Friday, 18 January 2008

Bush Bonuses

From Justine Ferrari, Education writer, in Today’s Oz –

From Justi

Aboriginal leader Noel Pear­son is embarking on an ambitious plan to recruit experienced teach­ers and the brightest university graduates to teach in the most disadvantaged indigenous com­munities by offering performance-linked incentives of up to $50,000 a year. Called Teach for Australia, the program developed by Mr Pear­son's Cape York Institute with Macquarie University in Sydney aims to raise funds largely from the private sector to install 500 high-quality teachers in four remote schools. The first ap­pointments will be made in Cape York and the Northern Territory.

Noel Pearson has obviously been reading my blog. I posted this amongst a list of suggestions in November last year –
“Provide realistic bonuses for teachers who work in difficult and challenging situations. I’m talking thousands monthly.”
Noel isn’t mucking about – he’s talking over $4000 per month. It would probably work, providing the cash bonus is matched by the provision of secure air-conditioned accommodation and some kind of guarantee of mentoring and peer support. Based on my own (admittedly out-of-date) experience in remote communities, teachers would initially be attracted by the salary package, but you could pay $100000 a year, and it wouldn’t be enough if daily existence wasn’t physically secure and professionally satisfying. Very few teachers will continue to teach if they know in their hearts that they’re not being successful. This means that the blessed trinity (appropriate compensation in the shape of a good salary, professional and personal support, and a better than even chance of being able to make a difference) has to be in place. The pic shows a school building at the time I was working in the North-West in the mid-nineties. I can't remember its name.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Good Food and Bad Puns

Driving in Adelaide, I began to form the opinion that it is the pun capital of Oz. After seeing “Wild Thyme” (a restaurant), “Poultry in Motion” (on a van delivering chicken), “Easy Meats”, (butcher) and “Wine or Reason” (off-license), all in the space of a few blocks, I am convinced.

Other notables include “Daily Grind” (Coffee shop), “Olive Lucy” (Mediterranean supplies), “Abra Cadaver” (halal butcher), “Bone-anza” (pet food shop), “Hawaii Falafel-o” (Fast food), “Lettuce pray” (Fruit & Vegetables), “The Brady Brunch” (Lunches), "Clam Every Mountain” (sea food) and "Do-Ray-Mi” (baker), although I must admit, some of the second bunch aren’t in Adelaide.

There must be something in the water.

The pic? It has nothing to do with Adelaide. That was in a supermarket complex in Hanoi. They were selling organic medicine. Figure it out.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

"Which of you bastards...."

This contribution from Dileep Premachandran from Times Online, published in The Oz - Cut and Paste on Jan 10th, sums up the wank we call modern cricket pretty well for me -

During the infamous Bodyline tour of 1932-33, Douglas Jardine knocked on the Australian dressing-room door to demand an apology for being abused. Bill Woodfull turned to his team poker-faced and asked "Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?" Had they been around, Mike Procter and other (International Cricket Council) match referees might have had a field day. This is not a lament for time that can never return, but such an anecdote does remind one of the death of common sense and humour in modern day cricket. If an outsider looked at the current tug-of-war between India and Australia, and the sanctimonious crap dished out by both sides, you'd think there had been 22 Mother Teresas out on the park. All this talk of integrity and honour between individuals who don't walk for an outside edge that sounds like the crack of doom. Precious.

Barring a few brain-deaths at the meeting in Delhi (yesterday), the tour should now proceed. Steve Bucknor has been stood down, and Harbhajan Singh promised a fair hearing but the most pertinent is this: where does cricket go from here?

Apart from anything else, it shows what we've lost. It's interesting that it took an Indian (presumably - going by his name) to point it out.

It's not confined to cricket. As a nation, we're rapidly losing our sardonic sense of humour. It's gone the way of biscuits (now "cookies"), taps (now "faucets"), and footpaths (now "sidewalks").

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...