July 22, 2007

Week 9 down

I've just completed my NINTH week in Australia! Technically this is my seventh week completed of teaching, but I can't believe that it's been over two months since I've arrived.

The first week back from term break has been a great one. I've started up at Rangeview Primary, and the school is fantastic. I'm working with a couple of really special teachers who really have creative minds and hearts for the kids. The students are also great, and it's fun working in a positive and 'have-a-go' environment. So far, I've had a part in working with their marching band, concert band, individual and group lessons and classroom music. The marching band is tons of fun, and for tomorrow's rehearsal (Number two of only FOUR before a performance for the entire school at assembly!), we'll learn horns up and initiating the first step. It should be a lot of fun and the kids should pick it up pretty quickly; they've already gotten a taste of marking time in a block, so tomorrow we'll introduce instruments, and next week we'll try marching and playing, and the week after they'll perform it! The concert band is also the marching band, and it's been fun to watch them rehearse and conduct. Primary students are surprisingly fun, because they're often so much smarter than I anticipate.

One interesting thing at Rangeview is how they run individual lessons. Students must pay for individual lessons, and they can either take lessons from music staff at the school or through a company called "Mad on Music", or MOM for short. MOM sends trained teachers into schools, and they follow a program to get kids going on either keyboard or guitar. The program is very detailed and follows a specific weekly plan which ends with a large concert at the end. I had the opportunity to sit in on a few of the lessons, and it was pretty fun.

Well, I'm off to plan out tomorrow's rehearsal and classroom plans. I've found that 'rehearsing' exactly what I'm going to say works WONDERS in my confidence and speaking in front of the kids, and I definitely get my point across much clearer. For any of you that have heard me talk, you probably know that I can be a little quick and unclear! I'm working hard at it now so hopefully in the future it will be automatic!

My best,
Phil

July 13, 2007

We're Back to Melbourne!

Hey everyone,

I TRULY need to apologise for not updating in so long! Amy and I spent 6 days in North Queensland in a beautiful tropical city called CAIRNS ('Cans'), and we returned to Melbourne only yesterday. Internet is not necessarily difficult to come by in the north, but my time was much better spent on the beach, snorkeling, and sea kayaking than blogging.

The trip was nothing short of amazing, and it was a good chance to catch up on some summer break with decent weather and relaxation. The Great Barrier Reef was, well, great, and I even saw a SHARK! Nice little bloke, though, along with all the rest of the colourful fish and coral, including the Little Nemo clown fish and anemones!

We also were able to fly into Sydney and hang around for a couple of days before coming home. It was nice to see the Opera House and other things, but the weather was certainly no where near that of Cairns!

Check out the pictures Amy uploaded here:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2316670&l=9f1a1&id=13920720

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2316678&l=91b71&id=13920720

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2316687&l=46d65&id=13920720


Coming up next Monday, I'll start the school term at a new primary school called Rangeview. I'll work with the wee ones teaching lessons and helping with ensembles, and we may even start up a mini-marching band which will be nothing short of hilarious. Only four weeks and a couple of days left for my time here in Oz, which will certainly fly!

I can't wait to come home and see all of you again! It'll be mid-August before we all know it. Keep visiting this site, as I'll most likely continue to update throughout the remainder of my time here.

Much Peace and Love,

Phil

n13920720_39739803_1234.jpg

June 11, 2007

Aussie sights and sounds

I've uploaded the first batch of MANY to come... photos! They're available by clicking the link below; I've uploaded them to facebook, but you needn't be a member to view them.

http://minnesota.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2299213&l=97f34&id=13901546

In the album, you'll see my current habitats at both of the schools and at home.

My girlfriend Amy and I have visited some great places in the Melbourne area since arriving three weeks ago, and we've been doing our best to balance tourism with class preparation and general relaxation! Yesterday, we 'hired' a car and drove to the Great Ocean Road, which runs along the Southern border of the state of Victoria. The road itself was not really as I had expected, as the bush on either side made it seem as though we were driving through fields! However, we pulled off and viewed some of the most incredible scenes on the ocean shore. The Twelve Apostles and the London Bridge are absolutely astonishing! Until Amy uploads these pictures (I'll try to get a link when she does), try a Google search to see what these things look like.

In the past weeks, we've also been able to check out Philip Island (best island ever) and the Mount Dandenong ranges, where we saw some spectacular views of downtown Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs, as well as other mountain ranges in the distance.

See Amy's posted photos in the links below:

http://minnesota.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2295463&l=38379&id=13920720

http://minnesota.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2295366&l=822a6&id=13920720

Also, check out Amy's blog:
http://amyinaustralien.blogspot.com/

We are so blessed to have seen the things we have so far. We have both been blessed in our family placements, and without them we would have not been able to experience what we have so far! Special thanks to Amy's host parents, Steven and Jane Bullock, and to my host parents, Rob and Lisa Cavanagh.

Classes are going great, too. Last Wednesday, my supervising teacher was gone and I had the opportunity to take over two of my classes entirely, under the supervision of the substitute teachers. It went pretty well, and they gave me some good feedback regarding keeping my eye on the class. I am definitely being challenged with the classes and ensembles that I have taken on, and this summer is already turning out to be an incredible time to push my limits in becoming a professional teacher.

Cheers!

June 5, 2007

Student Teaching, Aussie-style

-------------------------Monday---------Tuesday---------Wednesday-----------Thursday-----------Friday
Before School---------------------------Junior Band Reh.------------------------Perc Ens Reh.-----Concert Band Reh.
Per. 1 (8:50-9:38)----VPS - All Day----------------------SH - 9.1-5 in MU2----VPS - All Day------Lee Lesson
Per. 2 (9:38-10:26)---VPS - All Day----------------------WS - 7.4 in MU7------VPS - All Day-----Kim Lesson
Per. 3 (10:52-11:40)--VPS - All Day---WS - 7.2--------WS - 7.2 in MU2------VPS - All Day-----Lee Lesson
Per. 4 (11:40-12:28)--VPS - All Day---WS - 7.4----------------------------------VPS - All Day-----Kim Lesson
Per. 5 (1:29-2:17)-----VPS - All Day---SH - 9.1-5--------------------------------VPS - All Day
Per. 6 (2:17-3:05)-----VPS - All Day---SH - 9.1-5--------------------------------VPS - All Day
After School------------------------------Stage Band Reh.------------------------Concert Band Reh.

Continue reading "Student Teaching, Aussie-style" »

May 24, 2007

Big First Post/Where do I begin?

Hello! I've finally sat down to punch in what I have typed up in MS word so far. I've been quite busy teaching and traveling around the Melbourne metro area, and I usually save my journaling for the evening, but I've been finding it difficult to write everything that is swirling through my head at the moment! It seems that the nights I have free at home to write, I'm always so tired that I go straight to bed!

But without further ado, read on and I'll check every couple of days as I continue to enter new posts. Deciphering my sometimes stream-of-consciousness blurbs will be tough at times, but believe me, it is much more authentic and true to my current state of mind.

Much love,
Phil

Continue reading "Big First Post/Where do I begin?" »

May 10, 2007

The Preparation Stage

Welcome to my Australia Blog! This is my first entry, and it's going to be short as I'm currently packing up my apartment to move back home. As the semester winds down, the summer is winding up... how profound.

I'm busy trying to move stuff out of my apartment, deal with the car, and finish up course stuff as well. I will definitely be taking some time soon to prepare for my trip, but until all of these little details are handled, I can't! Life seems to do that... when you're not supposed to be 'busy', you feel busy anyway.

Either way, I'm excited to take off (only a week from today!) and see what the land down under has to offer. Please feel free to leave a comment/snide remark/charitable item, and please keep Australian stereotypes to a minimum (Crikey!)

SOON TO COME: Trip details...