It's been a long time in between blog posts! World Language and Literature Week, Virtual Author visits, a bout of illness and end of year school craziness have gotten in the way. But thankfully now we're on holidays there's more time to write, reflect and relax!
In terms of reflection, I wanted to share my favourite books for 2020. They are all by Australian authors and illustrators and I'm really proud of the fact that each one of them are absolute standouts in their respective literary genres and have already won numerous awards. I've reviewed some here under Book Reviews and now that time permits, will get around to reviewing the rest.
I really think our Aussie authors and illustrators are much undervalued and overlooked in favour of American and/or British writers by a lot of international school libraries and I hope that you will look at these and add them to your #musthaves list for 2021.
I haven't written in my blog for a few weeks because life has been pretty hectic at work, which means I haven't had much time to write either. BUT now we're on holiday for a week and the words have started to flow again! Have been rewriting and trying to fine tune old stories, writing new ones, entering some competitions and loving being back by the ocean again. We're on the main island of Con Son which is part of the Con Dao archipelago of 16 islands off the southern coast of Vietnam. The flight in over this ancient volcanic group was stunning, and you could see the white sandy beaches and lush tropical forests, and imagine yourself on one of the deserted beaches just letting the world go by. . .
The ocean wildlife in the archipelago is amazing with turtles, dugongs, corals and the land creatures are fantastic too with black squirrels, monkeys, birds and colourful lizards who make the most curious (and very loud!) cry that sounds like 'tuk ah'.
Vietnam has some truly beautiful places and this is definitely one of them.
I really do love my job! Last week we had a professional photographer do a photo shoot for our school and I was thrilled with the way he captured both the Early Years and Whole School libraries and our students. The students had so much fun showing off our wonderful spaces and beautiful books. They are such a great bunch of young people at my school and make my job as a teacher librarian so inspirational and so much fun.
Sometimes it's hard to 'just keep swimming' like Dory did. Wandering around the apartment feeling sorry for myself, with my head full of ideas that just won't seem to un-jumble themselves, life feels like it's not moving forward. That it's stuck. That I'm stuck. I'm a writer who's never been published. Some critiques have been amazing and made me feel that contract is sooo close, while others have truly sucked and made me want to crawl under the bed covers and never come out again! Looking out my apartment window here in Vietnam, reminds me just how fortunate I am and that I need to stop and smell the frangipanis! It doesn't matter that I'm not published. It doesn't matter that some like my stories while others don't. The thing that matters is that I write. So that's what I did just now. I wrote. And it helped me to not be stuck anymore.
Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever have 'black cloud days'? What do you do to become 'unstuck'?
You can read today's thoughts, aptly titled 'Stuck', by following this LINK.
Great article on the importance of play, music, art and relationships in the brain development of young children.
In both my native Australia and here in Vietnam, remote/online/flexible learning is/was the norm for teachers and their students. When it all started it was a bit of a 'trial and error' time but as closures stretched from weeks to months, online learning became an essential and integral part to teaching and learning. Now that it's been happening for a while, we've been able to take a look at the impact this has had mentally on everyone. Although there are no validated empirical studies out just yet, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence around to suggest not only the need for balance in terms of screen time, but the critical importance of face to face human contact. This TED Tech article sums it all up. Even though it's aimed at adult workplaces, it easily correlates to students, teachers and educational environments.
Zoom Fatigue Is Real - here's why video calls are so draining by Libby Sander & Oliver Baumen.
May 19, 2020 in IDEAS.TED.COM - Tech.
Although I can't get home right now because of COVID-19, I'm in a beautiful place by the ocean, on holiday, and safe, which is definitely something to be thankful for. I love the ocean. Our home in Australia is a 5 minute walk from two stunning beaches and we can hear the waves as we go to sleep at night. So being able to relax looking out over the turquoise waters of Ninh Van Bay, with a light sea breeze cooling me as a write, is a pretty good alternative! And the setting is definitely inspirational. Having to do a 'staycation' in Vietnam has it's perks! So I've been writing like crazy in between ocean swims and have added a new poem to my poetry page. Not one about calm, gentle seas rather the opposite. It's about the storms that gather out to sea on my beaches back home. You can read it here.