Saturday, 25 January 2014

A few quotes worth thinking about on Australia Day

Australia Day, is celebrated on January 26th ,  and as it falls on a Sunday in 2014, Monday 27th is also a public holiday. It  is a time when the whole nation joins in the joy of being a country which most people in the world applaud and which other nationalities consistently vote the country they would most like to reside in. All around Australia there are celebrations including, flag raising ceremonies, citizenship ceremonies, marches, plenty of free entertainment in parks and for most cities a spectacular firework display to finish off the proceedings!
Australia Day was originally named Foundation Day celebrating the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip sailed into Sydney Cove with the 11 convict ships which comprised the First Fleet. Primarily European focused, the celebration did not really recognise the aborigines whose home it had been for thousands of years. As time has moved on Australia Day began to celebrate all the states of Australia joining together to become one nation and subsequently it is now more to do with the celebration of what it means to be Australian.
Australians now hail from a multitude of backgrounds but there are some values which are held to be essentially Australian particularly, striving for success, battling against the odds, mateship, fair play, supporting the underdog, a love of humour and valuing the great outdoors. 

A few quotes below are worth thinking about on Australia Day:

Those who lose dreaming are lost - Australian Aboriginal proverb

If you go out for a big night and by some misadventure you end up in a prison cell, you can count on your best friend to bail you out, but your best mate will be in there besides you Australian observation

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour – anon

Australia's greatest strength is that a tradesmen and CEO can sit down at a pub, share a beer and learn from each other-anon

Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and have their shoes – anon

They who came here in chains, who were lashed while they worked in convict gangs at Port Arthur. They who like many others were driven through starvation or oppression from their home-lands to the shores of this new country, Australia. They, who for a multitude of reasons that hopefully, I or my children will never witness or experience, decided not to harbour grudges or discontent but rather to look to the future. They who embraced this country as their own and said; "let's get on with it, this is a new land, this is our home. Dennis O'Keeffe – Musician

What rugby league teaches you is that everything is temporary. The dead-set certainty is that there's adversity coming as well as success. You may as well make the most of it while you can. Matthew Elliott - football coach

Never complain, never explain personal motto of Kerry Packer – billionaire

A champion team will always beat a team of champions - Early Collingwood Magpies teams
Unless you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't happen Phillip Adams - journalist

As a leader you must celebrate life, you must celebrate success and paradoxically, you must celebrate heroic failures Lieutenant General D.M. Mueller

All our best heroes are losers Richard Glover - radio presenter

The true Aussie battler and his wife thrust doggedly onwards: starting again, failing again, implacably thrusting towards success. For success, even if it is only the success of knowing that one has tried to the utmost and never surrendered, is the target of every battler Michael Page & Robert Inapen - authors

It's dead easy to die; it's the keeping on living that's hard - Douglas Mawson - Scientist and polar survivor

You never want an Australian with his back against the wall. You put any 12 blokes together and you'll get a job done. Whether it's getting a bogged four-wheel-drive off the beach or standing in front of a cricket wicket and making sure we're in a dominant position. It's the same dog, different leg action, so to speak - Matthew Hayden - cricket player

It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies Arthur Calwell - Politician

If the guy next to you is swearing like a wharfie he's probably a billionaire. Or, just conceivably, a wharfie - Australian observation

Being Australian is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV -anon

Friday, 10 January 2014

Private Schools in Australia: is it worth it?

Whether you are moving to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or anywhere else in Australia, if you have children you will be wondering about the education system in Australia. One of your questions may be ‘Is it worth putting my children in a private school?’ It is a big investment. Some elite private schools can cost over $30,000 a year for some grades. You want to do the best you can for your children and when you see results tables, facilities, a who’s who of success stories who went through the school you may think that this is a must have option. But is it?

Some parents forget that not all schools suit all children and knowing what is the best school for your child is not always a case of throwing a lot of money at it. Private schools usually, but not always, have smaller classes, usually but not always have better facilities and usually but not always have really good teachers. The four main things to decide are whether a school suits your child intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.  If your child is not at all academic, for example, but an amazing sportsperson they may feel crushed by a private school on a tiny campus that is driven by academic results. There may be a state school in the same area which runs terrific sports programs, has great sports fields and would allow your child to thrive in an environment where there are lots of sporty children enjoying great camaraderie. Not all private schools will tick off all the boxes for your child.

While all schools follow the same curriculum set down by the state, teaching styles can be wildly different and this too is a factor. Check this carefully. Also do not assume that every child who goes to private school will get fantastic marks as universities are full of students who did not go to private school and yet received great final scores. Make sure you have a good look at the school in action, look at how the teachers address the students and the relationship the students have with the teachers. Also take note of how the students treat each other, how they care for the environment they are in, what is up on the walls, what clubs and after school activities they offer and whether they are encouraged to give back to the community. Is this a community which encourages parental involvement or not. How are international students treat? Would you like your child to turn out like the children you see at the school? Are the students happy?

Before deciding on the private school environment also check what opportunities your child will have to use the wonderful facilities. Very often the sports and music facilities will only be used when the child gets into secondary school and so your fee is also paying for something which your child has no access to. Make a point of finding out about the state schools in the area where you would like to live and ask the same questions. Even though the building might not look so beautiful you may find that they run amazing programs which would suit your child’s needs really well. Your child will also be making friends with children who are local to your home whereas private schools have children who are coming to school from a much wider area.

Australia has some amazing private schools which stand up against the world’s best but it also has some amazing state schools which also stand up to the world’s best. Bottom line: do your homework!