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I love Roald Dahl!! March 10, 2010

Filed under: My life — joannegrech13 @ 9:16 pm
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Yes, yes , yes!! I just love Roald Dahl. I have a very limited collection of his books. I’ve got children’s books and adult ones. I love them both. Dahl is so witty and descriptive. He has such a knowledge of the human body and can describe in detail a body part and emotions. Right now I’m reading The Great Automatic Grammatizator which is absolutely brilliant. Dahl writes short stories so I don’t get bored reading, even though if a book is good I’ll read it, even if it means that I won’t sleep at night. He’s such an idol for me as I would like to write something sometimes. For my dissertation I wanted to write a story but my supervisor didn’t let me since it is a Masters level proposal :(.  Someday, someday….

I finished writing my essay on Pinocchio, which I really enjoyed. I simply enjoyed reading through books and papers. Learning can be fun if you are passionate about the subject! It is interesting to note that Pinocchio was written for a reason: for the people of Italy at the time the book was written. Collodi wanted the people to be educated, hence the importance he gives to schooling. He also wanted them to be good citizens and we see a lot of advice that the cricket gives to Pinocchio to be a good citizen. Last and not least is the strong correlation of the book with the Bible; from the Creation to the symbolism of evil (snakes mostly). I loved Pinocchio and just loved criticising it.

One can also criticise and scrutinise Roald Dahl, whom I think reflects the ego-powered male in his stories. The man is always the one whom women love and the one who breaks their hearts. He is powerful and intelligent. Sometimes he gives these powers to the women but as traditional authors do, the women is the ‘baddie’, as we can see in The Witches and James and the Giant Peach which are typical examples of how Roald Dahl can give a nasty character to a female. Although I’m saying this, I still love Roald Dahl. Nothing can put me off his writing, not even Revolting Recipes (which are really creative and original). He’s the best writer children will ever encounter.

Dahl is a classic author but I think there are really good books for children nowadays, like for example Jaqueline Wilson’s, J.K. Rowling’s and Jeremy Strong’s, which my class children love. Nowadays books have beautiful pictures and attractive to read. I doubt that the plots are as good but I have to read one of them before I judge. I must admit that Rowling is very effective and her books have already become classics. I think the trick to write a good book is to be innovative and very descriptive. To be descriptive one has to study a lot before even writing. This is shown in Dahl’s books where everything is described in detail, so in detail that sometimes I used to question whether the book was written by a doctor due to its detailed description of the body.

My dreams:

1. to write a short story

2. visit the Roald Dahl Museum, which I will once I’ll move in 🙂

3. one person only knows about it 🙂

Bye for now!! 🙂

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Decisions, decisions! February 23, 2010

Filed under: My life — joannegrech13 @ 8:25 pm

Ah, I just hate that word. Decisions! Isn’t it difficult being an adult and taking decisions?! When I was young my big decisions were to buy or not buy a dress, to go or not go out or, should I go out with him or him? Ah, those were the days! My present decisions are, should I or shouldn’t I continue studying, where will I go to study and how much am I going to save to move in to UK? Although I hate deciding, it’s good to have a challenge in my life.  Till now I’m proud to say I don’t regret any decisions I’ve made even though some may think that my decisions were drastic. I tend to do that a lot! I think life is worth risking. You only get one life in a lifetime!

Talking about decisions, this week I was told to do an essay on any children’s story I wanted to. Since my dissertation was about stories, I was aware that children’s stories were written to pass on a message to children and adults likewise. I had read in my under-grad that Little Red Riding Hood was quite explicit when it was written and that it talked about rape. It’s clear to me now that I’ve read about it. The wolf symbolises the man who rapes girls. Although it may seem that Little Red Riding Hood is an innocent girl, the original author portrayed the girl as provocative. In fact, early drawings of the story show the girl as provocative to the wolf. This leaves much to say and discuss although I’m not going to do that since it’s been a while since I read Jack Zipes’ book from where I got this knowledge.

Now for this essay I chose to criticise Pinocchio’s story. At first I thought that I would not find what to say but in fact the story has a lot of symbolism. The first one was the image of Geppetto (Pinocchio’s father). He is portrayed as the creator of the wooden, talking puppet. Although he’s the creator, Pinocchio escapes from home to have a bit of fun instead of going to school. For me this is a clear example that the author used Geppetto to symbolise God and Pinocchio to symbolise humans. It is a fact that in the Holy Bible, Man decides to choose pleasure over God’s instructions or conscience. There is another time when Pinocchio goes against his father’s instructions, that being choosing a puppet show over school. Poor Pinocchio always had to make decisions, but don’t we too? For us it may seem that Pinocchio’s decision was an easy one to make. But don’t we all judge people who are making decisions all the time? It may seem simple but it rarely is. It’s not easy choosing to go to work instead of waking up late and call work to make up an excuse about your dead grandma who died during the night. We are all the time making choices, some are easy to make and some aren’t.  Pinocchio was naive in a way since he couldn’t see the consequences of his behaviour. Yet.

So, even if you think you have made a bad choice, that bad choice will teach you how to make hundreds of good choices in your life as long as you learn from that bad choice. Simple no? 😉

 

Teaching vs. Lecturing February 19, 2010

Filed under: My life — joannegrech13 @ 1:05 pm

Yesterday my boyfriend and I went to a lecture about concept mapping. It was quite interesting as it gave me a new perspective of how to show text to students. Concept maps consist of breaking down text and drawing a map with concepts and link words between them. It’s quite a good idea. My mind started running with ideas of how I could apply them to my students (both primary and post-secondary). As I started thinking, I noticed the huge difference of the amount of preparation it required to organise a concept map session. With children I had to prepare loads of work, these including pictures, flash cards, strings, etc.. With young adults it was enough just showing them a concept map and more or less they would be able to build it on their own by using just a paper and pen.

Lecturing is quite different than teaching. In fact there’s a huge difference in these two modes of passing on knowledge. When I was during my under-grad IT course (which I changed after a year) I used to sit and listen to lectures where discussion and questioning were limited or not accepted. If I didn’t understand I used to go home or the library and look up books to study and understand the subject more. THAT is lecturing. Reading for a degree is intended for mature students who are capable of studying by themselves. We never complained that we didn’t understand. Like I said, if we didn’t understand we researched about that particular subject. I think that some students who are doing an under-grad are way spoon-fed! They go to university and expect the lecturer to explain a topic like us teachers do. Some topics are too vast and too complicated to do so. It is the student’s duty to research about it. I am not saying that a lecturer should not explain something which a student did not understand, but, before doing so the student should do his utmost to research about the subject and try to understand. My point is that a student shouldn’t complain that a lecturer isn’t doing his duty. They should do their duty first before judging a lecturer. I am saying so since I have heard students complain about other lectures going on at the faculty.

I’ll continue this argument tonight till I have to go and give out a lecture myself! Ah, the joy of lecturing!

 

Isn’t it ironic? February 17, 2010

Filed under: My life — joannegrech13 @ 8:01 pm

I’m here sitting on a chair listening to nothing, absolutely nothing. Today I was babysitting and the children just slept. Normally I switch on the T.V to watch Scrubs or Grey’s Anatomy. Today I decided to stay in perfect silence just to recall what it feels like to listen to nothing. When I was doing my O levels my mum was quite worried that I listened to music while studying. A teacher had explained that some students require music to do so. Anyways, I can’t stand silence. Even now my hand is itching to grab the remote control to switch on the T.V. Why do I need sound? I just don’t know. Maybe I’m used to all the sound around me. At school it’s the children, teachers ranting about everything and cars passing by my class. In the street it’s the honking  which I immidiately switch off by switching on my mp3 player (ironic isn’t it?). At home I listen to some more music, maybe just to clear off my thoughts of the day. That’s it! I need sound to drown my thoughts. The only moment where I really think is when I go in bed and start dozing off. Some weird (but good) ideas start coming up at that precise moment.

What goes in my head when I’m thinking? I don’t know, maybe I plan for the future, think of how I’m going to plan the day or evaluate my day. Sometimes I think about what I should have said or done better during the day. I also evaluate my teaching and research on new ideas for the classroom. Although I love planning (a meal or a trip), I hate it just as much. It’s isn’t a nice feeling when you plan something and it doesn’t realize itself. So when I plan, I try and ‘cushion’ myself if the plan doesn’t succeed to avoid tantrums and crying (by myself of course). The song I’m putting here is all about this. I’m posting it with lyrics since the lyrics have a strong meaning. Enjoy 🙂 .

The moral of the story: just live the present. Plan, but don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy life!

I’m off to watch some T.V. now. Yes, my fingers itched so much I had to switch it on. 🙂

 

The totally independent woman and the frog February 16, 2010

Filed under: My life — joannegrech13 @ 7:09 pm

Hi all. My blog title today is not a new film which I went to watch. It’s just that the cartoon ‘The Princess and the Frog’ should have been named like that! Today I had the opportunity to watch it with my two twin cousins, who were over-excited that they were going to watch it. Practically the story is about a waitress who worked hard all her life to achieve her dream of buying a restaurant. She first wishes upon a star (as usual) but her father had told her that she had to work hard to achieve what she wanted. Isn’t THAT a good advice?! To make a long (very long) story short, the waitress turns into a frog when she kisses a frog-prince. She isn’t amused (who would be anyways?) and after him trying to save her life and vice versa, they fall in love. Uuuuu how romantic! Anyways, the moral of the story is that happiness isn’t what you have worked hard for but having love in your life. True. Anyways, the thing which I was disappointed about was that although the girl chose the prince instead of her career,  the film still focused on the usual ending, it being that the girl got married and they lived happily ever after bla, bla, bla. Not that I don’t agree with that, but children, especially girls, are taught that to be happy one has to get married, have children and the lot. As you know I’m in a relationship so obviously I agree with having a family. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong in being single. Last time I was with my children and as children are ultra-curious, they started asking me questions like, “Miss, are you married?”. Me, “No”. The children seemed disappointed by that and continued asking questions, “So you don’t have children?”. Miss Joanne: “No, why?”. The children replied with pure sincerity, “Oh! But when I grow up I’ll have a husband and children. It’s  much better like that.” Obviously I wanted to get a lesson out of that comment. I told them that there’s nothing wrong in being single! They weren’t convinced anyways! The things our children learn! Bah! Girls, there’s nothing wrong with being single or not married…just follow your heart! I did that and it worked (till now!).

In my life I also learnt to risk as much as I can. I didn’t do rock-climbing or bungee-jumping (afraid of heights). All I did was to follow my heart and do what I wanted to do at the moment I wanted. I never regretted it. When I changed courses during my under-grad, I met a lot of people who told me that they wished they had my courage to change course. For me it was nothing but for other people it was too much of a hassle to change course to have a job which they enjoyed more. Hard luck, I say! I just don’t imagine myself spending all my life regretting my choice of career. Sometimes, I just say to myself to let go and not continue my studies and just work like other people do. Then I think, ‘What’s fun in that?’. Nah, it would be a boring life! So, I get myself together and continue planning. If that doesn’t succeed I’ll try something new! Speaking of fun, today was really fun spending my day with Ady and watching the carnival end.

First we walked through Valletta (which I totally love). While walking I heard the usual, “MISS JOANNE!!!!” Yep, my students enthusiastic that they saw their teacher with a MAN! Anyways, then we went to have a (quite expensive) thick flavoured hot chocolate. At least it was good. Then we went to watch (for free) the carnival floats which were really nice. Here are some of them.

Hope you enjoyed my post! See you soon (getting addicted to blogging!)

so enthusiastic! 🙂

Me while Ady was pushing everyone around him to try and get me with the float 😛

 

Private emotions February 15, 2010

Filed under: My life — joannegrech13 @ 8:29 pm

Howdy everyone!

No I’m not going to talk about hunky Ricky Martin and his song ‘Private Emotion’. It’s just I was wandering in Youtube and came along this song and starting philosophising about it (as usual). Are we private anymore? Nowadays we are lucky that we have Facebook, Twitter and the lot to find our long lost friends. We can all see their photos and we know what they’re up to. Last Saturday we were talking about someone who did something and we were asked how we know all these gossips! Simple answer: Facebook. We aren’t private anymore! This week I went to school really tired (you know, girly stuff) and my teacher assistant was like, “Ah, Joanne you drank a lot yesterday!” I was like, “No!”. After I realised I wrote on Facebook the day before that I was having cocktails with Ady. Unbelievable! There is a limit what to write on your wall on Facebook but I think that sometimes it’s better not to write anything so that no assumptions are made by your ‘friends’. I put friends in inverted commas because, really, are the people we add on Facebook our real friends? In my case no. Most of my ‘friends’ are just acquaintances and haven’t talked to them or seen them in ages! Well yes I’m human too and I am curious to what people I know are up to! Since Ady and myself have common students we decided not to tell them that we’re an item and we also decided not to add them on Facebook. I could already imagine our students browsing through our private photos and giggling behind our backs! Thank you but no thank you! On the other hand we’ve got nothing to hide but the teaching profession is a profession after all and I respect that to the full! That’s all about private emotions for today.

On a more non-philosophical tone, I spent this evening with Ady and his family (which is always entertaining). We spoke about Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog which I’m following at the moment (no comment regarding that!) and Ady’s parents cooked some wonderful canneloni. Obviously I asked for the recipe (well, you have to cook what your man’s mum cooks when we move in together). I use two main websites for cooking, them being http://www.bbcfood.com and http://www.allrecipes.com. Why oh why do I end up talking about food?! It’s a hobby which I do with passion and love. When love gets in the way, nothing can go wrong (uuuuu how romantic!) Thinking of love, I love my bed which is calling me! You didn’t know? I have a magical bed which talks to me when it’s bedtime and wakes me up when it’s morning.

Going, going, GONE!

Private emotion 🙂