23 January 2010

Contemplating the holidays' end . . .

It's that funny thing when you work in teaching that half of me wants the holidays to go on forever (who doesn't, right?), and yet the other half is excited about starting new classes with new students, wants to see how many students we'll get at enrolment, who will be in my classes.

Our course is more hands-on between year's end and beginning because we do so much work on student selection. Oh, in some ways, I envy the courses that just look at TER (Tertiary Entrance Rank). This is the least of our concerns; we do consider TERs, but only as part of a much larger package. We also get a statement of why students want to do the course, a folio of work, which we have to read and appraise, we get them in for an interview, we get them to do writing on the day, which we read and appraise, and we give them a short grammar skills test, which we then have to mark. Only when we've done all of this can we make our selections. The extra work is worth it because it helps us weed out those who won't be able to cope with the course.

But back to the end of the holidays -- the thing I love best is not having to live my life by a timetable: not having to get kids off to school, not having to be at work early to make sure I get a car spot, the more relaxed atmosphere in the house (ie not having to nag kids about homework, which I know doesn't work, but I find I can't help myself), not having to work and think when it's stinking hot. I'm less social and more family orientated in the holidays, and we do so much more. This holidays the theme has been Avatar, which I'm sure you've noticed! Last year it was "Spooks" -- we watched the first six seasons, averaging two or three episodes a day. We also do a lot of swimming. The kids play computer games, and I write. And read. I have this funny relationship with reading because I love doing it -- and really I read all the time, but not in extended bursts like I do over the holidays -- and I know I need to read lots as a writer, but I feel guilty if I sit down to read a book. It must be my mother's voice in my ear, telling me to clean up, or the writer telling me I should be writing! But in the holidays there's time to do both. (Note, I didn't say all three. My mother's voice is still in my ear!)

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