Saturday, December 31, 2016

366- #Thingsthatmademehappy 2016

This year I completed another 365 project (taking and uploading one photo every day). Actually I completed two, one on Insta and the other on Flickr and they were 366 projects because of the leap year, but whatever... semantics. The important thing is that I followed the rules, created a visual diary of our year, discovered some great photographers on Flickr and learnt a little bit more about photography along the way.
I only cheated once, as in there was just one day when I didn't take a photo and so I used a screen shot to make a yesterday's photo satisfy a today's date upload.

My theme for 2016 was #thingsthatmakemehappy
Here's the top 10 things that satisfied the hashtag

My kids- Nothing makes me happier than having all of them in the same place at the same time.
Christmas present weekend to Rye

Mothers' Day

This man - He's the best cook, the best travel buddy, the best kisser and luckily he's also very photogenic.

The Lover and the Lunatic - Being a grandma is beyond wonderful. Every minute spent with these two is a joy.
This is my favourite photo for 2016. Sums up their relationship perfectly.

I took this selfie the day Jaime told me she was expecting no3. It was hailing outside the car and I was imagining how all 4 of us would fit in the car on rainy netball days in 2017!

The Sharks- The Mortlake Junior Sharks had a very successful season. There were plenty of shuffles to photograph and I got to coach an amazing group of kids again this year. Then, in one of life's curly turns, suddenly the Sharks were no longer. I'm so sad that it's over but incredibly happy that I had the opportunity to coach again and to work with a great group of people.

Practice makes perfect - 4 perfect flicks

Our animals-

This was the last photo I took of these two together. We lost them both this year, just a few weeks apart. The original 'odd couple'.

My job - I moan about it a lot but really, I have the best job, in a great school, with awesome kids.
The opposition debaters never stood a chance

Graduation time

A fun filled trip to NZ

Who knew the dictionary was so exciting?

Performing Arts- I think the skills developed in performance pave the way for success in life and the happiness in creating a great performance is contagious.

Les Miserables

Big Fish

Indigo and Juliet
Lion King Jnr
Vietnam - Right up there with the best travel experience I've ever had.
HCMC - crazy town
 Fresh chicken

Hoian- one of the happiest places on Earth

Special events-
Pascale came back to visit and we managed a surprise assembly appearance

The Bulldogs won the flag. How good was that!

Sunsets - They were my standby when nothing else had made me smile. Its lucky we get so many beauties.





And so the sun sets on 2016. Thanks to everyone who's allowed me to photograph them or tag them and thanks to my Instagram and Flickr followers for their feedback.
 Before tomorrow morning I need a theme for 2017's 365.
Any ideas?


Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Measure of Success

Today my school got a nice little piece of publicity in the Herald Sun.

In a nutshell, the median score for all our VCE study scores (out of 50), was 35 – a truly great median for a no scholarship, take all comers, encourage everyone to finish year 12, government school. More importantly on the data spectrum, we were the most improved school, with our median shooting up 5 points from last year.

We’ve had halcyon times like this before. Occasionally we have some ‘lean’ years but It’s not a new thing for our VCE kids to do well. Back in 2007-2009 we had medians well above the average and our students have always ‘batted above their weight’ when it comes to success in academics, in sport and in performance skills.

So while I’m happy for us to bask in the (momentary) glory of high academic achievement, I think its important to recognise that it’s the not the most important measure of our school’s success and definitely not the most important measure of this group of kids. In fact, not all the kids in this photo contributed to that median. The numbers are derived from all the Unit 4 study scores and that included quite a few year 11s (who will get their chance at ATAR glory next year). Some of these kids didn’t even sit exams but they are no less successful in our eyes. Some are successful just because they finished year 12, some combined VCAL with VCE, Shona is the VETis plumber of the year (2 x in a row). Lachie is a state junior cricketer, Jake a state level high jumper and Gerald, a national equestrian. Cooper published his 2nd EP and got a perfect score in VET Music, a subject he studied at Emmanuel College because if we can’t offer a subject ourselves, then we’ll find someone who can. Chloe finished VCE with VCAL certs in 3 different disciplines. Breeanna, our dux, had three scores over 40 and she won’t even turn 18 till next May. All of them combined student leadership duties with their studies, becoming role models and ambassadors. At some stage, each and every one of them has performed in the school play, with 4 of them gaining admittance into our Performing Arts Hall of Fame.

I first met this group when they tumbled, full of personality, into year 5. There were lots of them then, a big class by our standards, covering the whole gamut of academic ability. They were larger than life kids, all different but all willing to turn their hand to any task. By year 7 it was clear they were going to be a successful cohort. They competed with each other and with themselves on a daily basis, in sport, in class and on the stage. We watched them grow from enthusiastic youngsters into skillful teenagers. Almost all of them came to NZ on camp with us and they soaked up every moment and made the most of every experience.

And then bit by bit the group started to shrink with a lot of the kids going off to bigger schools in bigger cities. Those who remained here struggled a bit. They missed their friends, and I think they felt a little bit deserted, with a sense that while the others were off having new adventures, they were stuck in the seemingly boring sameness of their run down rurality, with teachers who knew them so well that there was nowhere to hide. They became burdened by the high expectations we had of them, sometimes doubting that they could match those expectations with their own lofty ambitions and the work load that lay ahead. Some of them fought the demons of physical and mental health issues and just getting to school each day became a victory.

Like the surrogate parents that teachers often become, we cajoled, chastened, promised, pleaded, threatened, tutored, guided and bribed, and as loyal co workers do, they responded by doing their very best, by believing that if they dreamed it they could do it and choosing to step up rather than stepping aside.

And now, here they are, big fish in anyone’s pond. The survivors and the victors, ready to embrace their ‘real’ lives with the same passion and persistence that’s got them through year 12.

What a lovely bunch. Well done and good luck to you all.