The Inevitable 

It’s 1.35 in the morning. I fell asleep on the lounge around 9.30 last night, waking up an hour ago. I’m now in bed but can’t sleep. I’m reflecting on my week. 

Last night I realized that the inevitable had happened. I have emotionally connected with and become attached to a group of adults and kids at another school. And, I’m okay with it. 

I’ve also realized that whilst I can come across as very arrogant, and at times, behave arrogantly, it’s mostly because I am really good at what I do. Not perfect but really good. And not acknowledged by those in charge, in a very broad sense, for it. I think the arrogance, if that is what it even is, stems from that quest for someone to acknowledge it. A result of damage and trauma no doubt. 

I had a success at work. It made my heart melt. I smiled inside all afternoon. I felt connection. 

There is a boy who struggles with change. The first few times I relieved for various teachers, he couldn’t even come into the room. On Monday he came into the room, and he stayed in the room even when he had the opportunity to leave. 

Yesterday he was reluctant to come into the room but did. And then he started to tease me and play with me. He smiled and he laughed and I just watched him blossom right in front of me into his potential as a happy person. It was so magickal. This transformation. Wow. He trusted me. 

It is such a gift to become the custodian of someone’s trust. As a teacher, it is our reward.

He completed no work but I have always maintained that to learn, we need to trust the teacher, and building that relationship takes time. Small steps. Being consistently in the unit is enabling and empowering me to build the relationships, with kids and with the staff. 

I think I’m feeling a return, from deep inside of my soul, to my passion for teaching, separate from the bullshit that can be the profession. A return to wanting to make a difference in people’s lives. To caring and to trust that caring is okay. 

And inevitably, this leads to an understanding of the extent to which last year has damaged me. I always trusted that my employers would look after me, and they didn’t. And this is why, even with renewed passion and yearning to make a difference, my days in the profession are restricted. 

Teachers need to feel empowered and inspired by the leaders in their organization, and that doesn’t happen. To ‘succeed’ you need to be a certain type of person, and that isn’t me, can’t be me, not interested in it being me. I have always created my own success in partnership with my kids. And that was enough for a very long time. 

But it isn’t anymore. I’ve lost respect for the institution. I don’t trust that the organization knows what is in the best interests of its ‘clients’, and that teachers are no longer empowered or supported to undertake their core duties. You need to look no further than NAPLAN reform and continual syllabi changes to see this. 

There needs to be fundamental change in every aspect of and at every level of the education machine in this country, and unfortunately, apart from the odd random twinge of politicalisation, I’m not interested in the fight. Maybe that spirit will return one day, but I don’t see it happening just now. 

Still too damaged. 

What a week! 

Tina is exhausted. Surgery last Friday, workshop and comedienne on Saturday, slept Sunday, taught and tutored Monday, organized tutoring lessons for the week Tuesday, tutored Tuesday and Wednesday, grocery shopped Wednesday and had lunch with a friend, worked today and tutored after work, working tomorrow and tutoring after work. Tutoring and mentoring all day Saturday. Teaching and tutoring Monday and Wednesday next week (at this point). Leaving for the US the following Monday. Tutoring every day next week including Saturday. 

Two days off before I head overseas. 

Tina is exhausted. Tina is also very happy. 

I have almost mastered this living in the present thing. Happiness empowers one to move from one second to the next with ease. It also empowers one to sift through the garbage; I don’t react to everything anymore. I pick the battles. I pick the moments. 

It brings me happiness. It inspires happiness. Happiness enables it. 

The purpose of life is happiness. 

Every action and every choice should lead to and enable that. If it doesn’t, fuck it off. 

Awakening 

Surgery went well. I was exhausted by the end of yesterday, and only suffering discomfort and occasional pain in my nether regions. I’ll find out within two weeks if the material taken is cancerous or not. It will be fine regardless. 

Because surgery was unexpected, I had made big plans for yesterday, and there was no way I was missing either unless I was dead. 

My friends Kylie and Mel, and I, travelled to Berry for Alana Fairchild’s War Council of Love workshop. It was with Alana that I had completed the life transforming work in India last year. I’m sure you can understand why I was excited. 

Seventy women. I figured there would be many healers in that room and the energy would be healing for my battered body. I was correct. 

A massive day. A lot of introspection regarding our own healing needs before turning that towards healing the planet. The workshop culminated in group work. We listed the negative things we wanted vanquished from the world, designed a flag to wave for our cause and composed a war cry/chant. Ours was:

I am woman 

Hear me roar

We don’t want this shit

No more 

And then we roared. Truly liberating and powerful and hilarious. I think I’ve messed up the third line but you get the idea. The energy was palpable. 

Earlier in the day I had experienced a profound meditation. The first image was funny, literally a bird flying but a cut out photo of my face had been glued onto the bird’s face, but then it and I morphed into a most beautiful snow white owl. I was the owl, flying and staring intently into my eyes, letting me know that yesterday’s surgery was about cutting out my entire last 46 years so that the rest of my life would not be tainted by that trauma, pain, life. I was free to rebuild and transform, and the owl reminded me to never go backwards. 

Writing it now actually has enabled me to realize the magnitude and strength of the message of the meditation, more so than when I experienced it yesterday. 

Just, wow. 

I was then able to project healing strands of purple, white and silver ribbon from my heart into the room, around the people, and into the broader world. Empowering. 

There was a woman present yesterday. She was fundraising. For homeless women. Each week she gathers with them in a park in Sydney, providing lunch, for connection. It started many years ago as a small group and has grown. Our ability to impact the lives of others is profound; our actions do not have to be huge to be effective. I was very moved by her work. 

And I wonder what I can do to make a difference. 

Driving to Berry was magickal and driving home was magickal. The faerie folk are always present near Berry, their songs carried by the mist whilst their activities are protected. 


Oooh and a lyre bird ran out across the road in front of us on the way yesterday.  My belief in no coincidences lead me straight to Google. 


Similar words and sentiments were echoed throughout the workshop. It is always important to watch out for the messages we are given by the divine, whatever you might call that. 

I love Berry. It is beautiful. It possesses a beautiful energy, a rich indigenous energy, that eclipses time. It truly is a magickal place. 


And then, a very quick change of clothes, fresh makeup and I bolted to Campbelltown so that Margo and I would make it to The State Theatre in Sydney for Julia Morris. Almost a complete hour and a half of laughter for me. Laughter is great medicine for the soul. And I love it. 

And I love middle aged comediennes who subvert expectations of womanhood. Her language was foul: bold and empowered, and her humour was relatable, especially her anger at the world. And then, profound in its simple message. 

We all have choices. We choose how we will respond in any given situation. 

I sometimes choose anger to entertain, because my language is also foul and it makes others laugh, but also to release any pressure that may be building. Releasing it gradually ensures that I don’t blow and that I maintain some sort of equilibrium most of the time. 

I like the zen state. 

I like the peace. 

I like the knowledge that all will be okay, that all is as it should be, and that I will survive. 

It’s safe. 

Happy Mother’s Day. Commercial folly. It is Mother’s Day every day. 

?

I had my surgery today. I was okay with it all when I posted yesterday. Mostly okay. My wonderful gynaecologist confirmed the surgery after 9 last night. I had a moment. I had to be at Liverpool Private by 11 this morning. Earlier than originally anticipated. That required changes in plans. 

I cried. I felt so sorry for myself. So sorry for myself that I didn’t avail myself of any offers of help that had been offered by many different people. So sorry for myself I just wanted to feel like a victim and blame the world. It was emotionally just too hard and I didn’t understand and why so I reverted to my two year old self. 

I’m an idiot. 

By quarter to ten I had pulled my head in, spoken sense to myself, all too late. My tantrum disempowered myself, ironically when I wanted control. Common trend of behaviour for me when I feel powerless (but are we really ever powerless? No.) and behaviour that I do not respect in myself. 

It is so easy to play victim and become petulant and hate the world. It is harder for me to accept that it is okay to rely on other people sometimes. And this is a trust issue, stemming way back to my very early childhood. 

I’m 46 now. I’m no longer a child. And I dictate my life’s trajectory. Last night I forgot this. I’m shaking my head at my behaviour with a wry grin. Don’t panic. I am being kind to myself and cutting myself some slack. And I know that my surgery is laden with grief about my failed attempts to become a birth mum. 

Because I barely slept. And when I did, I processed. So I woke up feeling nervous but better about it. Contemplated texting my ff to ask if she could drive me but decided I was okay with the bus and train. I had to trust that I was okay even though I thought it might be nice to talk to someone. 

The universe will always conspire to provide what we need. 

First train was cancelled and an old friend happened to be catching the same train so we talked and talked and talked. Thank you, Anne. 

The walk was easy. I was calm. At peace. 

I was admitted. My blood pressure was good. My sugars were okay. I’d been through this before for my egg retrievals. And then I got it. 

The tantrum was the memory of all that came before. Three times I’ve been in hospital for procedures. Three times I woke to find a number written on my hand (eggs retrieved). Three times it came to naught ultimately. 

Once, it resulted in a miscarriage with lots of blood. That ultimately resulted in my last bout of long term bleeding. That time of my life hurt me a great deal. I still think of the child that would have been. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in a good place with my childlessness. But I’m also conscious my life is different now because of that. 

I was lying in my bed outside of the theatre for over an hour. The anaesthetist had been caught up somewhere. I was completely at peace. I gave myself a reiki and focused on breathing and being present. I could hear the tinny sound the hands of the clock made and so I counted the seconds in lots of five. 

And I watched them tick over. 

Occasionally my mind moved to other thoughts, contemplating not terrorizing myself, about life. What if I died on the table. Had I lived a happy life. Would I be at peace. Resoundingly, yes. I have no will. I know my pets would be looked after. Would there be custody fights. I haven’t left a copy of all my passwords anywhere. No one knows who has keys. It was interesting. 

And then I’d come back and count again. 

Nurses came and went. I had to repeat answers to the same mundane questions. Changing nurses. Changing shifts. My lovely doctor laughed with me; I hadn’t eaten since last night and it was now well after one. Concern over my sugars but not re-tested because the new nurse didn’t listen to the previous nurse. Death could be a reality. New anaesthetist. Surgery done. 

Recovery. 

I love coming out from anaesthetic. Very sore vagina. Lots of blood. Discomfort. 

Panadeine forte. 

Winning. 

An old Asian man in recovery next to me. Beautiful soul and smile. Shift change. Relatives rung. Food provided. Time to get dressed. 

I walked past his chair. He said, “You can walk.”

I smiled, threw my hands in the air, and said, “It’s a miracle.” 

We laughed. 

He walked past me, arms in the air. He said, “I can walk.”

I laughed, “Another miracle!”

He namaste’d me. 

Gold. 

My fertility is done. I have a Mirena IUD. Five years. I’m waiting for the no period. I’ll bleed heavily for a few days, maybe a week. My results will be back within two weeks. Hopefully all will be good. Hopefully the mass wasn’t cancer. 

At any rate, I think I’m still a little high. 

I’m going to bed. 

Such is Life 

An interesting day, today. I had to have an ultrasound for my upcoming surgery to ensure all is okay with my gall bladder and then needed to go to the gynaecologist for a service. Appointments away from home and close enough together yet far enough apart to not bother coming home. 

As I am prone to do, I also arrived to both appointments early which interestingly resulted in me being seen earlier than my appointments; a rarity to be sure. First went smoothly. Picked up the images a little while ago. Second one threw me a curve ball. 

I had internal and external ultrasounds done a few weeks ago due to ongoing bleeding. My doctor wanted to rule out the cancers and horrible stuff. I took the images with me. My gynaecologist looked at them. 

No service required.

Hospital it is. As soon as possible before I travel to the United States in a couple of weeks. 

Trying a curette first. Inserting Mirena. If unsuccessful, lasering everything. If unsuccessful, hysterectomy. 

Day surgery. Fifteen minute procedure. An hour recovery. Home. 

She’s trying to book it for tomorrow afternoon. 

We both giggled at the irony of this IVF repeat failure reproductive system at forty six still being so fertile that even the gynaecologist said I was years and years away from menopause: life’s cruel ironies. After IVF I’m at higher risk of developing some type of cancer in my reproductive organs, especially endometrial cancer. 

Who knew. I think I vaguely recall reading that in my own research earlier on during that process. Meh. 

I always say, IVF is the gift that keeps giving. I just don’t wish it on anyone. 

As a result of those two appointments and having to wait around, I went to The Square to hang. Well, after my first appointment which I had to fast for, I really went there for breakfast, and just in the knock of time, my sugars were going out and I started to get the shakes. But, I also ran into a few ex students and friends, made through teaching. 

Man, if teaching isn’t the most powerful profession in reaching people I don’t know what is. And if ever I’m having a day questioning my own value and impact, I really need to just hang out at The Square. We raise compassionate and caring kids at my old school. They go on to become such beautiful people, trying hard to make life work and to give to others and become the best versions of themselves.

Us teachers are truly blessed. And if you’re a teacher who doesn’t work hard, doesn’t reach out to your kids, you won’t understand, but deserve to, so work harder. 

🙏🏻

Some clarity, only some 😛

This month is about building business and success, lessons being learned and trust. It’s very easy to not worry about money when you have a regular and reasonable pay cheque.

I am not receiving much casual teaching work – a couple of days each fortnight if. It is forcing me to adjust the way I live, the way I spend and the way I think. My savings are almost gone; they were meant to last the year and finance all of my travel plans. Very little casual teaching means that they have financed my rent, loan repayments and life. 

This morning, after talking sense to myself for days, I’ve woken up focusing on the gift of this time of a transforming life. How truly blessed I was to have savings that enabled and empowered me to say no to working full time this year in a job that had left my passion for life behind at some point. 

And, my business has grown significantly this term. If I had priced myself appropriately and structured my business slightly differently, lessons learned, I would be generating more income. 

Today, I woke after 7. I have been waking at 6 every day, phone on volume, anxious to hear the phone ring or a message tone, wanting work but not wanting to go to work. 

An interesting bind, and very much a first world, white, privileged problem. 

I love my business; I’ve met wonderful kids and wonderful parents. I enjoy the preparation for my sessions, even if it is psychological and mental preparation only at times. My house is always tidy. My pets are happy – I’m home during most days. I’m happy. I’m balanced. I have time for me. This lifestyle is an empathic introvert’s dream. I’m not suffocated by the conflicted social emotions of being around people all of the time; it’s refreshing. 

I need to let go of the money concerns that have been plaguing me. I have enough. I need to trust that I will be provided with everything I need as I need it. 

It really is as simple as that. I am meant to be where I am. This is all my path, exactly as it should be. And I’m happy. 

So today, it’s 820, I’m lying in bed, reflecting, I’ll get up soon, I’ll have breakfast, I’ll update my business account, I’ll complete an assignment, and I’ll possibly write. I have four chapters of my book to finalise and I have enough space around me to create and write. 

I need to be focusing on that blessing; or is this the real root of my fear? Yep, interesting psychological turn there. That whole fear of failure/fear of success thing. 

The Dreaded NAPLAN 

As a tutor it is interesting to see different teachers attitudes towards this dreaded N word. The standardised test launches itself into primary and high schools this week from Tuesday to Thursday. And everyone has an opinion. Including me. 

NAPLAN is a great tool (stick with me; don’t give up just yet) for teachers to review where their kids are at and to determine what they need to alter in their ongoing teaching and learning programs to fill the gaps, strengthen the areas of weakness, etc. 

However, some teachers are not using it to do that. NAPLAN has become a device to terrorise some children as teachers fear their programs don’t quite hit the mark and they scramble with saturation. 

One of my students, who has been very worried about not meeting the minimum Band 8 standard for HSC this year, asked me why her school had been providing additional support to the kids who had already achieved Band 8 and not to the students, like her, who hadn’t. 

Interesting question. And let me assure you, this child was very articulate in her questioning of the school’s logic and the perceived injustice, as well as how it made her feel significantly less important/valuable/worth something. 

The school, I imagine, is feeling pressure to value add to their top performing students so opted to place their resources there. I am absolutely certain that they intended no harm whatsoever to their lower performing students … but this is the epitome of school fear manifested. 

Another student that I tutor had a negative experience at school in the lead up to the standardised test. She was unsettled during our session and I caught her tapping her head (our strategy for stress management) several times during it. She has had a relief teacher who was putting such high level stress on the kids to perform that my student’s confidence and self-value took a significant hit. We will rebuild it but we shouldn’t have to. 

I personally see some merit in the testing. As an ex-facilitator of a school wide literacy program, I could gather data about the impact of the program on our students’ achievement. I could determine the growth in my own students (in Year 9 from Year 8). My Year 7’s last year struggled with making connections (inference) so in one of our units we focused on exactly this. I also ensured that we continued to visit inference in different ways. NAPLAN data can be used to support student learning. 

But I see so much damage rendered to our students, because of adult mismanagement, that I don’t think the damage is worth the positives that are currently gained for the few teachers who use the data constructively. I do not saturate my Year 9 students prior to the test because I have embedded aspects of the test throughout their prior learning. I try to put their stress into perspective for them by informing them how I use their results. I also tell them that their results are a snapshot of a moment in time and have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with their value as a human being. 

It is so important that adults minimise the stress rather than buy into the drama that can be created. And if NAPLAN stays, and it is likely to, that teachers and schools use the results to modify their programs rather than teach stress. 

We all just want to be seen

When I first realised I wanted to be a teacher, I was four. It was only later I decided I wanted to teach English, and the magick of words and story. At first though, I wanted to be a primary school teacher. For a lot of years. 

Yesterday I was called in to work at one of the feeder schools for my high school. I was as nervous as I was way back when I began teaching. I was put on a composite Year 3/4 class and what a blessing they were. 

I never realised that my heart could be snapped up and filled so fast. By the end of the day I just wanted to be their teacher forever. 

It wasn’t a perfect day. As is obligatory, I was told I was a bitch, but it is very difficult to become outraged when a child who isn’t even four foot tall, tells you what they think because they got a detention (similar theme here ~ some kids just don’t like boundaries). I told the class, all gathered at my feet, that it was probably a fair assumption, they laughed, and it became a teaching moment. 

Year 3/4 dob and they cry. You get every emotion in a day from some of them. And you are with them, the same kids, all day. Time just goes. I loved it. I have taught many classes through the years, as a high school teacher, that I would have loved to teach all day every day … I don’t think it would have been as tiring as yesterday was. 

One of the kids told me I was the best teacher. I told her she was right and we both laughed. The funny thing is, as a casual teacher, I see glimpses of that best teacher I usually say I am, but teaching the work of other people has never been a wholly comfortable fit for me. I am not at my best always in those moments. 

The SLSO (teacher’s aide) came up to me at the end of the day, grabbed me, hugged me and kissed me, telling me I was magickal and that she had loved being with me all day. I felt very treasured and very blessed. The same way I feel at the other high school I have worked in, in the Support Unit. Two days in a row, as a casual, where I felt valued and seen

It made me realise that when we stay in the same school for a long time, sometimes people don’t see your growth, by choice or design, and minimalist your impact. 

I have known for a fair few years now how exceptional I am as a teacher. I have the ability to develop fast and very strong relationships through love with the kids I teach. I know my content. I know how to teach my content to every child. And I know how to improve their literacy and plug holes. I can manage my students and I instil a love for learning and manifest a desire to grow. 

I think I’m finally acknowledging that I am a teacher. But also acknowledging that I may not be meant just for a classroom or one school anymore. 

Time will tell. 

Glory Days

When I saw Lucy a month ago, she suggested that I was struggling to let go of the financial predictability of teaching, and she was right. As a result, I hadn’t liberated myself from that lifestyle and the chains that were shackling me. 

Something has shifted during April. Advertising for my business, Tina’s Tutoring, has been somewhat successful and I have seen a rapid increase in the volume of clients.

It has also given me something else. 

I have been missing my friends from work and the experience of being in the classroom. I have missed watching kids engage and advance. I have missed the building of rapport and that feeling of success. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss being in a school or my job. I have mised the practice and art of teaching. 

However, during the last week, working with last term’s clients and meeting new clients, the diversity of need and experience within my clientele, has enabled that yearning to be fulfilled. I love working with my clients. I love it. 

I love my business. I love its potential. I love being the owner and the process of creating something magical. 

I am so excited for its future. And I hope that my hard work continues and it continues to grow. I can see its potential for generating long term consistent income. 

Most of all, I can smell freedom from the politics of education, freedom from the daily grind, freedom from meaningless administrative tasks that do not achieve the results required to justify the workload, and freedom to live my life my way.  I am creating the life that I want. 

It is magical. 

I am happier. I am less tired. I can’t wait to go to work each day but also value every minute of my day spent doing things other than work. I am loving my life. 

And interestingly, I do not feel the need for travel or movement away from home. I am content. And I am resilient, manoeuvring my way around or through obstacles. Life is not perfect. There is more uncertainty than the predictability and security of teaching, but I am valued by the kids I tutor and their parents. 

And I really am a gifted teacher. Who’d have thunk it 😜

Jumping has always served me well. Iit is scary. But so worth it.