Friday, May 26, 2006

Work Life

I am enjoying my time working at the University of Melbourne. I have been averaging four days a week- three with the EDN and one doing random stuff for the Department of Economics. Last week I scanned working papers into PDF files, and yesterday I helped to proofread the annual report. I'm learning all sorts of economic terms like "econometrics" (my word of the week). The people in the department are all very nice, and one of the girls in the front office lives a couple streets down from me (we keep ending up on the same tram in the mornings). I also have a couple of friends who work at the University, so it's nice to pop in and see them from time to time.

The main thing I've been working on with the EDN is helping to coordinate an upcoming conference at the end of June. I've been booking flights, dealing with immigration, and coordinating venues, catering, accommodation, etc. There are about 45 people coming to this workshop from all over the world. I guess I am doing a good job because the head of the EDN has twice commented to me that he wishes I would stay on permanently. If only it was a full time position. I've probably got a few more weeks of working there, since they just got all the applications in to hire for my job. I have a feeling they will also want me around to help with the workshop since I've been dealing with all the participants.

On the teaching front, I didn't get a second interview with Caulfield Grammar, but I do have an interview next week with Alphington Primary School for a grade 4/5 opening. We'll see what happens. I'm still applying to schools, and also for a couple policy officer positions at the Department of Education and Training. I'd even love to work at the University if anything good comes up.

Update: As you can probably guess, I didn't get the job with Alphington Primary School. I sense that these Aussie schools are very hesitant to bring in someone from the "outside." The education system here is so decentralized I don't understand how they operate- where is the collaboration and sharing of ideas? Every single school creates their own curriculum. Why keep creating what already exists?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Peter's Birthday Dinner

On Thursday it was Peter's birthday, so tonight he organized a dinner with his friends. Rosemaree was nice enough to give me a lift to Kalorama. We met up at Peter and Mark's place, and then headed over to the Snooty Fox restaurant in Olinda. We got a table next to the fire, which was nice although a bit warm. Tanya was running late, and Peter joked that she better have a good excuse like being stuck in a ditch. A half hour after we arrived Fran spotted Tanya through the window waving both arms at us. Fran waved back at her. When she didn't enter the restaurant after a few minutes, we wondered where she had gone. Turns out she managed to get her car stuck in a ditch at the entrance to the restaurant parking lot! Peter, feeling a bit guilty for his previous comments, went outside to help. It took a while to get her car out (I guess the locals are used to this happening), and we were nearly finished with our dinners by the time they came back inside the restaurant. The food was pretty good. I had the chicken breast stuffed with spinach and feta cheese and vegetables. For dessert I had the orange creme brulee. It was a long night as the service was very slow, but I'd probably go back there to eat again. We said our goodbyes in the parking lot, and carefully headed for home. Jen and Fran kindly gave me a ride back to my place.

Friday, May 12, 2006

An Interview!

I was shocked on Thursday morning when I received a phone call from Caulfield Grammar School requesting an interview for their second grade opening. Caulfield Grammar is one of the elite private schools in the state. This morning I headed out to their Malvern campus and met with the principal. We had a really good chat for half an hour about a wide variety of topics, and she and I seem to have similar views on education policies. Hopefully I will get a second round interview next week, and maybe even offered the job. At this point I'm just happy to have gotten an interview.

Friday, May 05, 2006

MICF: Helen Thorn Is Arty Farty

Tonight I met up with Julie and headed back to the Comedy Festival to check out Helen Thorn's show "Arty Farty." Helen wrote the show and it involves her experiences in the arts throughout her life. It started with ballet in preschool, then jazz dance, her cello years in high school, university art life, and finally today as an arts worker. In between the monologues about each period of her life, she did characters that reflected the arty influences of that time. I thought Helen did a great job, and there were some funny stories from her childhood. The characters were over the top and fantastic. I was very proud of the effort she put in, and I hope this run of shows has gone well for her (tonight's performance was sold out).

After the show Julie and I headed over to The Westin for some food and conversation. I hadn't seen her since I got back from the States, so it was nice to catch up. Julie has been good about letting me know about any job listings for the private schools in The Age that don't get listed online, so I had to thank her in person for that. Once we finished eating we said goodbye and headed to our respective trams for the ride home.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tales of (Un)Employment

For some strange reason which I can't fully explain, trying to find a teaching job here in Australia has been nearly impossible. I mean, it's not like I'm unqualified for the position- I have been a classroom teacher for over four years and have a master's degree. I have applied to numerous schools over the past few months, and have gotten no response. I suspect I may be encountering some nationality issues, which I obviously can't control. Meanwhile, doing substitute teaching isn't paying the bills either, as work has been very erratic (a short first term and numerous holidays in the last few weeks). If I could get work every day I would be fine, but that hasn't been the case.

So what is a girl to do? I have given myself a July deadline to find full-time teaching work. If that doesn't happen, then I will be looking for a new career. In the meantime, thanks to my friend Fran I have gotten myself a part-time job at the University of Melbourne. I am working three days a week as an administrative assistant for the Economic Design Network (EDN) in the Department of Economics. The EDN is kind of an economic think tank with participating members from universities throughout the world. I am helping to maintain their website and organize conferences and workshops. I should be working there for the next 4 - 6 weeks, depending on when they hire a permanent person for the position (if the job was full time I would probably apply for it). Since I only work part-time it allows me to be available for substitute teaching jobs at the end of the week. And I continue to apply to schools in the hope that someone will snatch me up.
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