Third night in Australia and wide awake at 2 am, a great time to start my blog.
The journey to Sydney was surprisingly pleasant as I found myself sat next to Head teacher of Brixton School Evelyn Grace Academy, Devon Hason, he was on his way to China for a head teacher conference about 21st century education. We discussed our various projects and went our separate ways at Hong Kong. I am chuffed because I have an invitation to visit his school and observe the success of Mandarin being taught to Urban students in South London, another blog in the making….
Arriving in Sydney is a blur, I always find landing in a country at night particularly disorientating. When I wake up very very early morning, it is a joy to see sunshine in November. In an attempt to paper over my jet lagged complexion I head straight to Central to the outdoor pool to soak up some rays. After hours lying and lolling around I decided to explore the harbour, jump on a subway and head to the Botanical Gardens and Sydney Opera House for sunset. After clocking up a 10 mile tourist stomp around the city I feel guaranteed to sleep.
And so the project begins, a flight to Melbourne. I’m looking forward to being in Melbourne as I notice Australians speak of it in the same way people speak of my home city Brighton; “cool”, “alternative”. I spend the afternoon gathering contacts and off to bed ready for my first day in the Melbourne ACER office tomorrow.
Met with a very warm greeting by everyone I encounter in office, I feel sure this is going to be a productive trip. Pitched up next to Kelly in the office I soon realise that her knowledge and efficiency means she is literally worth her weight in gold! I am fast orientated and by lunchtime I have three school visits to schools in Victoria planned into my schedule.
Noel and I discuss the scheduled webinar for the afternoon, it’s clear we have the same values and principles on the business of behaviour management, I am excited in anticipation of my first experience of an Australian Pivotal deliverer; same message different accent. However, as can be the fickle nature of technology; Noel cant sign in and instead I am on, delivering the webinar. We receive great feedback and more opportunities arise.
The combination of post webinar delivery adrenaline and jet lag hit me like a high speed Melbourne tram (the equivalent of 8 Rhinos I’m told). To arrive home to find the newly elected president Trump on every channel and social media Armageddon on all of my devices meant the only thing I could do to remedy this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach was take to my bed!
9 hours later I bounce out of bed, and join the super fit men and woman of Camberwell in a morning jog, it’s good to feel human again. Just in time for my first school visit to Glengala Primary School. Matthew and I embark on an entertaining road trip and I realise I am in the company of another like minded ACER member with the same ethos about education and young people. We arrive and it immediately feels good, hanging with my people; teachers. Sam, Kris and ‘the other Sam’ are clearly committed to the supporting their teachers and young people through positive change. We talk, we plan, we laugh and I know that Sam is going to be an outstanding Pivotal Instructor for her school.
In the evening it strikes me that my schedule has very little opportunity for exploring the city. So with the help of Matthew’s journey planner, I head straight to St Kilda beach still donning my suit and heels to catch a beautiful sunset that seems to be the perfect closure analogous on a perfect day.
An early start to the next day and I head out with my co driver Matthew again, this time in the direction of ‘The Bush’. We arrive at Croydon Primary School and we are met at reception by the extremely friendly Amanda. We talk about the great things that are going on in the school, in particular the ethnic diversity celebrated amongst the students and the school’s progressive approach of teaching literacy through Art. Amanda kindly takes on a tour of the school. Both Matthew and I are struck by the calm atmosphere and smilie faces of adults and children in the school. I am extremely grateful to Amanda for allowing us to experience this. Another interesting and fun school visit.
After that it’s back to the office to collect the a few more resources for the first Pivotal Instructor training taking place after the weekend. I head to Sydney for the weekend and eventually arrive in Terrigal Crowne Plaza on the Sunday. I have been in Australia for one week and at last I am setting up a training room ready for delivering the Pivotal Curriculum in, the next day. As I rest by the lovely outdoor pool the excitement and anticipation builds; who will attend? What will they bring? Will they love it as much as my Instructors in the UK?