Archive for February, 2006

Chicken vs Classroom Management

February 18, 2006  |  Tags:   |  

For all fellow NIE trainees going for practicum.

Chickenvsclass

I know, it’s been nearly a month since the last one…

Previous: Chicken vs Purportedly Friendly Snake

Info: What’s with all the chickens?

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Budget report (brrreeeport)

February 17, 2006  |  Tags:   |  

Title reference to the Scoble experiment aside, I thought of something while searching online for more information on this year’s Budget Report announced this afternoon… man, this doesn’t even begin to compare to a Steve Jobs product launch keynote, does it?

Where’s all the liveblogging? Why isn’t the Budget website overloaded by the large number of news-hungry browser-refreshing web surfers? Where are all the immediately-available product summary pages for people to drool over? I’m sure Growth Dividends are far more interesting to people than new shiny iPods… right?

Anyway, I was only checking to see if they used my design for something. No luck finding it though. Hmph.

Update: Oh, there it is. What’s with the fugly rounded bezel, though?

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Slightly deaf

February 17, 2006  |  Tags:   |  

Various things.

Franz Ferdinand: Despite the oddly poor sound system that made some of the band’s more frantic riffs sound awful and clipped, I thought the concert was really quite enjoyable. Hearing “Eleanor Put Your Boots Back On” live made everything — last week’s unpleasantries, this week’s homework overload, the prospect of upcoming real work and five-day work weeks and waking up at 6 in the morning — bearable, even if just for four minutes. Now if only I could shake off this high-pitched ringing in my ears.

Homework: Today was the last day of class, and I’m still not done with homework. There must be a Chicken comic I can derive from all this…

Apple Equipment Suicide Watch: Since the beginning of the year, my three-year-old PowerBook and iPod have been sending me unsubtle hints about throwing them away and buying their new and shinier incarnations. I’d previously lost my PB charger in a classroom a couple of weeks ago (bastard charger-stealing trainee teachers), and now my iPod makes clicking sounds with its hard drive and refuses to play anything. I’m going to put the latter in the freezer and see if it won’t behave, the little bastard.

Sleep debt: Mounting. Why am I writing?

Still alive, still alive

February 15, 2006  |  Tags:   |  

It’s been a vaguely unpleasant couple of weeks, the details of which I’ll not mention (except for the bit about the homework. So… much… homework. Kill me now, please, please).

I just got back from a briefing at the practicum school. I have to say, as much as I tend to be universally skeptical about the idealistic spiel they hurl at us at NIE, it’s rather inspiring to hear the same things from a teacher who’s been teaching for twenty years, and who really believes that what they’re doing is making a difference in the students’ lives. After hearing some of her examples of how they’ve improved and expanded the academic programmes since my days there, even this hopeless cynic finds it hard to disagree that they’re doing something good with education over there.

I’m oddly inspired. This feeling confuses me, but I hope it lasts.

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Brief update

February 5, 2006  |  Tags:   |  

It’s 5am, and I should be sleeping. There are way better times for a “brief update” than this, surely.

Anyway.

After effectively breaking the NIE practicum page into submission last week, I found out yesterday that I’ve been assigned to my old secondary school for my 10-week teaching practicum. I really can’t think of a better place to be exposed for my complete lack of teaching ability than in front of my former teachers. That said, I can’t think of a better place to go for practicum, really, and if this goes well, I think I’ll have had my formal posting decided.

Previously, I’d been trying to figure out whether to take up the offer to teach at my old JC. I’ve since talked to one former teacher who’s taught at both, and she made a pretty convincing case for teaching at the secondary school (because, well, that’s where she is now, and she was the one who asked me to go there to help her with the Computing programme). She mentioned that the HOD of IT is very keen on expanding the programme to include digital media development (programming video games!), and single-handedly set up a Linux cluster in school for reasons untold. Promising.

Over the lunar new year, I also spoke to a cousin who’s currently teaching at the JC (different department, though), and he mentioned that the workload was very manageable (four classes per teacher, with the upcoming expansion in staff size reducing class load to three per teacher — that’s one lecture, one lab and two tutorial sessions per class, do the math and compare that to the average load of thirty-odd periods a week in most secondary schools). The new JC syllabus also makes things seem rather exciting. The staff expansion also means a lot of incoming young staff, which could be a pleasant environment to work in. There’s a new HOD (hired from another JC) for the department I’d be joining, though, so that’s a bit of a wild card.

It’s not as simple a matter as “possibly interesting vs. possibly easy”, I guess… but that’s the easiest distillation of the matter I’ve come up with. Anyway, practicum starts in just over two weeks. See how things go.

In other news, I have a lot of homework. A truly large and unpleasant-smelling turdload of homework, and all due in the next two weeks, and almost all undone because of my not-quite-amusing-right-now tendency to procrastinate. I think I should go to sleep and wake up to put off doing more of it.