Monday, September 5, 2016

Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life (Yes)

Hot for teacher (You may say I'm a dreamer - Chapter 5, part 2)

October 1982 found me on section in Keri Keri (hand printed T shirt? Of course)

In the end we'll agree, we'll accept, we'll immortalise 
That the truth of the man maturing in his eyes 
All complete in the sight of seeds of life with you.                  
Yes (And You and I)

Rutherford High School, in west Auckland, was my first 'section' (teaching practicum) in 1982. It was handy to home and university where I was doing Roger Horrock's Film paper as a certificate (he'd been on leave during my MA).

In the end, that combination proved tough to juggle. Most definitely I can only focus on one thing at a time. Although I loved writing in it, I struggled to keep up with my film journal AND go away three times to teach classes AND attend Training College. I did okay and passed it but I had to miss quite a few lectures which I regret.

On that first 'section' with me were Cherie and Judy from my tutor group (the three of us also went to Hawke's Bay schools together for our second practicum). 

I had really interesting associates and classes: Lenore Webster was the HOD and I enjoyed her advice but John McKenzie was soo cool! He perfectly fitted the ultra cool laid back English teacher stereotype to a T. Everyone loved him. THAT'S who I wanted to be!!

Four weeks of practicum actually goes super slowly. Generally, it follows the 'learn by doing' maxim. There's the constant stress of teaching, of being watched by associates and lecturers, of learning stuff and finding out who you are as a teacher.

During winter, 1982, the three of us headed to Hawke's Bay. Cherie was at a Napier school, Judy was at Taradale. I was at Havelock North High School.

My winter digs in Whakatu, Hastings.
Hastings was cold! Even colder opposite the Hasting's freezing works where I was staying with a Scottish family. They were nice, but the smells from the abattoir were pretty rank at times, and a fun household it wasn't as they did battle with their obstreperous daughter. They also had a dog. I don't much care for dogs.
We did not bond.

To add to the mix, my new contact lenses were a daily battle to get into my frozen eye sockets. 

Sounds bad, but on the whole, I actually enjoyed myself. 

Being 1982, the World Cup was on, and we watched as many of the games as we could. New Zealand and Scotland were in the same group so there was friendly rivalry.

Fellow student teacher, Cherie and Wozza
hit the Turoa slopes (and I do mean 'hit')

The actual teaching was a mixed bag. I remember spending Friday afternoons in a local Hastings pub with Judy and Cherie doing group moans about the bitter cold, classes and staff. During the section the three of us went skiing at Turoa, staying in an Ohakune caravan park. Good times.

Keri Keri High School, a lovely smallish school set in beautiful northern Keri Keri was my final practicum. 

My summer digs in Keri Keri. My mini in front of my sleep out room.

In direct contrast to the frigid Hastings' weather, summer in Keri Keri was divine. In those days Teachers' College students were billeted for the length of the section. This time I was staying with a farmer and his wife on a beautiful property, complete with (as the initial photo shows) a swimming pool!

I loved my classes full of bright kids, many sons and daughters of the teachers, who were all receptive to my experimental teaching.

Not so crash hot was my attempt to secure a teaching job for 1983. The October 1 gazette came out and I sent off applications to teach English in three Auckland co-educational secondary schools. Mum wasn't well and I didn't want to be too far away from her. 

Nothing. I knew my teaching reports had been glowing, so I expected to be offered all three and pick the one I wanted most. What gave?

In pre-interweb days, the October 15 was the next gazette. Casting my net a little further, I sent off more applications. 

Nothing!!! Colin Prentice wrote an encouraging note on my rejection letter for a job at Macleans College, but that was rare. Mostly it was just a 'don't call us'.

Back to Auckland, and I began to worry a tad.

November 1 gazette: this time I went for broke, around 30 applications were sent to co-ed, single sex, North Island, South Island, private, state, rural, city, big, small schools.

I waited. Nothing!!!!

With a rising feeling of impending doom I again threw everything at jobs listed in the November 15 gazette. I was clearly looking at unemployment to start off my teaching career.

For some reason I was visiting mum and dad at Ramelton Road during the Christmas holidays.

Specifically, I was in the kitchen, when the phone rang...

Love and peace - Wozza

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