning curve will be very steep, particularly in the first 12-18 months. That makes it both the best and worst time to start a writing project like this. It’s the worst time because I’ll have the least time to commit to it; it’s the best time because a time like this, when I am going to be going through a lot of new experiences and forming new working principles, is precisely when writing is most beneficial.
So here goes nothing. Let’s see how long it lasts. I hope to learn lots as I write here – and maybe even you will too.