Part 2: First day of teaching in Warburton.
After my highlight of luxury in Alice as you may have read from part 1, suddenly I was like a fish out of water! Thrown straight into the deep end, I was sent to teach with the little ones at school. By little I mean grade 1 and 2 and pre-primary/kindy. Being a high school teacher, this was certainly going to be a new challenge for me!
Overall the little ones were pretty good. At first I had only 4 kids in the class, and an Aboriginal assistant, she was an ex-student and lovely. She communicates with the kids in their own language, as English is their second language. Now 4 does not seem like a lot of kids, but things change on an hourly basis. Kids leave, kids come back, two more trickled in to the class by the end of the hour, and then by the afternoon we combined with another class of Kindergarten kids to make about 12 kids in total, fortunately there were 3 teachers in there by then. Now it’s great to have lots of staff, because you need it. Everyone is exhausted. Including the kids!
Young children here are worlds away from the kids we see in the city. They are cute, with big brown eyes and blonde and brown unruly hair. Most have warts, nits and the occasional outbreak of scabies. Ear infections are rife, and even type 1 Diabetes prevalent in some of them. They get really up and close to you too! Attempting to nestle their weary heads on your shoulder, they are frequently sleep deprived. They seem to love hugs and want to sit on your lap and hang off your leg or touch all the shiny things adorning your neck or fingers. I wear a lot of colourful things, so I am quite the attraction right now. Their health condition is quite alarming, but the Teachers do their best to help them every day. It is incredible the work they do to support them, and so inspiring.
Every day the lower primary Teachers, brush their hair with conditioner, and often do nit treatments. Whatever we can see visibly, like scabies mostly, or alarming behaviours could indicate worms, we need to tell the Health clinic and the parents, encouraging them to look after their children. Kids come to school in their ‘home clothes’ and change into a school uniform, which is subsequently washed every week by the Teachers. As you can see, it is not all about teaching as a Teacher, but care and support, health and wellbeing seems to be more of a priority. Teaching still happens too though! And I am impressed with their learning abilities at times.
On my second night I was in bed by 830pm, exhausted. I went to a water aerobics class with the staff after school, which was great fun. By the time I had dinner and chatted to friends a little online, I was completely worn out. I managed to sleep until 4am, although throughout the night I could hear cars driving around outside, a lot. What the heck are they doing out there?? By 4am I had a message from one of my colleagues, someone was attempting to break in to one of the houses on the other side of town from me; where the fuel is stored. No surprise why they wanted to get in there!
The crazy thing is the police do not work a night shift here. Warburton is practically left to its own devices after day time working hours, can you believe that? Nothing seems to happen during the day, its too bloody hot for any malarky. I can not believe the cops don’t work over night here, this is when they are most needed, to keep things organised and keep the residents safe. Teachers, again, seem to be the ones waking in the night keeping an eye out for each other and alerting others to any dramas going on. Unbelievable!
So as I scratch my head this morning, hoping I have not got nits already, I wonder where the hell I have landed!? It certainly is a new experience and a whole new world out here.
Internet is also intermittent and hard to get, so I will do my best to post my blogs as frequent as possible!
Wish me luck! Any questions for me?
Anit from the bush xx