I wanted to observe Chevallum because it is a multiage school. Some classes are mixtures of two grades and others are three grades together. I am very interested in how the students learn the same material but at different grade levels. When we first arrived it looked like Halloween back home. The students were celebrating book week, and had an assembly that morning, so they were to dress up as a character from a book. It was cute to see some of the costumes and others weren’t related to a book. I then went to the Special Education Unit to meet and shadow a teacher. The staff that I met did not seem too welcoming or excited. They also did not engage much with the students. Jamie told me that she is mostly with preps and first graders and that they are only pulled out to the special education room because they have a hard time transitioning to their classroom. I met a few of the students before the book week assembly. The next hour we watched the assembly and students parading around. After the assembly we took four students back to the room for morning tea and to give them time to relax before going back to class. After morning tea the students had rest time before they made their own caterpillar and painted it based off of the book The Very Hungary Caterpillar. We then had lunch before bringing the students back to their classroom and help them adjust. When we were in class with the students, I read a book to one student then did some individual work with him. Since I did not see much learning or support for the students I decided to go to Cherish’s room to observe a multiage classroom and inclusion. I wish I was in her room all day to see the flow of the classroom and inclusion. However, the book week assembly threw off the day for everyone. When the day was over, I realized how lucky I am to be at Talara. I missed the staff and my students there.
Waking up at 5 am on a Sunday is not my cup of tea, but knowing that I was going to Fraser Island, the World’s largest sand island, I was so ready to get up! Guillia is from Italy and she is working at Talara came over to my apartment the night before so she could go to Fraser with us. Jess Nichols and her parents came as well as Jess G and her friend Nilam from England. Once we arrived at Noosa we had to wait for the tour truck to pick us up. Right when we started to go the clutch on the truck went. So we had to get off the truck and stand in the cold for ten minutes for another truck to come. Before six am and already starting the day off with problems. However, it was good that it happened at Noosa before we left rather than being stuck in Fraser Island with the wild Dingos. On the way up to Fraser, us five girls froze in the back of the truck to the point where I would have much rather been sleeping in my bed back at Newport. We had to take a ferry over to Fraser Island, which looked really odd, a big tour truck on a ferry. It was also odd to be driving on the beach, with road signs and laws still in order. Most people usually drive on the left side of others, but there are always exceptions and people try to signal which side they are going to drive on. We had morning tea on the beach before traveling through the island. Traveling through the island seemed like we were in the middle of the rainforest and it was such a long and bumpy ride. Since we were in the way back, we were bouncing even more than others.
Our next stop was Mackenzie Lake, an absolute pure lake. The water was so clear and the sand was so fine that you could polish your jewelry, which I decided to do. We then had a barbeque lunch before driving through the island some more. I did not feel as my stomach had enough time to settle before getting back on the truck and bouncing around some more in the back seat. We took a walk through the rainforest to Central Station. We didn’t keep up with the group because we were too busy taking pictures everywhere. It was a nice short walk. Then back on the truck to depart Fraser Island. After driving through the island more and we were just about to get on the ferry again to leave the island we saw two wild dingoes! Sadly the past few years, the dingoes have been shot down because people are feeding them and then being attacked by the dingoes. There are now signs everywhere saying not to feed the dingoes. Also, we learned that there are no traces of koalas anywhere on the island. When the island was first discovered there were koalas but they have also decreased in numbers throughout the years.
After leaving the island, the bouncing was not over, we drove along Rainbow Beach all the way back to Noosa. Rainbow Beach was amazing! There were so many colors in the sand, that were all natural, such as red, yellow, orange, pink, purple and white. We had our afternoon tea on Rainbow Beach, allowing us to have many opportunities for pictures. When driving back to Noosa we saw many people camping on the beach which looked like heaps of fun. Once we got back to Noosa, we then had to get back on the bus and I didn’t arrive to Newport until 6:30 at night. I then spent the rest of my night planning for Monday. Even though the morning didn’t start out too good, the day trip was so worth it!
I was nervous for soccer today because I had a rough practice with them last week. Some of the boys were fooling around too much so I had them run laps around the oval and they did not seem interested in playing. Practice is also difficult because we only have five balls and no nets, so most of the drills I have planned don’t work well. Since I only see the boys once a week I still have a hard time with their names. So I was trying to listen when others would talk to them and I would write their jersey number down next to their name on my sheet. Our first game was against Caloundra which we played last time. During that game I was trying to figure out who to have off for the second game which was against Talara B team so I could have a solid team to play again Meridan who is also undefeated. We beat Caloundra 2-0! When we played Talara B team, I noticed that they had too many players on the field, and we were still winning. Then Mr. Adams the principal came and joined the B team. It was fun to see him out there running around with the year 7s and having a good time. It was also good for him to see me participating outside of the classroom. During the game against Meridan, I had my strong players all in the middle which I realized did not work as well as I planned. The middle was too bunched and the ball was not moving far. I also had to ref the first half of the game which was difficult because both teams were very competitive and argued with my calls. I also did not want to be biased, I wanted to win fairly. When Talara first scored it was a tricky call because it looked like it went in through the side and all the Meridan players told me that, but my players disagreed. One of my players stepped up and said it went in through the side, so I did not call it as a goal. Then when Meridan scored I was talking to my players on the side line and did not see that Meridan was off sides and the goal shouldn’t have counted. However, the game ended in a tie so I was content with that. We did not lose and we have more wins than Meridan because they were not there the first week. I had more fun with my players this week. They were interested in learning more about America and they told me about their lives. One of my students is fourth in the district for running. All of them have great talent and potential. I was glad that they listened to me better this week. I enjoy coaching, I realized that I was having a hard time plan who goes where for what game but I want to be a good coach. It also makes me miss playing. I hope to someday have my coaching certificate so I can have my own team.
Excursion #2 to the Australia Zoo! Deb Hall signed me up to help supervise the excursion to the Australia Zoo. I was so excited when she said I was able to go with the year 1 students! However, since I am just a pre-service teacher, I was not allowed to have a group of students on my own but I was fine with that because I do not work with year 1 students and I do not know my way around the zoo. The other Special Education teacher, Jen Johnson and I had five students in our group for the whole day. It was interesting to see how much work goes into planning and supervising students. Jen J. put the students snack attack and lunches in her own book bag that way we had it for when they needed it. Jen also had to get the students medication so we could give it to them at lunch time. I seemed more excited than some of the students when we arrived at the zoo. The teachers had packets for the students to fill out on the different landscapes at the zoo and the difference between animal and human features. We talked to the students about the different landscapes and features but we did not make them fill out the packets. We had a hard enough time getting the students to walk and stay focused throughout the day, it would have been difficult to have write and draw their experience. Even though I have seen many kangaroos and koalas by now, it is still exciting to see them and pet them! I also saw a tiger show, elephant feeding and the bird/ croc show. Then we walked by tortoise, turtle, dingo, echidna, Tasmania devil, wombat, camel and cassowary pens. I saw a lot of Australia animals and tributes to Steve Irwin. I was looking for his family but did not see them. I was so glad I was able to go to the zoo and see Steve Irwin’s history.
While at school all day, I could not wait to leave to start our adventure to the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, and Lennox. Jen and Jade, another Special Education teacher were taking Amy and I on a trip to see more of Australia. Jess G. also road down to the Gold Coast with us, that way she could meet up with her friend Nilam. I was all packed and brought my gear to school; all we had to do was pick up Jess and Amy before we could start the trip. We actually started the trip sooner than planned. At 4pm on the dot, we were packed, loaded and on the road. Not more than half an hour on the road, Jen had to pull over so Jade could use the toilet which was quite comical because usually is the kids that need unexpected stops. On the way down, we shared different car games that we could play to pass the time. Jen taught us a fun one where we made noises when we passed certain signs, bridges or tunnels. She also taught us a game where we count cars up to a white car. It was this game that made me realize how many white cars there are. Needless to say the game was never going to end so we moved on. Jess then taught us a license plate game where we had to make words out of the letters on the plate. It was not only a fun car ride but we also had some education games in there. We also did not talk much about work; the weekend was a getaway, fun weekend not a work weekend. After a few hours of driving we finally crossed into the state of New South Whales! Jen missed her exit and we were stuck in traffic due to an accident so that added more time until we reached our destination at Burleigh Heads as well as a much needed bottle shop stop. Around half past 7 we finally arrived at Key Largo in Burleigh Heads. Jade’s friend that she used to work with was able to get us the room for a good deal. She was in our room when we arrived and she had snack trays prepared for us. She was so lovely and welcoming. She also walked Amy and I into town to order dinner. After dinner we then had a relaxing night in the spa.
Even though it was the weekend I did not want to sleep in. Amy and I woke up early enough to walk along Burleigh Heads beach, which is the World’s best beach according to travel advisors. After the walk on the beach we packed up and went to Surfers Paradise for breaky. The Gold Coast was busier than the Sunshine Coast but the buildings were not connected or as tall like the cities back home. Once we saw the Q1 tower Amy was so excited and anxious to go to the top. There was no line or time schedule for the tower so Amy and I went to the top before going to get breaky. We rode the elevator for 43 seconds to reach the 77th floor. Once we reached the top we were able to see 360 degrees of the Gold Coast. There were signs to point to other major cities such as New York which is 16,038 km away. The view from the tower was absolutely stunning. The skies were so clear and the water was so blue. We then went to the Surf Club for an all you can eat breakfast. While sitting down eating, Jess and her friend Nilam walked by and then decided to join us. Jen’s nephew and his girlfriend also came to join us for breakfast. It was a nice breakfast with great company. Jen’s nephew and girlfriend are both part of the Iron Man League so we made sure to get a picture with them. After breaky and a little walk along the beach side, it was time to get back onto the road to our next destination, Byron Bay.
Our first stop at Byron Bay was the light house which represents the most Easterly point of Australia. It was another beautiful view of water and landmarks. After taking many touristy pictures with the lighthouse and the sign, Jen and Jade met us at the point. Jen then had a brilliant idea of walking all the way down to the bottom to the beach, which then met we had to hike all the way back up to the top. It was a long and sadly painful walk up the steps to the top. Once we got to the top, Jade fell to the ground to rest. After we all regained some strength, we then went into the town. Jen and Jade went to a pub while Amy and I went into shops. Amy wasn’t happy that we didn’t get much time in the shops but we were on a schedule. It was time to get back on the road again for our final destination, Lennox.
Amy and I were staying with Jen’s brother, Brian and his family while Jen and Jade were staying with her mum. Her niece Kamely was home when we arrived, so we watched a movie while Jen went to visit her mum. It was funny to watch an American movie, Grown Ups in Australia with Australians. They are so used to American movies and shows but it is weird for us to watch it outside of America. We were so excited to watch Australian movies here but the new movies coming out are all American movies. When the movie ended, Kamely then took Amy and I for a ride around Lennox and we walked along the beach. She is also studying to be a teacher so it was nice to chat with her about our experience and her Prac experiences. We also found out that Kamely went to Canada for 8 months to work so we compared the similarities and differences with our travels and the three countries. Kamley wants to teach in the States for a few years but after talking about the job market and the wage differences she doesn’t seem as keen anymore even though I would love to have her around. Jen and Jade then came to Brian’s house for a big family dinner. Once again it was so nice to have a home cooked meal with family. Yes I am making a family here with all of us New Yorkers but it was nice to be cared for again. Even though they aren’t my real family, it was still wonderful to be around family. They were all super nice and the conversations never ended. After dinner Brian came out with heaps of Surf Life Saving gear and suited Amy and I up with shorts, shirts and heaps of hats! Apparently it is hard to come across a Surf Life Saving shirt and skull cap so I will treasure them forever. The ten hats that I got will go out as souvenirs to my friends and family back home as well as one for me. The night ended with delicious chocolate covered strawberries, tea and great company while watching the Olympics.
Kamley took Amy and I back to Byron Bay for breaky that way we could have more time in town before we had to go back to the Sunshine Coast. We were also able to walk along the beach and see some beautiful sand art. Byron Bay is so artsy and some call it the Hippie town. Kamley couldn’t walk around with us because she had to go to work but it was so lovely of her to take us out to breaky in Byron Bay. Amy and I walked around waiting for some shops to open while dodging some rainy weather but overall Byron Bay was a success; we bought shell necklaces, saw a Llama on a leash and had gelato. By half past eleven, we were back on the road to go home. It was a very long weekend that went bye way too fast! I had fun bonding with Jen and her family as well as seeing more of Australia.