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Up ahead!

February 15, 2014


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Preoccupied as my head space has been this week with reading classroom dynamics, assessing writing tasks completed for baseline data/ feedback processes, evaluating 2013 WACE results, preparing for NAPLAN in the second week of May, and juggling room swaps on the timetable to accommodate last-minute lesson refinements, I found myself surprised yesterday that Daughter 2 has enrolled at uni to tackle a degree in – you guessed it – teaching. Surprised and delighted for her, that is.

Not so strange when she has already completed an Education Assistant course and found herself adored by Year 1 and 2 students.

So, we find ourselves as a family confronting unforeseen shifts up ahead as Daughter 1 jets off to Europe in March having just finished uni while the youngest is embarking on her own four year cycle.

Meanwhile, I am sitting at my Saturday study practice feeling like this:


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Perhaps it is the 4,000 word count I am chasing on my current assignment (much to the delight of Year 12s who are writing their creative response on Australian identity for me to review), but I felt a need for the consolation of closure rather than muddling through the confounding mid-zone.

This morning’s effort yielded a final paragraph:


Robert’s behaviour is greatly affected by exposure to the people who care for him – his grandmother and mother. These interactions are critical and unavoidable unless he is removed from their influence. While genetic and environmental factors are difficult to disentangle, Robert remains clinically diagnosed with depression and ADHD, and the complex etiology of his disturbance renders him at risk of developing an undesirable life course trajectory.  Promise of a positive outcome, on the other hand, is sustained by Robert’s apparent happiness and experience of achievement in the school environment. There are also positive signs in Robanna Fason’s household that thriving is a possibility. Due to successful treatment, Robert has recently been taken off medication, so ongoing behaviour monitoring will be necessary. The family’s emotional dysfunction seems derived from Anna Threadgill’s manipulative behaviour which gives rise to speculation that she suffers from psychological issues of her own, perhaps Munchausen by proxy syndrome (MBPS).  Reassessment of Robert’s condition is called for: A multi-systemic approach to support Robanna’s developing parenting strategies will assist in reinforcing positive habits, like healthy nutrition, and build skills along with confidence; keeping the school informed of progress will ensure a common focus, and feedback. By eliminating the factors which exacerbate Robert’s behaviour, such as exposure to his grandmother, and ensuring that experience of success continues, it is possible that the dysfunction revealed in this family’s relationships could be effectively overcome. By these measures, This Boy’s Life can be seen as a beginning rather than a life sentence.

Neater than life, I think. At least, neater than my life appears.

While compelling insights are afforded by these vignettes I either decode or construct for uni, there seems some enticement to effect similar editorial process on my own life experience, especially when blogging here, as now, in reflective mode.

In reality I am beset each day by fleeting sensations of:

  • paradox
  • confusion
  • resistance
  • irritation
  • uncertainty


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Driving for 30 minutes to and from work on Middle Swan Road and Great Northern Highway is where my thinking process resolves into acceptance of these ragged, fraying edges. What worked? What didn’t work? What happened to produce that outcome? How am I left feeling? Why? What’s next?

Sometimes, there are no answers. I resist false neatening.

According to Pema Chodron,

The way to resolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face. When we feel resentment because the room is too hot, we could meet the heat and feel its fieriness and its heaviness… There is no cure for hot and cold. They will go on forever… (Chodron, 1997, p. 30).

Selected reference

Chodron, P. (1997). When things fall apart: Heart advice for difficult times. Boston: Shambhala.

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