The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Head of Middle School

At Scotch the Day Boys give a silent thanks to the Boarders for the 4 day mid-term break we get to enjoy.  Having a Boarding community within our school community has enormous benefits to us as a College and to our students in particular.  Within the classroom our boarding students help shift the horizons and broaden the contexts of almost every conversation we have.  Weather patterns, the environment, distance, access to goods and services, application of new technologies to name a few.  Boarders help our day students, and their teachers, recognise the different perspectives that exist in society; many not immediately visible in the metropolitan area.

As I write this article, I am watching the Year 7/8 Boarders return from their long weekend, many having had a 3, 4 or 5 hour car journey just to get home and then another 3, 4, or 5 hours today to return to school.  I have no doubt they enjoyed sleeping in their old bed, seeing family, seeing their pets, and just smelling the air that is unique to their part of the state.  There is reassurance in remaining connected to the things that underpin our lives.  We often talk about relationships as the fundamental underpinning of a positive, successful, enjoyable time at school.  Having a cohort of boarders in every year group offers both Day and Boarding boys the chance to build friendships, possibly through shared experiences on weekends such as we've just had, that not just connects our boys but has the chance to broaden the perspective to our state's depths and diversity as well.


One other group to give silent thanks to for our long weekend was the Labour Union movement in Australia during the mid 1850's.  It was the Stone Masons Union in particular who lobbied for many years for the 8 hour day:  8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours or rest or recreation.  One of their strongest and eventually most compelling arguments was that the 8 hours of rest and recreation made for a better society.  Working fathers in particular had more time to spend with families, with their children and contribute to their communities.  For many who had come from an indentured background, the 8 hours of recreation also gave them some time to study or learn skills that would increase their employment prospects and social opportunity.  With our connectivity to the workplace via mobile phone, email and internet, it is easier than it ever was to chew into family, community and even personal time.  So often we recognise that a satisfying life is about getting the balance right.  The 8-8-8 structure that underpinned our Labour Day long weekend is a useful annual reminder to keep an eye on how we are balancing the important things in our lives.