O. Ohhhhhhhh my God.

O.

Oh no. Dear blog. Please forgive me. I was supposed to populate you with words ages ago but it's only been tonight that I have found a spare moment. 

Today I went with my wife, Mim, to my parent's 60th wedding anniversary celebrations at the Deckhouse in  Woolwich, near Hunter's Hill in Sydney. What a great place for such a great occasion. A milestone in anyone's eyes. 60 years is a long time to spend with someone else - that is, unless you love them, then it's perhaps never long enough. I believe that the love my parents share is what keeps them living longer and stronger as dad is now over 90 years old.

When he was a young boy, so he tells me, it was common practice to have children of different ages in the same classroom. This was due to the lack of good teachers available to teach and was all too common in small country towns and remote areas. It was also common for children to leave school and go to work to help the family. In more recent times, young people in the 1970s and 1980s left school at an early age just to get a job and make money, giving away the opportunity to gain a "proper" education and gain the knowledge necessary to progress in life.

The issue with this argument is that most of my friends actually left school early at age 15 or 16, progressed in life rather well, having gained employment almost immediately after finishing school, learned a practical trade or got trained on the job to received valuable and significant knowledge in an informal manner instead of the conventional, structured way of learning things at school. In reality, succeeding in life without having to go through the long education process that is customary these days and expected of school children today.

But, at what age is it acceptable to leave school? The school system is not for everyone, and if you are a student in a remote country town, where classes at school are mixed, where young people are put into groups based on their commonalities due to low student numbers and the availability of teachers to form a standard class, so it is easy to understand why a student may not want to continue learning via the typical school system available.

NESA has addressed this situation by putting children in "stages" instead of "years" at school where each stage corresponds to a two-year period. Applicable to me, as I am learning to be a 'secondary' school teacher, life at school begins with stage 4, corresponding to years 7 and years 8, and the students are aged 12-13-14 and in special circumstances, even 11-year-old children enter high school during stage 4. 

But, what if it was the other way around? By this, I mean, imagine if a 15-year-old child entered stage 4? Would this be the same as a mature aged student entering university to do a 'masters' in his late 40s? Are there any rules about how old you are to get an education? What are the boundaries? What are the parameters that society or cultures use to measure what is right and what is perceived as being difficult or not "to standards"? 

Remember the setting in the movie "To Sir With Love" from 1967? Connwell (2016) suggests that patience, humour, imagination and humanity, the teacher is able to overcome great odds. Watch the trailer and also take time to read the synopsis from Sony Pictures about the story:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLS16qQclV8

How old does a student need to be to know what is right and what is wrong? Who bears the responsibility of learning? How do we measure learning or the teaching that goes on in the classroom? When you compare Sydney Poitier, the teacher, with Dustin Hoffman, a student... ...responsibility comes with maturity - as shown here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsdvhJTqLak

It's important to understand that maturity will bring the dilemmas of the heart and the essence of emotions, feelings, sentiments, attitudes, perception and many other human traits that encompass the personality of the human being and the relationships that make us. Come the full circle - Professional Standard 1: know your students and how they learn:

https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards



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