Mitchell Pearce

Respect. 

His behaviour on Australia/Invasion Day was atrocious. Without a doubt. 

But it takes huge courage to admit that, to own it, and to change your life to ensure that it won’t be repeated. 

We all make mistakes. Luckily, for most of us, even if they are similar mistakes, they aren’t filmed and/or sent to the media. 

His behaviour was atrocious. Credit where it is due though. He’s owning it. 

Health and Weight Loss

I decided to shift my perspective from losing weight to getting healthy. I bought a treadmill and I started yoga. I’m mostly watching what I eat but eating normally so that any success can be maintained. 

I occasionally have been receiving comments like it looks like I’m losing weight. Talk about emotional obstacles. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the results of very little real effort; shift in focus/attitude mostly. But I end up eating crap every time. My brain wants me fat. What is that about!

Moving on, hoping that internationally stating it will fix it (fingers crossed). I am starting to like my physical self though. And that’s the yoga and the wonderful instructor who sets such a tone of acceptance and inclusion. I wore something I once wouldn’t be caught dead in and I didn’t hate myself. I dug deep and found courage and then acceptance of my body as it is. I was still a little self-conscious but only temporarily. 

Bizarre times.

I’m sure it’s the yoga. I get home and love my face – clear, open, fresh, beautiful. 

Huge growth happening here folks. 

Might even find some worth in myself soon hehehehe. 

Grace: A Dying State

By grace I mean compassion, sensitivity, responsibility, awareness, ownership. I refer to it as a state of being relating to our behaviour towards others. 

As an adult, I try very hard to practice grace. I try to own the choices I make and accept responsibility. I try to do what is right even if it causes me discomfort. If I’ve hurt others I try to own it and make restitution in some appropriate way. I try to be compassionate and understanding towards others. 

I’m not always successful but I try very hard. I think it is my responsibility as an adult to model the behaviour I would like the young people in my life to emulate. I will repeat, I’m not always successful but I do try. 

I awoke to some online bitterness this morning. Initially, I emoted childishly and from ego, caught myself, talked sense to myself, finished emoting childishly but consciously, and then put the entire fiasco into perspective. It was important to acknowledge my hurt ego so that I could move beyond with grace. 

The emoting was conducted in my head and not publicly. It came entirely from hurt. It needed to be felt and acknowledged for what it was so that I could move beyond it. In total the childish hurt lasted approximately two minutes, if. It hit my vulnerability that someone doesn’t want to be my friend and then my shame that others might believe the things that she may or may not be saying. I needed to acknowledge all of this. And as a result, I could then be the adult and be safe that I didn’t need to make any of this my issue.

It isn’t my issue. 

And then I remembered, sometimes people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. 

By responding childishly and lashing out I would dishonour the season that has been our friendship. I would taint the wonderful times and the amazing conversations that we had. And there is no need to do that; none at all. 

Life is very short. And I accept that our individual contexts change. Some friendships don’t last forever. Some do. My best friendships have moved with our lives, growing into the spaces we create for them. And this is brilliant but can’t happen for every friendship. Our lives become so clogged if every friendship stays, demanding time and nourishment. And we fail to transform and grow, becoming stuck in the mire instead. 

So, I honour the memories by holding them close and understanding that for now at least, our paths have separated. They may cross again but they don’t have to. And I cherish the love that was shared. The bond that was forged. The support that was given and received. And I honour my friend, hoping that she too finds peace soon. 

When you have nothing to say, turn to tabloid hype. 

So, two tabloid newspapers, neither reputable, have posted an opinion piece suggesting that the school day run from 9am to 6pm. You can read the article here: 

Silly Article
It’s generating conversation on Facebook; kids and teachers equally alarmed. There are some almost sensible arguments in it and then there is plenty of nonsense in it. The research isn’t thorough, nor is it academic. Overall, I think it is ridiculous. It highlights how little the broader public really understands about what being a teacher realistically entails. 

I’m shaking my head. Not too hard. I know there is no chance of this model being adopted in Australia. It was knocked flat in the UK. Because, it is ridiculous. 

The article mentions that teachers are paid for a 25 hour working week. Lol. No we aren’t. We are paid a salary. It’s not per hour and it’s not for a 25 hour working week. 

We are expected to fulfill our duties irrespective of the amount of time required to do it, and yes, that often means we work well beyond the hours that children attend school. And, yes, we are expected to fulfill many roles outside of the provision of content to children. Lol. But we aren’t paid for that. Nor are we trained for that. 

She is right. The current model for education is not appropriate for this generation of learners. Her model is also not right. Conversation should be had but those that aren’t educators shouldn’t really be included in it; they don’t have the necessary corporate knowledge. 

Tabloid media, sensationalism at its core, needs to well and truly butt out of education. In my opinion. 

ūüėú

Using Brene 

Yes. I’m sorry. I am still her disciple. In case you’re not up to date, I’m referring to Brene Brown. 

I have found that as a result of reading her books, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong during the holidays, I have slightly modified the language that I’m using with my kids (students) to assist them in resolving conflict with each other, and to understand their deeper motivations.

Kids will always revert to defensive behaviours when they feel attacked and/or judged and/or threatened. They don’t all have the necessary knowledge to dig deeper than reaction. Having said that, would it be fair to say that most adults struggle with that too? 

I have always asked them to dig deep to resolve the root issue for whatever causes the behaviour, but now I am also teaching them about vulnerability and shame. And it has been quite successful to this point, working very effectively with the principles of Restorative Justice. 

It is also inspiring me to move away from more punitive measures like Formal Cautions of Suspension. We are working together to try to resolve the core cause rather than just bandaiding the symptoms of the cause. 

I hope that it continues to work. And that I don’t become too tired/too busy to use it. 

My Thoughts 

Shortly after I started at Reddall I met one of my life’s soul mates. We clicked immediately and it was like we’d never not known one another. 

We’ve had ebbs and flows throughout the years but have always maintained some form of contact. Like all life friendships will. And to this day, she gets my soul. We can sit for hours and just be; the time flies. I am blessed to have many of these relationships, all fulfilling different parts of me. 

Today, at her daughter’s 7th birthday, her dad made some comment about teaching. I came into the part of the conversation where she answered, “Nah, Tina and I will die at Reddall.” 

I immediately agreed. 

Our job is stressful. We deal with things that teachers in a lot of schools are free from. But every teacher in every school has something unexpected they need to deal with. Unfortunately, our world is imperfect, and whilst our society is blessed, not all of its members are. 

I had a huge day Thursday. Only thirty minutes in total where I wasn’t ON. And the things we deal with and resolve after investigation are huge. Thirty minutes no lunch breaks. 

One of the situations I was resolving involved one of our kids treating one of my staff members badly on the Wednesday. I caught up with him whilst I was on duty and asked what was going on. 

He had had a bad day. He was sorry. 

I asked what had made it a bad day. 

He told me that it was pay day for his mum. He had been trying to contact her and when he couldn’t, was very worried she’d spent their money on ice. He was relieved to a degree when she was actually putting it through the pokies. 

He’s been dealing with this for years. 

I asked if they had enough food in the cupboards. He said he could hock his PS4. 

He shouldn’t have to. 

“It’s okay Miss. There’s enough food. I won’t accept help anyway. I can do this.” 

Yep, but he shouldn’t have to. 

I love this kid. Always have. He fights against the very low expectations of him to want and achieve more. I hope he succeeds. He deserves to. 

So often, people are fighting against demons we cannot see. This conversation reminded me of the importance of having the conversation. Of diving beneath the surface behaviour and of showing compassion. His consequences stand. And he knows that. 

But he also knows we care. He knows he is loved. He knows he doesn’t have to do it alone, even though he feels he must. 

I hope he succeeds. 

One of the reasons I love teaching at my school is the kids whom I adore (most of them anyway). One of the other reasons is the staff. Most of us genuinely care about our kids and would do anything we could to empower them to succeed. We have lots of rough days. More than our fair share at times. But we also have lots of love, lots of laughter, lots of compassion. And together, well, together we make a real difference. 

  

Menstruation after Miscarriage

Please note: this post will really only be relevant to women in this situation. I will be talking about periods, mine in particular. It could gross you out. 
I have debated this type of post for a couple of months now. I’m okay writing about this stuff, lord knows, people who know me know I discuss it quite freely. I have decided to write it because during my infertility journey I have often felt very alone. If I had known someone who had experienced it like me, well, that could have helped me. So, here goes …

I have always had uncomfortable periods. My whole menstrual life. Prior to my miscarriage in 2013, I would suffer either cramping for a day or short migraines, never both. Some periods were heavy but not frequently. 

A few months after I miscarried, I started bleeding in March and didn’t stop bleeding until late May. Three months of non-stop bleeding. It was only in the third month I started to question if it would ever stop. And I became frustrated. 

Preparing for another, what would be unsuccessful, IVF cycle, stopped the bleeding (menhorragia). 

But after that cycle, when my cycle returned to normal, I started to know the horror that has become my monthly cycle. Every period I endure cramping for two days at the beginning, exceptionally heavy bleeding, and a relentless 3-5 day migraine towards the end of each period. 

I figured it would eventually go away. But it hasn’t. And it isn’t. I lose a week of my life every month. A bit over it now. 

I used to endure it because it would lead to a baby. Now, well I know it won’t. So every month is like a stab to an open wound in the heart. 

The universe/God/life – whatever it is, is cruel. 

So, I’ve been googling how I can get my periods to stop. And I’ll be visiting a doctor to have a chat and to take action. I have little faith in doctors. I once saw one about my periods who told me that because they have always been bad I just need to deal with the reality. Pfft. Now I have developed balls, I won’t be hearing that again. 

Anyway, the upshot is, after a miscarriage and after resigning myself to not being a birth mum, each menstrual cycle upsets me. A reminder of what could have been but isn’t. And that isn’t fair. 

Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s To Kill AMockingbird impacted my young life profoundly. 

Reading it inspired me to try to always do what I believed was right, morally. As a result, as an adult, I have often found myself the minority voice speaking out about things that others have shaken their head at me for. 

Meh. So what. I have an almost clean conscience after almost 45 years of life. With only twice not having done the right thing. 

The first time was in Melbourne quite a lot of years ago. My sister and I were there to see Something for Kate. We were walking across a pedestrian crossing when a cyclist was attacked by a walking man. I wanted to stop to help the man who had been knocked down, but I listened to the voices that asked me what I could do. 

Three times. The third time was last July in NYC when a man fell. Apart from offer comfort, there was nothing I could do. But comfort is significant. Next time, I will listen to my own voices. 

And the second time was a racial interaction on the bus on the way home home in 2012. I had no car and caught the bus home regularly, often missing the school kids because I would stay back to work. As was the case the day of the incident. 

The bus was virtually empty. I always say near the front if I could. This day two seats faced each other and I sat on the one facing the way home. A group of my students, Islanders, male, got on and sat near me. Another lady, older, white, got on. She was rude to the kids. There were more than enough available seats and she made a point of getting them to move. 

I was outraged. I told my kids they had behaved appropriately. BUT I did not tell that lady to pull her head in. I can justify why I didn’t. As I can justify the two other situations. But it’s still not right. 

Of course, these are three times I haven’t stood up. I can’t count the times that I have. Funny, my mind doesn’t focus on good lol. 

Speaking up, stepping up, is bloody hard and often incurs personal sacrifice. My movement up the leadership ladder in schools has been severely compromised by my big mouth. But it was instilled by my parents, and reinforced by Harper Lee, just how important it is when we see something wrong that we stand up and at least shine a light. 

It’s the very least we can do. 

Harper Lee’s legacy goes well beyond her two novels and what they mean in American literary, political and social history. Harper Lee’s legacy embraces the impact that her writing had on everyone who enjoyed reading her work. Millions of people across the world. 

May she rest in peace.