Saturday, October 27, 2012

ARMtour Day Three: Gardeners, dreamers, teachers, trainers plus more!

Sorry for the late posts of my blogs from ARMtour, but the only access I had to the internet was in the school library and I didn't get time to post while I was there... so they'll come over the next little while now that I am back in Sydney. 

Here's my gratefuls for day three in Santa Teresa!

DINGOES ARE NOT DOGS: As part of ARMtour we’re using the fabulous book Dingoes are not Dogs  about differences and similarities. A story by Dr Chris Sarra (QLDs Australian of the Year 2010) illustrated by the children of Cherbourg State School, it is a great story about reaching out to those who may be different to ourselves. It’s also a valuable resource for teachers to use for discussion. Check it out here! 

SANTA TERESA CHURCH: Perhaps the most famous landmark in this community is the Santa Teresa Church because of the extraordinary murals covering it’s walls. You can’t take photos inside the church so you’ll have to go visit yourself one day! In the meantime you can get a glimpse of the artwork via the coordinator Cait Wait’s website.  From the outside, the church looks a little like this (below) at dawn…  

ENTHUSIASTIC STUDENT GARDENERS: Cathy and I worked in pairs today, and we started the morning with a tour of the veggie garden built and cared for by Years 4/5. With roles of raking, weeding and watering of the beans, snow peas, pumpkins, corn, and spinach I was hard not to be impressed with the collective green thumbs. I was however surprised to learn that watermelon actually thrives in the reddish soil there. I was grateful to see such enthusiastic young kids serious and passionate about managing their healthy produce. Apparently, they’re making spinach and cheese omelettes soon; I’m hoping I get an invitation.

OTHER PEOPLE’S DREAMS: I’m lucky to have been able to follow many of my dreams, and I am thrilled when I meet young Aboriginal kids with dreams of their own, whatever they may be. In class today, Cathy and I talked about our lives and careers and asked the students to write down some of their own dreams to put in a dream box we gave them. Within their lists, the 9 year olds cited: playing AFL, becoming a famous singer, being a shop worker, going to the Olympics, being a shop worker, visiting their Dreaming land (Yeperenye), travelling to Adelaide, New York, Sydney and even the Holy Land. And almost half the class said their dream was to be a school teacher. That’s got to be the best compliment for any teacher. And a big shout out to Miss Sharon for introducing me to the class ‘Wake Up’ song and for the best rendition of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline (with actions by the kids) ever!

ABORIGINAL TEACHER AIDES: It’s fabulous to work in classrooms with ATAs because they help translate all my fast talking English to the kids in the classroom. It was also great to work alongside local Aboriginal teacher Jeannette today, who first taught back at the school in the 1960s.

Michael Hennessy training at daybreak in Santa Teresa

MICHAEL HENNESSY There are so many reasons I am grateful for Michael Hennessy being in our team. Not only am  I friends with his mum Judi (she was part of writing Yirra and her deadly dog, Demon with the kids at La Perouse), he’s also a generous, gentle soul who also happens to be a deadly personal trainer. Now, bearing in mind that I always consume five times more food on ARMtour than I normally do (running around with kids makes me want to eat a loaf of bread), it’s important to also train when I’m on the road. And Michael, the consummate professional had me up stretching, lunging, squatting and crunching at 6am. Don’t believe me, well check out the photos!

Michael made me do killer crunches!

Most of you know I won’t sleep in a swag, but I had no problem doing my pushups and crunches in/on one. Looking for a great trainer in Sydney, or some training tips, following Michael on Twitter @OutFitHealth or check him out online.

What? I have to do the push-ups slowly? 

On today’s ARMtour activities, Michael says, “I’m grateful for the warm reception from the kids”.

That's something I think we were all grateful for!

Looking forward to what tomorrow brings!

[Thank you to DEEWR who fully funds ARMtour as part of the Sporting Chance Program]

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