Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Renting a house in Brisbane

To all those well-meaning people who told me that the rental market in Brisbane has become “pretty bad”, and that it is now “quite hard” to find a place to rent, I have one thing to say: With all due respect, you have no idea!

I went to Brisbane for a few days last week, to look for somewhere for us to live in 2010. I spent most of my first day there, Wednesday, driving around Kingston, Loganlea, Waterford and Loganholme getting rather demoralised because the only place I managed to see the inside of had mouldy ceilings (we're trying to escape all that!). Nevertheless, on Thursday I started in Eagleby, and I found three places that would suit us very well and a handful of others we could live with, scattered around these suburbs. On Friday I saw yet another really nice house.

So we put in applications for our favourite four to three real estate agents, and I flew back to Brisbane on Saturday with a reasonable hope that we'd be approved for at least one of them. Today (Wednesday) we were approved for the place I saw on Friday, in Loganlea. We've just signed the lease (by email-print-sign-scan-email back, because the quality is better that way than by fax).

Seriously: If you want to experience a hard rental market, move to Mackay. It took us two months to find a place to rent here, and in the end we only got this house by word of mouth, not through real estate agents or advertising. (And if you want to see just how bad renting can get, try Moranbah, where a three-bedroom house costs at least $600 a week.)

However, I am glad I went to look during the week. On Saturday morning I inspected a house in Loganlea. We had to go through in groups of three because the tenants were still there. I was in the second group. There were still people driving up when I came out! (In comparison, when we first moved to Mackay, Laetitia was going through rental houses in groups of about ten, and there would be at least four such groups looking at each place.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thank-yous after three years

Perhaps one really does have to leave to get people to actually say “thank you”. Certainly I've received more thanks than usual at the end of this year.

My fellow maths and science teachers signed a card for me, and pooled contributions to get me a gift of a couple of games: Tantrix and Rush Hour. The former I'm enjoying already; the latter I plan to use in my classroom. Both are about building logical and spatial reasoning skills.

I also received many thank-you cards from students. I thought I'd share a few of their nice comments. They have honoured me greatly with their kind words.

In first term this year I taught Maths B in year 11, but then the classes were reorganised and I switched to teaching Maths A instead. There were a few students in that Maths B class who I continued to help with their maths in after-school tutoring—and many other times when they asked! It seems some of them still think of me as their maths teacher:

I was a private maths tutor to one student since the end of last year. In our tutoring sessions, as well as working on maths, we discussed many topics including dealing with stress, time management, careers and life after school, … and we prayed together.

When I was studying to be a teacher, I was warned that I wouldn't see some of the best fruits of my work for years. Here's (part of) a lovely letter from one student who I first taught two years ago, and then again this year:

But I will finish with a short note written for me at the end of the last day of school. Rushed, unprompted, but so meaningful to me:

On practicum during my studies, my mentors and lecturers were always commenting on my apparent passion for my subject. I really wanted them to be commenting on my love for my students. But it's very hard to build up that kind of relationship in the context of a four-week prac. Now, three years into my teaching, and with God's constant help and guidance, it seems I'm finally getting somewhere.

Thank you, Father, for an amazing three years. Thank you for all that you've taught me about being a good teacher. Thank you for the lovely encouraging words from my students. Thank you for allowing me to be such a big part of their lives, and for encouraging and growing their passion for and enjoyment of learning through me.