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Sensing connections to people and groups

In one month, the second Women’s World Championship of tackle american football will be held in Finland.  Although I am not going this year, I was surprised to be looking forward to the event just as much as if I were.  I was an official (referee) for the first WWC in Sweden in 2010.

It is not so much that I feel a connection with the players, as the sense of cameraderie with the other women officials.  Each one was eagerly anticipating the final selection list, and making plans for travelling there even though we were unsure.

We have a social media site to post messages specifically about the events, so it is fairly easy to stay in touch.  I think the best part about the second WWC is that I have been made to feel part of it, even though I won’t be going.  Other women officials have shared the group spirit of support and encouragement, too.

It has been very worthwhile keeping up the connections.  Subconsciously, I have been checking my e-mails quite a lot more than normal to find out the latest.  Now the crews who are going will have to focus on the event and also organise their lives while they are away in Finland.  As it only happens every three years, it is a very smooth-running event with lots of support.

It is a bit surprising that the momentum has kept going since 2010, but the interest locally has been building amongst the players, officials, media and support people.  I am very pleased that it generally is part of positive involvement in the sport regardless of age, gender or background.

Today has been an odd day, though.  I have been very happy thinking that a teaching contract or two were possible, for a week here and a couple of weeks soon after.  However, I discovered that I am only able to undertake supply teaching, which is more like unexpected absences rather than planned absences.

So I am feeling a little confused right now after thinking I would be busy at schools, with new adventures.  Instead I expect to be in a new and unexpected position, sharing the cameraderie of the crews both in Finland and other places around the world as we watch and wait for the second WWC in Helsinki in one month’s time.

At least I have my writing and studies in Education to provide structure and discipline as it is all sorted out in some distant place.  Yet none of it seems distant.  Even the writing seems to be directly linked to changes in my world.

How bizarre!  I guess the first WWC was so new that nobody had time to think about it.  This next month will be different for those familiar with the event and the new ones who are starting for the first time.

There will be concerns about how to gain a profit from broadcasting rights, no doubt, to help fund other events.  I do hope it all goes well and that everyone involved has a wonderful time.

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Writing, Running – check. Workouts – duh!!!

Over the last three months or so, I have managed to go jogging with Max most days and write on my blog most days.  The aim was to be able to write technical papers and the like by developing a writing habit, and adding some jogging to keep my circulation going.

That has been a great success.  I discovered a great basic recipe for an oat slice that can be varied with fruit, ricotta and other delicious things.  I have increase my daily drinks of water and added an extra coffee in the mornings – making two coffees a day.

There is the online training in nutrition which I have yet to start, but it is on the back burner, so to speak.  My technical and further education (TAFE) course is an elective for the Diploma in Fitness.  That’s the working in community mental health settings, for the case management and counselling side of things.

So now, I will really have to add some workouts which target legs, upper body and core, in different sessions.  My oaty slice can take protein powder and eggs if I need to adjust that.  My chicken soup recipe can take frozen spinach, tinned mushrooms and tinned tomatoes, if required.  I have some green, seaweed powder in the cupboard…..yum!

So the next thing after the BIG writing project for May/early June is definitely workouts.  I have to start planning NOW!

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Girls’ Globe chats with Sarah Hendriks from Plan International

The call to action is great for girls at school, too.

Girls' Globe

DSC_0674Girls’ Globe had the pleasure to do a quick interview with Sarah Hendriks, global gender equality adviser for Plan International and the head of programs for Plan’s “Because I am a Girl”-campaign. Sarah talked to Girls’ Globe about her thoughts on the Women Deliver conference and the importance of these types of gatherings, shared with us what the Because I am a Girl-campaign is all about, and gave great tips about how anyone and everyone can do their part to contribute to gender equality and promote girls’ and women’s rights through smaller and bigger actions in our everyday lives! Check out what Sarah had to say, and also take a look at all the great work Plan is doing for girls and women around the world!

Any time you bring like-minded people from across the world together, I think you have the potential for magic to happen in terms…

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Library story time

This morning we went to the library to find books on fences.  Dad wants to put up a new one and he is starting to plan. 

Mum was looking for “Choice” magazines with information on dishwashers.  She likes to research appliances using that magazine as they provide lots of useful information.

I found Stafan Collini’s “What are universities for?” and a Sams Teach Yourself on “PHP, MySQL and Apache in 24 hours”.  While I was waiting I read some “Burda” magazines and “The Courier Mail” and “The Australian” newspapers for today.  I also changed Mum’s library card for the updated sort that can be used with the automated checkout machines.

It was story time for toddlers.  Oh what fun!  We heard “Incy, wincy spider” and “The very hungry caterpillar”, old favourites.  Actually, I have a primary school teaching contract next week, so story time was a good way to listen in on ways of engaging the little ones.  There was much excitement.  A one year old girl with a fascinating book clutched to her chest was running around the bookshelves squealing in delight as her Mother followed quickly in her footsteps.

We should have guessed it was story time, as the car park was fairly full on arriving and totally full as we left.  Story time was good, as long as there are other, more up to date stories to read while waiting. 

Then it was back to the message stream from my colleagues who are going to Helsinki.  I felt excited for them, too.  They will have such a good time!  I will be very busy here at home, thinking of them.  There is a hint of more to come for some of the group, the ones who are not going.  It will be great to hear what the next adventure will be.

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Online Courses – the ultimate shapeshifting challenge

While studying and researching using the internet lately, I have noticed how easy it seems to be to employ people to create new websites related to government services.  However, updating them is a whole different story.  They seem to disappear at a very fast rate.

This is particularly noticeable when looking at online vocational education and training courses.  I am amazed at how many redundant units are listed, often offered for recognition of prior learning.

Thinking about how this is going to look in the school setting is a bit disconcerting.  I can imagine teachers at home, feeding assignments through printers and software programs that provide automatic marking.  Then there will be course writers and content managers producing materials for students.  Someone might be supervising the students in the classrooms, but certainly not at home, as the parents will usually be at work.  Students whose parents do not work will want to know why they can’t study at home.

Then, when the certificate is printed off and the student proudly shows their accomplishments to prospective employers, the workplaces will have designed their own version of the courses which have to be studied and passed.  Students will be offered subsidised study, or wage-like benefits to become up to date.  The next intake of school students will be further behind company courses. 

A very Kafka-esque sequence of being up to date with what technology can deliver and industry can produce could ensue.  That is, if it is not happening already.  I hear they are providing SAP training at UTS in Sydney as an add-on course for the general public.

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10 Cabbages

My brother and nephew came to visit on Friday when I was out.  They brought Mum’s birthday present – 10 large cabbages!  She was amazed!  Although she likes vegetables, she is not so keen that she wants them every birthday.

However, she loves making her own sauerkraut, so I suppose she will be happy when all the work is done.  For now, it is just a lot of cutting and salting down and lots of fragrant cabbage odours while they ferment into sauerkraut.

She was flabbergasted at the time, but is now in the kitchen busy processing cabbages.  It is so odd.  We have a washing basket next to the kitchen full of big, round cabbages.  She has a shredding tool in the kitchen and is using it as I write.

I’m guessing this is the last time she will be receiving cabbages for her birthday.  She always says she does not want anything and that she has everything that she needs.  My brother is so good at noticing where there is a space for making her life more complete.

I just wonder what he has in store for my birthday.  I can hardly wait!

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Early Childhood studies

I discovered on Friday that I am doing a group of subjects called a “skill set” in Community Mental Health.  In four weeks, that course should be finished and there are a few assignments to do in between time.  The skills in working in a community mental health setting are relevant for Personal Fitness Training, teaching, career counselling and many other things. 

Our lecturer is the Course Coordinator, who is very experienced and a very effective teacher.  I have learned so much from her and the atmosphere of sharing and role play that we have in the classroom.  Today I completed an online unit in suicide prevention from the Salvation Army website.  There is another short techniques unit that complements it which I can use as well.  I think that can be used for credit in my course.

I love to see all the courses and supports available through the internet in the community health and mental health areas.  It is fantastic for teaching so that children have all the resources readily to hand when they need help, whether at school or at home.

Another area where there is a wealth of resources is the Early Childhood area.  I have a disc and some papers to work through as well as a 100 hours placement for that course.  During the week, I started to upload my documents to the internet so that I can find things when I need them.

My placement is for Year 1, so I need to find a school where I can do some supervised practicum.  There is a lot of community involvement in Early Childhood Education and it is very much in demand as a skill at present in Australia, the UK and other places.

As I am Montessori trained, and a LOTE teacher of Italian, it will also be relevant in those areas.  I love the idea that children have the option to go to a Montessori school and learn in a more exploratory and discovery-oriented way.

Holistic education is a great concept, although there is a limit to what can be covered in a school day.  Perhaps we just do the same things all the time and give them different labels and ways of theorising about our actions?  It must be more fun for teachers, though, because we are able to learn about areas in which we are interested to improve our practice in the classroom setting.

So I am looking forward to this kind of “bridging” program for me, with new things to study and the prospect of finishing up this Semester’s work in the coming couple of weeks.  It is always good to have covered a new area of professional development and gained new insight into how to allow children to aim high in the educational setting.