Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I am not well. My head feels like someone has been stuffing cotton balls up my nose for the last hour. And I can't think of a clever way to segue to a blog post so here is summary that I think I have used before.

The Good
: I finished Tim Winton's Breath today. I enjoyed it but I think it is one of those novels that I think I come to love when I read it a second time. Anyhow, the fact that I have actually found a Tim Winton novel that I enjoyed reading at all is an achievement, especially after the debacle that was Dirt Music. I love the way his stories explore broken people, how those people become broken and whether anything can fill the God-shaped hole they find in their lives. Although, he does seem to use the same three or four archetypes each time.

The Bad: My head cold.

The Ugly: Year 9s. I don't want to go there.

I think I am drifting at the moment. In spite of my fondness and admiration for the people I work with, I am starting to wonder whether I am cut out for life in a public school in a low socio-economic area. I love teaching but I am not exactly a people person and I don't think I can make an impact on people who don't really have a desire to learn. Unfortunately, a significant section of the student cohort has a serious "Fuck You" attitude problem. You hearing me? Is there any point spending another year of my life when the grass could be greener on the other side?
Here endeth the confession.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I need to start writing again.

It has been just over year since I was offered a job at an anonymous public school in the western suburbs of Melbourne. While it has been a fantastic experience, I need to excercise the part of my brain that writes - at least until school starts again.

But don't expect too much from me yet. Where I was once an adonis who could run a mile in four minutes flat, I am now a fat man who coughs and wheezes when he walks from the metaphorical television to the metaphorical fridge for his tenth slice of pizza before lunch. And, after all this effort, I think I need another slice and a lie down.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


It is the wee hours of the morning and I am writing this post to escape the relentness f*cking I can hear through the paper-thin walls of this wretched box that is my home. Also, I have survived one whole term of teaching in a Victorian public school with my sanity intact and I feel that this is the kind of milestone I should celebrate on my blog. Here goes.


I like my job. I don't count the hours. I don't feel swept up in a cloud of anxious misery everytime my next shift approaches. I don't have shifts anymore because I am no longer a drone filling empty space on an employer's timesheet. I am a professional. For the first time in my life I have an employer who trusts me. I have the freedom to be creative and think for myself. My life has more meaning and purpose than it has ever had before because I am doing the only truly fulfilling task life has to offer: helping people.

I have two weeks off and I am still being paid. Enough said.

Indoor soccer games every Friday afternoon in the school gym.


The avarice beast that is the school bureaucracy and the precious minutes it trys to suck out of my life.

Unfortunately, slagging off the people I work with (colleagues or students) poses an ethical dilemma for me. All of my colleagues and almost all of the students I work with are great. However, I do deal with some difficult personalities on a daily basis. I accept that that is part of the job but it does mean disappointement and frustration are a common experience.


Cultural diversity. I grew up in a town where everyone is Anglo-Celtic and middle class. The suburb that I teach in may be the most culturally diverse in Australia. My students come from a series of pretty diverse backgrounds: Vietnamese, East African, Pacific Islander and, of course, Anglo-Celtic. Mixed in with that bunch are a sprinkling of Chinese and Hispanic kids.

Asperger's Syndrome and Autism. I still don't understand these conditions. I've been thrown in the deep end and I don't have the resources of the skills I need to really help these students succeed.


I am having one of those dark evenings where I hate the world and everyone it, especially you. Leave me alone while go back to bed and make a list of all the selfish, mediocre, superficial, cynical bullies I have to put up with in my life.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Are You Nervous?

Dear God,

Tomorrow I become a school teacher.

Please don't let me fuck this up too much.

Yours truly,


P.S. Yes, I am nervous.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Working for the Man

"Hey now you better listen to me everyone of you
We got a lotta lotta lotta lotta work to do
Forget about your woman and that water can
Today we're working for the man."

Working for the Man, Roy Orbison.

I went to the accountant today and I think I am in love. There is something about a slim, plain-looking young woman in a business suit that is incredibly attractive. Actually, it wasn't that this girl was particularly good-looking (she was pretty, but she wasn't "hot"), but her robot like professionalism and her razor-sharp social intelligence were, to be honest, a little erotic. Moreover, being the big, tough man that I am, I naturally found having the pittance I live on picked apart by a much younger and very female person humbling.
Every conversation seemed to go like this:

Accountant -Hi Ross, nice to meet you. My name is X. How has you day been?
Me - Yes, ummm, working on lesson thingys. Very busy. Ummm...Yes. My name is Ross.
Or this,
Accountant - So Ross, are there any other work-related expenses that we can deduct?
Me - Your hair is pretty.
Hands up who thinks I should spend my tax return on a few weeks of therapy?
In other news, my second teaching placement begins on Monday and for the next five weeks of my life my ass belongs to the Victorian State Government. This is post is let you all (Mark and whoever else bothers to check in these days) know that I might drop off the radar until late September. Don't worry, I will continue to lurk in the background and drop the odd comment. I may even post something before my placement ends but it isn't a gurantee.
Until then, lots of love and remember to keep it real.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bouncing Off the Walls

"...for some time past he had been in an over-strained, irritable condition, verging on hypochondria. He had become so completely absorbed in himself and isolated from his fellows that he dreaded meeting not only his landlady but anyone at all. He was crushed by poverty, but the anxieties of his position had of late ceased to weigh on him. He had given up attending to matters of practical importance; he had lost all desire to do so..."

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky.

If there is any character from literature that I resemble it is Rashkolnikov from Crime & Punishment. Although I don't spend my days murdering miserly spinsters, I can see my less admirable qualities and behaviours reflected in this character. Why is this young man so miserable? Being cooped up in a tiny little apartment in a strange city that is light years from everything that is familiar and comforting probably doesn't help. However, there is more to Rashkolnikov than his situation. The paranoia, the delusions, the self-absorption are not just a product of the physical isolation he has constructed, they are product of a spiritual/existential isolation he has chosen. When you give yourself too much time to reflect on these things your world necessarily becomes very narrow and very bleak.

I miss home a little bit more than I realise. There is an emptiness in my life that will only be filled when I see people who know and love me. In the meantime I just have to keep on keeping on. Everybody hurts sometime, so I am told. There is no good reason to let it shame you; that only makes it worse.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ross & Mark's Awesome Adventure

More photos from the road:

Mount William on the first day. Misty...

Mount William on the second day.

Me. Doing things.

Mark at our Halls Gap accomodation. I am about to throw a rock at his head because he made me watch Ocean's 11 the night before.

Mark's "burger" from a Port Fairy bakery.

Mark- 1, Burger - 0.

A firehose in a rainforest?!?!

The Otways.

The Great Ocean Road.