Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Going from a public school to an all-girl's Catholic school

I grew up going to a government funded public school in Alberta. Life was pretty good. We payed about $100 every year for the school to buy us basic supplies, and the rest came out of our taxes. We had gym five days a week and had a pick of your basic subjects once we got to junior high - home ec., technology, French, art, music, etc. Once a year, we got a ski trip to the local ski hill and a free pancake breakfast. All in all, it wasn't a bad way to go through school. 

Yes, funding was always an issue. As one of my science teachers would often say, "I've created this experiment out of our non-existent science budget for you to enjoy". But for me, it was never really an issue. One of the major problems was class sizes, though. In fifth or sixth grade (I can't remember which) my French class had thirty-nine kids in it (with one teacher), but most classes wouldn't more than about thirty. (Note that I never got to a Canadian high school, though.)

I entered Australian high school in grade nine. In Australia, the schools are either state funded (free), Catholic (the student pays a lot) or private (the student pays a whole lot). Public schools don't board (or at least that I know of), so kids who live out on properties, in little towns in the middle of nowhere or from the islands up North board at a Catholic or private school. This is why our school years are set up so differently from in Canada, because the two or three weeks of vacation in between terms allows the boarders to go back home.  

It took me quite a while to get used to the new school. For one, it was Catholic, so I went from a school where I only discussed God with my Christian friends to a school where we had to talk about God at least two or three days a week. Plus, it was Catholic, so those traditions took a while to get used to and to understand. There were uniforms to get used to (the clothes, the shoes, and the no jewelry, makeup or nail polish rules) as well as the house system (my sister and I were so thrilled when we found out that they had houses like in Harry Potter. The colours were the same and everything! (I still find it funny today because I've always said that I'd be put in Hufflepuff if I went to Hogwarts, and I got put in the yellow house.))

It's also a girl's school, which I found I really enjoy. While there's still drama (you can't get away from it), there's less of it. (We do get shared classes, where some girls go to the boys school and some boys go to our school for a subject, but you have to chose to be in that subject and a class is typically shared if the numbers are lower. Neither my sister or I took a shared class, but when he's older my brother can if he wanted.) I love the atmosphere of it being all girls, too. I definitely do miss going to a co-ed school without question, but given the choice I'd go to a girl's school. Call me crazy :)

It's also near the beach, so no complaints there. 





One of the things that I've found that's really awesome is that the school will work with you. In my old public school, they had too many kids to deal with to worry about individuals - which was totally understandable - but here class sizes are smaller which gives teachers more time to help individuals. For example, most classes have around twenty students, but some are less. I'm the only one in my French class (but I only get the teacher for half of my lessons) and there's about nine girls in my Math C class*. However, it's a lot more expensive than a state school, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm in high school or if it's my school, but there's a lot of pressure to do well.

Overall? I love going to my school and I loved going to my old school in Canada, but as with everything there's pros and cons. 

* In Queensland, there are four levels of math classes you can take. From grade seven to ten, there's three levels, lowest (there isn't really a name for this one), core or extension, and you move through the levels depending on your needs. Once you hit grade eleven, you have a choice of four levels - prevocational (basic math, the only non-OP** math), Math A (core), Math B (extension) and Math C (which is harder than Math B). I'm not sure what prevoc does, but Math A does stuff with money, directions and things like geometry and probability. Math B moves into the more complicated math, with stuff like radians, trigonometry, algebra and basic calculus. Math C is more about the abstract and totally not useful to real life, with complex numbers, vectors and matrices. If you take Math C then you have to take Math B.

** If you take five OP subjects (typically harder than non-OP subjects) and sit the QCS test at the end of grade twelve, then you are eligible to go into university (or you can sit the test without doing the subjects and get a rank, which is kinda the same thing). You can take up to seven subjects. It's a lot more confusing and complicated than that, but that's the basics. They're changing it again in a few years so that you don't take the QCS test, but I'm not sure what they're replacing it with.

2 comments:

  1. Hmm, this is an interesting experience I've never had, and it's definitely something interesting to think about. I don't think I could ever stand to go to an all-girls school ever (not such limited perspectives! :O ) but I am going to a religiously-based school this fall, so I'm interested to see how that will turn out. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts—they certainly enlightened me!

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    1. Yeah, I didn't think I'd like it either, but I found I really enjoy the atmosphere, even if it took a long time to get used to. Good luck at your new school!

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