Australia Day 5 and 6

DAY 5:

There was a cockroach in the condo this morning. As all of us were running around screaming. Scott was yelling at us from the kitchen and Merrick was yelling for someone to kill it when he finally grabbed a sock and squished it. Omg a sock! Ugh!!! We all did better at cleaning up and making sure the screen door was shut. I swept and vacuumed and mopped the floors.

I was really looking forward to today. I made arrangements to spend time in a local elementary school to observe the differences from the school I currently work at. The principal, Mr. Langes, spent the morning with me. He warned me before my trip that his school was different and if I wanted a typical school there were other schools in the area, but with that comment I was more intrigued.

The school was crowded and under construction, but that isn’t what caught my attention. During a time when flexible sitting is all the rage and high test scores are in demand this school had rows of seats in every grade, children completely engaged and participating in class, almost zero behavior issues and first place academic trophies as far as my eyes could see. I truly enjoyed listening to and learning from Mr. Langes and I wrote down every book he recommended which were all American authors. I met a lot of the staff and let me tell you how envious I was of this well oiled machine he ran. There were support staff and mentor teachers… it made me feel like teaching in other districts set a person up for failure. There were so many built in improvements and support for the teachers it was impossible to fail. The grade levels were synchronized so that the transitions between grade levels and teachers was almost seamless. The curriculum was American and the students were learning about American currency as well as their own and they are bilingual with imperial and metric systems and all of the students learned Japanese.

Just like American teachers, teachers here struggle with pay. Recently the elementary principals took a big hit and high school principals were given a bonus, so many principals are moving up to high school.

The school is incredibly diverse. Africans, French, Australian, Asian… there is no one typical ethnicity. A trend he told me he’s noticed lately is high income families are so invested in their careers that their children are coming into school less prepared than lower income students. It’s become a very noticeable shift lately. I found that interesting.

After my eye opening and thrilling time at Broad Beach I walked to the beach to meet up with my boys. They had an elaborate castle built complete with a shell paved road. We were all hungry so we left for the condo to eat lunch. Then homework and pool time.

DAY 6:

Donuts for a late breakfast and then to a different beach.

We picked up some snacks today. The snag and sauce chips caught Scott’s eye. They were pretty good! The boys played a live action game of battle ship which was abruptly ended when they began throwing sand in each others faces.

We planned for an early exit from the beach today because tonight we had family pictures. I found a lady on Facebook, contacted her and made the appointment. I can hardly wait to see the pictures!

She was so incredibly wonderful. She has four kids and is a former teacher. We talked for a while. If anyone is ever in the Brisbane area I’d highly recommend her based on her professionalism, prices and personality alone. Our pictures should be ready in a week and I’ll be sure to share them with you.

We treated ourselves to Dominos Pizza tonight. Uhhh, the pizzas here are small! The larges are the size of American smalls. We ordered 4 larges and ran out of pizza for all of us. We were probably 2 slices shy of everyone being full. On the up side it was only $20 where as in Alaska it would have been way more than that.

We watched an episode of Bondi Beach and went to bed. Another beautiful and exhausting day in the bag.