The little things

It’s the little things that have you realise that you might be becoming a teacher. For me, seeing a whiteboard eraser in our welcome satchels caught me out. We’ve even got pigeon holes in the rec room here – I don’t know if this is just because of being around school staff rooms as a kid, but nothing says teacher to me quite like a pigeon hole.

Enjoying the little things.

And the adventure truly begins…

Just pumping out a really quick post in between going from one place to another, but I thought I’d better mention that the intensive has started in earnest. We’ve been welcomed and introduced more times than previously thought possible, and cogitated over the mission and values of Teach for Australia until our collective brains hurt, but nevertheless it’s been an exciting couple of days.

A couple of thoughts that stood out already: a quote I’ll likely misquote and have also managed to forget the original owner of from Amartya Sen : “Freedom is the ability to choose a life one can reasonably find value in”. That’s the sentiment at least.

The second was from Martin Seligman, a very impressive man who seems to have fathered positive psychology – he was talking about what it means to flourish, and boiled it down to four pillars: Happiness or amount of pleasure, finding meaning, positive relationships and achievement or mastery. The idea being that if these four are aligned, one can be considered to be flourishing.

Off now – will correct later


As of almost exactly this moment, I’m (temporarily) unemployed.  It’s sinking in a bit that the bridge back to my IT career might not have been burned, but is certainly a lot more charred than it’s ever been. From here I’ve got two weeks off (and in a sweet coincidence, my wife has literally just finished her communication design degree), before the intensive starts, so for the first time since I was about 16, I don’t have a job, at least until the intensive starts – though that doesn’t really count, I’ll only really be entering the realm of the employed masses once Term starts in late Jan.

So this is another of the new beginnings. Each step along the way has added a healthy dose of anticipation, but with it a degree of nervousness and perhaps even a touch of fear. One thing’s for certain: it’s certainly an adventure ahead.

Door problems at Teach for Australia

Julia Gillard was once more promoting Teach for Australia in the media, this time on Lateline raising a concerning problem.

“They were literally having their doors beaten down by high-performing graduates who wanted to get on the program, and they had to turn people away.”

via Lateline – 11/11/2009: Gillard discusses education changes. (emphasis mine)

I must admit that in the visits I’ve made to the Teach for Australia offices I hadn’t noticed any damage to their doors: but I suppose it is the sort of thing you fix fairly quickly.

(I can’t stand the misuse of the word “literally” – maybe I should be shilling for an English class…. )

Kate Ellis on body image

I reckon when we’re at a point where young Australians are listing body image and self esteem as their number one concern in Mission Australia surveys, when we see dwindling confidence and self assurance from those who cannot possibly live up to the entirely unrealistic images that they are being bombarded with and aspire to replicate- then the time is probably long overdue for us to actually see some action.

via Moving past the blame game on body image | Article | The Punch.

Federal Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, has written an interesting article about body image, as part of the publicity tour for the recent proposed national strategy on body image. There’s some good recommendations in the report – though you can’t help feeling that the whole thing is a little bit wishy-washy. However, politics aside I was struck the with magnitude of the quote above: that the number one concern for young people would be body image and self-esteem. If that sort of research doesn’t have an impact on how you teach: I don’t know what would.

(More information about the proposed strategy on body image can be found at