A GIANT decision

Well, yesterday I took a huge step and submitted my resignation to my current employer of the past 27 years.

The main reason for the decision at this time is that they wanted us to move to Melbourne from next year. While we quite like Melbourne, we’re settled here. And have a life here etc.

So yesterday I submitted the paperwork and as of January 2022 I will be leaving. This gives me time to finish up my current position before I go.

And so from January 2022 I will be a full-time casual Primary Teacher. Hopefully I can get something steady, like a class contract for a term or year. And I will get good experience and look towards a permanent position.

Onwards to the new life….

Teaching – My first steps.

I realised that I posted the entry about ordering a new laptop, but hadn’t actually mentioned that I have started teaching on a part time basis. So here is the set up.

About 5 weeks ago, I realised that with this being the last term, and with only about 8 weeks left, that if I took 1 day off per week it would only use 8 days of leave. Now I have a bit stored up with all of the COVID effects this year, so that wouldn’t be a big loss.

I ran the idea past my boss who supported it. I have kept them informed of my ongoing plans to leave so it isn’t a surprise and I am certain that helped getting their support.

Then, apart from the usual bureaucracy that needed to be completed, I started putting my name forward to local schools.

And was immediately taking bookings and turning them down. Many asked me to teach on days I had said that I was not available. Going by the requests, there are a lot of days available as a casual teacher. I could almost have worked full time from pretty much the moment I introduced myself. Amazing.

So far I have worked at two great schools, across a range of classes. Even now, only 5 weeks in, I am seeing a lot of different classes and situations. A large part of my work so far has been just taking a class for a couple of periods with work set for them. This is the easy end. But I’ve done one full day on a class (without planned work) and even been in the situation that I’m sitting in front of the class as the bell rings to start school, creating their task as I’m speaking!

Behaviour management is the most obvious thing to create stress, especially as a casual. There is no chance to build the relationship that the class teachers use to manage. Equally, you don’t know if any of the kids have current issues (autism, language problems, partly deaf….), or even what the dynamics within the class are (X hates Y. D and C are always talking if you sit them together).

I am struggling with it, but not to the point where work isn’t getting done (or rather, lessons are still being taught and reaching the majority of the class). And I am experimenting with different things.

Overall, I am happy with my long term plan and the choice I have made. I am torn between wanting my own class (build relationships, watch the kids develop, create really interesting plans…) and being able to walk away from a class at 3pm and not worry about reporting, discipline, organising resources etc!

At the moment the casual suits. And my boss has made positive noises for letting me do something similar next year, for the entire year.

Now I need to work on making myself available for blocks of days…… “Hey boss! Would it be okay…..”

My first laptop… almost

One of the first things I’ve discovered in my few casual teaching days is that some schools, the teacher brings their own (school issued?) laptop to the class, but this also means that when they aren’t on class, they may have the laptop with them. This means that I can be in a class and have no IT. This is certainly something that can be worked around, but isn’t ideal.

This was the last push that got me thinking about finally upgrading the iPad Pro 9.7 I’ve been using for the last 3 years or so. I would have preferred to stay on Apple, but until Apple has a touch screen, pen enabled, convertible (perhaps?) laptop (oh, they do, it’s called an iPad), then I think they miss out. The other factor is that NSW Public Primary schools are currently all Windows based. And of course, since they are super interesting, I’ve decided to buy a Surface Pro. So it’s almost getting a laptop that is still really a tablet?

Now it has been some time since I’ve had a laptop. And yes, I consider the Surface basically a laptop as it runs a full desktop OS, unlike Android or iPadOS. My first laptop was an Apple Powerbook 145B in 1993. Then we had some mid range Dell in about 2004, which we ended up giving to a friend in about 2005. Then nothing since the iPad in 2010.

It’s probably not quite the right time as I suspect sometime in the next 4-6 months they will announce an upgrade to the current Pro 7, but I might need this as early as next week, so I needed to do something.

I had seen them about 2 months ago at an amazing 20% off. But at that stage I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do (and I hadn’t had my first teaching day back then). So when I did decide, they could only go to 10% off and not off the accessories. I also found that the Microsoft website does 10% off everything for educators and students. But the Black Friday sales were only a couple of weeks away. I decided to wait.

Black Friday sales opened on Wednesday and both the retailers and MS were doing 20% off, with MS still doing the 10% off the accessories and throwing in a sleeve as well. I ordered off MS.

I had settled on the i5 8GB RAM and 256GB HDD version. It was more than I wanted to pay to get the i7 version, and even doubling the RAM was a little more than I was happy to spend, especially when you add about $500 of accessories (type cover, pen, mouse). I knew the i5 would be fine for my use, HDD space can be expanded with USB and cloud storage. And I’m fairly certain the i5 and i7 have the same onboard graphics. However the sales meant I could get an i7 16GB RAM with 256GB HDD for less than the original i5 price. Plus the accessories came down to just over $400 and a free zip up sleeve to carry it all in.

So order placed.

Shipping details arrive…. accessories scheduled for this Friday. Awesome. Surface itself, Monday.

Argh! Frustrating.

DHL let me delay the first deliveries, so I’ll stay home Monday and everything is scheduled for then.


It’s amusing to note that I suspect it will be a more powerful gaming rig than my desktop, which is a 10 year old 1st gen i7 (i7 850).