23 August, 2012

Something different about Grade Eight

Our eldest son started eighth grade today. There are a couple of similarities, but numerous differences between the situation our son is in and what it was like for us, his parents, at the same life stage.

When we were growing up eighth grade was the start of high school and in almost all cases required changing schools. Back then in Queensland we had primary schools (1-7) and high schools (8-12). We also had uniforms. Don't you love these photos?

For both of us, this was the first and only school change we made in our school careers. For me, it meant going from a small school (one class of 30 year sevens) to a large school (200+ grade eights in nine classes). It was also the first time we'd had to shift classrooms for all our subjects.

Our son has already shifted "schools" five or six times (depending on whether you count part-time home schooling while he was a Japanese school) since he started grade one (only four "schools", though). He's gone to school in two different countries. He's experienced three different country's schooling systems and school in two different languages.

His current school, the Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ), has an elementary, middle and high school section. So today wasn't as big a transition as David and I made in the 80s, because middle school goes from grades six to eight. Next year he'll enter high school, but he won't change schools, just floors. He doesn't wear a uniform (though he did for 1 1/2 years in Australian schools, and the half a year he spent in Japanese kindergarten between being in Grade 1 in Australia and entering Grade 1 in a Japanese school). He's experienced shifting classrooms and teachers over the last two years.

Perhaps the biggest differences are perhaps deeper, however. A new grade nine teacher at the school made these observations on her Facebook status this afternoon:

  1. All of the students in grade nine except one felt they could communicate in at least two languages.
  2. There are very large number of students whose parents work in some type of missionary capacity here in Japan
  3. Probably more than half of the students have parents that are different nationalities than each other and the students are proud of that fact.
This is a very different school to the ones that David and I entered when we started Grade eight. But it is also a wonderful school and an amazing environment for our kids to be growing in.


Anonymous said...

Did You take a photo for his eventual memory bank in the future? Jenny F

Wendy said...

Not yesterday, but I did this morning Mum. I'll put it on Facebook (I don't post their photos on this blog.)