Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ian's core values

Funny how some things don't change—at least, not in a hurry.

I've been going through old stuff in preparation for our move to Brisbane, and it's providing me with a good opportunity for reflection on my first three years of teaching. This afternoon I rediscovered some notes I'd made during one of my teaching pracs. At that time I decided my core values for my classroom were:
  • Respect for others and self
  • Build others up
  • Self-discipline
  • Follow God's leading
These lead on to a similar number of simple classroom rules, but that's not the point here. This is: in the last three years, these core values haven't changed. I wrote these up before I started teaching full-time, and in the mean time I have imbibed, digested and regurgitated my school's own philosophy and value system. My teaching skills and strategies have grown from almost nothing to—well, perhaps I can now call myself a teacher, although not yet one good at managing a large class of thirteen-year-olds. My opinions on many aspects of teaching and learning have changed as my ideas have been challenged, bruised, mangled or proven downright absurd through daily testing at school. But in the end, I still think these four statements sum up what I feel should be valued most highly in my classroom.

Interesting, no?

(PS- For my teacher friends, a challenge for you to think through. What are your core classroom values?)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wedding: Tim Helbig and Angela Catt

My cousin Tim got married last Saturday. I flew down to Sydney on Friday afternoon after school, via Brisbane. I flew back home on the direct flight on Sunday. I stayed with my family (mum, dad, sister) at Hotel Formule 1 at Sydney airport. (As in, the hotel is an easy ten minute walk from the terminal.)

The wedding was at Rockdale Uniting Church, officiated by my mum's cousin Sam. It was a beautiful service: positive, fun and God-centred. I was very impressed with their vows—no prompting! They had a lovely reading based on the apocryphal book of Sirach:

A loyal friend is like a safe shelter, find one, and you have found a treasure. Nothing else is as valuable; there is no way of putting a price on it. A loyal friend is like medicine that keeps you in good health. Only those who fear the Lord can find such a friend.

Never abandon an old friend; you will never find a new one who can take their place. Friendship is like wine; it gets better as it grows older.
Being independently wealthy or working for a living both can make life pleasant, but it is better to find a treasure.
A man’s name can be preserved if he has children or if he establishes a city, but finding wisdom is a better way. Owning livestock and orchards will make you famous, but it is better to have a wife you love.
Wine and music can make you happy, but a happy marriage is even better.

After some family photos in the church grounds, we hopped on a luxurious coach to take us to the reception venue, the St George Motor Boat Club. It was an interesting trip: the poor bus driver had to manoeuvre around a few traffic “calming” devices. While Tim and Angela were getting formal photos taken (out in the Marina, I think), the rest of us gathered for pre-dinner drinks. The view from the balcony, out over Georges River, was fabulous, with the sun slowly heading towards the horizon.

Inside the function room, I was seated at a table with my sister and cousins—well, my other cousins; obviously Tim's seat was out the front with Angela! They made a very grand entrance. Each couple came in to a different song, and they each did a little mime to match.

There followed a delicious dinner (yes, even mine; my only complaint was that there wasn't enough of it). Speeches over dessert, punctuated by many pilot jokes (Tim being a commercial airline pilot). After that, some dancing. The music got very loud at that point, so I went out to the balcony instead.

Unfortunately I didn't get enough time to really get to know Angela, but from what I saw and heard she seems a really lovely lady, with a good sense of humour. I pray that Tim and Angela have many more wonderful days ahead, filled like their wedding day was with laughter and the company of good friends.