If my maths teachers could see me now

Intermediate School 

For the record, if you’re not from NZ, intermediate is a two-year school after primary school (elementary) and before high school (often called College in New Zealand). Intermediate is most Kiwi kids’ 7th and 8th year of schooling, and students are usually 11-ish when they start, like the first year of Hogwarts, but with fewer owls. Because we start school at 5, we have 13 years of schooling, now called Years 1-13, although when I went, it was New Entrants and J1, J2 (J standing for Juniors), and Standards 1-4 at primary school, followed by Form 1 and Form 2 at intermediate and 3rd-7th form at high school. Kindy (Kindergarten) is for 3 and 4 year olds.

In 1996 I first started to get the idea that maths wasn’t cool. Also, it was a bit boring, and we seemed to do the same stuff over and over again. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback, Learning, Teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

John Sutherland’s “How to Read a Novel: A user’s guide” – Book review

Speaking of misleading titles (okay, I’m not yet, but I’m about to), I just want to point out to anyone who’s reading this and grew up with me that the book I’m about to review was not written by our childhood friend John Sutherland, but by some old British guy.

How to Read a NovelHow to Read a Novel by John Sutherland
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The only reason this book gets two stars (instead of one) is that I didn’t actively dislike it. It was easy to read and mildly interesting. I wanted to keep reading. I kept hoping to actually learn “How to Read a Novel.”

The book, or rather the title, is a brilliant example of marketing. As an avid reader, a lover of novels and an English teacher of 21st century teenagers, how could I NOT pick up a book that promises to teach us “how novels work, what they’re about, what makes them good or bad, and how to talk about them with kindred spirits.” Unfortunately, the blurb is pure fabrication. It has nothing at all to do with the book it’s printed on. Continue reading

Categories: Books | Tags: | Leave a comment

How do you do that?

I had a question from a student.
“How did you learn to like reading?”
I thought for a moment.
“I don’t remember not liking it.”
His face fell.

Here is a student who wants to learn. This is the thing all teachers dream of. We think our jobs, nay, our lives would be so much better (unicorns and rainbows!) if only all students would feel this way. It’s a lot to ask. Teenagers are not well known for thinking logically, taking responsibility or making good decisions. Wanting to learn, and figuring out how to learn, are not easy things to do. Continue reading

Categories: Books, Learning, Teaching | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

I figured out why I don’t like it

I first saw the image on a flag wielded by a Black Caps supporter on the news yesterday afternoon.

 

I managed to hide my initial reaction – to recoil in disgust – because my flatmate chuckled at it. But I had to say something.

“That’s not a suitable flag.” I meant to show on the news, but I also meant in general.

“It’s something you pass around between your mates, but it’s not a flag,” she replied.

I agreed, because I couldn’t put into words my discomfort.

I often feel that way. I don’t speak out because I don’t have the right words.
Continue reading

Categories: Language, Saving the World | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Word Crimes

Word Crimes. I love the general response to this song. For a long time, I’ve been that person who corrects everyone else’s spelling and grammar, both online and in person. Some of you may remember passing me notes in lectures only to have them returned with proofreading marks all over them. I would like it to be known that I never intended to be hurtful or imply stupidity when doing this (although it’s always tempting to write, “You can’t even [spell, use apostrophes, capitalise],” when dealing with people I don’t agree with online), but I realise now that sometimes people are offended and I come off as condescending and/or cruel. As someone who has always loved the sometimes seemingly arbitrary rules of the English language, it has taken me a long time to understand that some people just don’t get it, and just don’t care. Continue reading

Categories: Language, Teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yoga makes me angry

Maybe I’m doing it wrong. I went to a yoga class yesterday for the first time in 3 years. Three years ago, it made me angry. Yesterday, it made me angry. I just don’t get it. I love stretching, I’m quite committed to breathing, and I’m pretty open to the whole getting-in-touch-with-yourself thing. Continue reading

Categories: Day-to-day | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Summer is early (and I like it)

Apart from the intermittent downpours on Monday, this past week has been a gorgeous foreshadowing of the pure joy that will be summer.

I’ve been to the gym four times (one of those times happened to be Monday for an outdoor crossfit session – we were sodden within 2 minutes!), joined the Tauranga Writers Group, been on a date that went wonderfully (there were real life fireworks), and loved working with the students who came in for extra school holiday lessons at work.

I’m currently drawing pictures of mermaids to get an idea of what the characters in my soon-to-be-written novel will look like (mermaids are totally the new vampires, which make me happy because mermaids are awesome and everyone should love them, but also makes me a little bit sad because now they will become over-commercialised and everyone will be writing novels and making movies about them and the ones in my imagination will no longer be special).

Things for NaNoWriMo are gearing up – including a new layout of the website, which is way better than the way it was, and I’ve officially entered the details for my novel. Working title Undercurrents – still not sure about that, but we’ll see how things turn out.

Guess what, guess what?

Here’s the picture from last week’s (or was it the week before?) Guess What It Is?

yum!

yum!

And a new picture for this week:

Hmmm... what is it?

Hmmm… what is it?

 

Hope everyone is having as awesome a week as I am 🙂

xEmma

 

Categories: Day-to-day, Guess what it is! | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Please look after this bear.

If anyone knows of a good place for bodies, I’m looking to trade-up. My one’s broken.

From six weeks of influenza to excruciating back pain and all the meibomian cysts and nasty cramps in between, I’ve come to realise my body is probably trying to tell me something. I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of “I need more love. Please look after me.”

I signed up for the six week challenge at my gym. It starts today. My aim is to improve my flexibility and stamina. There are many other goals to work towards, but let’s keep things simple.

Now that the emotional pain of it is wearing off, I’m ready to announce to the world that I have withdrawn from my teaching course. I do intend to finish it one day, maybe even next year, but for now it’s just not what I’m meant to be doing. For now I need to look after me. Not finishing my course this year does not make me a failure. Acknowledging my need for help does not make me weak. I recently discovered Boggle the owl, who is a wonderful friend to have. You should check him out. In addition, I’ve decided I should perhaps get a luggage tag like Paddington’s made.

Please look after this bear. Thank you.

Guess What It Is?

Time for a new Guess What It Is? (see here for details)

whatisitwhatisitwhatisit?

whatisitwhatisitwhatisit?

Last Week’s Guess What It Is:

Cutie Cutie Baby Otter

 

Finally, in other news, Saturday was the UN Day of Peace (check out Peace One Day in my “I support” list to the right), and coming up on the 2nd of October is the International Day of Non-Violence (Gandhi’s birthday). If you happen to be in or near Hiroshima, japan, do go down to the Peace Memorial. I don’t know if they do it every year, but when I was there in 2008 there was a beautiful gathering of people celebrating with music and cake. Between these two dates, young leaders of GirlGuiding all over New Zealand are organising Take Back the Night marches, rallies and gatherings. The Bay of Plenty gathering is this Friday.

xEmma

Categories: Guess what it is!, Saving the World | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh, I have a blog?

I do tend to forget about this old thing I set up years ago called a blog (short for weblog, did you know? I still remember the first time I heard about this new form of journaling). Sure, blogging is mostly just glamorised navel-gazing, but I do enjoy it and I like to think that someone else, somewhere in the world occasionally enjoys reading the words I’ve pieced together.

September, apparently, is #nanoprep month. I feel it has to be written with a hashtag because the only place I ever see this term used is on twitter. NaNoWriMo 2013 is fast approaching and I have a vague chance of winning this year. More of a chance than any other year I’ve attempted it, at least.

And now for a quick round of ‘guess what it is’ – where I post a tiny portion of a photo that was too small to begin with and you try and guess what it is.

What is it?

What is it?

xEmma

 

Categories: Guess what it is!, Writing | Tags: , | 6 Comments

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