Back to school special
There's a primary school around the corner from our house and last week it shrieked back into life after the summer break.
I love seeing the kindergarteners trot down the street each morning, their backpacks threatening to engulf their tiny bodies. I know it's time for my lunch break when the bell goes, followed by the universal playground din of thundering feet and squealing. So much squealing. It's a happy sound.
I reckon I'd have liked a Scottish education. The timing of the school year appeals, both weather and attention span wise. Over here it seems like you're never too far away from some fun...
The Scottish school year:
SEPTEMBER - Begin class after the long summer break. Sure it sucks to be back, but just around the corner is...
OCTOBER - Mid-term break. A couple more months of study, then along comes...
CHRISTMAS - Ho ho ho, hello! It's another week off.
JANUARY-MARCH - The weather is grim, so you may as well learn something. But what's that up ahead?
EASTER! Then only a brief jaunt until it's summer holidays again.
My Aussie school year:
END OF JANUARY-EASTER - Return from summer break and try to learn while roasting alive in various locales: a shadeless, concrete quadrangle for school assemblies. A baked and dusty football field for PE class. An airless demountable classroom where thighs stick to plastic chairs and the ceiling fan above halfheartedly stirs our various teenage stinks.
Plus, the horror of swimming lessons.
MORE OF THE BLOODY SAME UNTIL JULY - A brief respite with sausage rolls at the canteen and about one month of tights weather.
AUGUST-DECEMBER - A vast stretch of learning as long and flat as the great continent itself, with increasing temperatures. More swimming lessons.
FINALLY, CHRISTMAS - Hide inside all summer hols reading books, until the cycle starts again.
Of course I exaggerate! And not everyone is a flammable ginger curmudgeon. Most of my friends loved all the sun and swimming.
Gareth, who says his Scottish high school experience was like "a really shitty, grey version of a John Hughes film" would have swapped places in a heartbeat. "It's just like Neighbours, right?".