Getting ready for new students. After a lifetime of northern hemisphere education, I have to translate, to keep remembering that February is September, students arrive early late Sept /Feb with teaching getting started in Oct/Mar. After that I get too confused and have to turn easter into christmas which I suspect is sacrilegious. So the year has a completely different shape and rhythm here, starting the new year mid-summer, sloping down to winter in the middle then up again to the close of year. How powerful the seasons are as framing devices, a kind of clock deep in the psyche.  So I understand completely the year turning here, colours fading into browns, air cooling – I just can’t call it February, which is all about new beginnings, first shoots, late snows.

Inside the office of course, it’s just work, trying to get my head round new systems, particularly e-learning tools. I wil be running three distance subjects and teaching all 4 tutorials on one first year subject (subjects being the unit of study, making up a course). Looking forward to meeting young Australians – though I have two 8 am starts (yikes) so no idea what kind of shape either of us will be in at that hour.

The distance material is harder to understand – one subject is a brick of explication and instruction, the other a couple of pages of guidance. This is a different kind of teaching to me – hard to know what student expectations are but that will doubtless take shape in next few weeks. Inevitably there are new job anxieties but I know I can teach, even if I don’t know how to enter stuff in the right format on the interactive websites.

My big mission for myself is to learn the ropes, teach in a thoughtful and respectful way – within reasonable boundaries – and retain enough creativity, stamina and imagination to keep making progress on the Jung book. Attempts to write fiction and teach have failed miserably in the past, consigning whole novels to the slush pile before their time as al my energy was spent in the classroom (no complaints) or much worse, in front of the PC processing emails. I remind myself that was another country and another time (and cross my fingers that I have changed enough in the interim not to fall back into bad habits).

The other great solace when work builds up is just outside the School door: Australia.

Last weekend I drove to Jervis Bay, a six hour drive through magnificent NSW farmland, craggy rift mountains and lush Kangaroo Valley to the coast

http://www.jervisbaytourism.com.au/

and stayed at Kullindi homestead, a delightful cabin in a eucalyptus wood surrounded by cuckaburras, crimson rosellas and kangaroos who are all there because it’s their home. Cabin lodged in small complex between gum trees and the Sussex inlet, between the lake of St George’s Basin and the sea (it’s actually the South Pacific here!!) – – perfect peace, deep sleeps. Inside Booderee national park – only Australian national park run by Aboriginals whose clan  have lived on site for thousands of years. http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/booderee/

http://www.kullindihomestead.com.au/

Spent a couple of days trying out the different beaches round the bay, all soft white sand, woodland to the beach, turquoise water – so beautiful I kept laughing. This is on my doorstep, just about. Plan to go again – soon.

Pix prove the point I think….. (tho something has gone funny in uploading – will post like this and try and edit later)

[slideshow]

Advertisements