Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mentoring 101

After taking a break from blogging whilst exploring a few other social media forums ....
I'm back!

I am still enjoying teaching with its various challenges and this year I am going to be learning about what it means to mentor a Teach For Australia associate.

Its already been a steep learning curve - but I hope that it will be a rewarding year ahead for both of us! So its been a bit of a quick transition from the banana lounge that was my summer break into the whirl of school bells and classroom chatter!


Friday, December 27, 2013

It's the end of the year as we know it!

2013 went by like a whirling dervish in my household! The New Zealander's have a turn of phrase for the kind of busyness I am talking about. They would say;  'busy as'. 

I was back in the classroom this year after some time away and was on a steep learning curve. Some of which involved the ins and outs of operating a Smartboard and realising it is just a tool, nothing really changes quickly in education and good teaching practice remains exactly that ...good teaching practice with or without the smart board. However, at 8.35am and with little time and a lack of recently developed resources I did turn to the Smartboard as a great opportunity to load up something controversial, interesting or inspiring...and I managed all 3 of these things at least once over the year...Anyway I felt really rusty back in the classroom and hope the New Year can bring about a more consistent sense of direction for me and the students - as it was, it all ended well enough and I can highly recommend Prezi as great educational software - still learning how to drive it but loved what it did to my 'boring as' poetry lessons!

Meanwhile my adult classes at the 'Victoria Park Centre for the Arts - spare wall print makers group" have been ticking along really successfully. I held four 6 week printmaking courses over the year, in lino - and more recently - mono printing techniques. We had a lot of fun with a great mix of people who turned up and put their creativity on the line! 

Here are a few examples of my recent printmaking efforts.   

This is one of my recent hand coloured lino prints.
'Bush Banksia's'  

I've had fun colouring the black and white print and also using it in a cropped down form for a few hand printed cards as the prints show below:  
Lino print overlayed onto a multi coloured mono print on paper. 

And this card again used the same lino plate of the bush banksia's  - a smaller detail section only and over printed it onto a mono print paper.

So as you can see - some great fun effects have happened by experimenting with mixed media, lino plate print methods and just a touch of some digital photography cropping and 'whizz bangery'.

All the best for 2014... 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

After time away....Jacsbac!

The year has flown by but today I am starting back on my blogging effort - I hope to keep a more up-to-date profile of what I have been doing on this site - although it has been a hectic 2013 with returning to secondary teaching, making time for me to use and enjoy the studio & my printmaking projects - well, excuses I know....but it has put quite a toll on my free time.

Image below shows some of my pen and ink drawings of  some banksia flowers and a lino printing plate I am currently working on - great to have the space to do some art again! now I just need to get my 'headspace' sorted!

My completed studies have helped me free up some 'headspace' this year after finishing the Masters of Ed course and a real surprise, I was awarded the John Lake Medal for Excellence, 2013, Curtin University.

I am very , very you can see! Thank you Curtin Uni, family and friends for help and advice over the course of the study and research. The award was a great way for me to say hmmm perhaps a doctorate next? ...never!   

My new challenge this year has been creating a positive and welcoming classroom whilst teaching at a new school with some pretty tough groups of kids! So that has taken up most of my time so far in 2013.

I hope to get back to some slightly more regular postings of my reflections and thoughts on music, travels and art soon!

How is your 2013 going?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

spring has sprung - art and music news

Spring time in the studio - with some art works started  - I am looking forward to getting into a bit more painting as the study eases up. In particular some of the drawings of the bush scapes, trees that I started on the trip inland to the salmon gum area of WA, with the Great Western woodlands group. 

study of trees with morning colours of the salt lake in back ground

Music news - Lammas Tide - who I have blogged about before have there new single launch at the Rosemount Hotel on the 9th September  - Partridge Farm! the video clip has been locally made by a friend's son and his mate who are on their gap year. Lead singer, Em, keeps and interesting blog on tumblr and runs an awesome music teaching business  - Rock Scholars.

Hope to see some faces that I know at Rosemount Hotel on the 9th  

'Daisy' at Botanic Gardens Sydney 2012 

I will be the one on the dance floor  - having a psychedelic folk rock jig or two!  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Post-thesis break!

Yes, I have completed the thesis part of my Masters in Education - whew!
Really pleased that the results from the examiner panel has meant that I don't have to revisit it again -so in keeping with the theme of not revisiting things I decided on a holiday to Sydney to celebrate!

We found a cool house in Balmain -really great architect designed place - we are loving it!

The house was in Balmain (near Darling Street see above pic) - very handy to two ferries to Circular Quay, buses and the place was full of local dress and gift shops, bakeries, bars and restaurants - fantastic!
However, the surrounding street and laneway near the house was noisy and a bus stop was just out the front of the place so I was told that in the front rooms ear plugs were needed!

Great weather, very easy to get around - considering we travelled on public transport for most of the time and were a party of 7 - we found it not too difficult to get out and about every day.
We also saw some fantastic public art too.

This installation in a CBD laneway in Sydney is called "Birdsong"  and as you walk underneath the suspended cages a recording of an endangered bird are played......just so inspiring!

After  10 days in Balmain and the central Sydney area, our USA friends left us for home and we continued on to Manly to visit friends there. It was, yet again, great weather and we enjoyed several coastal walks which included great coffee stops midway. One walk featured some some really interesting sculptural art.

It was a great holiday in Sydney - made all the better by sharing it with some local friends and our USA ones too. I would recommend it! 



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Masters Dissertation has been handed to the examiner panel......

What an experience this has been  -  the process from the idea to the establishment of a study and then the writing up of an original research project! Well, it has been nothing short of a supreme challenge.

I think I understand why people climb mountains now .....perhaps even why Bear Grylls is driven to survive when faced with inhospitable and hostile environments. ......and why he can only do so with a vast, talented and patient support crew....and studying at this level is a bit the same - it an only be survived with a vast and supportive loving support crew! So thank you to mine, you are all so very, very loved and appreciated. Also thanks to the teachers and the school for their participation in the study - without which there would be nothing to say. It has been very special to sit and reflect with the teachers who shared of their time so generously and honestly. As the saying goes -'if you want something done -ask a busy person!'.

Sadly, for me I continue to find the experience of isolated writing just too much. I hate the isolation that was my current experience of  post grad study in education - the not talking through ideas, sharing viewpoints and coming to agreements and understandings about the new the unexpected, the contested and just occasionally .....the extraordinary. Next time I will know what questions to ask a lot earlier and how to structure and find supportive 'sounding boards' into the process a lot more - however, it has been about my learning too, so it is good that I understand these things now.


 Anyway.......the next step in the process is to pass the dissertation, and complete two professional studies units and then I can graduate.....wee-hoo! Meanwhile I continue to look at what teachers do and the good ones remain inspirational to me and the poor ones are thankfully still there at least and probably doing only what they know how ....with increased time and proper funding and some support from mentors in schools they have could have an opportunity to become better teachers. No teacher starts out wanting to be bad at what they do ....that is just silly.  

Removing the entire responsibility for teacher training from those who don't teach/ can't teach in schools,  would be a good place to start professional reforms.  I remember reading a book on teaching strategic  reading by Jeffrey Wilhelm - a professor from the University of Maine, USA  who still taught at the local high school a few classes a week. I thought then what a great thing for him to do - how revolutionary is that professor! To continue to work in a school with the very students he was teaching others to teach and read... he was walking the talk. Systems that remove the professional reformers from the very place they are trying to improve I have decided are not so helpful.

I hope I can make a difference to our current school system without ever losing touch with what a school currently has to do and what it feels like for our teachers who continue to do fantastic work at times, working within the constraints than are so limiting.

Finally a podcast treat about the Finnish Education system that exposes some of the gaps and gaping silences is our current schooling system in Australia! 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Dancing into summer

Not much art and very little travel to write up on my blog lately - with my thesis study deadline looming -  often my only release is some foot stomping - so it is thanks to a friend who is also musically inclined towards diverse tastes and tribes of all things musical that I have an awesome YouTube video to share from the Black Keys.  It is currently re-looped onto my study break music tracks.

I also have a recommended CD from ABC music critic Tim Ritchie, Clairy Browne and the Banging Rockettes. My Baby Caught a Bus - is quite a boppy track - but really,  I love her voice and hope to hear more from her / them soon. They are a Melbourne nine piece - with a big sound - just what I like - a bit less hip hop than my current favourite Brow Horn Orchestra - the Perth band with brass and hip hop roots.

The Lammas Tide at Ya-Yas was a great night out recently (see last blog)  the venue has been repainted - also thanks for the 80s disco theme after midnight, I much appreciated the opportunity to dance oh-oh-oh   dance,  oh- oh-oh boogie wonderland etc. and I had the original moves still!
I thought two names to keep an eye out for were Lammas Tides support bands - in particular; Nosey Parker and Deep River Collective.

OK - end of my music break  - back to the books!