Monday, October 31, 2011

Moaning Myrtle Moment

I am having a Moaning Myrtle Moment
I hate the end of the week! Do you know what happens at the end of the week in my Outback Schoolroom?  
I can hear the murmurs from other home tutors ...
  1. Packing up the weeks work, 
  2. making sure it is marked AND 
  3. writing Bl*&dy feedback.
The kids are great at putting their work into the send in drawer.  Its a great acheivement for them as they don't have to deal with it again.  With tricky pieces of work they jump for joy as the put it in.
I then have to get the coloured pens and star stamp out.  Many activities I get the star stamp out and mark as they do it, especially when they are needing help.  Many times they call the answer out in draft work and you answer back....but still this all needs a tick on it just to please the teacher.  Sometimes I feel like ticking everything right or wrong just to see how well they (the teachers) are looking. 

The star stamp has been the answered to many of my dreams... I have started just putting a stamp on the page corner if it is all correct.  The kids do remind me to do it as I go now.  

One of the worst things to mark is quick maths ... a page of additions and subtractions.. no answers.  You have to quickly do them ALL as you go.  With Mr Procrastination this can be 50 wretched sums.  Do the teachers think I need practise????

Another horrible think to deal with is grammar sheets.  My grammar is my weakness and as such I prefer teachers to check.  Also when you are dealing with a multiple choice question for a Year 6 student I am at odds.  To be honest I don't mark english sheets UNLESS I am given answers now and asked to... certainly solved all my problems.  The teachers have got the hint and now supply answer sheets.
Then there is feedback, for me that either happens on a Friday as the kids work on Monday.  Usually Monday because after a hectic week of school my brain is fried.  I always think better on a Monday and don't rush through the set marking.
It's like an exercise in creative writing and I really wonder at times if some teachers actually read it.  Especially when any questions I put in go unanswered. I am NOT saying all teachers are like that some are brilliant at getting the sets back.... but then you get those who send it back 6 to 8 weeks after you post it in.

Anyway I have finished my feedback now.  
Kids had a great day at school.  
Sets ready to be posted on Friday or by next person heading to town.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Late Mornings - Late Nights

Many businesses you go to work at 9 and go home at 5.  Station life is just not like that! 

Even doing school in my little Outback Schoolroom is not regular no matter how hard we try we always seem to be having late mornings and late nights.  

Late nights mean tired children.  Often in the afternoon that will mean beanbag or lounge time.  Very handy area the reading corner in the schoolroom. 

Late mornings means they have been up at the crack of dawn, out on the station helping and have got back to school late.  Usually there is a flurry of text messages sent to me to tell me that they will be late.

On my big northern station life is busy, we have sheep, goats and cattle to deal with.  As Mr Boss has a mob of sheep, this can take a big chunk of time to complete each activity.  Sheep involve many jobs; crutching, shearing, jetting, putting rams out, getting rams in, jetting AGAIN and lambmarking.  

On a regular day my 2 students, Mr Pinocchio and Mr Procrastination, would come in just before 8.30.  Chatting to me about everything that has happen since yesterday afternoon especially if I haven't eaten at the main house.  

We do all the morning schoolwork and they head to smoko at 10am to 10.20.  The kids comeback for the second session, attend air lessons and finish work.

Off to lunch at 12.30.  We now have 50 minutes for lunch, far better than 60 minutes as it give them 10 minutes to get organised.  I don't tell them that.  :)  I now get back all the time they spend dawdling.  

After lunch they finish work between 3 to 3.30pm.  It use to be to just 3pm but I would find at about 2.45 they would pack up all the unfinished pieces of schoolwork so they could get out at 3.  A lot of school time would be wasted and schoolwork unfinished at the end of the week.  Now they don't look to pack up early as the time we finish is when I say pack up. 

Extra info about my living arrangement: The joys of having a couple of bedrooms cottage to live in means I get to have meals at my own place.  I have lunch at the house school days and sometimes smokos.  Once a week on a Wednesday I go over for tea as do other staff.  I do have other night meals over there when we have visitors.

oooh ... can't write anymore, we have visitors    


Monday, October 24, 2011

Computer Guru .....Crazy Nut

Sitting in an outback school room is no longer about crackly HF Radios and car batteries.  Gone are those simple days. It now involves lessons over the computer and the daily wrestle with the internet, websites, printers, scanners and emails.  Once you have finished dealing with all that there is still MP3 players, cameras, xbox's, headphones, microphones and touch screens.

Did I miss anything?  

Every morning I head in early just to get the computer on track, I no longer shut it off each night because it take too BL&#DY long to start up if I do.  To start up, get the email and morning messages up it takes for usernames and passwords.

I do love computers ... its just slow education department ones that annoy me.

Computer knowledge in the outback is often a curse.... there is always someone on the station that needs your help OR at times I just have to do something to make their lives easier because I can't bear to watch them struggle.

Some of my favourite tips ... to start with

Internet Browers: 
Stay away from internet explorer if you can.  Download Firefox and Opera and use them as browsers. I have a lot less viruses since I started using them.  Hackers and Viruses target microsoft.

Emails Programs:
Rather than using Outlook Express or Outlook I use Thunderbird.  Once you get into it, it is a fantastic email program.  I also have about 4 email address for business which I like to keep separate.  Thunderbird is great for this.
If you want a more social email program then try incredimail.

Photo Resizer:
Microsoft has a great little powertoy photo re-sizer.  Which after downloaded and installed to use all you do is right click and resize.  Google it and download. 

Don't email massive photos.

Remember pictures in WORD documents can be compressed.  Looking in the help

Gadgets: Found in Control Panel > Appearance & Personalization
Windows 7 & Vista uses gadgets which can be downloaded and installed to help with lots of things.  My favourite gadget is the Bigpond Usage Meter which keeps an eye on your usage without logging into telstra or waiting for an email.  You can search online and find many useful gadgets.  I actually only have 2 on my desktop, otherwise it gets cluttered.

Keep the desktop unclutter.  No more than 10 icons.  Such as Email, Internet, Accounting Software, Music software, Camera/photo software, mapping software.

I also create a new folder on the desktop and each time a game is installed I put the icon in there. Easier for the kids to find.

Remember Desktop icons can be deleted because they are always in the menu.

OKAY ... now time to look at the window then head out the door

So nice to look out the window and see grass waving in the breeze

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Getting To Know Outback Girl

Thanks to Bushbelles for these questions ...

I am OUTBACK GIRL and welcome to my blog LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW .. full of quotes, photos and insights about governessing, living on an outback property and my own philosophical view on life.

Town or Country :   
Outback Australia looking at a sunset anywhere

 Music or Books:  
That is a hard choice, I love turning up the music (mostly country) but on a day when I am worn out a good book is a must.

Perfect Day :  
Good friends, laughter, drinks and nibbles ANYWHERE

Clooney or Pitt: 
Men in moves often remind me of botox, make up queens. Give me a sporting hero any day .. Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Peter Brock, etc. 

Romantic Hero or Action Hero: 
Romeo's overrated but a knight in shining answer would be great

Prince Frederick or Prince William:  
What a choice ... flip coin ... Prince William

Princess Diana or Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge:  
The Queen of Hearts, most always go for the original
Heels or favourite winter boots:  
Boots are the best

Australian Stockman or Surfer:  
Aussie Stockman with broad shoulders covered by a fantastic RB Sellars shirt 

Chocolate or Coffee:   
Chocolates .. Nestle Milkybar, Smarties, TimTams or Cadbury milk

Great Shoes or Gorgeous Underwear:  
Gorgeous Underwear always improves a girls mood

Pedicure, manicure or massage:  
All three at once :)  ... massage if I have to choose

Talk it out or keep it to yourself:  
Talk it out until I have analysed every issue

Karaoke - first to sing, last to sing or absolutely-no-not-ever:  
First to dance but usually in the cheer squad for the singing

One Beauty Product that you would recommend or can't live without:  
Palmers Moisturizer and lip balm

One book you would recommend to anyone or that you love and can read over
and over again:  
Sherlock Holmes books or Authur Upfields Bony Series ..can't help being a kid at heart 

Summer or winter:  
summer, swimming, long days, drinks on the verandah, gardening in the evening, watching the sunset

One life-changing moment:
When I realised that I can do anything I want to do if I just believe
 Rodeo's or Picnic Races:  
Love both but the races always has a more local and easy going atmosphere 

Camping or 5 star:   
A swag on the ute ALWAYS

One movie that makes you cry every time:
I remember watching Annie the first time as a kid

One moment you would like to revisit if  you could
Sitting up in Outback QLD with some girls who turned into some of my best mates

Favourite movie/song:  
The Sweetest Thing .. cracks me up  
or Just Looking For A Good Time by Lady Antebellum

Who would play you in the movie of your life:
Christina Applegate .. funny as and I could handle a body like that :)

Who would play the handsome hero in the movie of your life: 
Some unknown Aussie Stockman  :) making his big break

How long have you known your oldest friend :  
21 years for a mate I talk to ... not a FB friend
3 things you have yet to do:   
1- Go on an Ashes Tour to England (I'd love to do that)
2- Get Married, etc (Family would love me to do that)
3- Hire a Wicked combi and go down the coast on a walking frame with 2 of my good mates (we always joke that we will be on walking frames before we do this).

School days - happy or sad, good or bad memories:  
Happy to say they are finished, being a teenager sucked, did meet my oldest friend there
What - or who - always makes you feel better on those more challenging days:  
Looking at pictures of my good mates or sending them a message

Recommend a blog/website
LOL - apart from my own  ---  great insight into governessing

or -- from the govie queen

OR for farming laughs and insights

Something you are passionate about now
the outback lifestyle and community
Happier now than you were at 20 - honestly
YES, I don't want to go back to a girl with low self esteem and a narrow outlook

Describe yourself in one word only

Words to live by
so many to choose from but my latest favourite quote 
The basic rule of human nature is that powerful people speak slowly and subservient people quickly -- because if they don't speak fast nobody will listen to them.

What is the one thing you know for sure 
Support those who support
Family and friends first, last and always

My Work Family

2012 - 13 Work Family

1 Miss Strong-willed ... the oldest of the crew
2 Miss Always-rushed ... the middle child
3 Mr Little-lucky ... the little one

Lady Chief

Mr Chief

The Station - my out west home away from home :)

2011 Work Family

Mr Pinocchio - the youngest student
Mr Procrastination - the oldest student

Mrs Boss - the mother

Mr Boss - the father

The Station - the place I live and work, the lovely up North sheep station.