Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Find Your Happy: be it at work or elsewhere…

April 14, 2018

Find Your Happy

I find myself, as the Easter holidays shuffle to their inevitable end, a happy person, despite the return to work – something I’m not as enamoured of as would be useful. I am happy because I have spent most of the holidays indulging my passion. Yes, I’ve been writing like a mad-woman, making up for lost time, living in my own strange worlds, playing with words, having a wonderful time. Actually achieving all the little writing tasks on my list.

I have, in no particular order; revised and submitted a poem for a competition; revised an old story down from over 4000 words to 3000 words for another competition; re-cast the opening of my PhD novel and had a lovely couple of days re-reading and lightly editing that – perhaps time to send it off into the harsh and brutal world of agents and small publishing houses again? And I’ve returned to my sequel to my murder-mystery – which could probably do with some revisions too. And written a couple of blogs – this being one.

In fact the original blog for this week was about being envious of people who love their work, who find their passion in their work, and wondering where mine went. But it wasn’t going well, it was turning into a big moan, an extended bit of self-indulgent self-pity. Not a good writing place to be. And, I have blogged on such things before.

Yes, I am envious of those who find joy in their job – it is the best way to be. But I am not without joy; in my life, or in my work. It’s just buried under a load of shit and cynicism from being in the job for too long. It’s better that people love their work, and especially those who work in my profession and my envy was about a former colleague (Rose, you wonder) who loves her work, who finds her passion in her job, which augurs well for a profession constantly under attack and struggling to attract newcomers.

If I think about it I can find joy in my work, and it’s important that you do too. Work matters: we spend an inordinate amount of time there; it pays the bills, keeps our world turning, gives shape to our days and brings a degree of self respect and self worth. Despite my frequent moaning about my job it has brought a great deal of satisfaction.

At the end of my career I will rest easy knowing I have actually done something positive with my working life: that I have added to the value of the world; that I have helped a great many young people along the way – either into books and the wonders of literature, or into becoming wonderful people. It is the best part of my job – young people becoming who they are, becoming good people, decent citizens: assets to the planet. Grades matter, but it’s all that other stuff that is more important, more rewarding. Just a shame that politicians and Ofsted don’t really get that bit about the wonder and importance of education…

And what if there isn’t enough joy at work – well you must find it or make it elsewhere.  Life isn’t just about bills, having things, and keeping your head above water, about paddling madly like the duck on the pond. But it isn’t about doing it alland having it all either. Despite the plethora of memes telling you to ditch the shit of life, most of us can’t just take off to the depths of the Brazilian rain forest, ride the trains and planes of the world living on beans and rice, or hide in some cabin in the woods for a year… Remember life isn’t a series of Face-book posts, memes or Instagram photos.

Joy comes from the small moments, the everyday things. You may be missing them being caught up in the drudge of your work or the nonsense of social media. Joy comes from family – you know that. Being with them, being in contact with them, having them in your lives. And friends too – just the same. And like me, hobbies or interests where your passion can thrive and keep you from going insane. Not to mention being outside. Get moving, be in the fresh air, feel alive.

Work is important, we can’t get away from that. And we need to give it some credit – it does pay the bills, it gives shape and meaning to our existence, it does reward us (even if not as much as we might like) it gives us friends (I’ve made some of my best friends at work, met my beloved there), it allows us to appreciate our holidays more, and it allows the rest of our life to happen.

But being happy matters too: it is not to be over-rated. Don’t subsume your whole life in a job that makes you miserable, don’t let the bastards grind you down, don’t let the ‘company’ own your very soul – once they’ve sucked everything from you and you have nothing left to give they willthrow you on the scrap heap. Most of us do have a sell buy date. But equally, don’t throw away a decent job on some vague belief that work doesn’t matter, that somehow it’s the other idiots you work with, that there is some magic perfection of a career somewhere, if only you could find it. Perhaps it’s you that’s the joy-sucker, not the job???

You know what to do: find a way to have both – a job that sustains you and a life that enriches you. You know it’s possible – it’s about being smart, about balance, about small joys every day. Go get it, find your happy. (Images from Private Collection)


Finding Joy in the Small Things

January 23, 2016

Because a colleague noted this week that there was no longer any joy in teaching I was contemplating exploring this issue – in the wake of OFSTED many of us feel this way. But instead I’ve reached into the archives and found an old post about finding the joy in our lives. Methinks it’s a timely reminder for us all – OFSTED survivors and the rest of us making our way in this increasingly dark world of ours.

Joy is there, just make sure you look hard and make it so, yourself.

Happiness can be hard to find at the best of times, so in hard times it can be harder still! But look around, notice the minutiae of your life and you will find there is joy. “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him,” says Nick Carraway of Jay Gatsby. Thus, a series of small moments of joys can lead us to happiness.


Try these on for size

A warm smile from someone you love

The smell of fresh coffee

A meal cooked by someone else

Cooking something for others – a cake, dinner


Sleeping in of a weekend

Walking your dog – doing anything with your dog!


Having chickens (for you Phu)

Watching a silly movie

Laughing out loud

Listening to your favourite song

Singing out loud

Fresh flowers

The sun in the morning

Rain, when you’re inside and snug, looking out

Snow – especially snow days

A beautifully cleaned kitchen – or bathroom, etc

Putting the laundry away

Kindness of strangers

A good book

Writing your blog!

The Sunday papers


Top Gear (I confess I love it)

Being with your friends, your family, your beloved daughters & son

An unexpected email from afar

Skyping with the far flung kinder

Someone ‘liking’ you on FB or your blog

Friday evening, with the weekend ahead…

Summer evenings


I’m sure you can add many, many more. But it’s a start and a good idea, don’t you think – look for the small joys and the big happiness will find you. Joy is still there, it’s up to you to find it again! (Pictures from Private Collection)


7 Simple Things That Make You Happy

July 14, 2013

Life is full of simple pleasures, little things that can make you happy. The trick is to see them, feel them and take them in. Stop and be in the moment, be happy, it is allowed and it is easy, once you get the knack.

sun in france

1. The sun in the morning and then all day

2. The dog lying at the bottom of the stairs, because you are upstairs and it’s as close as he is allowed to get – it’s called devotion

zanz outside

3. Having the house to yourself – even if it’s because your family are still in bed and you’re already up and going/doing

4. Having a plan come together – watching as your efforts flower and grow – your book, your garden, your new life

5. Your daughter(s) turning into a swan – beautiful in her heart and character and face (yes, all of your children turning out well – people you like as well as love)


6. Not having to spend time with people who deplete you – it is unbelievably up-lifting!

7. Watching Box Sets in bed with the one(s) you love – cups of tea, choccy snacks and Life on Mars, oh yeah!

flowers & sun

And flowers because flowers are always cheerful things. And your list is… (Images courtesy Private Collection)

6 Joys of Christmas

December 22, 2012

It is only right to reflect on Christmas as it is but days away. What does it mean to you? What do you enjoy most about the festive season? Or do you dread it; another dreary day devoid of love, companionship, nary a wisp of joy?

Well, I really do quite like Christmas; it is a time for family and friends, for gathering together, for chilling, eating, drinking and playing silly games. It is a time to be with the ones you love, some of them, all of them. It’s a time to remember how fortunate you are. And, my friends, despite some of our struggles and woes, we are fortunate.

There was a time when Christmas was a day to be avoided, a day of duty and best behaviour, a day when alcohol brought out the worst in my family, because the pains of the past were only papered over so too much enforced togetherness and cheerfulness meant one of us (at least) was bound to lose the plot and blood was invariably spilt. But those days are long gone.

For years now it’s been us and our friends, doing what we want in our own way, making our own traditions. Once it was tropical hot Christmases, with the play-pen guarding the presents; punch that lasted all day; roast pork, corn fritters and salad, roast potatoes and egg and bacon pies; an afternoon in the pool, the evening playing Trivial Pursuit. Deliciously drunk, happily shouting out the answers, while the kids veged in front of The Land Before Time or The Last Unicorn for the seventh time.

wrapping mess


We’re a little pared back these days, less extravagance in the present department; less drinking, less friends around. But the joys of Christmas remain. Let me count the ways for you:

1. Buying presents for others is delicious – of course it’s different now with the plethora of on-line opportunities and bargains; you can window shop all hours of the day. But going to the shops is still fun, finding something unexpected and sparkly and just right for…


2. Wrapping presents is good fun – despite it being the epitome of an ephemeral task – wrapping a present carefully with prettily decorated paper that lasts a ‘moment’ only to be ripped off and thrown away in a second. But my properly grown up daughter (22) still loves to poke and prod and crush presents as much as she did when held at bay by the aforementioned play-pen. It’s a simple thing that you enjoy doing and then watching others poke and finally unwrap the treasure within.

opening presents

3. Writing Christmas cards is good for you  – a little token of your esteem with a personal message wishing people well or thanking them for their efforts, or just for being in your life. Selecting a card that suits your friends, writing a message just for them makes you feel good. As with presents, it matters not that you receive in return; it is the giving that matters. You feel better for making the effort and they appreciate your effort. It does bring smiles to people’s faces. The thought does matter.


4. Decorating the tree must be a moment of joy – does it go in the same place every year? Does the tinsel go first, when the lights? Who puts the star or angel on the top? These things matter, these are the things of tradition and good times. Our tree has always gone up on the last day of the term. It used to signal the end of a long school year, successfully navigated, the long summer holiday ahead. Now it’s the end of the long winter term and small breath before we return to the fray. The tree in the corner of the room with presents gathering at its feet is always a fine sign. And yes, I have a pink tree this year!!!

my pink tree

5. I love baking and preparing for the big day. My family now expects… So mid afternoon after a breakfast of eggs and bacon we have little egg and bacon pies, roast pork and apple sauce, some turkey, a small ham, roast veggies and, most importantly, corn fritters (see recipes blog). I will make a lemon-jelly cheesecake (see recipes blog) and there will be little cheesy-parmesan biccies too. In the kitchen I am queen, even if it isn’t my uber-fab kitchen on the other side of the world. Oh, yes, and the food does taste good, especially with champagne and Cointreau punch.

corn fritters

6. I just love being with my family, even though my kids are grown and the thrill of Santa has gone. There was the famous incident in the passage of the Darwin house, when the Dragon met me in the night and was aghast that he had disturbed Santa and me worried that he had seen me put the presents under the tree and knew I was Santa, well before that illusion should have been dashed. Only years later did we reveal who we really were in the night!


Christmas is many things to many people and once it was about Jesus and miracle births and singing in church but now it’s about the miracle of being alive and being grateful for my life, for shutting away the shadows and being in the light and warmth of my family this particular day of the year.

my family

Enjoy your festive season: be good to yourself and the ones you love this Christmas and every day of the year. And if you can manage it, forgive those who have sinned against you this year, because they will not have the joy in their lives that you have. (Images courtesy Private Collection)

Ah, But Age is Wearying Me

November 28, 2012

Another birthday is upon me and dear friends it is true that I am not as young as I’d like to be but not as old as I want to be. Yes, youth has gone but death should be many years off yet. My genes seem to indicate this, with a father in his 80s and 3 out of 4 grandparents making well into their 80s too. One dose of bowel cancer and a broken neck are cancelled out in this equation.

What have I learned this year?

Some birthdays are harder than others. None of the early ones were that inspiring, but 14 with Jeremy was lovely and 19 was completely memorable, falling as it did (like so many other birthdays between 17-23) at the end of the exams season. I didn’t find 21 that wonderful, too much expectation and therefore too much deflation. 23 was one of the best birthdays ever, shared with dearest ex-step mama; along with my erstwhile father we had a riot of an evening in a fab little restaurant in Hobart called Cooney’s – no longer there, methinks. Thirty was okay, Alice Springs Sheraton, two lovely kiddies, a second degree and my first year as Head of Department. But the early thirties were troublesome, not sure why now in the mists of time but recall several dinners in tears for no apparent reason. Forty was good, one of my best times, at home under the great house in Darwin, fairy lights in the palm trees around the pool, loads of punch and great friends. 50 was a struggle. Life should have been so much more together and calmer and why wasn’t I content?

So this year I am calm. Really calm, not just pretending. I know bits of life are still not where I want them to be, but whose life is ever under control? Liars and fools?

Shall I count my blessings?

1. I am still alive – now 10 years out of the cancer mines, so pretty well all clear. Bits of me hurt and don’t work as well as they should but my body is holding on – not as many signs of decrepitude as might have been.

2. I still have most of my teeth – one dentist trip in 31 years is quite something (yes, I ought to go back but fear still lives in the dentist’s reclining chair)

3. My skin is quite lovely really, soft and smooth. Indeed the odd nasty line does come and not go but overall my skin is pretty good. (See, years on the water in the sun does not make you a wrinkled old prune. I owe it all to L’Oreal.)

4. I remain married – my God, how I continuously wonder. But love takes many forms and changes and remains the same. It is good to be loved and accepted for who you are – yes, Bridget, just the way you are.

5. I have the best children on the planet. The boy-genuis, the girl wonder and the joy-bucket. How could anyone deny the wonder of the three best things on the planet.

6. I have great friends, at work, across the world – old and new. I love my friends and am thankful for FaceBook, in this regard.

7. I do actually have a job where I find joy and laughter (perhaps not always for the right reasons!) on many days. I love a child who believes me when I tell them my hair grew back pink after it fell out with the cancer.

8. I have things to look forward to, small things, like KFC and champagne and strawberries in the evening, holidays in France, Christmas with my family, finishing my PhD and being Dr Ms Pink, being part of my children’s life as they grow old and wise.

9. I enjoy and appreciate foolishness and I love the powers of laughter and joy.

I am slowing, I am tiring but I am not old, not done for yet. I still find the world absurd, and can smile more than I cry. I have years to go and much to do. Happy birthday to me. XX (Images from Private Collection and courtesy Google Images)

Karma – It’s Gonna Get You

November 24, 2012

So life is still shit a lot of the time these days – it’s called being grown up and the sad thing is that when you were a pup you thought things would be all better when you got to this age. Hmm, sadly we know that things don’t necessarily improve with age or experience. You know from previous blogs that bitchy girls become bitchy women and bullying school kids become bullying bosses. But all is not gloom and doom on this late November day.

No indeed, dear friends, because there is always Karma. No matter what you do or where you go Karma will get you in the end. Remember Monkey, on his travels through China with Piggsie, Sandy and Tripitaka? All on their way to Enlightenment, with many a slip up along the way. The disciples fell from time to time: misbehaved, were tempted but every single time they were GOT – dealt with. Not by Triptaka, not always but by a greater force, Karma. Monkey, Piggsie and Sandy always got their just deserts. Badness was punished: goodness rewarded. It was a just world, even if it was full to the brim of fools.

And that’s what we want: Justice. Fairness. We want goodness to be rewarded, otherwise why do we struggle so? We want our efforts, our extra miles to be recognised. The desire to be Good, to be liked keeps many of us going, but also allows many of us to accept what is not right, or fair or just.

We want those who stray too from the path of goodness to be punished. We can cope with foolishness, with failure because we know that simply makes us human and to be human is to fail. But we cannot cope with malice, with lies, with undermining, with people who deliberately and calculatedly do us wrong; who go out of their way to do us harm.

You know them; you’ve met them. Some were once your friends, some were colleagues, people you played sport with, people you socialize with: people you currently endure in the workplace. Sometimes, sadly, they’re a member of your own family.

We waste endless hours plotting against these entities of evil. We waste eternities of emotions on them but all that really happens is that you end up in an ever decreasing spiral of spite and misery, totally obsessed with ‘getting them back’. You become like them, plotting against someone else, taking on their malicious black hearts. But you must stop.

There are two essential points about Karma (from my point of view as a pseudo- Buddhist); both of which pivot on the ‘what goes around comes around’ view of life.

1. You get back what you give out. If you give love and laughter and joy and foolishness and passion and happiness you get it all back from all parts of your life. You know I believe in joy and I sincerely believe that you do reap what you sew – maybe not today or next week but you will get things back. And often in much larger quantities than you gave out.

2. It doesn’t have to be you who delivers the knock out blow to your adversary. It can be you and that will be the sweetest victory but don’t fret if you cannot manage to bring them down on your own, or at the desired time. It’s a pretty safe bet that as they treat you with contempt, disdain, and derision and do their best to destroy you, so they are doing to others. One day, on the ‘what goes around comes around’ Karmic principle they will get theirs. Someone, somewhere will deliver the coup de grace and bury your karmic killer for you. You will not need to lift your sword; they will be vanquished for you. It is, my friends, as inevitable as breathing. Balance will be restored in the universe.

Justice exists. Karma is real. Remember that being good and doing the right thing, just like smiling, takes you a lot further in the world. You have friends and family, you are loved and you will die mourned by many and greatly missed.  Your goodness will live on after you.

Your Karmic foe will fall from grace so spectacularly they won’t even see the ground before they are buried beneath it, and nobody will wipe a tear as the final sod is turned on their miserable little life. (Images courtesy Google Images)

Re-finding the Joy Zone

November 3, 2012

Remember to breath – in, out, slowly, inhaling deeply, filling your lungs with air, making you stand tall again, filling you with renewed energy


Remember what makes you smile – the small things, a song, a blue sky, the train being on time, someone giving up their seat for you, your pet, a rose, a wonderful painting



Remember the things you love to do – draw, paint, write, cook – remember, making things brings joy to you and to others



Remember to be with the ones you love – walk the dog, share a meal, watch a film, have a laugh



Remember the good in your life – that you are loved, your work is meaningful, you make others smile



Remember to be still – not rushing, doing, stressing about every little thing; let anxiety go.



Stop, just be – smile, open your heart to the sunshine and joy will be yours again.


(Images courtesy Google Images)

Things That Make You Cry

July 14, 2012

Sometimes it’s good to cry, watch a weepy movie and sob your heart out, feel exactly as the movie makers want you to feel, all that emotion pouring out for characters, unreal people in unreal situations.

But sometimes it’s not so unreal and a good cry can be a release, can let you know your alive, and importantly, not alone. We all feel bad and sad sometimes and we need to be free to cry. We should not be afraid of our emotions, of our empathy or sympathy for other, or our own feelings of loss and helplessness. It is one of the markers of humanity. Remember we cry as much in happiness, and it’s good to remember that as well.

Here’s a small selection of things that can make you cry. I’m sure you have your own list.


Dead Poet’s Society – when Ethan Hawke stands on the desk at the end of the film as Robin Williams is leaving is one of THE emotional moments in movie making history.


Gladiator – sorry, but the end when Russell Crowe is dying and on his way to Elysium having beaten Joaquim Phoenix, with that music is a moment for high emotion and tears. If we’re in a Russell Crowe zone, then A Beautiful Mind is also a massive tear jerker. Russ did deserve his Oscar.


Looking for Alibrandi – an Australian film based on the book by Melina Marchetta – when uber-achieving private school boy John Barton kills himself and you see scenes of Sydney to U2’s With or Without You sung hauntingly by Hamish Cowan you have to cry. The sadness is simply too much.


Eight Below – a true story about a team of snow dogs left behind in the Antarctic during one of the worst storms in history. We see the dogs survival attempts and the owner’s desperation to get back to them. Some do get lost along the way, but the ending will see you sobbing your little heart out. Not sure whether it then is one for dog lovers, or one for dog lovers to avoid.



Sophie’s Choice (and the film too). How can you fail to be moved by Sophie’s story – her struggle with sanity but mostly her inability to deal with her choice – which child to save, asked the Nazi soldier. She chose and they took both anyway. No wonder she killed herself in the end. What else could she do? Every mother knows the impossibility of Sophie’s choice, of the impossibility of going on after such an event.


The God Of Small Things – the cruelty of Baby Kochamma will outrage you as she lies and delights in the misfortune of Ammu and her twins Esther and Rahel. This is a book about death and love – death of a child- Sophie Mol, death of Velutha, the untouchable, who is beaten to death on the say-so of Baby Kochamma, acting out of spite and shame. The saddest part for me, other than Velutha’s death is when Ammu dies, alone and ill and so far away from her children.  Not to mention the damage done to Esther, who becomes silent and is sent away, while Rahel drifts into sorrow unable to find meaning in a world without Ammu and especially Esther. The ending is a triumph of love in the midst of overwhelming sadness. I love this book.



Where Do You Go To My Lovely? Peter Sarstedt’s haunting, beautiful melancholic song, that reminds me so much of the two men I love most in the world – my beloved and my boy – both of whom, interestingly, love this song. So, I hear it and I think of them and how much I love them both.


Guitar Man – Bread. A song of many years ago – there are no connected memories but the haunting sadness of the story of the song and the melody is enough to make me teary when I’m feeling sad.


I’ll Stand By You – Pretenders. This is my song for Grace. It was on the radio at the time and it spoke of love, of endurance, of trying to be there. It always makes me cry.

With or Without You – U2 – actually they have a few heart-touching songs, sort of raw and insistent. You’ve been in love, you feel pain, you know what it’s all about. You listen to this song, think of your own life, know the truth and weep.

Love Turns to Lies – Chris Rea – ‘you were going to leave me anyway’. When love falls away, runs out of speed, dies slowly. Not the song to listen to when you’re in the midst of falling out, or uncertain about love. But Chris Rea is good at heart-rending songs – I’d listen to all of Shamrock Diaries again – you’ll feel nostalgic, old, a bit sad about how life was and now is and there will be a tear, a small streak of salt water down your cheek.



Going home brings out the tears – flying into your home city after a prolonged absence is a time for tears. Look out the window onto your patch of earth and you’ll feel the emotion build.

Weddings and funerals – they just do! All those people, all that feeling, all that intensity. What choice do you have?

Becoming a parent – it is one of the most spectacular events of your life – look upon the creature you have created, feel the love, hold it close – you’ll cry, for love, for the joy of this profound moment. You’ll cry in years to come too, hopefully mostly in joy.

So, the list is endless. Create your own – what makes you cry in sadness, in joy? (Images courtesy Google Images)

The Joy of Making

May 29, 2012

I write a lot about joy and finding ways of being happy in this world. One of the best ways is through making things, of using your hands to create. Ringo Starr was mocked this week due to his un rock star like utterance about the joy of growing vegetables, but it is germane to my point this blog.

Doing things with your hands is wonderful, making things with your hands makes you feel good: it brings you joy.

I came upon the idea of food being made with love when I read Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (well before it was made into a movie). I was taken by that idea that love goes into food preparation. Feeding others should be an act of love, of caring for others – whether it’s dinner for the family or entertaining friends. Something cooked by you is infinitely better than bought made from the shops. In fact why have people over if you’re not going to cook it yourself?

Making things for others is an act of joy, wether it is cooking or sewing or making a card or birthday cake. Growing vegetables or fruit in your garden and sharing them with family and friends is an act of making that brings joy to others.

Making for the sake of making or making for yourself is simply a wonderful thing to do. Making is using your hands to create. Using your hands is a primal thing to do – like reaching into the earth to prepare the way for seedlings for flowers or food. Using your hands to knead bread, chop garlic, beat eggs, shape hamburger patties, shape and carve wood connects you to a more essential way of being. Using your hands connects you to truthful things in life.

We can’t all be artists but many of us can be fine craftsmen – we can make a dress, knit a jumper, make a candle, paint a picture, create a garden bench. Many of us indulge in these pastimes as hobbies, enjoying being creative, enjoying making something for ourselves.

Being admired for our skills is a bonus. The making – creating of things is where the joy is. Go on, do something with your hands. Build a boat, grow roses, paint your own walls, knit a scarf, cook a cake from scratch following an ancient recipe.

I promise, you’ll feel so good, so full of joy you’ll wonder why you left it so long to discover such a simple pleasure. So, this coming break make something from nothing, from raw materials: make something with your own hands. (Images from Private collection – from Top – raw silk lined coat, lemon jelly cheesecake, quiche lorraine, over-sized man’s jumper, Pal’s craft – wax candle, paper penguin, clay Garfield, star waistcoat, scarf in progress)

This Teaching Life

March 25, 2012

Having just vowed not to blog but to get down to some real writing – ie the bloody book – I stumbled upon this old thought about teaching and even though it’s not the end of the Summer holidays (but Easter break beckons) there are some things worth remembering here about this really quite noble profession.

This Teaching Life

It always happens about half way into the long summer holidays, the pains and joys of the last year having subsided, the terrors and fears of the New Year begin to threaten the horizon. Yes, I am a high school teacher. And right on cue, it seems I dive for the classifieds looking for alternative career paths. This is the time I look at B&Bs and Pubs across the country and wonder if we could make it work. I consider exotic foreign (well paid) postings and day-dream about retiring – alas, still too many years away.

But what I’ve done this year, as well as my regular desperate search for ways out of the profession, is compile a list of the things that make it all worthwhile. In most matters in life, especially such things as work and such impossible things as Education, it’s best to see the glass as filling up, not draining away. It helps focus my mind on the good things about teaching and kids: of which there are many.

  1. Two of the best texts I’ve come across in recent years have been through student recommendation. Jess R reviewed Donnie Darko in such an intriguing way that I was compelled to watch it. Heidi C insisted I read The Lovely Bones. I delayed and delayed, until after she had finished school in fact, but when I finally read it I was blown away, as she knew I would be.

I am reminded that students teach me things too.

  1. The best poetry I have read in years was by an anonymous Year 12 student whose writing gave me goose bumps with her exquisite handling of language and subject matter. She was better than I could ever hope to be.
  2. I couldn’t stand Tim in year 9 and I had written the worst report of my life for him. But he became the intellectual giant of my year 10 class and has signed up for my Senior English class this year. I can’t wait.
  3. Seeing the light of understanding come on – Tony Q when he saw Media Watch and A Current Affair and saw exactly how the media manipulated the truth
  4. Having the plumber turn up to fix the hot water system and finding he loved Macbeth five years ago with you, so you’re guaranteed a good job
  5. Having kids smile and wave at you, shout out Hey Swiftie, whether off the back of a bus, in the mall or the gym
  6. Having kids change lines to be in your class
  7. Having kids list your class as one of their favourites in their valedictory book
  8. Knowing that while you don’t connect with some kids, with many of them you do make a difference
  9. Knowing that there’s a lot of rubbish in Education but that in the classroom it’s still about relevant information, being entertaining; plus a consistent set of expectations and consequences
  10. Remembering that 95% of kids just want to be liked and get on with their lives. School is a necessary evil for most of us.

I know that teaching is an undervalued occupation in society these days and yes, I’d like more money but being with young people on a daily basis gives me great hope for the future. There are some wonderful, intelligent, generous, kind, funny, caring teenagers in this country (Australia and the UK) and it is a cliché, but teaching can be a rewarding job where you do make a difference.