A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Monday, December 14, 2009

No More Teachers, No More Books

Today is officially the first day of school holidays and for a lot of us in the southern hemisphere, the end of the school year. As Master Six skipped away from his empty classroom, without so much as a backward glance towards his beloved teacher, I don't think he realised the significance of this particular exit. He was too excited about beginning school holidays and the upcoming visit from Santa Claus.

When I enrolled him in this school, I chose it because it had a small student population and I thought he would receive a more individualised school experience. There is a closer school, but we travel five kilometres out of our way everyday to attend this school.

When I found out he was going to have Ms Y as a teacher, I have to admit, I was wondering how that would work out, because she seemed young and I wasn't sure that she would keep the children in line and focussed on their school work.

Now that the school year has passed, I look back and chuckle at the thought. Ms Y is truly a special teacher and my son is so fortunate to have had her in his very first year of school. She stole the heart of each and every child in her class, and that of the parents too.

She treated the children as if they were her own. In school assembly, she was there, sitting side by side with her students. She minded my son after school when we moved house and when I had an exam to sit. When there was a discipline issue with one or two of the other boys, she took it in hand immediately and some of those boys have grown, with her guidance, into lovely boys. She attended my son's sixth birthday party and brought a very thoughtful gift that suited him perfectly, demonstrating just how well she knew her students.

Yesterday, she left Cairns to start her journey around Australia, after which she will settle in her home town for a few years. We are so sad to see her go, and for me for selfish reasons, because I was hoping she would become Master Four's teacher in a year's time, but we wish her all the best. The students at whatever school she chooses to teach at in the future will be very lucky indeed.

When Master Six figures out that he is not going to see Ms Y again for a very long time, I think it will be very hard for him. She has been a very special part of his life for the last year, and we would like to thank her for her dedication and for 'going the extra mile' for every one of her students.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Barbecues, Birds and Bold Marsupials

Coral Spawning Spectacular and a BBQ on the beach was on the cards for tonight, but we got our dates mixed up and missed it--guess we'll have to save our marine life voyeurism for another year.

Not to waste an opportunity for a BBQ dinner on the beach, hubby, the kids and I packed up the esky, the snags, the buckets and the spades and headed to our local beach. I cooked up a feast whilst the boys had a dip in the ocean and collected pippies. They turned up at the picnic table soaking wet, covered in sand and hungry as bears. I'm sure they managed to get sand in every nook and cranny possible, and the next time we feel like going to the beach, there will be no need, because half the beach is on the floor of our car--but I digress.

When the sun dipped over the horizon, the full moon greeted us warmly with its hues of orange and pink. The temperature was a balmy 29 degrees C and the water was as warm as a baby's bath. We ate our dinner gazing at the waves gently lapping at the shore and felt the gentle breeze that swayed the palms. We didn't worry too much about the kids' table manners and there were no dishes to do. We could feel the tension of the day slipping away from us.

On the way back home, we rolled down all the windows of the car, opened up the sunroof and drove very slowly. "Heartache Tonight" by the Eagles was playing on the radio and we sang along. Will stopped the car to point out two curlews at the side of the road. As we were admiring these odd-looking birds, that used to freak us out at night with their baby-like cries, a wallaby hopped across the road as if to say, "Well, if you think they are so great, look at me!".

When I first came to Australia, I used to scoff at the folks back home who used to think that, in Australia, there were kangaroos hopping down the street. I used to think that was like people thinking Canadians all lived in igloos! Well, since I have moved to Cairns from Sydney, I realise that they DO hop down the street! Our house is two doors down from a field where everyday we see about 100 wallabies lazing in the shade to escape the afternoon sun.

Having these creatures so close to us, does not take away from the joy and wonder I feel every time I see them. That moment in the car with my loved ones singing the Eagles off-key and Australian fauna making themselves known to us, that too is not lost on me, and I hope I remember it and that my kids remember it for many years to come.

Wallaby photo source
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