Term One at Melbourne High almost over
This last ten weeks has been a revelation for me in the education arena. I expected something different when Joe entered Melbourne High, but what we are experiencing is not a driven focus on naplan results, cramming for exams or a never ending stream of homework requirements. That said, Joe’s academic engagement is at a level above where he was at last year. In previous years he extended himself by undertaking self learning outside of school. This year with sports commitments, especially rowing and the additional activities within the school, Joe hasn’t had the need or time to engage beyond the cornucopia of activities, events and even everyday life changes he is experiencing.
Melbourne is a very liveable city and its residents can be critical of the quality of events – White Night, Fireworks, Moomba, Grand Prix all have people passing judgement on these events that for a first timer are fantastic. Joe has experienced White Night and Moomba as an independent young man and I really think the experience is enriching.
While in Darwin Joe has had the opportunity to fly in our aeroplane along the crocodile infested Adelaide River and seek out places less travelled by air and enjoy swimming in Litchfield where tourists come from all over the world for the same experience. He has played basketball for his school internationally in Malaysia and experienced many other adventures vastly different to his new life in Melbourne.
Melbourne though has proven to be just the right place at the right time for this new age Crocodile Dundee to learn new skills and experiences.
Just to reflect on his first term of year 9 at Melbourne High…
His teachers are great. Committed and friendly with a support network that is a real support network and looks out for the students. The school itself could be the scene for a Miss Marple mystery or a real life backdrop for the number of famous people who studied there as young men. The clubs, sports and family engagement are building the foundation for what I see as the final two years of home run to their VCE. I feel that the parents are being trained at the same time as the boys are being prepared for what lays ahead.
There was always going to be the business of grades. Would Joe get lower grades now he was a smaller fish in a larger pond? Well, yes. He has received his first B+ in more than a year, but has maintained A in other tests and assignments so far. The takeaway from this is that despite the upheaval he has risen to the task. I am sure the massive change in environment has ignited an intellectual adrenaline that will lift Joe to a new level.
What the Melbourne High Year 9 boys have done in the last 9 weeks is amazing.
The Andy Warhol and Ai Wei Wei exhibition, the camp at Millgrove, The various sporting events that the boys have either supported or participated in, The Choral competition, the Parents & Friends night on the 19th, The economics related visit to Victoria Markets and more… In Joe’s case rowing is a first for him.
Some other things that might be boring for Melbourne people, but for us the transport system of trains, trams and buses means that Joe has an unlimited UBER ticket for a year with his student myki pass… and he is certainly using it. That said, I, like most parents was a little worried about the rioting events that took place over the weekend. Luckily Joe who did want to enjoy Moomba (another wonderful thing about Melbourne) wasn’t there on that night.
On a positive excursion note, Joe has studied at the State Library on a few weekends just to vary his study location. It is such an elegant building and a few hours there on a weekend followed by a food reward at Melbourne Central is a great day out.
The activities, family involvement have transformed how we operate as a family. I hasten to add in a good way. While we as parents work to provide an income and stable family relationship and environment – being apart for a month at a time, we too have been swept up in the excitement of this new life. That said, it is a challenge as we try to maintain a home in Darwin and Melbourne and ensure that Joe has a real family life, not a boarding experience. Although our life is much better than when Helen and I were university students in Melbourne, we still experience that university feeling of being caught in the moment while your living circumstances are fluid and have to be adaptable to what is on offer.
In that respect with the support of Helen’s sister we have enjoyed a wonderful blended family experience during this first term, with her daughters achieving great things adding to the positive vibe we feel about this move. Everyday I hear of new activities and achievements and the vibrancy of this goes part way to explaining why some people succeed and others struggle. I really think that when you do what you love, you naturally love what you do and that shows…