Since leaving Perth on April 5, we have noticed how different choices and disrupted patterns can yield a sense of liberation.
For starters, the ties that bind have been cut, and there’s no imperative to keep to deadlines. Skype has overcome any sense of being distant or absent; we can still keep in touch with both daughters. Train schedules during the first week set a constraint to our wandering around London in search of cafes…
… but this helped sharpen the focus. French patisserie near the Victoria and Albert museum? No trouble locating Cafe Montparnasse at 22 Thackeray Street in Kensington. Best chocolat chaud and pain au raisins. Also an opportunity to practice speaking French (feels like a forced mechanical process of cueing body language, cadence and verb/ noun sequencing).
London’s treasures, street scenes, traffic and pace left me feeling both electrified and a little overwhelmed. I realised the flood of stimulating data I was processing needed to be managed.
In Shropshire, context seemed more familiar – seasonal changes are slow to mark hedgerows – but towns and villages had shapeshifted, traffic on arterial roads proved merciless, Daughter 1 joined us to visit family, and the proprietor of our hotel was in the midst of a crisis.
Emotionally difficult taking leave, but a train booking curtailed this stay.
Now the reverse spooling journey was known. Shrewsbury to Birmingham (skirting Wolverhampton and my dad’s birthplace, Coventry), mainlining Euston station where we followed signs to St Pancras International to join the queue for a 14.01 departure to Gare du Nord on the Eurostar. Dissonance yet again; senses alert to whatever is new and different.
Danger de Mort may lurk alongside the train line, shadow and end bracket our life journeys, but this sign is also a reminder of what lies behind the curtain. Ecouter…
My mother passed a silver St Christopher necklace onto my daughter this week before the latter left for London. My own grandmother made a similar gesture when I left England as a 10 year old. Since Wednesday, our Skype messages and brief video conversations have centred around the Tate Modern, Camden markets and various attributes of cafes in Shepherd’s Bush. Our daughter tells us that skies are always grey in England.
Not like here, is what she implies. It’s true. In contrast, our wintry cloudscapes appear ethereal, like this captured in Fremantle last July:
Since we will be meeting up in Paddington on Monday (our flight to Doha departs in less than 9 hours and luggage fill our bedroom), my headspace is very much occupied with future evolving. I hold tight to metaphoric blue skies.
This morning’s frenzied map-printing traces the journey we will undertake next week from Shrewsbury to Market Drayton where my 90 year old grandmother still lives.
From the glam rock era of our escape in the 1970s – and largely due to my dad’s eclectic pre-emigration music taste – this song lurks on my mp3 player:
More good driving music, especially when contending with 100 km/h highways and the daily challenge of overtaking roadtrains in a 4 cylinder hatch. As thrilling as my current sense of anticipation…
Home is where I want to be,
pick me up and turn me round…
I guess I’m already there (Talking Heads, 1983).
Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
The week that was showcased some Year 8 English students investigating Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s biography, while my class (on a tangent) finalised presentations in our debate series:
- Goldilocks is evil
- Perth is a great place to leave
- Recess should be longer
- Brains are better than beauty (old, I know, but worth airing)
- Homework is beneficial
- Save the planet
- Elderly people should not be allowed to drive
- Zoos are good for the preservation of animals
To be revisited in term two.
Year 10s with a semester scope on Truth & Fiction were watching this documentary:
Analytical focus centred around Symbolic, Written, Audio and Technical (SWAT) codes; no-one was distracted from viewing when I undertook Wednesday’s walkthrough and discovered the visiting ECU student teachers huddling at the rear of Sophia’s room.
Year 7 English students undertook the comic code challenge (how to spell onomatopoeia for starters), with Mexican waves to capture sample sound fx, hero questing and villainous recipes. Surprisingly, this Wonder Woman excerpt proved popular:
Jorden claimed to be wed to the hero. Everyone loved the invisible jet; we also made links to other superheroes and their superpowers, gadgets, nemeses and sidekicks.
Back to the collage, Year 9 S&E mapped the ANZAC legend while Career & Enterprise students delivered stunning brochures. Around our campus, critical thinking, persuasive arts and experimentation rule. Thursday’s Humanities team meeting explored inspiring moments in response to these walkthrough images. We engaged in collaborative learning as a practice. And, every day this week, before an audience of student teachers.
This is our culture: From planning, refinement, differentiation, observation, discussion, moderation, coaching, review, heightened, multifaceted awareness emerges; exam results next term will also be revealing – have we been effective?
And so it goes….
CC Image Source
Which brings me to my reflection. Our principal requested leaders to submit homework last Monday: If I was the school’s principal, what would I focus on? Made me think.
Here is what I emailed in response:
Build collaborative relationships and structures for change.
I could also have added:
Develop strategies for sharing best practice
Create learning communities within the organisation.
However, these are embedded in learning area teams.
Once again, another week’s driving soundtrack to close (featured on the mp3 player in my car):
…it ain’t over
I’m not done.