“So you don’t have to go back to work until February, right? Wow, I wish I got 6 weeks of paid holiday!”


1301BlamingTeachers-ArtAt this time of year, the only smalltalk among friends and family during Christmas celebrations is a comment on my ‘extensive holiday period’.  I’d like to see some of my family members do this holiday with as much style as I manage to pull off!

But firstly: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Australia! 

Traditional Christmas Symbolism:

tree one

Australian Christmas Symbolism:

snowman sand


….although, to be fair, it did drizzle a bit on Christmas Day 2013.

How to Christmas Holiday like a Science teacher: 

1. Increase coffee intake so that your 10-week sleep debt catches up with you on the 27th, not the 25th. Try hard to remember that it’s not nice to snap at people.

2. Purchase gifts for everyone within two days. Do not buy anything that is more than 50% plastic and refuse shopping bags wherever possible. Don’t forget that children should be engaged in learning from their Christmas presents. (Yes, people ARE grateful when I’m their Secret Santa, why do you ask?)

3. Wrap presents as well as you can with minimal wrapping paper (reduce), rip the old tags off of last year’s gift bags (reuse), and separate the sticky tape and foil paper from the papery paper before putting the rubbish into your bins (recycle). Advertise unwanted boxes on freecycle for people who are moving.

4. Conveniently forget that the supermarkets are closed for two days. Neglect to shop for groceries. Strategically plan your meals based around the friends and family you visit.

5. OPEN GIFTS! Plenty of chocolate, Science documentaries, household trimmings and books to read! These gifts are truly orgasm-inducing! (Turn into boring adult: check!)

6. Watch housemates leave for work. Brainstorm people to hang out with…..but they’re all at work. Wait for something to happen on FaceBook.

7. Eat many things.

8. Sit on couch with no prospects of company for many days. Find reasons why usual exercise schedule is absurd and unachievable without a school routine.

9. Eat ALL chocolate with nobody around to avoid possible social tension stemming from an unwillingness to share.

10. Begin intense household cleaning regime.

11. Cook lots to pass time and to create MORE things to eat. (WARNING: Do not interact with scales).

12. Become dissatisfied with housemates and enter into harebrained scheme to move house. Keep this scheme continually running in the background.

13. Allow the days to pass in a blur of domesticity, superficial social encounters, overeating and vegetating.

14. One week before the return of school, panic.

15. Lock self in office and complete all planning, marking and resource creation that was supposed to be spread over six weeks.

16. Begin the term and dedicate yourself to teaching again at the expense of housework. Restart exercise routine. Plan to clean and cook again in ten weeks’ time. It is now safe to approach the scales, but you might have to leap over piles of mess……..


And that’s why they tell you to marry a teacher! 


Something for Me; Something for Them!

A little while ago, I found this video circulating Facebook and I watched it and LOVED it! You should watch it too:

If I Were A Teacher-Ask Kingsley

The title of the video gives an inkling that perhaps this youth in a funny hat will be bagging out teachers, so I found his opinions and his arguments refreshing. I wish very much that I could share this with my students, but due to the explicit language and unsavoury themes, (stabbing people and wishing for bus crashes) I cannot. 

After watching, I perused some other videos by this enigmatic person because he is viewed enough to suggest that his audience values his opinions. The premise of his YouTube channel is that you can log on to his tumblr page and submit questions of any nature to him, and he will answer the ones he chooses in an amusing fashion. He also performs dares. It made me wish that I had the time to set up a YouTube channel dedicated to helping kids with their Science homework. 

Trust a boring old teacher to take the fun out of YouTube!

Instead, I now use a question box during select lessons. The box is always depressingly devoid of conscious thought and overflowing with the litter that usually adorns the floor. 

Still, I continue to cogitate about the influence this brave young soul possesses and I wonder how I could attain the same level of trust from the young minds entrusted to me. I suppose it also makes me wonder about the ethics and mechanics of persuasion…..

The other excellent resource I found from a colleague of mine is a DVD entitled Bag It. It can be investigated and purchased below: 

Bag It

This DVD is a documentary evaluating the impact of modern plastic use on the environment. It is not a balanced view because it seems the producers had difficulty in obtaining statements from a pro-plastics representative. It is food for thought, I changed my lifestyle in small ways as a result of watching it, and top students will empathise with the viewpoints presented. However, I have found that lower ability students or students who have difficulty behaving in a polite fashion during Science have strong negative reactions to the documentary. They often describe plastic reducing behaviours as “extreme” “not likely to become widespread” and “for hippies and crazy people”. 


Often, the argument about sustainability and environmentalism is that we are educating a disempowered sector of society. I.e. it is not children who make decisions about the products purchased for the household, and if they tried to advocate reduction of plastic use, perhaps their viewpoint would not be valued. I had not thought to find children’s minds closed to building a sustainable future. 


Overall, the YouTube clip will brighten your day, and hopefully one day we will have a Parents Popcorn Night at school where we force them to watch Bag It with their children. I remember an awkward night with my parents at the end of primary school where we all learned about reproduction together, so I think showing Bag It would be a viable option instead!