Its a jungle out there! My 3rd year Secondary Placement experience…

As apart of my 3rd year Education Placement I am required to be in a secondary school… which when I started I originally wanted to teach High School; yet after spending the past 2 in a primary school setting my mindset had changed and I’ve had my heart set on the little ones ever since!

Primary school aged kids are so adorable (even the little shit ones… some I wanted to bop over the head, but somehow I think that there’s a law against that… but they’re still innocent and eager to learn) They’re easier to manage, follow instruction and plan for. Simply do some testing, find out what level they’re at and teach them accordingly! (although its a lot harder than that..)

So my secondary school placement… I have no idea where to start…

I’ve had troubles with finding a school for my 3rd year secondary placement all year, yet with a little bit of hope, persistence and fairy dust I managed to score a school in Melbourne.
Now when you think of any school/classroom (primary or secondary) automatically you picture an environment with students sitting at desks…head down doing work, A teacher actively roaming the room assisting students with a problem which may arise…. Even a couple of girls giggling in the back ground… Or boys having a conversation about footy or this hot chick they hooked up with on the weekend…
Yet at St Joseph’s in North Melbourne it would be a rare occasion for the students to sit down long enough for me to give them instructions and wander around the room…

St Joseph’s is a flexible learning Center for disengaged youths… For some kids this is their last chance for any sort education.
The students who attend SJFLC have been through the works .. drugs, alcohol, abuse, crime, abandonment, in and out of care, behavioral issues… or simply they’re just falling between the cracks & becoming disengaged in a mainstream school. They really don’t discriminate at SJFLC at all!

My first day was the toughest.

I had no idea what I was walking in to – all I had been told was that it was a school for disengaged youths & they had a lot of support from youth workers… I just thought Oh yeah – no problem… completely naive to the fact that this wouldn’t be the same as my high school!

Day One –

Walking in I noticed that there was heaps of graffiti around – I thought it looked pretty cool, made me think about my friend and colleagues graffiti photography blog! – when I find the link i’ll share it, she’s truly an amazing photographer!

So I met with Chloe the Principle of the school, she briefed me about the students. Wow – I was so overwhelmed. She just dished out all of the goods and told me what to expect from the students or more what not to expect from  the students… pretty much what I mentioned above. I told her about my background of working alongside young people who have a physical disability, yet not much experience with other issues.

We then went through and met the teachers and youth workers – there are 3 teachers and 2 youth workers in the middle school program(Not too sure about the staff in the senior program) but they all work alongside each other to assist the young people.

So in the mornings after the staff meeting at 9am (on the dot) there is a little knock at the door – its Spence* (names have been changed for privacy & confidential reasons..) He’s at school & he’s hungry! This is when we open up  the kitchen and the young people filter through and help themselves to toast, oats, coffee, toasted sandwiches etc. Most of the food supplied at the school is donated by local businesses – such as Bakers Delight donate loaves of bread every week, The Queen Victoria Market donate what they can …
This is when we engage with the young people and ask them about their night & whatever else is happening in their lives…. just basic small talk – but its this small talk that is so crucial to the young people as they may not even have a chance  to have a real conversation with an adult at all… or even just having someone to talk to. It’s so interesting listening to their stories – you find out so much from them just by listening.

After breakfast at around 9.30, we head upstairs to one of the teachers classroom for morning meeting with the students… its in here where we discuss the school principles – Honesty, Safe & Legal, Participation and Respect.
St Joe’s have no rules. They are based around those principles – there are 1st, 3rd and 9th chances – each young person much acknowledge that they have to comply with those principles whilst in the school… yet whether they do or not is a different story!

The young people come in and throw their bodies on the beanbags, sit on the ground – fiddle with their phones – Snapchat the person sitting next to them (Its actually hilarious watching someone take a selfie.. quite amusing! haha) – So in the circle they form one of the teachers or youth worker direct the meeting in relation to the principles – So for example if its Respect for that day they focus on what is respectful and what isn’t (often with a snide comment here and there, something being thrown or someone telling someone to fuck off… ironically not so respectful) At these meeting vital information about how their day will operate is usually passed along – whether its processed or not is a different story. They usually just sit there until they are excused from the room and are separated into their own classes.

My mentor teacher is Ivan, he’s the Student Wellbeing coordinator and a teacher. Walking into his classroom There are about 5 or 6 tables scattered around and 4 computers on the outskirts of the room, along with a couch, TV and an X-Box.
Young people barge into class as the morning goes on – I’m advised that ever we simply greet them and thank them for coming to school – no matter how late they come.

I was just about to put down my coffee when a young person stormed in and demanded to use one of the computers “F**king log me on to the computer Ivan!!” I immediately turned around and questioned how he was speaking to the teachers, yet Ivan was the least bit phased at this – he simply replied “no please?” with a smirk.
“Whatever, just f**kin log me on!” – Ivan shook his head down low, stood up and preceded to walk over to the computers to log the young person on…
Next minute another young boy came into the classroom and sat down next to him, gave the sup nod and then they did this handshake thing – and then they were off talking looking up motor bikes on gumtree….

It wasn’t long before a couple of more students came through threw their bags down and just chilled…

As having not met any of the students before I had to try and develop relationships with them – It was tough to start a conversation with them as there was this visible wall they put up…. So naturally, I went to the nicest looking kid in the room!
Sat next to her and just was like heeeyyyy, how are you doing? I’m Ella! with the biggest smile on my face…
She just looked at me with a blank stare as to say “What the F**k do you want bitch”
Okkaaaayyyyy – So she was nice looking – but far from it. I knew she was just testing me because she didn’t know me
But I kept persisting;
She told me her name, and we eventually started reading the Newspaper together… starting with her interpretation of what her horoscope means – which in her words “am I gunna be rich?” haha – Bless!

So as the day went on I was called the C Word too many times and did have pens and pencils thrown in my direction… but you’ve just gotta shrug it off… I’ve been called worse – trust me

At morning break and lunch time I often found myself helping out in the kitchen or with a basketball in my hand shooting with some of the kids, at this moment I thought that this was a pretty good gig.

Walking around and trying to make conversation with them is the toughest… I found that I had to find some sort of common ground in order to get any sort of conversation out of them…

In the afternoon after the young people have left and gone home the staff get together to have a debrief – all about what happened during that day.
Wow.. there seems to be a lot of things that go on that we miss… Found out a student had come to school under the influence of an illicit substance & a youth worker had been assisting that young person most of the day – I was completely naive to that happening –

So anyways As the day finished, i packed up my stuff and headed to my car (Hoping that it was still there.. just a little bit)… chucked all of my stuff over on the passengers seat and sat down. I took the deepest breath in and exhaled. What a day!!

Driving home my mind was wandering everywhere – trying to imagine what it would be like to be one of these young people… I dont think that I could ever compare myself to them… They’ve been through the works. My heart breaks.

From then on I made it my personal mission to help them… If I can change and make a positive impact on at least one of the young people at St Josephs then I’ve done my job! There is always hope… Just have to believe.

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Breakfast! Its the best!

Oh how I love breakfast.. breakfast dates, breakfast on the go, breakfast in bed, sunday breakfast with the fam… any type of breakfast! ITS JUST AMAZING! Nothing better than waking up and thinking about all of the endless possibilities breakfast can deliver…and a good coffee.

I will probably will propose to you if you bring me coffee without me asking for one…. Just sayin’

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I have a dream that one day I will open up a cute cafe somewhere, maybs in the country or even in the burbs… but it will be world famous and people will come for miles just to have my coffee and breakfast… & Breakfast available all day, ALL DAY LONG! It’ll happen! … Just someone give me the six magic numbers or sponsor me. Yep!

Breakfast, Don’t you forget about me….

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There are so many benefits from eating breakfast… and as if you dont want to eat breakfast (best meal of the day obv!) When people say that they dont like breakfast or they skip it, I feel as though its a personal attack. I take it sooo personally – only because I cant comprehend why anyone would not want to eat it! Eating breakfast not only kick starts your metabolism for the day, but it fills you up so you’re not binge eating during the day! (…My weakness… you put food in front of me & no doubt i’ll eat it)

Breakfast has been proven to increase your memory – Yep! Studies on adults and young people have shown that people who dont eat breakfast under-performed on short-term memory tests compared to people who ate breakfast!

More than one study done on adults (and young people) found those who had nothing for breakfast underperformed on short-term memory tests compared to those who’d had their first meal.
So lets think of our body like a car – If we dont put fuel in a car, it doesn’t start does it? (Unless its one of those electric cars.. so when the geniuses of the world design a human that can function simply by sitting on a power adapter, we can compare ourselves to the electric cars…but no.) WE NEED BREAKFAST LIKE A CAR NEEDS FUEL!

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But it’s also imperative to make the right choices! This goes with everything else we put in our mouth… Don’t fill up on some cheap sugary cereal or cinnamon toast because that’ll just make you hungry in 0.5 of a second. MUST RESIST…SUGAR…

Flaxseed from health food stores is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which you can grind and add to lowfat cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese and smoothies.

  • CoYo (coconut yoghurt) parfait layered with fresh fruit and cereal, nuts or raisins
  • CoYo mixed with fresh fruit in a blender for a vitamin-rich smoothie – Or even a protein shake!
  • Green smoothie/juice
  • G/F toast or Rice cakes with a little peanut butter and banana slices
  • Protein Pancakes
  • Instant or quick-cooking oatmeal or homemade granola (Recipe coming sooon!…watch this space)
  • Poached eggs on toast etc etc…
    Look, the list can go on forever…

I have spent most of my life being bought up around breakfast, whether its been growing up and spending every second weekend at dads house, going to the markets or a quick dash to the grocery store to grab what we needed to make a masterpiece for breakfast! I remember when my older sister and I use to go to dads, we would look forward to the food mostly! While lying in bed we (well mainly me, Jess would think I was lame) would be trying to guess what dad would be cooking by attempting to smell what was coming from the kitchen (I never got it right though!)
My favourite thing he made was spanish eggs.. or pancakes! Yes! Pancakes! They were/still are my favourite! We would experiment with the pancakes.. making them thin, thick, fluffy, australian style, croatian style… ya get ma drift! So we now know that I love pancakes!

So this morning I decided I would experiment with pancakes & make them out of Oats… mainly because i have a huggggeee supply of oats from Costco & I must do somethings with them…

I saw this little recipe the other day on Pinterest for a muffin in a mug… Basically oats, an egg, berries, stevia & a splash of milk. So this morning I played around with the recipe a little bit with what we had (because i’m currently living on rations… i’m a poor uni student & my car just cost me my arm, leg and part of my kidney…) & I came up with this cheeky creation!

oat pancakes

Oat Pancakes

Ingredients 

about a cup of oats blended down into a flour 
1 whole egg & 1 egg white – beaten up nice & fluffy
bitta cinnamon
about a scoop of vanilla protein powder 
a tablespoon of stevia 
splash of vanilla essence
a decent amount of milk (almond or soy… or whatever milk you wanna use)

Method 

Mix all of the dry ingredients together & then combine with the eggs. When adding the milk, make sure you remember that the oats absorb a lot of liquid, so you may have to put more in the mixture while you’re waiting for the pancakes to cook….

My first pancake turned out more like a biscuit, so as I said, you may need to keep adding milk.

To serve, I drowned mine in berries and a splash of maple syrup… so gooooood!

Bee Pollen – Get on this superfood guys!!

Wow! This week has been so crazy busy.. it was crazy! Apart from getting sick and believing I was going to die (Seriously I would have preferred to be locked away in a cage full of hungry lions than feel the way I did… might be a slight exaggeration, but ya get my drift!)

So yeah, getting sick was definitely not on the to do list for this week… I had to complete an online assessment for uni – which i’m glad I called in sick for work cause instead of sleeping my sickness off, I sat infront of a computer all day, overwhelming my brain with information which I knew nothing about, trying to make sense of it all (Probably should have paid more attention in the lectures!) But I managed to get it submitted with an hour to spare! Winning!
& How’s this for ultimate laziness – I ordered pizza online for dinner and had it delivered! I had so much food in the fridge, so many better choices & would have saved me some cashola… but nup! I wanted pizza! Crust has amazing GF Pizza bases.. the best! So i thought that since it as pizza, I would load it with veggies and no cheese! It was the healthiest looking, filthiest tasting pizza ever. SO GOOD! Theres still 3/4 of it sitting in my fridge… Someone come eat it!

I had all good intentions to attend both of my yoga classes this week, but life got in the way. Soz Yoga! So my body is a little bit tight and un-yogafied this week, its all good though. I’ll get back on it next week when I have my health back & I may even drag my mum along. She doesn’t know this yet though, so lets surprise her – i’ll keep you updated 🙂

So every morning i’ve been smashing down the smoothies – experimenting a little bit with what I am adding to them bitta this, bitta that!
I always pretty much start with a base of frozen banana, frozen blueberries & Coconut water and then add things from there…
This week i’ve discovered that bee pollen tastes amazing blended through the mix – gives it a subtle sweet taste… Its kind of hard to describe – one would think that it would taste like honey, but only slightly! AND ITS SO GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!

Bee pollen is an amazing superfood! It contains approx. 40% protein and has almost all of the nutrients required by humans! We’ve all heard that we need amino acids? Well about half of the protein in the bee pollen is in the from of free amino acids which are ready to be sucked up by the body.. also vitamins including B-complex and folic acid.
According to researchers at the Institute of Apiculture, Taranov, Russia, “Honeybee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in Nature in a single food. Even if bee pollen had none of its other vital ingredients, its content of rutin alone would justify taking at least a teaspoon daily, if for no other reason than strengthening the capillaries. Pollen is extremely rich in rutin and may have the highest content of any source, plus it provides a high content of the nucleics RNA [ribonucleic acid] and DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid].”

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10 REASONS BEE POLLEN IS AMAZING FOR YOU!! 

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-bee-pollen

1. Energy Enhancer – The range of nutrients found within bee pollen makes it a great natural energizer. The carbohydrates, protein and B vitamins can help keep you going all day by enhancing stamina and fighting off fatigue.

2. Skin Soother – Bee pollen is often used in topical products that aim to treat inflammatory conditions and common skin irritations like psoriasis or eczema. The amino acids and vitamins protect the skin and aid the regeneration of cells.

3. Respiratory System – Bee pollen contains a high quantity of antioxidants that may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the tissues of the lungs, preventing the onset of asthma.

4. Treating Allergies – Pollen reduces the presence of histamine, ameliorating many allergies. Dr. Leo Conway, M.D of Denver Colorado, reported that 94 percent of his patients were completely free from allergy symptoms once treated with oral feeding of pollen. Everything from asthma to allergies to sinus problems were cleared, confirming that bee pollen is wonderfully effective against a wide range of respiratory diseases.

5. Digestive System – In addition to healthful vitamins, minerals and protein, bee pollen contains enzymes that can aid in digestion. Enzymes assist your body in getting all the nutrients you need from the food that you eat.

6. Immune System Booster – Pollen is good for the intestinal flora and thereby supports the immune system. According to holistic health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, bee pollen has antibiotic-type properties that can help protect the body from contracting viruses. It’s also rich in antioxidants that protect the cells from the damaging oxidation of free radicals.

7. Treats Addictions – Used holistically for healing addictions and inhibiting cravings by suppressing impulses. Because bee pollen crashes cravings, it is a very useful research is needed into this benefit, particularly when it comes to weight management.

8. Supports the Cardiovascular System – Bee Pollen contains large amounts of Rutin; an antioxidant bioflavonoid that helps strengthen capillaries, blood vessels, assists with circulatory problems and corrects cholesterol levels. Its potent anti-clotting powers could help prevent heart attack and stroke.

9. Prostate Aid – Men who suffer from benign prostate hyperplasia can find relief by using bee pollen. Bee pollen can help reduce inflammation to stop frequent urges to urinate.

10. Infertility Problems – Bee pollen stimulates and restores ovarian function, therefore may be used to assist in accelerating pregnancy. As well as being a hormonal booster it is also a great aphrodisiac!

 

Rise & shine princess!

I know I’m not the only one who struggles to wake up and get out of bed in the morning… But as soon as my alarm goes off I don’t think about what i have to do that day or what to wear (although that’s a close second).. I automatically think about what I am going to eat when I get up.

I seriously don’t know how I am not obese, all I do is think about & eat food!!

Growing up my Baka (which is Croatian for grandma) use to make theeee best foods! 👌But hey, so do every wog grandparents and parents! I remember going there on the school holidays and she would spend hours and hours in the kitchen cooking… And only with one arm! What a legend! She was in a tragic car accident when she was younger and her arm had to be amputated… But she manages to sew, cook, clean, garden… so just about everything!
Anyways… She use to have every element on the stove on, with pots sizzling & boiling away. The aromas in the air stick to you and you can smell the lard and all the fatty goodness for days after you leave… (I guess we’re suppose to shower right? Naaahhh overrated!) but that was how she got her foods to taste so good! Fry everything off in lard! Her chicken schnitzels are TO DIE FOR! Fo Realz!
They are that good, but only cause it’s dripping in lard… And don’t get me started on her chips…ohmygod, I could sit here all day and tell you how amazing her food is… And then we get onto the traditional Croatian foods & cakes… Man, I probably should start a new blog for all of that! One day I’ll fill you in on the secrets (when I learn to translate the recipes into English!)

Anyways, this morning I struggled to get out of bed for gym… my immune system is buggered from all the anesthetic pumped through my body when I was younger, so as soon as theres a change in the weather my body shuts down… yipppeeeee
So this morning instead of having my usual smoothie i had a double espresso protein shake!

Zazzooossss! WAKE UP ELLA!!
Tell you what.. it woke me up! Kinda felt like one minute dead, nek minute – come at me world!…whilst satisfying my taste buds.

Banana smoothie

 

(Not my picture- But its exactly what it looked like.. & I drank it too quickly to get a pic…whoopsie)

Banana Espresso Protein Shake

Ingredients
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup ice
250mL Almond Milk
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (i use Maxine’s Burn )
Double espresso shot
2 teaspoon of almond butter
Stevia to taste
Chia seeds

Method
Blend it reeaallll good!

VAVOOM!

There’ll be leftovers, so just put it in the fridge or take to work/uni/whatever you do & have it later!

Xoxo Love Ella

Banana Bread

So I made this by accident one time and so far its been a big hit with all of my fans. My fans being my 2 Best friends and my friends mum… Quality not quantity right? My best friends mum lovess this recipe!

I got home one night & saw that there were a bunch of brown and bruised bananas… made me all giddy inside. It meant only one thing… BAKING WITH BANANAS! I get excited, like a little kid in a candy shop when I discover and make new things!

This banana bread is beyond healthy… no added fats (only natural fats!)… packed with protein & natural goodness!

Banana Bread

Ingredients

Wet Mix ~
3 overly spotty and squishy bananas
2 organic free range eggs
a good squirt of maple syrup
2 Tbs Stevia

Dry Mix ~
~ 2 cups toasted almonds blended into a flour
~ 1/2 coconut flour
A good sprinkle of cinnamon(roughly 1 tsp)
1tbs chia seeds
2 tbs of Gluten-Free Self Raising Flour

(i’m pretty sure that’s it?!)

Method

Mix wet mixture together, then fold into Dry mix…
If it appears to wet… simply add some more flour (doesn’t matter which one.. but i used the GF flour here) just until its a well binded mixture.
Bake in a pre-heated oven of 190°C for about 35-40 mins (or until your skewer comes out clean, yet slightly moist… you’ll have to cover with foil in the oven so it doesn’t burn!)

This cake/bread/loaf whatever is so delicious and moist! Perfect snack for before or after training!

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Oat, almond and date bars

Yep! You guessed it… I decided to bake today after a big day at uni rather than studying! I know, I know priorities… I have my mum and my grandmas voice in the back of my mind all the time telling me that I should be studying! But I can’t help myself… The kitchen and I have this magnetic connection… We’re drawn to each other! … Well not really, but it’s my escape 🙂

I came home and whipped up some pumpkin soup to make me feel better… Ahhh comfort food! Yes!
Then as I went down to open my laptop to start my assignment which was due 2 weeks ago… I got right back up and got the food processor down from the cupboard! This only meant trouble!

Oat, Almond & Date Bars

Ingredients

These are all rough estimations, as I hardly measure anything! Promise I’ll take note from now on!
~ 1 cup Gluten Free Oats
~ 1/2 – 3/4 cup almonds
~ 1 cup Pitted dates
1 banana, mashed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons chai seeds

Method

So chuck everything except the banana into the food processor! May need to do it in batches so that the dates and almonds are chopped evenly.
You want a rustic texture… So have small and bigger chunks of almonds marbled throughout.
Next stir through mashed banana!
Evenly spread mixture on a lined tray and refrigerate for at least an hour!

These are so quick and easy to make & packed full of good stuff! No added sugar, no flour, no eggs! Ahmygracious amazing!

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New to the blogging world… Be Kind!

Hey Internet…

So i’ve decided to start writing blogs… not for of any particular reason except purely to  avoiding writing assignments and studying!

I’ve been thinking about doing one of these things for a while now, as I am addicted to Pinterest (another method in which i delay my study time) and Instagram. Big fan of social media right here *Puts both hands up* !

My life is preeeety hectic! I’m a full time Education student, Full time athlete, Part-time Career advisor and a self confessed massive food lover. I live with intolerance’s… Wheat & Dairy… which means that everything I cook is Wheat & Dairy free!

I love that I cant eat these foods (although i do have a sneaky Skinny Latte every now and then…. but pay for it later!… so worth it though)…I have a new appreciation of food & have been exposed to an entire new world! Cannot get enough of the fresh fruit & veggies, super foods… it all excited me so much! I’m honestly like a child in a candy store.

Soooo… Is the awkward part of the date where I try and spruik up a conversation which  will keep you engaged? oh right it is! Please dont judge me!

(This is where i fill you in on my life…)

I was born with a genetic condition called Hereditary Sensory Motor Neurapathy (HSMN) Type 2.. it basically means I will die. No only joking… but we all will one day! HSMN is a condition which affects the nerves and muscles in my peripherals. So my hands and Legs. I’ve had roughly 15 surgeries over my 21 years, just to keep me walking & keeping my feet straight, stopping foot drop, fixing my posture, taking something from somewhere and putting it somewhere else… I dont understand doctor language & handwriting. Some of my grade 3 students write better than them !

But I must say the Doctors and staff at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne have been amazing.. and i wouldn’t be anywhere without them! They’re angels in disguise! Honest.

So as the years went on, in & out of hospital, rehab, physio, etc… I grew up. discovered who I was and what I want to be.

I want to live the best life I possibly can… and i am writing my story!

I discovered my love for wheelchair basketball when I was 16… I always wanted to be able to be involved with sports, but since I cant run or jump.. it limited me. I was always the last to be picked at school in team sports which made me feel super cool. Mum always told me she loved me, so i guess that makes everything better.

So now wheelchair basketball is a major part of my life. I love it. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by amazing and inspiring athletes? Travelling all around our beautiful country and occasionally across the ocean… Tis the life!

But alas, Being a student & an athlete does put strain on my social life… My friends be like “Where you at El-Dawg?” well they’re not gangster but i think sometimes they think they are… (you never know when you’re living in the western suburbs of Melbourne… I sometimes think I am). I just occasionally want to kick back and hang out without having the thoughts of studying and/or training floating around my brain.. but i wash those thoughts away with a sip of Merlot!

…. Stay tuned for more insights of my majestic life!