10 days until we leave for Australia!!!!
View Part 1 here which is all about yummy Australian food (my Mum told me I missed Fish & Chips BTW!)
Today I’m going to talk about school in Australia. I was 13 when I moved here, so I experienced both primary and high school (barely) in Australia.
My year 2 & 3 class
Where I went to school, primary school was year 1-7 (we say year instead of grade) and high school 8-12. No middle school. Although after I left they have changed the name and I think merged the schools (they were next door to each other).
Also, Kindergarten and pre-school are swithed in Australia. So we had a pre-school in our primary school.
Our school year starts in January and goes through December (remember, reverse seasons). We don’t have a giant summer vacation like you do in the US, we basically have two weeks off between each term (4 of them).
BUT our school days are shorter, and we have two breaks: Morning Tea and Lunch. The first was basically a snack, and lunch was about 45 minutes where we ate lunch and had plenty of time to play. Both breaks were always outside, even in winter (which isn’t very cold). In primary school we had designated eating areas depending on your grade, in high school you ate wherever you wanted. There was the rare rainy day where our teacher would let us eat inside and we would find games to play in the class room.
The school itself isn’t one giant building like they are here, but made up of multiple buildings. My Primary school basically had one building per grade. It would have two giant rooms which would have two classes in each room with a space in the middle. The teachers with joint rooms would usually calloborate by switching classes for different studies and sharing “floor time” where we met in the middle on the floor for stories or what not.
There were other buildings for the library, music room, office, etc. All the buildings were connected via covered walkways.
My Brother Nathan’s first day of school
Yep, we had to wear uniforms in public schools. Back then “free dress” days were the best where we could wear anything. Having now gone to school in the US? I choose uniforms. No hesitation. It sucks picking out clothes everyday, and of course there’s the social/fashion aspect of it that’s just a nightmare. I liked the days where my decision was shorts, skirt or dress.
No Hat No Play
One of the biggest rules we had was if you have no hat, you couldn’t go out and play. Cause sun cancer sucks! If you didn’t have your hat you had to sit on the yellow bench which also where kids in trouble had to sit, so I feared not having my hat.
One thing that really surpsised me about the US is how many people don’t know how to swim. At my school in Australia, we had several weeks every year where the whole class goes to the pool a couple of times a week for swimming lessons. There was a public pool complex on the other side of the highschool, so we would walk down there.
The older classes, around year 6 & 7 also got to do beach trips where we did some basic lifegaurd training. In year 7 we even got to do some surfing lessons.
After school sports didn’t exist. Well, not school sponsored ones. I played netball (basically basketball, but with no backboard and when you held the ball you weren’t allowed to movie your feet… and way cooler) on weekends.
Here’s some netball:
Our school sports were done during school. Each term we’d have a list of different sports to choose from and once a week we traveled to a different school to compete. Of course for the most part the teams were horrible because we didn’t really practice. But we got to play different many different sports, I did Netball whenever it was offered of course, but I also did cricket and softball.
We also had PE once a week… and music and library. I promise we still had time to learn things.
Graduating Primary School
I giggled at the term “tardy” when I first heard it my first day of school in the US where I received a syllabus for every class, outlining exactly how I would be graded and all the rules.
There are rules in the US about being “tardy” to class. Can’t we just call it being late? In Australia, the bell rang and you went to wherever you were supposed to be. There weren’t any rules in place about being late, because everyone just did what they’re supposed to. There was no sense of urgency/fear of getting to your next class, you just went there.
You don’t need a “hall pass” signed by your teacher to go to the bathroom, you just raised your hand, asked to go to the toilet, and you went and came back like you’re supposed to. Nobody outside would stop you and demand what you’re doing, everyone was trusted.
Sure, kids still got in trouble and got time out (detention) during lunch, but we weren’t treated like prison inmates.
School buses don’t exist. Your parents dropped you off, you walked, or rode your bike. Some kids took the public bus.
In high school we had block scheduling which was one of the greatest things ever… until you had double maths.
And that’s all I can remember…
Stay tuned for part 3 where we get into some fun Australian TV shows & Music