New blog

I’m starting a new blog. It’s going to be far less personal, more thought-based/intellectual (for lack of a better word). I’m going to write about the books that I read as a way to stay engaged with the kind of thinking I have most definitely switched off from since departing university.

If you’re interested, click here. I’m not liable to return to this blog too soon – though if I find myself wanting to express myself along the lines of anything that I’ve previously used this blog for, I may well coming back here now and then.

But, for my immediate future, this new blog will be my focus. Hope to see you there!


2012 in Review

This year has been an interesting year for me. There have been a few ups and a few downs. While I finish it feeling as though it has been worse than better, I also am of the belief that that’s just something I’m telling myself.

Starting with the most dominant thing in my life (such is the life that I lead): Work. I have continued at the school I find myself teaching in – though moved to a different faculty. First, some back story: Last year I began as a temporary English teacher at my school, and then interviewed for a permanent position that opened up in the History faculty. I was successful in that interview and, at the beginning of this year, I was moved over to the History faculty (and retained only my English year 12 class).

This faculty is, in a sense, much more dysfunctional than any I have found myself in. The politicking in there is toxic and infuriating. On a number of occasions I have had verbal altercations with persons I have to work with. I have, towards the end of the year, made a concerted effort to avoid these. I have been pretty successful at this. However, I cannot help but always feel on the edge of having another one.

Pure laziness is the main contributing factor to my frustration and anger. But also pure ignorance is another. I know that I am a contributing factor to any argument, but I know that I don’t go looking for these run-ins.

Anyway, my head teacher is all but retired and a temporary head teacher was required. I loathe the person who always gets the position and was hoping that  anyone else would get it. Unfortunately, such is the make-up of the faculty, no one else applied. I decided I might as well apply so that, at the least, the person who would get it would have to earn it. Although I acquitted myself well in the interview (I was told do by the interviewing deputy principal and then then principal), I was unsuccessful (no surprise). But so much has the person who got the position (for four weeks) upset the executive in the school that I was told that I would be getting some of the roles of the head teacher to give me experience so that (in the words of the principal) “When the job comes up for interview again, you will be in a much better position to get the job.” So, these holidays, I am working hard in an effort to get the next relieving head teachers position that will be coming up in 2013.

Through the year, my year 12s finished high school. I enjoyed taking them through. A lot of the results that came in surprised me for the good. There were some rather high scores, with one of the students in the class equalling the top Standard English score in the school (despite my class being streamed quite low). I think this will have been the last English class I teach though, at least at this school.

I taught all other history classes this year gone and only history in the coming year. I am enjoying it as I am much more adept at talking about history, planning and programming for it, and find it easier to learn myself. I am learning much (both content and pedagogy) as I teach history too, which is something I enjoy as well.

The other pressing thing in my life: My significant other. Last year I wrote something along the lines that I was in the early stages of courting a woman. I would have been going out with her for a short 3 weeks this time last year. We are still together, ticking up a year in early December.

We went to Hong Kong earlier in the year. This was a valuable learning experience as much as it was anything else. This being my first significant relationship (certainly the longest, by far, as well), I feel as though I am lost in the dark some times. Though, she is a very patient woman and tolerates all of my quicks and mishaps.

With all that being said, her grandmother is pressuring me into marrying her. While it began as an innocent joke of sorts, it has become more serious. I have my own benchmarks for when that will happen (as opposed to if), and as soon as they are fulfilled then I/we can move forward with it. It may well be that this time next year I’m writing something about that. It all depends on pieces falling into the right places.

I have returned to my film-watching ways this year too. I saw a number of very good movies through the year – at the cinema and elsewhere. That said, the next six months of movies are going to be amazing too. I have found a bit of an escape in movies again, much like they were when I was going through university. If I return to this blog on any serious basis (which is becoming likely for 2013 as I am in the process of abandoning a very time-strenuous hobby at the moment), it will be to deal with films for the most part I suspect.

The more as time goes on, the more useless I find Facebook other than for sharing photos and the very occasional communication with people. If I am brave enough, I will be all but removed from it next year. Twitter I find much more useful, but only to a degree. It allows me to communicate in pointed remarks, but lacks any substantive discussions that I have always wanted. Whether this is a good thing or not I’m not sure.

A year and a half ago, I ran for the committee for my golf club. I won a spot and have been working hard with the various things going on there. I was recently elevated to the position of vice president, with the idea that 2014 I will run as president. I am finding this is a good experience for me as I am learning a lot of things I am able to apply to the other facets of my life. I am also enjoy it because it keeps alive a link to the past that I’m not yet ready to cut.

Cricket is on at the moment, and I’m enjoying it. Not because there is anything spectacular, but because we are watching a very interesting phase in Australian cricket. The next ‘generation’ is coming through the ranks now and it is exciting to see the seeds get sewn for this cricket farmer.

US politics – I was as interested this year, but had little to say. Everything was self-evident in my opinion. Romney was never really under threat, Obama was going to win, and nothing was going to change the landscape – not in any significant degree. The recent shooting, while tragic, will accomplish little in the long term in America. Same with the fiscal discussion. Same with the recent election.

Australia politics … well, I’ve cut myself off from it due to sheer frustration. Going from a die-hard Rudd supporting (judge me on that for what it’s worth), I now can only stand the ALP slightly more that the Liberals (who I loathe). I find the whole spectacle just insulting to the country.

Things may well come to mind that I have forgotten, but that is largely what is on my mind right now. Hopefully other things to pop up so that I can write some sort of commentary about it and get back into substantive writing.



If the world doesn’t end in a few days, I think I might come back to write a thing or two through the school holidays. I have some ideas on what I want t write about, but am looking for time.

The year in review

Well, this has certainly been the least blogged year since I began blogging. To be expected, I guess. But, either way, I know that there are a couple of people who lurk around here on the off chance that I might throw up an update every now and then. So I thought ‘d (briefly) sum up my year.

Largely, I’d have to say this has probably been my most successful year, in terms of arbitrary measurements and ‘life goals’ have gone.

Beginning the year, I took up a temporary position at a new school after interviewing (unsuccessfully) for a job at the end of 2010. I was called (roughly) three days before the start of term by the principal and offered X, Y, and Z. After some thinking about it, I accepted and began.

I was pretty successful at my job (I can say that with confidence as unfolding events will attest to it). I was very lucky and fortunate to find myself at a semi-selctive school with pretty decent kids to teach.

During term two, I was called by the Graduate Recruitment Office and offered a permanent job at another semi-selective school. After serious and troublesome deliberation, I declined that job. Two terms later, I achieved permanency at the school I began the year at, filling a substantive history teacher’s job with a side-dish of English.

Earlier in the year, I finally graduated from university. The first in my family, and likely to be the only one until the next generation comes along. I was very proud; my family was prouder still.

(This will sound lame, but it is a monumental success for me:) I made friends at the school I’m teaching at. No, not the students. Other teachers. I have always struggled in that department, but have managed to develop (at least in the professional sense) friendships with work colleagues. It makes work much more enjoyable. However …

I came to love my job. After the initial shock and nerves washed away, and I was able to find my routine, my inner teacher, and what I could call a school ‘presence’, I actually realised that I love teaching. Perhaps I wouldn’t love it at another school, but I love it at this school. I formed (professional, of course) meaningful connections with the vast majority of my students, best highlighted in the lamenting that both I and the students are going through as I have very few of them again next year.

I managed to purge some very bad people from my life. Yes, I know: You would expect to see such a claim on an emo’s Tumblr-cum-Twitter rant. I’ll leave it at this: I had some very bad associations with people, which have now been severed. In doing so, I know I have made my life all the more enjoyable and better for anyone still involved. This has made me happier than I thought it would.

I traveled a lot this year. Earlier, I went to Hong Kong with Mr. Rabbit. That was a fun holiday, with a great blend of mature and less-mature frivolity. Then, about 6 months later, I went back to Hong Kong with Andrew this time. This was exactly the type of holiday you expect two young-20-somethings to have, with a lot of alcohol, and lot of late nights, and a lot of fun being had by all. Some of my best memories will come from these two holidays.

In a few days, I fly out to Vietnam. I am spending a tick under 3 weeks there. This is my most adventurous holiday as I have very little planned except for the notion that, on the second day, I am just going to do whatever I (and the law) wants.

Speaking of Mr. Rabbit, he and I presented at the ETA conference this year. I thought it was (largely) successful. Mr. Rabbit deserves most of the credit here; he did do the harder work. But, again, a little this that made the year better.

For the past few months, I had been communicating with a female. More recently, we have been going out. Most recently, we have decided to disclose such information to our social and familial circles. This has brought me much and great happiness as this was the final area in my life that I was yet to display any sort of success or ability in.

The HSC results came in and I am genuinely pleased for the students that I had. I can lay very, very little claim to their results; it is off their own backs that they achieve the success (or failure) that finds them. I would, however, like to think that I gave them some good ‘life advice’ in my little farewell speech on their last lesson with me. However, overall, my results (as part of the English faculty) were above average and not far behind the teacher who is considered the best in the faculty. They were ahead of the other teachers of the same subject. This pleased me as it was evidence that I actually had an idea about what I was doing and that I had made the right choice to stay at the school.

Perhaps I am wearing rose glasses at the moment, or maybe I’m just optimistic for the first time in my life. But I feel that 2012 will be an enjoyable one. I’m sure I’ll be back in a year to judge whether my words were premature or not, but I know that I’m now probably closing the year on what has been the most successful (personally and professionally) year of my life.

I hope that you have had a productive and enjoyable 2011, and I wish you all the best for the coming.



Soon my first year of full-time teaching will come to an end. I am sure I will find a post in that to write.

To celebrate, at the end of the year I am going back to Vietnam. Every year (bar one or two in recent memory) I lament actually staying here as (largely) the evening is the same as any other. I have always said I’d go overseas, now I am.

What is helpful is that I know at least two friends will be over there. What is unhelpful is that I know about 30 of my students will be there at the same time.



I have certainly neglected this blog over the past term. Let it be known that I really haven’t had the time (that’s the safe excuse, right?).

Though, in reply to a comment today, revisiting my old blogger friends, and ranting and spouting all sorts of random stuff on Twitter through Q & A tonight, I felt a longing to come back.

I won’t be doing much over the next few weeks. I’m off to Hong Kong next Monday with Andrew (of fame from various anecdotes that have come up on this blog) for most of the school holidays.

When I return, perhaps I’ll have something for the blog.


An update

The past couple of weeks have been quite successful for me. The most important thing that happened: I got a permanent job at my school.

Some months ago, readers will recall that I was tossing up between taking a permanent job at another school or staying in my temporary position at my current school (and hoping that a permanent job opens up soon). The job opened up a couple of months ago, I applied, interviewed, and got it.

Term 3

Term 3 has started. I had a few changes to my timetable, some good some bad.

I lost my Year 8 class – my worst class by far (both behaviour and learning).

I also lost my Year 10 class, which left me quite upset. I had finally won them over, we were doing some really good things and I had probably connected with them better than all bar one of my classes. They are also upset.

I have, however, gained a Year 12 Advanced class. This is quietly freaking me out.


Guest post from St. Ives

Recasting Australian Federalism and Government Department Structures

I propose a major streamlining of the way Australia is governed. I do not see any prospect of this actually being implemented as it would involve politicians a) giving up some power b) admitting that they have not been effective in the past c) cooperating.

Firstly I would eliminate a layer of government; an often proposed idea, butI would leave state government and abolish the local councils, leaving their powers in the hands of the state government and administered by bureaucrats administering the planning powers under the strict policies set by the state government in relation of residential dwellings and commercial decisions being made centrally by the planning department. However I will elaborate on the state structure later.

Importantly, duplication would be scrapped. Each level of government will have clear lines of authority enshrined in the constitution. State responsibilities will be enumerated and the federal government will have the power to make laws on all other matters so long as they do not impinge on states rights. This will prevent the federal government from de-facto state policy making by way of grants and financial arrangements that are currently being abused to push federal initiatives onto the states.

The federal department structure will need reshaping to reflect the new arrangements. To simplify matters I will outline how I would structure the federal ministry under the new power structure with cabinet ministers in bold and junior ministers in italics. Each cabinet minister with an * will have a parliamentary secretary who will have a roving brief within the department to fill the needs of the senior minister at a given time rather than a specific policy area.

Federal Ministry in a semi order of department seniority

  • Prime Minister
  • Deputy Prime Minister * (A stand alone office to allow the holder to focus on policy development across the government) – Minister for Infrastructure, Air Transport & Interstate Transport Projects (all other transport & infrastructure is the responsibility of the states).
  • Treasurer * –  Assistant Treasurer/Minister for Revenue, Minister for Financial Services and Regulation
  • Cabinet Secretary/Special Minister of State  – Minister for Administrative Affairs, Minister for Tourism, The Arts & Sport
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs * – Minister for Foreign Aide
  • Minister for Defence – Minister for Defence Science and Procurement, Minister for Defence Personel, Minister for Veterans Affairs
  • Minister for Regional Affairs & The Environment –  Minister for Food Security, Minister for Water and the Environment, Minster for Agriculture, Minister for Regional Services
  • Minister for Immigration *
  • Minister for Refugee Processing and Settlement – Minister for New Arrival Services
  • Minister for Trade *
  • Minister for Health –  Minister for Medical Research, Minister for Hospital Services (All other community health services become the domain of the states in return for giving up hospital administration. The states focus on mental health, aging etc)
  • Attorney General
  • Minister for Homeland Security
  • Minister for Universities, Tertiary Education, Training and Science (Note the lack of mention of schools here. The feds lose this due to their terrible meddling and education becomes a state responsibility on terms of policy and curriculum).
  • Minister for Communications, Technology and Innovation
  • Minister for Indigenous Affairs & Central Australia *
  • Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations – Minister for Social Security and Employment Services

State Ministry in a semi order of department seniority

  • Premier (Deputy Premier to be linked to a senior ministry) – Minister for Energy & Ports
  • Treasurer*
  • Minister for Transport –  Minister for Transport Services, Minister for Transport Infrastructure & Roads
  • Minister for Planning & Civic Services (ie rubbish collection, and old local gvt responsibilities) – Minister for Planning Approvals, Minister for Civic Services
  • Minister for Schools & Childcare*
  • Minister for Police, Corrective & Emergency Services*
  • Minister for Health Services (Community Health Programs, Mental Health and Aging) –  Minister Assisting the Minister for Health Services
  • Minister for Community Services** (Two Parliamentary Secretaries to help with DOCS)
  • Attorney General – Minister for Fair Trading, Minister for Gaming & Liquor
  • Minister for Regional Centres, Tourism, Sport & The Arts*

Today’s lesson

Today at school I was being observed by my ‘teaching mentor’. This is someone who I can go to (as an early career teacher) with issues, questions, and someone to bounce ideas off. It is a senior person in the school. They are also meant to critique me on what I’m doing and how I could improve.

Today I invited them into my year 9 class. The mentor needed to see me using technology to sign off on one of the NSW IT standards. So, with pleasure, I invited them into year 9 (see the previous post as to why).

I delivered a near-perfect lesson without a single technocal glitch. Everything went well. My mentor, at the end, said “You’ll have to teach me how you did all of that” in regards to the technology and what-not I was using.

I felt quite chuffed.