Tag Archives: Teaching

Teaching is about caring …

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There are many caring and absolutely respected jobs in this world. One profession I utterly respect is that of Nurses and Support workers who in my opinion, are wonderful, wonderful people. I also genuinely think up there with those caring, great jobs, has to be teaching.

I honestly believe the vital quality, the very essence of a good or great teacher is that they genuinely care. About lots of things.

You have to care about your children as people and individuals, and not just how they’ll get the grades you want or need them to achieve by certain days or the end of the year. You have to care about them as young people, young learners who are learning so much about the world every minute. Let’s face it, we live in a busy, rapidly changing world which moves frantically forward in society, technologies, science as each single day passes. And god bless them, by the time of those teen years there’s a ton else going on in their lives which can mean school is their only safe or happy refuge. Or a very unhappy place. Or a disinterest. What a loss. To lose interest in learning.

You have to care about helping them to learn, to help them learn to learn and to learn about themselves too. You have to care about understanding where they  are coming from sometimes and what’s happening in their lives, perhaps difficult circumstances at home which might be influencing them. Even down to kindergarteners, never mind teenagers or pre teens. If one of my student’s parents is away for work often or just on certain days/ periods of time, I need to support that child. If they have a new brother or sister, there’s careful consideration there necessary from the eyes of the teacher to help them with that. Children and young learners need nuturing  and we, the teachers, who students spend half of their day with and are constant figures in their path to adulthood should nurture them. Help them in the professional and caring way we need to be to help them strive to be the best they can be.

Loving Learning! Grade 6 - Issan, Thailand, 2009

Loving Learning! Grade 6 – Issan, Thailand, 2009

You should care that you inspire your students. That they’re preparing for the tough world of work and adulthood which ultimately comes at the end of the whole timely process. whichever age you teach. Kindergarteners are just starting to learn how to make sense of a seemingly and often complex busy world in a beautifully innocent naivety that very young children have. First, second, third graders, all of them upwards are learning really complex stuff as well as facing and feeling an increasingly heavy pressure to progress, achieve and succeed – honest I’ve seen some of their work in class and it’s amazing what they’re learning and doing. They’re only like 7 or 8. Achieving wonderful things. All in a complex community of learners, involving a huge myriad of people and learning situations with;  peers, elders, youngers, teachers, family, people they meet from other schools, learners they learn from and engage with on the internet, television, the media -in fact everywhere. The work produced by middle/ high school students should be applauded.

I went to the Grade 5 exhibition a while back and was stunned at this whole array of personal projects these students had worked so hard at and done such a great job with. And each passionately following their own questions and interests to create a personal project and such amazing art, drama and musical representations to support their work. Amazing. I wondered what I had been doing in Grade 5 back in my past life  when I saw their work, and I don’t recall anything of such complexity and maturity. How much education changes, all the time, (even in my short life so far) and how a good curriculum ( I love the IB inquiry method) and good teachers can make those sometimes relentless changes to be positive ones. To be part of that evolution of teaching and learning, how amazing. From students being an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge as was such in the not so distant past, to be inspiring them to create their own path of learning and follow their own rigour and hard work in doing so, following a path that interests them. To be a learner helping a learner. Not a teacher helping a learner. Isn’t that how we should be helping our students learn in both their school work and also their understanding of learning itself, how they best learn, what they want to learn about, so they can be inspired and engaged in meaningful learning,  relevant to them, their studies and life in an intrinsically curious way?

Happy classes

Happy classes

We all experience and learn every day. In addition to caring, every good teacher should be humble. Accept that they are in fact still themselves a learner and can and will make mistakes. It’s definitely okay to make mistakes but a hundred percent better if we accept and learn from them, especially when that knowledge and growth stops us making it a second or third time in the future? In fact if we admitted to our students more often that we’ve made or do make mistakes, they’d feel much more comfortable with making mistakes themselves. Being open to the process of learning.

Who ever got long division the first time?! Seriously? Some of us still struggle with it or other concepts like percentages now as an adult. Who can remember Pythagoras Therorum clearly now all these years later? (unless you’re a maths teacher!) How many things have we had to learn in our own lives, and more importantly, just how much more do we have to learn, and will learn in our future. Embrace it, I think, for a much more open and less complex life. A healthier life.

 

I make mistakes all the time with my kids, and I feel lucky that in Kindergarten, it’s easy to accept it and let my students know a) I’ve done so and b)  know it’s okay to be wrong because ‘Miss Kielly’s just made a very silly mistake!!’ … cue a gaggle of loud giggling children, potentially actually rolling on the floor with silly laughter! But it’s important to do it wherever you work in a school and with every student. To feel safe in fact is in the knowing of safely of being able to make a mistake/s and know it’s okay, nothing bad is going to happen. School should be a safe place. Let’s encourage it more. Who wants students to be so scared of being wrong that they necessarily limit themselves. How sad.

Helping each other - Grade 5 students Issan, Thailand, 2009

Helping each other – Grade 5 students Issan, Thailand, 2009

Collaboration - Grade 5 Students, Issan - Thailand. 2009

Collaboration – Grade 5 Students, Issan – Thailand. 2009

Don’t limit yourself just because you’re an adult and supposedly know everything! Accept mistakes when you make them,  acknowledge them,  grow from them, and show your students your own personal learning curve.

Teaching is a great profession. Enjoy it! Help your students enjoy it! Listen, think, reflect, act, reflect and learn. Remember to care.

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What I’ve learnt as a teacher … so far.

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Okay, so I haven’t been a teacher for very long, this is my second year and it’s safe I haven’t gone the traditional route, heading straight overseas after graduating to an International school in the Philippines ( and quickly resigning after realising it didn’t count as a well maintained building, never mind a school) However I was fortunate enough to land in a great job here in Indonesia and I feel like I’ve traveled a long way as a teacher already ..

So here are some of my insights ..

1.  I can make mistakes and it’s okay! It’s not the end of the world, and providing I learn from them, they enrich the teaching experience both for the students and myself. What a realisation after the numerous stressful observations in my placements at uni. I can say to my students, ‘You know what, that didn’t work but let’s try it this way’ or ‘Oh dear, Ms. Kielly totally forgot about that, oops’ and they just giggle! It helps them in their understanding that everybody is a learner, and all I expect from them is that they try their best. No more. And they do! They think ‘If Miss Kielly can make mistakes, so can I! ‘Or at least that’s what I imagine they tell themselves. If I think about it, it’s probably more like ‘giggle … ‘Miss Kielly is soooooo silly!’

2. Encouragement is key, my 4 year olds want to please their teacher more than anything. I give the the positive praise they need to try even in things they find difficult like learning letter formation, or blending sounds, or even writing their name. I’ve learnt that creating a positive, encouraging environment where my students feel safe and happy, one in which they love coming to everyday is more important than anything because if they don’t feel this, their experiences at school are altered totally. I think I’ve been successful this year. My students are happy, confident learners who tell me how much they love school everyday. They give me hugs and blow me kisses from the playground. They shower me with flowers they’ve ripped off a bush. ( I have tried telling them I prefer to see the flowers on the bush, living, but when I see how excited they are to give me such a gift, I just shrug and think, let them have their little pleasures.) Bless them and their sweet nature. When they’ve been off sick, their parents tell me how desperate they were to come back to school. When I helped them mark on the calendar our 3 day holiday for Chinese New Year, most of them moaned with drawn out sighs at the thought of no school. LOL! Those who didn’t were so genuinely excited, I was excited for them. Especially when I know how valuable holidays are to a teacher and how much we love them and look forward to them too!

3. Early years teaching is so much fun and something I love to do. When I first began, I wasn’t sure. I thought it wasn’t totally for me. Then I was lucky enough to be able to attend a great PD in Bali all about play based inquiry learning in the Early Years. Boy did that change my perspective. I remember feeling so conflicted in myself at the course initially. Then it just seemed to change, about the end of the second day. I came back inspired, motivated, excited. And that’s continued in my practice ever since. I love the early years and genuinely appreciate the students total intrinsic enthusiasm, curiosity and love for learning.

4 The hard work is totally worth it. Seeing my students excitement in their success, their joy in grasping a new concept, a new skill. Seeing them proudly dragging their parents over to the writing table at the end of the day to show their mum that they can now write their name is priceless. Seeing their amazed faces watching an Imovie of themselves I’ve slaved over for hours at home makes it worth it. Seeing them accomplish something new and knowing how far they’ve come in their journey over the year is just the best feeling ever. I am so proud of each of them. They’ve all achieved so much.

5. Getting parents on board is vital. Having their support is amazing. It’s totally worth all the effort. I’m not a parent, but I can appreciate the worry in getting a new teacher, wanting their child to be happy and successful and as a teacher to 4 year olds, I can only imagine how hard it is to leave your child at school at that age. I feel an overwhelming responsibility to look after and nurture these tiny human beings as much as I can. I want to share with their parents, as much as possible, the successes and achievements of their child, of the whole class so they can be as involved as possible. The long road to getting them on board is also valuable say when I need their support, say for example in sending in photos of their family from home … this year I got photos from every child, without fail within a week and only one reminder email! 😀 One parent told me she and tons of the other mum’s and dad’s  want me to be their child’s teacher next year. What an awesome feeling knowing they trust and support me so much! I’ve also helped some parents in their journey in understanding of an inquiry play based curriculum and why it’s so appropriate and right for early childhood students through workshops I’ve helped plan and deliver, articles and links I’ve sent them and conversations with them. We are all learners.

6. I’ve learnt what does work and what doesn’t in my learning space. Having a table half hidden around a corner does not work and not only encourages children to get up to naughtiness but is actually a blatant symbol for doing so to a 4 year old! Replacing it with the computers which are independent and fuss free (except for the odd complaint of someone not sharing) was a much better idea. Leaving all the resources on shelves does not work if I expect students to be able to select resources themselves as well as tidy them all up. A selection is better. Having a Box House as a ‘dark room ‘ to explore night and day for our UOI was ridiculously fun for the children but descended into chaos and every possible resource being dragged into it and left in a mess which often meant 10 whole minutes of tidying up from the children.

7. Creating Essential agreements with my class was not as hard as I imagined. 4 year children are totally capable of understanding this concept, if approached in the right way and have fantastic ideas. They know what is expected of them, and thinking of them themselves gave them ownership of the classroom and was much, much more effective than ‘Teacher Rules.’ Revising them with the children after two months made them even better, asking the children to think about what we had agreed and what we might want to change now we were 2 months into class. Laboriously talking about them everyday and referring to them …. all the time in the first few months was essential and continuing to refer to them to help remind children of them has helped keep them fresh and important in their minds. My students work together in a very collaborative fashion and I can see they follow common agreements and shared understandings, evident in the way they interact with each other and their teachers. They have a social gel which is wonderful to see. Putting in the hard work and effort (including waiting … forever to print out coloured photos, and walking back to the printer numerous times to see if they had arrived virtually) to create a large display of the essential agreements, displayed prominently on our board right in front of our carpet area, with photos of the children helped enormously. These students can’t read yet, so visual cues are vital and they just LOVE to see themselves in photos, anytime, anywhere. Total excitement.

8. Offering and giving responsibility to my students works remarkably well in helping them to be responsible students and makes my job a thousand times easier as a result. Tidying up time is blissful (well that might be an exaggeration but it is a thousand times easier than last year, I don’t even need a tidy up song anymore! Success!) . I virtually do nothing other than help direct children to an area which needs cleaning .. and they run to do it! They almost fight over who gets a sponge to help clean tables or mess from the floor. They get excited when I show them new cleaning equipment such as a dustpan and brush and can’t wait for an opportunity to use it. Today, walking my class to the library was the best feeling of accomplishment! Bear in mind, our classroom is FAR from the library. At the beginning of the year, I used to dread the walk to the library. 14 small children running along the path, or off the path. Loudly screaming in excitement. Running straight into people who might also be trying to use the path, heaven forbid at the same time. Often these people stopped, unsure what to do with the sight of 14 tiny children running towards them on a race to the library, wildly swinging yellow bags with sharp cornered books in the air. Through months and months of constant reminders, praise and reinforcement, my children walk to the library as the smartest children in school (Well, I am biased!) … I have talked them through the whole practice of walking together and waiting at certain spots, such as doors, the pond, the maps which dot our route every time we walk out of our classroom to go anywhere. That we need to stick together, as a group, meaning we don’t race to be there first, before I’ve even got past Topeng building. That we need to move to one side when we see other people on the path. That we won’t swing our bags wildly all over the place. Well, yesterday, I practically strolled in leisure, chatting to excited children who wanted to share their stories with me, as I watched the children walking ahead, stopping at every ‘waiting spot’. They patiently waited, excitedly finding where they were on the map or stood searching for fish or frogs in the pond whilst we all caught up. They stood at the door, blocking it, like Policemen, waving their arms or folding them like a bouncer saying to the other children approaching  “Stop! Wait! Teachers open the door’. They did not run up the stairs, nor did they run across the all too exciting bridge to the elementary library. They were amazing! Of course, we totally had a praise overload, in the hope that our next visit and walk next week will be as peaceful and successful. What little superstars!

9. Working with colleagues is harder than the students. No need to elaborate. Students are easy. Adults are much, much harder.

10. Becoming more organised in approaching mega tasks or deadlines such as reports. Start as early as possible. Think ahead. Work smart. Recognizing my weaknesses such as keeping a classroom tidy. I swear, it’s part of working in the early years. Well, I would say that but … having 28 tiny hands moving things, having to multi task managing the classroom as I am being given letters/ forms/ things  means I invariably put them down on any surface. Covering my desk with all manner of things, most of which I don’t need there. ( I can actually think of a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar sitting my my desk, right at this minute that I brought in once for a salad I made for lunch in like October, yes… really… ) I make an attempt to tidy when I walk into my classroom and look at it in disgust, when I can’t find something I need because it could literally be anywhere. At the end of last year, we had to empty our classrooms. This was my first emptying of a classroom I had inhabited ever. That’s when I realised what a total pig I was. Keisha and Mel will tell you exactly how messy it was because I bet ( actually, I KNOW) they remember it vividly. Behind every corner, every piece of furniture, on every shelf was something … it could have been anything …  something I was sure I would use again, would need, but obviously could never ever find when I remembered I had it. Finding pieces of jigsaws or games in dusty, never seen before spaces. Being ridiculously frustrated at the whole task. That’s when I realised I could never again let my classroom be that disorganised. And I have made a conscientious effort this year to try harder. I’ve come to accept nobody else will ever clean my cupboard .. or my desk, or the empty (initially) tantalizing flat tops of shelves which invite me to place things on them …  no matter how much I wish somebody would! If I want to be able to find something, I need to actually be able to walk in my cupboard. I need to take resources back to the library regularly instead of the library being empty because I have them all! I say this, and I know I am better this year. To be fair. anything would be an improvement. I have a box in my cupboard for random things I find, which I know are part of something, so at the end of the year, I can put them all back in the right boxes/ games. (Hmm, reading that sentence, I’m not sure how tidy that sounds really!) But I do know how busy I am and how little time I have to do these things. I tidied my cupboard yesterday after feeling sick of not being able to walk in it without tripping over something (often a random bag of junk collected for junk modelling or large resources such as a basketball hoop (which thinking of, I should just return to wherever it came from, I’ll remember where if I think hard enough about it) ) .. I emptied my desk a little. I can only try. And at least, by about May, I’ll know about the end of year clean out and make a huge effort to clean and organise in preparation. Never again will I repeat last year. Ever.

11. Realizing that my ideas are as valid as other peoples and I have a lot to contribute to discussions and planning/ ideas. Realizing we are all learning, no matter where we are on our journey as a teacher and learner.

12. Choosing which battles to fight, when to bite my tongue, which if you know me, you will know this has taken a long time to learn and which I am still learning to do. Accepting to let things go, knowing which ones I should fight for. Not going into meetings like a raging bull in a China shop. Learning patience. Learning how to work with people and how to come across as reasonable, even if I feel furious. Knowing when not to reply to emails, if I know it will be laced with sarcasm or bitterness. Giving myself time to calm down and come back to something. Know if I can’t be loving, to be kind. If I can’t be kind, be polite. Never less.

13. Realizing I am actually good at this. Seeing the progress my students make and knowing how I have helped in that respect. Seeing how far I have come in my journey. Accepting there are lots of things to learn, being excited about this and appreciating the successes so far. Allowing myself to give myself credit for what I have done instead of being too hard on myself in moments of worry or stress. Enjoying the moment, the experience. Excited for the future 😀

Creative Commons, PLC and our Moral Imperative to Share …

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When we explored Creative Commons last week in our DC101 class, I started to really think more about what’s happening out there, on this big social forum we call the internet. I had genuinely never even thought about just grabbing an image from google, and suddenly we were questioning the ethical implications of doing so! It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I was just using somebody’s photo without asking permission, never mind crediting them. Yet when I thought about it, I realised if people took my photos and used them, that’s exactly what I’d want them to do, at least acknowledge me as the creator. So starts the learning process. I guess most people don’t even think of Google Images as being composed of pictures from millions of people. Well I certainly never did. When I typed in google, I just saw it as a public service which could find information and pictures for me. I think that’s maybe just an assumption we all make if a service is made freely available to us. If I did credit the image, I wrote ‘Image from google’ … (see earlier blog posts!) as if that was a credit, as if that’s gonna help anybody find the photographer. I might as well have just written ‘Image from somebody, somewhere in the world’. Jabiz showed us Flickr last week and how to use it, suggesting we use it in the future if we want photos because people share them with a creative commons license (well most of them do). Beginning to use Flickr has helped me understand more about this idea of a shared, collaborative online community. It has made me think about the way I access information on the internet so freely and greedily. I browse Teaching forums regularly, asking for and giving advice to teachers who post both from the UK and abroad. If I need something for my class, I’ll quickly search on google or using a couple of resource websites and download them. If I need a picture for something, I’ll use google images. I search youtube almost daily to find cool songs and videos relating to our current UOI for my students, I research articles depending on my work, I use the internet everyday and I use people’s resources and thoughts/ opinions/ ideas everyday. Yet I had never even thought about how much I use other peoples information, thoughts and resources so readily and anonymously until last week.

Having been educated (a little) these past few weeks into the ethical issues regarding the internet, and the amazing privileges we now have as people, as teachers to access and use this kind of information so freely, I realise how lucky we are in this new digital age and how much we can also contribute. I doubt I’ll make resources (maybe, possibly one day!) but I can contribute my thoughts about teaching, offer my advice on forums, blog about my classroom practice and generally put myself more into this online community. When I think how cagey I was about sharing things initially, this idea of ‘sharing everything’ I am a little embarrassed. Now I think about the ton of stuff I use, which informs my own ideas and teaching/ planning/ thoughts, then it seems a little selfish to say, ‘Why should I share this stuff?’ And I’m starting to realise it’s not about sharing everything. If I offer advice on a forum which helps others, I’m contributing, if I write something on this blog which helps inform another person, then that’s wonderful. If I write about a lesson or activity which worked really well in class and this sparks a thought in somebody else, fantastic! If I write about a book I love or share a story from my life that makes somebody think, I am contributing. I know somebody in class today was truly touched by one of my posts on my blog, and knowing I shared that story, that they listened and thought about it feels amazing.

We watched a video today about this online digital community, and it did inspire me. I see how this can affect people, how it can create change, how it can enable bigger things. I am beginning to think about our new age of digital technology in a new light. I am inspired to learn more about this and creating shared content and a collaborative digital community. I also understand much more, having seen how I, myself,  flouted internet etiquette so flagrantly by grabbing google images without even crediting people, that our students are entering a digital world in which rules are not clear. A world which is so new, issues such as privacy laws are only just being worked out as we go along. As teachers, I understand much more, already about these issues and feel much happier committing to our ‘obligation’ to helping our students understand how to explore and utilise this new age technology safely. This article on a news website the other day only highlights the only too real dangers of a digital age in which information is so freely uploaded and accessibly by the world! We must help our students navigate their way through this ever changing world as much as we can and we can only do that by being committed to understanding it ourselves. People like Jabiz and Jane, and the many other educational bloggers out there that I have begun to read and learn from understand this and have sparked an interest in me to do so too. Thanks guys 😀

 

Early Years Teaching is Fun !

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Here’s a video I made of my students showing how they develop the 10 attributes of the IB Learner Profile in our Early Years Classroom. Enjoy!

Oh my goodness, the fun I have teaching 4-5 year olds totally makes up for the hard work I put in every day. They literally make me giggle everyday. Thought I’d share some of my thoughts on why I love teaching the teeny children!

1. They are hilariously funny. Once, I asked one of my boys if he had made a gun with the construction toys … knowing this was disapproved of, he looked at me and said … ‘No.’ I said, ‘Oh wow that’s funny because it really looks like a gun! What is it then?’ He replies ‘ I can’t tell you, it’s a secret!’ . Ha, quick thinking there! I let him continue with his game. Another time, two of my boys were being ‘Pirates’ and searching for treasure around the classroom using tubes for telescopes. Peering through his telescope, one of the boys said ‘I see Treasure! Come’ motioning to his friend. To which his friend stared at him with disdain and said ‘No, don’t be silly – that’s the rubbish bin!’. Absolutely classic. Today, singing our ‘continent song’, one of my funniest boys looked at me and said ‘I don’t like this song, we live in Indonesia and it doesn’t say Indonesia in the song! He was somewhat placated when I told him Indonesia was in Asia but only just. LOL. I showed them a video once of my scuba diving (I’m big on sharing with them the enormity and beauty of our earth and helping them know there’s a whole wide world out there for them to explore) and ever since then, everytime I put a video of underwater scenes (We live in Indonesia, one of the most amazing areas of diverse aquatic life in the world) they tell each other excitedly ‘There’s Miss Kielly!’ whenever they see a scuba diver. I’ve tried telling them it’s not me, but they are completely convinced! Okay, yes that is me guys, I am the only scuba diver in the whole world!

2. They are so easily amused. It’s mind boggling. One of my children brought in her ‘favourite book from home’ to share. It was in Dutch. I said to the class, ‘Oh wow, I don’t know Dutch but I’ll try to read it for you!’ I proceeded to make a fairly decent attempt at speaking Dutch ( I can speak German) and the whole class were literally in hysterics to the point where I’m looking at my Teaching Assistant as if to say, ‘Is this really that funny?!’ Every word I spoke, they were quite literally rolling about on the carpet giggling beyond explanation! Yesterday I started a ‘secret password’ on the classroom door which they have to read when they come in and ‘whisper in my ear (remember it’s a secret!)  to help develop our beginning ‘reading skills. The first ever word was ‘box’ … you would not even believe how exciting they find this ‘secret password’! The first day I started it, the first little girl who came in was so hugely excited to find we had a secret password that every time a classmate walked in with their bags, she ran over to them literally as they walked in, almost tripping over her own feet in her haste to whisper loudly to them about it and drag them to the door to show them! Bless, one of my little girls got a little bit confused and asked me all day ‘But when will we open the mystery box?’ LOL.Today my kids thought the most hilarious thing ever was to run off the roofed path into the rain giggling with excitement at the prospect of raindrops falling on their head. It reminds me of the simple pleasures in life and not to take life so seriously. They keep me young in my mind, even in the stress of the busy working day.

3. They literally spend all day trying to please me. (mainly my adorable girls) Oh it’s the cutest. One of most adorable girls tells me all the time ‘It’s okay Miss Kielly, we can do whatever you want, don’t worry about it, I don’t mind what we do now because I just want you to be happy!’ Ahhhhhh. One of my parents of the most gorgeous girl told me that she had been talking to her daughter the day before and the little girl had announced .. ‘Next year, in K2 I’m going to have Miss Kielly as my teacher you know’ to which Mummy said ‘Oh that’s lovely but I think you might have a new teacher’. The girl replied saying ‘Oh but it would be so nice to have Miss Kielly again. Do you think I could just repeat K1 next year so she can be my teacher again?!’ Ahhhhh, hearing these things makes me so happy!! The girls LOVE to give me hugs all day and tell me ‘I love you Miss Kielly!” How wonderful. I love it!

4. They are so naturally curious. Despite being asked questions all day long, I never tire of it … I mean they just love exploring and finding about the world around them. If I can help them love school, my job is done. Seriously, that’s my biggest goal. Enjoy school. If you don’t enjoy school at 4, there’s something seriously wrong.

I might need to start a page on here called ‘The hilarious things my kids say’. Yes, I think I will!

Tons of people say to me, ‘Oh I could never work with tiny children’. You are seriously missing out!

Happy Christmas everybody!

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What a wonderful day and how lucky I was to be able to spend it at home with my parents and family. Delicious food cooked by always amazing Mum and Dad made us giggle so much when he put on a winter hat he had unwrapped and looked suspiciously like a pixie. LOL. Sitting now enjoying chocolate treats … great day. Watched the Ab Fab special on BBC1. I thought it was good although mum wasn’t so keen. Got some wonderful gifts including a fab black and pink watch and some really nice makeup 😀

Last year was not such an occasion. I was in the Philippines travelling for 2 weeks with my friend, Angela at Christmas time before I moved to Indonesia to take up my new post. Angela is a great friend who I met in China a few years ago when we were both teaching ESL at the same school. That last holiday was actually pretty great ! Boracay was super gorgeous, a really nice place to spend a few days. We climbed a mountain overlooking Lake Taal and also spent a few days in Puerto Galera. We actually did our first scuba dive there! It was pretty exciting! The beach in Boracay was so shallow so you could wade out in the blue beautiful sea for ages and still be able to touch the bottom. It was a great great beach holiday. On Christmas Day, we were in Manila at a nice B&B owned by a French couple. I remember we ate at Jollibee on Christmas Day itself, quite a different feast from today’s delicious roast turkey dinner 😀 Jollibee is The Filipino alternative to Burger King or Maccy D’s. It was okay I guess. I remember the only gift I got last year on Christmas day was a nail clipper in a pot luck present giving organised by the owners of the B&B. I remember I felt a little shortchanged since I’d put in a whole bottle of Gin!

Anyway, this Christmas has been wonderful, sharing this wonderful day with my family. Watched the Queen’s speech with Grandma. Oh she was so cute watching it. I liked it too actually. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful family who love me so much. I truly love them and miss them each when I’m away teaching. I feel so lucky that they are understanding of my ambitions to pursue my teaching career overseas and I love coming back to see them because I do truly miss their company and love when I’m away for a long time. One of goals this year coming is to keep more up to date with people, especially emailing friends and family. I’m also hoping that continuing this blog will enable them to feel more connected with me 😀

Hello world!

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Hello World! It’s definitely time for me to begin a blog about my experiences as I live and teach overseas! Several years almost out of date but I’m sure I can play catch up now. I’m actually just beginning my journey into teaching overseas since graduating from my teaching degree in July 2010. I currently work at a beautiful International School in BSD City, Jakarta, Indonesia.

I teach K1, students aged 4 turning 5 … which I just love. What a simply wonderful age to teach! Curious, intrigued and highly motivated students. My biggest goal as a teacher is that my students enjoy school and I love to see just how excited they are at school and how engaged they are in their learning! I see such confident and successful students and I really feel confident in saying that they do love school! So I feel extremely fortunate to be blessed with such a wonderful class and my amazing, colourful life out here in the hectic life of Jakarta. Even though we are only 5 months into the year, I see such amazing progress in all of my students and I’m so happy for them! Some have progressed hugely in their spoken English language skills having come into the class in August only speaking Chinese and now they are putting together some great sentences and are confident doing so! Some have made such progress in their confidence I almost don’t remember them anymore as the shy boy who rarely spoke at the beginning of the year! Some simply shone during letters and sounds work, ready for the next bit as they discovered their new and exciting ability to read! Wow, what an awesome inspiring event to be involved in!

One of my gorgeous boys always says to me ‘Miss Kielly, I can do it!’. I love to hear him say that! Yes you can! There’s no such word as can’t. My kickboxing instructor at home, a really great guy always said that and I love that ideology. Positivity. Don’t give up. What an inspiring attitude.

I just came home from Indonesia at Christmas and I simply love being here, sharing this family time at Christmas with my loving family and friends (an experience which never makes up for the time I spend away from them … and I wish could). But I also can’t deny that the gray skies and bitter, icy winds aren’t a little miserable. I’ve moved into slow mo at home recently and not done an awful lot since I got back and I’m certain the fact it’s so dark outside both morning and evening depresses my overall mood quite a bit. Yesterday I woke up at 6am and waited almost 3 hours for the skies to lighten so I was sure it was morning and my watch hadn’t just stopped. It was a long time to wait. Finally the gray sky lightened and another gray day began. Then there’s the icy cold. My feet have never warmed up since getting off the flight in Newcastle one chilled morning. When I stepped off the plane, I actually gasped with cold and shock. It’s almost indulgent to say it but I simply love being in a hot sunny climate.There’s something to be said for sunny, hot days every day! I can’t deny that looking up at the sky everyday whilst I live in Asia gives me a thrill that I am here, in life, right now enjoying such wonderful, colourful skies with their heavy drenching monsoon rains which soak in seconds and turn roads into muddy and puddled messes. A sunny life indeed.

I love my job and I love Indonesia. What a fabulous country, full of culture and wonderful, welcoming people and communities. I feel a strong connection, almost an affinity with Indonesia and Indonesian culture shaped by the experiences I have had in my time here, both professional and personal and the journey over the last few years which took me here. One tradition I love the most is the Wayang shadow puppetry. I simply love the Wayang shadow puppets and have spent numerous hours (!) scouting out wonderful traditional Indonesian household things or gifts at Pasar Raya in Blok M. I am also fortunate enough to have kind friends who give wonderful gifts of Wayang to decorate my sparsely furnished house! Minimalistic chic at its best.

Wayang Shadow Puppets - Image from Web

Balinese Wayang – Image from Web

I really hope this site will allow me to share my life overseas with family and friends back home. Despite photos and emails, without visiting, it’s hard to imagine what it’s really like. Until my family come, which I’m really hoping they do (!) then I’ll try to share more of my current life with them via this blog. I really hope I make this blogging a regular thing. There’s a huge IT initiative in my school which means everybody will be producing class / subject blog pages in order for our school to fufill its ambition of creating a ‘digital community’. I’m really happy about making my own blog for K1, it’ll be so exciting to share what’s going on in our classroom. I hope I’ll learn enough with this blog to hit the ground running when I start my blog for class. Different departments have different dates to start their blogs, a phased introduction. At first I was a little annoyed that I couldn’t do my blog earlier but actually perhaps it’s been a blessing. Last term was a very long and tiring term.  Already just a few days into the Christmas Holidays, I feel relaxed and revived, if a little cold back home in Newcastle, UK. Now I feel excited and motivated to do this whole ‘blogging’ thing as well as my other goals for 2012! Feeling excited about the adventures ahead 😀