May Discoveries

It’s been cold here where I’m living, and it’s been reminding me of my time living in Germany. Memories of crisp, blue skies but by the end of a 30 minute walk, your ears were burning, fingers frozen and a nose frozen solid that you would fear it snapping and falling off at any point.

It’s the time of the season where the wool socks are coming out, the hoodies are being dusted off and blankets are at the height of their popularity. It’s hopping in the car about to drive to work and discovering a thin layer of frost had made it’s home on my windshield. So on goes the heating at full blast for a few minutes, pull out the ice scraper to scrape away the ice.

So with the colder weather setting in, I’ve been discovering new things. I’ve jotted them below, because I wanted to share them with you. So join me on this month’s discovery?


Lake Seppings (Tjuirtgellong)

This 2.7km fresh water lake is known to be an excellent bird watching spot in the Great Southern area of Western Australia. The local Indigenous people, the Manang Noongar, call this are Tjuirtgellong (which means “The Place of the Long-Necked Turtle”).

I discovered this the other day when I needed to go for a walk and get out of the house after a rough week at work. On a beautiful day, it is a pleasant place to do a complete walk around (which took me about 45 minutes).

Bletchley Circle: San Francisco

I first discovered Bletchley Circle last year, and I was attracted to the strong female characters, the use of decrypting codes and determination. The title references the codebreakers trained at Bletchley Park, and who were instrumental in the WWII war efforts in the UK – and yes, there is tension between how accurate historical fiction should be – but the show has been an interesting perspective on

Bletchley Circle: San Francisco has been a spin off that has paid tribute to the original – it retains that determined, spirited, strong characters determined to solve mysteries and right injustices – but it has it’s own flavour which is makes it more than just a spin-off.

Kate Miller-Heidke’s “Zero Gravity”, Eurovision 2019

Eurovision – a week long of camp, glitter, over-the-top, political infused songs as countries compete to win a music competition – is something I quietly enjoy. Australia has had a long history of loving Eurovision, and in the past 3 years managed to be qualified to take part.

Eurovision has had a long history of political messages within their songs; not surprising as it started post-WW2 as a soft-political move to encourage unity within a fractured Europe. As someone who has been (a little bit) interested in politics, Eurovision is a fascinating machine for me. Even if you are not interested in the political side of Eurovision, and would rather watch it for the music (and that’s okay), there’s no hiding the fact that Eurovision can bring a bit of hope and unity through music.

This year’s entry – for Australia – is Kate Miller-Heidke, who has had classical Opera training, released several pop albums and was recently one of the creative force’s behind “Muriel’s Wedding; The Wedding”. Miller-Heidke wrote her entry around her experience of post-natal depression and the feeling of “weightlessness” following the birth of son, Ernie. You can see Kate Miller-Heidke’s performance of “Zero Gravity” in this year’s Eurovision Grand Final below.

“Story of My Life: How Narrative Creates Personality” by Julie Beck, The Atlantic.

I’ve been teaching my English students about narrative devices and themes. As such, the role of narrative has been in the back of my mind. As a writer, I tell stories and narratives are an important part of telling stories with a beginning, middle and end. Yet can we apply narrative to life stories when life doesn’t play in the three-act narrative structure we are all familiar with?

This month’s reading discovery was Julie Beck’s article in The Atlantic, on how narrative creates personality as well as the process of story construction. It’s a fascinating read, I’ll leave you with a snippet from the article:

So narrative seems like an incongruous framing method for life’s chaos, until you remember where stories came from in the first place. Ultimately, the only material we’ve ever had to make stories out of is our own imagination, and life itself.

Storytelling, then—fictional or nonfictional, realistic or embellished with dragons—is a way of making sense of the world around us.

Julie Beck, Story of My Life: How Narrative Creates Personality, published in The Atlantic, August 10, 2015.

What have you discovered this month? Let me know in the comments below.

Yours,

Sophia
xx

liebeheart-teaching-narrative

Stories and identities

Narratives. They are what defines where you’ve come from and where you want to go.

It is a central part of your identity. Each story that is told by others to you shapes your narrative little by little as you make meaning of their story.

Stories are how you navigate the many paths to get where you are now. They are how you connect with people who might have taken a similar path or those who simply want to understand you.

Stories are what makes teachers who they are. Get a teacher to tell you a story of a class they taught, then you glimpse a summary of who they are.

Stories will tell you the hopes, fears and beliefs of the storyteller. We make meaning out of life through stories.

One of my uni tasks this week was to reflect on our own teacher’s identity, our own narrative. Sitting in a classroom, with people whose narrative seem to have been created quite easily, I felt myself asking – “What is my story? What’s my teacher’s identity?”

When my professional identities include a communications professional, a journalist by training, and an economist.

How do you melt these professional identities into a teacher’s identity?

I find myself asking myself in dark moments: “Can I call myself an economics teacher? A media teacher? A teacher?”

But this morning, I had a realisation.

Yes. Yes, I can call myself a teacher.

Because I’ve always been a teacher. It’s always been hidden in my personal narrative.

I remember being young, sitting next to mum as she was marking assignments and essays. Being allowed to spellcheck her PhD drafts as a child. Making my scribble marks in red pen as a toddler on mum and dad’s postgraduate work. (Unconsciously marking their work perhaps?)

I remember being 13 and teaching my baby sister how to say words. I remember helping her with her homework during primary school.

I remember teaching media relation workshops during university.

So I can say I’m a teacher because I’ve always been one.

What my teacher’s identity is, what my narrative is, is something I’m discovering more and more as I embark on my DipEd.

I don’t have a fully formed “this is my narrative” yet, and I don’t know (yet) what it encapsulates but I do know this:

I am an economics and a media teacher. I am a teacher because I want to teach kids something I’m passionate in. I am a teacher because I always want to encourage learning in our kids.

Yours,
Sophia x

(Feature Image taken by Steven Chew Photography.)