13 September 2015

Little things cause a big smile

A couple of weeks ago I posted about how finding Gravox in one of the local supermarkets made me happy. Well this morning when I walked into my classroom to get my planning and prep done for the coming week I immediately spotted two things which made me smile.

After 23 days (5 weeks) of school, I finally have a power outlet behind my desk! Yay, that means I now only need one powerboard instead of a 10m extension lead plus a 4.5m powerboard plus a 3m powerboard all connected together to run the computer, data projector and speakers! Hooray!

On the same wall above that were two screws! Hooray. Now I can hang my small magnetic whiteboard and my small corkboard up. I tried other types of hooks for these items, but they just didn't work, so I've been waiting about 3 weeks for these to be installed. Unfortunately at the same time as I got sick, so did our maintenance man. Yep, little things bring a smile.

So this is what the wall behind my desk now looks like.

That white track down the corner hides the wiring for the power outlet. Very neat and tidy, thank you very much. I'm not sure it would be legal in Australia to have powerpoints on the same circuit as the air-conditioner, but I'm pretty sure that's what they've done. Hey, electricity is electricity, and I'm not going to be complaining.

While I had the camera out, I thought I'd take a couple more photos. The first is inside the classroom, showing an updated view of my English Language Arts wall, now we've started adding strategies to the CAFE board, and there are more posters up.

Finally, I've included a couple of photos of the view out of one of my classroom windows.

I now have to keep the blinds closed all the time, as there is a lot of welding going on out there. I need to protect my students' eyes (as well as those of the adults in the room). I also know that if I left the blinds open I would have several boys (and maybe some girls) who would find it very hard to concentrate on school work. The cement floor you can see is level with the third floor (the one below my classroom). There's at least one more floor still to be poured.

Well, that's it for this week. Time to finish off a few jobs, do some laundry and get some sleep.

11 September 2015

23 days down ...

If you're wondering how the last three weeks have gone, you need wonder no more. Here's an update.

We have now finished 23 days of school, which is four full weeks plus a three day week at the start. I've got one more full week before I get a four day week, with the Thursday off.

The good news for this week is that I finally have a full-time Khmer teaching assistant. I had two different people come in for a day each on Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday Mr Vichheka started as my full-time assistant and Khmer teacher. As I get to know him a little better, I'll introduce you to him, but I'm hopeful that we will have a good working relationship. I think that as he gains confidence and experience he will also be an excellent Khmer teacher.

The major challenge over the last two weeks has been a brush with Dengue Fever. The first week I wasn't really sure what was going on, just not feeling well with mild fever that came and went. With the help of paracetamol I was able to keep teaching, but it was hard work and I was very tired. When the fever returned on Thursday last week it was time to get tested for Dengue. There's no point in testing earlier as it usually doesn't show up in the blood tests until the 4th or 5th day. I finally got the results of that test on Saturday morning, when I had my third lot of blood taken in 8 days. I'd had a routine test the previous Saturday, followed by the dengue test & some other tests on Thursday, then another blood count on Saturday, and then another one on Monday this week. Thankfully by Monday my platelets were back in the normal range and other results were going in the right direction. The rash that had covered my lower legs was also fading. There's no specific treatment for Dengue, just managing the symptoms and rest. By the end of two days at home, on Sunday night I was going crazy, so the doctor agreed I could go to school if I took things easy. Well, I kind of did. I only climbed the stairs to the 4th floor once a day, and I did a lot of sitting down teaching this week. The first few days I came home straight after school and had a nap, but the last two days I've lasted a bit longer. I still need to rest and recover, but I'm starting to feel better. Thankfully my appetite has returned, the rash has faded, and I'm only a little bit itchy!

Yesterday we had an "Open House" where parents could visit their children's classrooms from 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm. Quite a few parents visited, and the children had some fun "performing" a series of Reader's Theatre scripts about the systems of the human body that we have studied this year. The scripts were very simple, but at the same time accurate and meaningful, enabling all the students in the class to participate with a little practice, no matter what their reading level.

Yesterday we also had a professional development session, which was good. Some of the results of the session created a lot of anxiety for me, but I'm hopeful that the issues are well on the way to being resolved. There was interpersonal conflict involved, and it came on top of other issues where I felt that I wasn't being heard, so it has been stressful day or two, but I think that good things are going to come as a result.

And so another week of school is done. I'm thankful for the weekend, and looking forward to a small social event tomorrow evening (weather permitting), as well as sleeping in, getting my air-conditioner serviced, and catching up on some marking and planning.

05 September 2015

Little things

Sometimes it's the little things, like finding a whole range of Gravox gravy mixes in the local supermarket, that just make your day. It wasn't cheap, but I didn't really care. One tablespoon makes enough gravy for a plate full of vegies, and that makes for a tasty dinner. I've even got choices!