Seven weeks into a professional adventure and so far all is well. My time in Stirling is fast approaching its half-way point and I can confidently say I have taken it all in my stride. I will admit the first few weeks were trying on many fronts, missing my wife and pups, acclimatising myself to a new community, balancing a full teaching load all while jumping new administrative obstacles. It was a tough introduction, but now I have settled in, routines and working hours are in check and life out in Wilora has normality to it. I have added new strings to my bow, and reinvigorated my passion for classroom teaching which I had departed from in the last year. The kids out here are excellent students, with next to no behavioural issues to speak of. In my time here I am working with my neighbouring principals at Neutral Junction (20min North), Murray Downs (40min north) and Ti Tree (30 min south), to establish closer ties with collaborative sport and arts programs. Small remote schools tend to have less of these opportunities for cross school events due to budget constraints and numbers. But with four schools working together consistently it seems to be bearing fruit for the students. I am also looking to establish a home library for each student, as they all love reading but it begins and ends in school hours as there are no resources at home. At present the students and parents both say they would read to their kids at home, but just don’t have the right books or know where to get them from. Before the end of the year this situation will be amended, and I hope to acquire some good second hand resources for my student’s homes.
I do love the new challenge and my new school, yet I already have the hunger for a bigger challenge in a larger setting and my sights are shifting toward that goal. My next steps it seems will be looking for a school where I can expand my role that also has Emily and I living in the same location. There are many opportunities in the Territory so I will continue to forge ahead while keeping an eye out for that optimal scenario.
Life on the station is a whole other world. The yearly muster has just finished up and two weeks of helicopters and motorbikes and teams of drovers camping out on the station has been an eye-opener to say the least. The seasons here are now clearly changing, with the morning temperatures departing the single digits.
I find myself spending my evenings at home more often than not on the deck. In fact right now I’m typing away on the front deck of my house. There is a cold beer next to me while I look out over the endless see of tall gum tress. The place is alive at this time of day with parrots, galahs, budgerigars, cockatiels, all flitting about through the trees in their twilight social. I have discovered a resident pair of Australian ring necked parrots nesting in one of my trees, they make for cheeky neighbours as they prune my front yard gum tree. There is a great beauty to this landscape, one in which I wish more Australians would come and see. There is no issue in winding down form a day’s work out here, half an hour on the porch and there is not a worry in the world. Sitting out here with dinner you are treated to yet another painted sky at sunset and afterwards you are privy to the clearest night skies I have been witness too.
When my time here at Stirling is done, I will most surely miss the beauty of this place. It would be almost perfect if my wife and dogs were here with me, and the school was more established.
So no doubt the next post I get up will be after my darling sisters wedding.
The end of term 3 is fast approaching and it has been a busy few weeks back in Canteen Creek. The kids are constantly in and out of community at the moment with various activities taking place around the region.
During the last month at Canteen Creek we have had kids out for athletics meets in town and this week, a Darwin competition. We wish the kids the best of luck this weekend as they compete for the Barkly Region. We have also been participating in the Cross Country out here which involves the kids (and staff) getting into school vehicles and heading out the various roads and running back to school. The kids have been pretty enthusiastic in participating to gain points for the school and the staff have made a real effort to participate as well.
Something else that some of us girls (staff) have been doing is regular exercise classes that also include the Cross Country run each week. Suse Hollands (Ben’s wife) has been a real motivation and inspiration with these classes that range from yoga, walking/running, crunch, ab workouts and Zumba. It’s great to get together with the girls to participate in regular exercise, let’s keep it up girls!
Some updates from the school playground. Yesterday we experienced a snake in the school grounds that saw the kids screaming and squealing in excitement. Robert and May followed the snake’s movements and ensured the kids were safe. Finally got it corned in the EC play area and the kids began to throw large rocks at it that in the end, saw its demise. 2 of the PTs from the Army arrived in time to dispose of the snake that turned out to be a King Brown. That was a bit of excitement for yesterday’s lunch time.
The Army have been very busy in Canteen Creek for the last few months. They are currently working very hard to pave the road into community and they plan to leave (and have everything completed) by the middle of next week. As a thank-you from the kids, we have been practicing “I am Australian” during class time and at lunch time musters as well. They sound pretty good, I have to admit. We will see how they go next week in front of an audience!
Apart from that I think that’s it from Canteen Creek at the moment. As the weather gets warmer we look forward to the end of term and returning home for a week of holidays.
Catch you mob round! (As the kids would say).