Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just hanging in there

Hello my faithful little band of red dots on my cluster map. Who are you? Do you just drop into my blog for an instant? Do you actually read it? I read recently that blogging is a narcassistic activity. I have to confess (don't tell anyone) that I actually prefer writing in my blog than reading other people's !! but I do read other people's blogs, I really do. Sometimes they are very informative, instructional all that sort of thing.

Well, we are in the least bearable time of the year for a high school teacher in the southern hemisphere - end of semester assessment, exams and reports. You have to take the piecemeal approach and nibble away at it, bit by bit. that's my approach. Been doin it for 20 years and it seems to work.

You know we are all heroes, plugging away at our lives in little corners tucked away out of notice, unheralded but satisfied that we're still at it. I'm actually echoing some sentiments expressed by Melbourne journo Catherine Deveny in the Age newspaper this week. I'll quote her for a bit:

I watch office workers, jolted out of their slumber by the alarm clock, who have shovelled in their breakfast, thrown on their clothes and rush to catch the train to a job they hate. I say good morning to elderly neighbours who gingerly walk around the block trying to get their creaky bones and foggy heads working after a night of constant pain and little sleep. I wave to the woman from down the road who has lost her mother after a long fight with cancer. She is shrouded in grief, yet she gets her kids up and dressed, the lunches made and has, against all odds, got the kids to school on time again. And I cheer my mate, overwhelmed by anxiety and depression who runs, every morning. He forces himself out of bed when what he wants is to pull the doona over his head and disappear. Where's his medal? Where are all of their medals?

1."Every day the sun will rise. It is a different day with endless possibilities."
2. "This too will pass. These words, engraved on an ancient Sultan's ring, made him solemn in happy times and happy during sad times. Remember these always."

You are amazing. You're doing a great job. Just. Keep. Going.

I love Catherine Deveny, she can be so irreverent and cheeky but here she is getting to the heart of pathos - and she's talking about us - all of us. But especially those of us who are doing it hard - from the victims of unspeakable disasters in China and Burma to the lady across the road who is old and bed ridden and no hope of getting any better but who still manages a smile and a joke on the too few occasions I go over to visit her.I wish my dad was still alive - he would have loved this blogging business. Maybe I can send a message to him and he will pick it up in the ether somewhere out there. Hi dad - look at this, you can do it too - maybe post some excerpts of that latest piece of writing you were thinking about when you so unexpectedly left us. Your writing will be immediately accessible and available to an unlimited audience.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Turkish Memories

The slideshow below shows some snippets from our Turkish holiday - taken last year. Seems a lifetime ago. We started off in Istanbul and made our way down the west coast - Cannakale, Troy, Avyalik, Foca, Izmir - here we researched and discovered the location of the village where my husband's family came from - Kouklouja - now called something else. His family were Greeks who made a forced exodus in the 1920's, lived in Egypt for 30 years and came to Melbourne in the 1950's.
We loved Turkey, the ruins at Ephesus are amazing, the seaside town of Cesme, enchanting.People everywhere were helpful and hospitable. For 3 out of the 5 weeks my Kurdish / Turkish sister-in-law travelled with us. She was doing field work on a PHD and visiting a sick nephew and it was a wonderful coincidence that she was there at the same time as us. Of course she was a marvellous interpreter, especially when we visited old Koulouja and she was able to explain to the locals who we were.

Check out my Slide Show!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bloggers Feast Melbourne, May 15th

Listen to a fascinating podcast made at the bloggers Feast last week. I was somewhat of an interloper but Sue persuaded me to come and it was interesting and fun to meet all these nice folk who are very savvy bloggers and technology in education innovators. Very inspiring for an old teach like me who needs something to keep me going.

My voki has a plum in her mouth

Do you think she looks like me? She doesn't sound like me though. I could have recorded my own voice but I was working (playing) on our old home computer and the microphone doesn't seem to work. She's really to accompany my class blog but I added her here because I could.
Update - I've recorded my own voice now - just my unplummy aussi accent!

Get a Voki now!

Friday, May 16, 2008

To blog or not to blog?

Do people blog to escape the reality of an unhappy environment? Do they feel the people in their accessible vicinity have no interest in what they have to say? Or does the blogger have no interest in communicating to them? a bit of both perhaps. A lot of blogs are highly informative and instructional and a marvellous opportunity for us to extend our immediate horizons. Of course we could do this by reading - books, journals, newspapers etc. But this does not have the dynamic quality of following an evolving thought process. and the reader can interact with the writer - possibly - more easily than with some far away author.
As a means of communication amongst educators it has become a valuable tool to spread helpful and innovative teaching ideas - particularly related to the use of technology in the classroom.
This electronic and borderless (unless you live under a military dictatorship) means of communication is a unique means of finding out about the lives of far away people in exotic cultures. Remember The Bagdad Blog by "Salem Pax" as he waited for the US reign of terror invasion? He was lucky not to have his blog intercepted.
I suppose if you have relatives living overseas, or if you are travelling yourself, you can post pictures and written accounts that your friends and rellies can read. I am hopeful to start my students blogging sometime soon. I'm sure they will find it exciting and motivating.
So, I suppose there's lots of good reasons why people blog.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Link to my first podcast

Link to my first podcast
My friend Sue wrote up our podcast and provided a link which I haven't worked out how to do yet -so here's her blog address and find the post called My very first podcast. I must learn to do these links.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Very fun and interesting Skype conversation with Kevin in USA on - Are teachers qualified to teach students of the future. Sue had been communicating with this guy for a on a ustream and he wanted to have a chat with us and another American non teacher - Colby. Amazing to have this direct 4-way chat about important aspects of education - eg US obsession with testing - creating a compliant, obedient society etc. Sue's gradually convincing me this can be a very neat way to engage in discussions.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Naomi Klein and John Cusack

check out the above video link to a most interesting interview of authorNaomi klein with actor / director, John Cusack.

Been reading the Shock Doctrine and it's disturbing but important stuff that we always half knew but here it is all documeted and meticulously researched. and her chapters on Iraq, well. If Barack Obama doesn't agree with his vicar's views - he should! see also -