Thursday, May 21, 2009
I'm housesitting, well actually dog-sitting, tonight for F/friends in Ahipara. They've gone down to Auckland to meet F/friends off a plane from the States, the first installment of another Quaker family coming to live in the area. Northwest YM will soon account for about half our Meeting here in the Far North!
When I told some of my colleagues where I was staying tonight I was met with horrified looks...
'But how are you going to get there?'
'Walk' I replied, somewhat bemused.
'Do you want a lift? I can take you?' (offering to drive in completely the opposite direction from home up a dead end road)
'No it's alright thanks, I'll be fine. I'm used to walking'
'Have you ever walked up Tasman Heights before?' (sounding totally disbelieving that I'd even consider it)
'No, but I've been up it, I know what it's like. My parents lived at the top of a hill like that for 20 years, I'll be fine!'
'Are you sure? You're crazy!'
Well, I accept it is a slightly longer road than Cooper Lane but I'm pretty sure it's no steeper and in any case it has flat bits part way. What's more I got a stunning view of the sun setting over the ocean on the way up!
It never ceases to amaze me why walking or cycling anywhere is considered to be such a strange idea by so many of my colleagues, most of whom head straight for the gym after work to spend an hour on an exercise bike doing 'spin' workouts etc. Personally I think they are the crazy ones...
oh dear, so much for more regular updates eh? Hmmm, now do I write blog posts like buses (nothing for ages then three come at once) or one long one? Well let's just see what happens...
The big thing that's happened for me since I last wrote I was my graduation! Unlike my degree in Newcastle-upon-Tyne where the graduation ceremony was only a few weeks after my last exam the graduation ceremonies here are months after completion. So whilst I finished my course at the end of November last year I only graduated on 6th May.
I'd been having a bit of a rough time at work for a few weeks and was beginning to question just how much I did know about what I was doing and how to reconcile what I was fairly sure I'd been taught with what I was expected to practice. I'm not good at debating things and as the new kid on the block and least experienced team member if things didn't feel right for some reason I wanted to go away and reflect on why it didn't and if possible talk it through with someone first before trying to go back and put my point across. I was also getting a bit fed up of being made to feel like I should've thought of something myself when I didn't even know it needed done or that I was expected to do it.
Just walking through the campus again and remembering what last year was like helped enormously - it reminded me that actually I did know a reasonable amount thank you very much. Whilst there was plenty that left me decidedly flummoxed at times the one subject I'd been really good at was personal pedagogy (style of teaching... well sort of) and so really I ought to quit worrying about the fact that my teaching style differed from most of my colleagues and believe in my A+ assignment instead!
Whilst I was away my team leader must have had a word with a few people and pointed out that I'd only done a 1yr very theoretical course not a 3yr centre based one like they had/were doing, plus it was my first job with toddlers and my first job in a day care (rather than kindergarten) setting, as I came back to some sincere apologies and a lot more support! I no longer seem to be expected to know how to deal with some of the more practical stuff without guidance which is a relief (those ear thermometers are just plain weird, toilet training techniques are still a steep learning curve for me and if we agree to do something in a team meeting we do it, right? Apparently not always....).
However graduation itself presented one of those moments when I was expected to know something I'd never even heard of... Gaudeamus? They don't teach that at Holmfirth High School and it certainly wasn't sung in Castle Leazes either! And then if that wasn't enough they had slightly different words to the Maori verse of the National Anthem which completely threw me as I thought I knew that one at least.... I got so stuck on the fact that one of the lines ended with 'Ao' when I was expecting 'ra' that I lost where we were up to 'cos I was so busy trying to work out if the rest of the words were the same as I expected. It was in a crap key anyway...
It was great to see some of my classmates and all the other friends I managed to catch up with whilst I was in Auckland (more about that another time methinks) but by the end of a week down there I was glad to get away from the big city and back to the clean air and quiet roads of home.