Mangoes World

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Feeling lucky to make it into Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus for Social Media Marketing.

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To read a full copy of the articleCommBank Women in Focus – Social Media Marketing

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Becoming a Social Media Marketing Lecturer

I would like to formally announce my appointment as a Social Media Marketing Lecturer.

It is one of the biggest achievements of my career and I am very excited to be given this opportunity to lecture in Social Media Marketing for Fashion students. I am busily trying to develop my curriculum and course structure before the classes officially beginning at the end of July. I will be looking into creating and developing content on Social Networks, audience behaviour and marketing.

I am also looking for any small fashion companies that would like to be featured in my classes, as I have a strong Educational Philosophy of learning by example. Please contact me if you have a fantastic Case Study.

Hopefully I will be able to have time to create more blog posts, as I have a few up my sleeve. So please stay tuned.

~Mango
“Education is the forefront of change.” 

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7 Ways Teachers Use Social Media in the Classroom

http://mashable.com/2013/08/18/social-media-teachers/


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It just doesn’t add up..

Growing up I was just a regular kid, I went to a normal government Primary School in an affluent area of Melbourne. I wasn’t stupid, my grades were often high and I had social awareness like no other. Although I hated reading in my own time, I enjoyed the sociability of a classroom novel. My inference of textual concepts outweighed many others in my classes. I loved English and was a natural writer. I just got it. I never studied hard, but my capacity to retain knowledge with a literacy base was high. Then there was History, I could spend hours fantasizing and delving into theories of strategies and warfare. Ancient Monarchies and Democracies fascinated me the most. And let’s not forget the brutality of wartime attrition.

tumblr_m741mtVAF81r8wlu5o1_500 (1)As a natural learner with a high thirst for knowledge, a teaching career was an obvious choice. I went to University and studied a variety of subjects based around Dramatic and Historical Theory. And this left with me with the ability to teach a combination of secondary school subjects based around English, Drama, Humanities and Technology. But there was something in this pattern of literature that differentiated me from the ‘normal graduate’.

I remember my first day in the classroom with a bunch of rowdy year 10 students. I sat them down and I told them a few things about myself. The topics of wish I would regurgitate continuously for the next six years as a teacher. It was here that I would learn of my abilities or lack of ability. Having been in this head for the last 21 years, I was fairly certain of my weaknesses as a teacher. I knew I had to admit something that would break the facade that ‘all teachers know everything’. It was here with my American History students, that I admitted that I was possibly the worst Math student in the whole wide world. My preamble over the next few years would include, “I am probably going to stuff up the calculations of your test results. Please check them. If I have given you less, come and tell me. If you have got more then you should… Keep it to yourself.”

zfpnp002_1_1Throughout my entire schooling I stressed about Mathematics. It was not something I could conceptualize. As hard as I tried, I could never learn my timetables. Fractions were off the scale and do not even get me started with long division. I had become so confused with the whole division thing that I just gave up entirely. I struggled to read the time, as I couldn’t understand the divisions of a 60 minute time frame. Learning telephone numbers were as simple as writing it down at least 100 times with some sort of vocal pattern to help with the memory absorption.

As I reached High School, I was relieved to be allowed to use a calculator. But I still managed to cut from the back of the exercise book the timetables square. I used to sticky tape it into my calculator so my friends wouldn’t see how heavily I relied on it. As I was not intellectually low, I never came across the radar as a student that would struggle or needed extra help. So I was just expected to carry on like the rest of the kids in the class.

My hatred for Mathematics only increased, as I learnt which teachers I could push and which I couldn’t, I would spend more time daydreaming out the window that struggling to try and understand something that I would forget about as soon as I go home. To my credit, I made it to year 11 General Mathematics. Retrospectively I should have never bothered, because I failed it anyway. The reason being – I didn’t copy enough out of Ernie’s book. Giving up Mathematics was the best decision I ever made. For the first time in my life, I could actually focus on literature based subjects that I could understand.

BEST BUY

As I moved into the working world, I was scared of the cash register. I had enough trouble trying to give the person at the register the right amount of money when I was paying. I couldn’t comprehend let alone collecting money and then adding it up for banking. By my Third Year in University, I was managing a retail store. I used to count each denomination twice and by number of coins, which I would simply multiple the number by the value at the coin at the conclusion of the counting. My theory was that if I got the same number twice I was right the first time, if not I would have to count it again until I hit two identical numbers. Although seemingly faultless, I still managed to stuff it up more often than not.

I knew that in a classroom, I would be outed. As growing up all the emphasis is places on the subjects which have Mathematical or Scientific foundations. And that the Literature based subjects were scaled down to compensate for them “being easier”. In other words, if you couldn’t calculate then typically you were seen as stupid. I knew I wasn’t. But I also knew that I had to hide my inability to formulate simplistic equations from others for fear of judgement.

As I got older, and the more often I would muck up test scores and calculations at the supermarket, I began to accept my affliction. I would just avoid any adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing if possible. The only thing I couldn’t avoid was banking. I knew I had to do this myself and I seriously do not have enough fingers and toes to represent the number of times I have paid things into the wrong accounts, underpaid or overpaid my Health Insurance by six months.

9336561Most notability was when I was writing on the board in classes. I would often forget a number in a sequence, say 1-20. The students on the other hand used to think it was hilarious. I would get the “Misssss, you did it again.” And then still have no understanding of the mistake that I had made. I was scared that one day they would ask me to take year 7 Math and they wouldn’t understand that I possibly physically couldn’t.

So about two months ago, I was sitting at my desk. It was the time of the month when rent was due. I went into my online banking and swiftly paid my rent. The money was gone from my account and I was back to work. Approximately three days later I got a phone call from the Real Estate Agent. The money had never made it. Checking my bank account I had realised that I had transferred the rent amount onto my credit card. URGH! Fortunately I was able to sort it out and have set up direct debit to stop this from happening again.

Frustrated and annoyed at myself for being such an idiot and making a stupid mistake all the time. I took to the internet and Googled ‘inability to calculate the simplest of sums’. Startled by my find, I was able to read a large enough number of sources to establish that in fact I was DSYCALCULIC.

numbers_game_dotsDyscalculia is the basic inability to calculate and manipulate simplistic equations. As it is still largely unknown and under diagnosed sufferers and educators are left in the Mathematical dark. Most interestingly is that is it referred to as a ‘learning disability’, something that I would have never had thought that I would have had.

Dyscalculia is under diagnosed because me and alike many sufferers do not present to be intellectually low in any other area. As an Educator, I would assess children on the basis of vocabulary and knowledge, inference and conceptualisation, as well as analytical and expressive responses and finally on the very basic level – motor skills- handwriting. In English, it is easy to connect with students that identify with a decrease in ability to understand the concepts presented. But in Mathematics it is really so varied and inconsistent that most teacher’s would look for academic dips in other subject areas in order to assess a student’s intelligence.

cat-dyscalculiaThe most interesting article I have found on Dyscalculia, and perhaps that one that hit home the most was one about an Emeritus Professor by the name of Brian Butterworth, who is a Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology in the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University College in London. As an educated and highly intellectual man, you would not consider him to demonstrate symptoms that would define him as having a ‘learning disability‘. Professor Butterworth is a dyscalculia sufferer. So much so that “…he hasn’t changed his phone number or PIN in years for fear that he would never remember new ones, and when working for Britain’s Ministry of Defence he put subordinates in charge of remembering safe codes.”(1)

I was astonished that I had finally found an explanation for being absolutely hopeless with calculations and why I had given up on numbers long ago. On the whole it actually helped to explain a lot for me. And for the first time in years, I had actually felt at ease with being so ridiculously silly with numbers.

The first call was to my Math teacher/ Math genius of a girlfriend who worked alongside me in various roles at school. Previously we had shared role of responsibility and we had divided the tasks up by Math/English. She had control of all of the budgets and I would do the writing and creation of documents etc. We laughed and confirmed what I had always known.

numbers_game_numbersI guess the biggest issue I had with understanding Dyscalculia, was that I had just wished that a teacher had told me long ago, to just give up on Math and to focus on English. It would have saved all the anxiety in Primary School about competing in Math competitions. And I would have saved myself from the disappointment of test results and probably not have worried about what my peers thought about me when I could only obtain 50% mercy marks for tests.

The irony here is the girls that used to give me the most heat for not being Mathematically inclined, did not beat my Year 12 ENTER score. The closest was at least 6 marks behind me. And this whole time had been bullying me to believe that I was actually unintelligent because I didn’t know my timetables.

Fred01-Diana-Zivkovic-infographic-gardner-9-multiple-intelligenc

What I have learnt from this ordeal is that I am frustrated with the Education System reflecting that students, who are not good at Math and Sciences, are indeed the lesser of the intelligences. This is not in line with Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and it does not represent the natural society outside of the classroom.

As adults, we know that intelligence is not the ability to add up equations but to be an expert in your own field. I guess I just feel sorry for those children out there who will suffer the same fate as me with the under diagnosed and misunderstood ‘intellectual disability‘ of Dyscalculia.

~Mango
“Calculate the possible and forget the rest.”

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References: 

1). Dyscalculia: Number games. Brian Butterworth is on a crusade to understand the number deficit called dyscalculia — and to help those who have it. http://www.nature.com/news/dyscalculia-number-games-1.12153 (At the bottom of this article is several more resources, including the texts written by Professor Brian Butterworth himself.)

2). What is Dsycalculia? http://www.dsf.net.au/LearningDisabilities/WhatisDyscalculia/tabid/139/language/en-AU/Default.aspx

3).  The National Centre for Learning Disabilities. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVf_OHK2hHQ

4). About Dsycalculia. http://www.aboutdyscalculia.org/symptoms.html

5). Dyscalculia, Dyslexia and Maths. http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/about-dyslexia/schools-colleges-and-universities/dyscalculia.html


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Teaching and learning and striking and living.

Today was the Australian Education Union’s second strike for 2012. It was fantastic to see so many teachers, ES staff and Principals at the rally. We reached numbers of 15,000 or so.

Walking up the road in my red union shirt, we merged with 1000s of teachers who have given up a day’s pay to be apart of the strike. Immediately we notice that we are some of the young ones as most of the teaching profession is mature aged workers, and of those teachers the majority were women. (The aging population of teachers is something the industry is going to suffer with if graduates are not staying in the job.)

I kept thinking as I walked towards the gates of Rod Laver Arena, that I had a pile of marking on my bench that I could be getting done. But that was a thought for tomorrow, when I spent my free periods on IT work that I used to get three days for.

The truth about teaching is that we do get 12 weeks of holidays per year. But that doesn’t mean that those holidays aren’t without sacrifice. During the reporting period I work about 38 hours over my weekends trying desperately to get my reports done. Currently I teach 6 classes of 25 students, that’s something like a total of 150 students and 150 individualized reports. We do this twice a year.

Then there is the exam writing, marking and reporting. Another tedious process that could easily take up another week of our time, and this does not even include the amount of correction during the year. I have currently five English classes and they all can be writing essays at the same time. It is a nightmare.

So yes we do get holidays, but I would argue that we have already worked them before we physically get them. So the flimsy idea that they are ‘holidays’ and that we do not deserve them is ridiculous.

It also frustrates me intensely when people tell us that we only work from 9-3pm. This is again ridiculous. Over the past year I have worked more 12hour days than I have in my life. Leaving school at 8pm. On normal days I am not normally out before 5pm and I am not even a student manager.

I am also frustrated when people say that we are not professionals. Or are not seen as a professional workforce. To this I reply; we work in academia. We are academics and we a more educated than most of the population. Conversely I am always sitting next to someone with a PHD, a Masters or a Graduate Diploma. About 90% of us have more than one degree and yet we are not ‘seen’ as  professional.

I do agree that we do not live in the ‘real world’. But in saying that ,we also do not get to have ‘real world’ dinner parties, luncheons and events. We are constricted by bells and structured by timetables. On holidays I barely know when it is time to go to the toilet or eat.

As I bring you back to today’s rally, where in the seats in front of me sat a lady doing English correction, whilst Mary Bluett rambles on in the background. She sits there marking essays and not getting paid for it. Not a cent. If that is not commitment to students and the teaching profession then I don’t know what is?

I congratulate all my comrades for turning up in red today to show their support for not just better pay but improvements in working conditions. The reality is that if the Victorian Education System does not meet the conditions in NSW we will loose 1000s of qualified teachers.

More than pay, we want funding. Currently Private Education is funded more significantly than Public Education and you can see that when you walk around the buildings of my school. But at over $20,000 a year in school fees, unless I marry rich, Private Education will not be an option for my future children. So therefore we must invest in Public Education.

Come on Ted. It’s time to pay up.


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The life of a teacher..

Each and every job, has it’s PRO’s and CON’s.. but what is it that makes teaching one of the most mentally draining careers?

The only time that a teacher will ever say that they love their job, is when they are sitting on the beaches of Hawaii and basking in the sun. This time of the year would be the holidays. The holidays are the time when teachers and students get to live life to its fullest. It is also the time of extreme frustration for parents, when having their kids for the six hours a day is too much.

What is the role of teacher? What do we aim to achieve? The answers to such questions I have pondered many times whilst staring at myself in the mirror at 6am before school. I am pretty sure the job description at a basic level is to ‘educate the future’. But it is never quite that simple. A teacher is a jack of all trades, or as Megan Gale once referred to it “as the ultimate slashie”. She is paying a tribute to the vast variety of job descriptions that she is able to mould into. Teachers are one the same. In any one day we can be a combination of teacher; councillor, parent liaison, disciplinarian, slave driver, curriculum producer and coordinator, detention supervisor, test administrator, social worker, parent, sounding board, media player, entertainer, first aide administrator, friend, cleaner, dictator, advocate, psychologist, stationary supplier, sheriff, personal hygienist, therapist, storage unit, collector of MP3s and phones, fashion consultant, organiser, pin board, trader, negotiator, diplomat, taxi, translator, dictionary, calculator, comedian and the rest.

Teaching is the ability to slip between all roles in a matter of seconds. It is ability that most of us master within the first term of teaching. Once a teacher can stop mid sentence to make a correction to behaviour and return to the sentence with the same tone, you know you have got it down pat. One thing you realise very quickly is what type of children that you don’t want and what names you will not be calling them.

Frustration

Comes from not only dealing with students and their non-supportive parents. Who sometimes believe at some extent that their child having after school detentions will disadvantage themselves, so as a result their kids are not going to be doing it. Isn’t that that point? Parents believe that they are the best teachers around, so why are more students home schooled? Of course not all parents fit into this category. There are many different types of parents, according to the Herald Sun, the latest craze is the Lawnmower parents, “instead of hovering over their children closely monitoring them as helicopter parents are said to, lawnmower parents get out in front of their children to try and clear the way for them”. http://ow.ly/4RRbx 

So what does this mean to us? It means that we are dealing with children who are scared to experience anything in the outside world. Problematic because this generation of children have witnessed more images and information than most of their great grand parents did in their lifetime.

SO where to for education?

Below is a video that explains the shift in education theories and the role of the 21st century education.

I find the whole thing a little overwhelming. What can I change in my classroom tomorrow?
This is the most confronting and draining part of being an Early Career Teacher. The realisation that you can’t change the world and even if you try to the change one thing. A full shift in educational philosophy will take years, as there is never any time in between classes to get the lockers.

Mango