Mini Pretzels, Frozen and Jet Lag

Wow! The past 30+ hours have been a whirlwind of popping ears, checking baggage, obeying flight attendants, stomaching airplane food, anticipating everything, conversing with strangers, and observing all the scenery. As I write this we’re sitting in the Sydney International airport awaiting the last leg of our initial travels to Canberra. [Can-bur-ah] Things I am thankful for this far: pleasant seat neighbors, national and international security, my dad’s travel neck pillow, water, movies, Kleenex and mostly my parents, brothers and friends support.

With this long of travel I’ve had quite a long time to think through things of this trip. Every time I feel anxiety about the next 5 weeks creep up I have to hush them with my patient pants and a healthy sense of adventure.

Before I left GR, one of my students handed me a note that said –Miss Mouch, DO NOT open until you’re on the plane-. With all of the excitement I forgot that I’d tucked it away until almost the end of the flight! With a new excitement I read her warm words of encouragement and, man, you couldn’t wipe away my smile with a Clorox wipe if you tried. I’m sure going to miss the lil’ 3rd graders and my extremely talented cooperating teacher. On to new adventures though.

On the first flight I sat next to a principal, and a superintendent from Michigan. On the second plan ride I sat next to a Behavior Management Specialist and Special Education Director from Georgia. All four were so kind and so interested in our experience. What a small world of educators! When they say networking is everywhere, they meant it…even 30,000 feet in the air.

23 hours is a long time to be in the air. Luckily they were stocked with plenty of movies, turned down the lights and kept the mini pretzels coming. I even got to see the movie Frozen, FINALLY!, and Monsters U, again… Yes, I’m a child 🙂 But oh, what a joy it was to see the white virtual airplane finish crossing the Pacific Ocean and go from 17 hours to just minutes.

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As we sit for our last flight I’m, almost literally, itching for a shower and excited to see where we’ll call home for the next few weeks. I know everyone is tired, and a bit craby, but were in AUSTRALIA!! Let me repeat that if it didn’t quite sink in the first time. We are in AUSTRALIA! 😀 One thing on my ‘To Do in My Lifetime’ list, check. 🙂

The Australia domestic flight was a tiny plane and was barley an ascent than descent, but they still made time for a snack. 😉

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Just the atmosphere here is different; light, happy, warm (no snow!) and filled with neat accents!!

More on the ‘Aussie atmosphere’ soon! 🙂

#koalafiedtoteach

Welcome friends to my abroad teaching blog!!

I’m an ambitious student teacher studying for my Elementary Ed Degree from Central Michigan University and about to embark upon the journey of a lifetime finishing up my Student Teaching Experience in Canberra, Australia.

When I was first given the assignment to journal my Australia Student Teaching Experience I knew right away that I wanted to go digital and blog my way through the adventure  of teaching in a foreign land. But the whole idea of writing down my travels for the sake of a grade seemed, like a dead end. I wanted to find a way for this blog to have a future, for it to make an impact and for my experience to continue long after I return to the states.

So that was great, but I had no idea what that’d mean or what direction I wanted to run with it. My answer came on March 3rd at the West Michigan Student Teaching Fire Up Conference held at Grand Valley State University . The number of sessions offered was overwhelming!! There were so many that I wanted to go to, but by the time session #5 rolled around I seriously debated ducking out early, heading to a coffee shop and putting all the new knowledge into use while lesson planning for my precious kiddos at my current 3rd grade placement. The reason I stuck around though was a session that caught my eye when I first looked at the schedule entitled, ” Using a Teacher Blog to do Awesome Stuff (Including Getting a Job)”.  Honestly, that’s what kept me there…and I’m too much of a rule follower to actually skip out early from a professional conference. But I’m so glad I did!! Dave Stuart Jr., author of Teaching The Core presented a simplistic approach to writing an impactful blog. He encouraged potential bloggers to set two types of goals; easily attainable goals and dreaming big goals. My elementary wired, creative brain danced with ideas and possibilities. I had the pleasure of speaking briefly with Dave after the presentation and was further inspired, and recommitted to the blog I was once not excited about.

So here we are, a blog about teaching in Australia. Sure I hope it serves as a delayed but on-going conversation between me and all of you, but I also hope it reaches to heights further than that.

In the first portion of my placement I was super blessed by 24 little 3rd grade. These nuggets provide me with relentless joy, ab-crunching humor, brutal honesty, constant challenges and unending opportunities to grow. They stole my heart from the day I walked in room 401 and I’m starting to believe I won’t get it back any time soon. These kids are some stellar students. 🙂 Unfortunately some of them have never had the opportunity to travel 20 minutes to Downtown Grand Rapids or 40 minutes to see Lake Michigan. Sadly, that means they probably will never be able to travel the world to see other states let alone other countries.

So that’s where my dream for them comes into play. I wish to cater my travels to the needs and curiosity of my students, while of course learning a TON myself, so that they can enjoy, grow from and learn with me abroad.  Starting with my 3rd Graders in Grand Rapids traveling second handedly with me to Canberra, Australia.

‘Pack your brains’ cause we’re making a trip to the Down Under!!

Teaching students among Koalas