Sunday, April 10, 2011

Term 1 2011

Thought I'd drop in some thoughts on the move and general progress in Term 1.

You can pretty much add "so far" to any of the statements after this. I am perceptive enough to realise I am still in a honeymoon period and that if I ruffle the wrong feathers things might just turn. I have zero intention of doing that, and I've learned enough in the last four years to handle myself better when conflict arises.

Actually, my ability to handle myself has probably been what I am proudest of. Little of my old reputation has followed me and it has been a pleasure to kind of start again and redirect my energies into new things, rather than being dragged into things I stopped believing in long ago. My mind has changed, for instance, about how to treat VCE students. While I was once a crusader for keeping the standard and expectation high, towards the end of last year I began to reconsider my position. Simply put, having a fifth of your students removed from the data (totally within the rules) doesn't help you progress your teaching. My numbers were good, but actually they were great, but reaching the bottom third needs to be the new priority. The culture I'm in now has forced me to confront this problem and reflect on my own practice. This challenge involves changing the system internally to ensure that (to paraphrase) few are left behind. The intervention system we (as a department) are suggesting is large in scale and deliberate in objective and method. Certainly this is exciting to be part of for the rest of the year. Sitting down with the boss and having him support a few of the programs we will start was a nerdy thrill as well.

I have enjoyed not being spread so thin, though as I discussed in a blog late last year, being involved in so many areas helped to broaden my perspective. I would certainly entourage it. That said, not being involved in student leadership, curriculum, school council, etc., has allowed me to focus on the core of my new role and really immerse myself in leading the English department. There are many facets and 29 people to lead. Without a stand alone literacy program I am effectively leading that, though I have focused on it being a team effort, rather than my responsibility. (Having the region coach as our coach helps enormously too). It took me two weeks to work out exactly what I was supposed to be doing but I feel my time is now well spent.

At this point the main priority has been supporting the staff. They are quite simply brilliant. Motivated and dedicated. Their freshness gives them an energy that has helped to revitalize me. I feel pumped to be around them and they are a joy to lead. Most take to tasks with gusto and are receptive to feedback. As I said to someone in the last week- we have an exciting young list that has the capacity to do amazing things in the near future. Hopefully we can hang on to all of them. Designing fac meetings using GANAG and creating time to establish a culture of collaboration has been worthwhile and, I think, challenged a few perceptions of how we will be teaching in the future. They have been receptive since day 1 and their encouragement tells me we have identified a good course to take. The goal for the year is to make life easier and put our fac in a position to lead the school in a number of areas. The competitor in me settles for nothing less. Working in a team with a clear focus, and being able to influence that focus significantly, has been a great experience.

The change has been good. I miss the odd face but the new ones have been welcoming. So far the 360 feedback has been good and I seem to have found a style that works for me. I did manage to go a couple of weeks without swearing, though one of the grads now blames me for her potty mouth. It was strange seeing old work people amongst so many unfamiliar faces. It still feels like I have one foot in the old world, though this will fade with time, since I certainly mention them too much. I have been quite open about my lack of experience (at appropriate times) since there is no point hiding the fact I'm new to the role. I have been able to build on my knowledge though and the professional focus here towards Marzano and Pollock has been of massive assistance. It may appear there are many balls in the air but I am learning to juggle them and my time with people like DT and AM has greatly helped this.

There are challenges ahead but I feel settled. It has been wonderfully exciting to be honest. There are differences in the school- some awesome, some terrible. For my own sanity I am focusing on the positives and working my way on influencing the negatives to protect my staff from burn out. It is hard work, but worthwhile work.

This really is the best job in the world.

Would love to hear your comments and your own progress in the last few months.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

WrestleMania 27 predictions

The undercard-
a few matches here have a potential to be good but forgotten by the end.
But first The Rock comes out and welcomes the millions... and millions of people watching in the arena and at home. He says some funny shit about John Cena and The Miz. Wade Barrett will probably interrupt him.

Random collection of faces (Kane, Big Show, Kofi, Santino) D The Corre (a misspelt collection of heels- Wade Barret is only one who is over). It involves a messy finish where everyone hits their moves and Santino pins Slater with the COBRA.

Shemus D Daniel Bryan to retain the US Title. Should be a decent 10 minute match. Shemus cheats to win.

Rey Mysterio D Cody Rhodes. Rhodes comes out looking good but Rey (dressed at Captain America) gets the win with a 619. Cody will get his back in a mask-v-mask match next month.

Celebrity Match
Snooki's team wins. I'm not even sure who else is in it. I think John Morrison is. So he'll do something cool.

The midcard.
Jerry Lawler D Michael Cole (with Jack Swagger). Stone Cold stomps a mudhole in Cole. Then stuns Swagger. Lawler hits the fist drop for the win. Huge pop if this goes on early enough.

Austin and Lawler have a beer bash which is interrupted by someone. Someone takes a Stunner.

CM Punk D Randy 'The Ram' Orton. CM works the leg and escapes the RKO. Randy looks set for victory before someone runs in and trips him. Maybe Luke Gallows. They take an RKO and Randy gets rolled up. (Randy will bash his brains in next month).

Alberto "Nacho Libre" del Rio D Edge. Christian comes down to chase off the posse. Christian bumps into Edge who gets caught in the arm bar and takes ages to tap. Edge looks strong but del Rio celebrates his first title. Christian "looks" sorry. Edge pushes him away when he tries to console him.

Undertaker D Triple H. Have you seem WMX7? It'll be like that. Only slower. Triple H bleeds a little to make it look like he "died trying." Michaels doesn't get involved. At least I hope not. Lots of kicking out of finishers throughout. Streak continues.

John Cena D The Miz. This is just nuts. I don't know how The Rock gets involved physically and not have the whole thing look stupid. He can't shake Cena's hand because he'd look like a pussy. The Miz could use the rub, but can't be left lying by The Rock. Cena can't really afford that either- so maybe it is the reverse of Raw. Miz jumps Cena who is saved by The Rock. Cena and Rock stare down and they both hit their silly moves on Miz. Rock then rock bottoms Cena and thanks everyone for coming.

Oh, and Cena has already defeated Miz for the title- but the heel turn has begun. Cena turns on the fans the next night and takes out The Rock. Orton and Hunter start chasing (since no one else is over). Miz feuds with someone who ran out earlier.