After school yesterday, I left to go home to pick up my stuff, where my cooperative teacher would pick me up a little after 4. After putting my backpack, a pillow, and a blanket in the car, we headed to Glenaladale, about 30 minutes northwest of Bairnsdale. The students were making camp at the Coonawarra Farm Resort, just outside of the town, for the week. We passed pasture after pasture and crop fields after crop fields until we got there. I kept my eyes out for roo but was not lucky enough to see one. I still haven't seen a kangaroo since I've been here; I guess I'm just not looking hard enough. The scenery was beautiful and Victoria seems to have hidden treasures around every hilltop.
We arrived at the camp to find a large, one-story building. Each of the building had a multitude of rooms. The year 7s were divided by gender, the males had one side, and the females had the other. Since there was not enough room for all of the students in the camp’s facility, a few of them had to sleep the week in a tent. It worked out for a few people who were not opposed to the idea of spending the week outside. Where better to be outdoors than under the Southern Cross of the night sky.
I stayed the night in one of the cabins just across the path from the students in the main building. It was originally going to be John, the head of the “Maintenance Mafia” at BCS, as he put it, and I in a cabin that could host 8 people, but after an incident with two of the students, we acquired a few guests.
We had arrived at the camp in time for dinner. The dessert was the best part of the food! Chocolate cake! The rest of the dinner was what you would expect from a canteen in charge of feeding 130 year 7s: a few slices of beef, carrots, peas, and of course, gravy. It was funny watching the so-called “vegetarian” students fill their plate with carrots and peas only to smother them in the gravy. It didn’t make much sense to me.
After dinner, the students headed to the next room and organized into teams to participate in a game of trivia. I was asked to help keep score in the back. After each round, a group of us took each team’s answers and tallied up the correct responses. Team Transformers won.
After a little over an hour and a half of trivia, the students were told that they had only 30 minutes until they were expected to be in their rooms with the lights off. The following 30 minutes was full of loud children running around trying to get rid of their excess energy. I spent the time looking up at the night’s sky. I had seen the stars in the southern hemisphere before, but this was the first time that I truly took in as much as I could. It is an experience that you could not put into words if you tried. I managed to point out the Southern Cross and managed to find south with a little direction. The Milky Way galaxy was more visible than I had ever seen it. The strip of light from horizon to horizon seemed was much brighter without the light pollution of a city or large town nearby. I was told that the night sky gets more beautiful the farther into the bush you go.
After a little star gazing, I helped out with putting the students to sleep. There were a few who just didn’t even want to think about going to bed. Too bad! Students who were talking and being loud were told to stand outside until the rest of their cabin fell asleep or until we deemed it appropriate for them to return to their room. The boys, who would later end up in my cabin, were screwing around and caught the attention of one of the teachers. Since the students had been warned, they were forced to pack their bags and were told that they were going to be driven home. Instead, they were taken to John and my cabin and one of the students evicted me from my room. John and I were going to have separate rooms but with students in the same cabin, we had to share a room. The students assured us that they were not going to be any trouble. They weren’t.
After a few more rounds around the house and a few more gazes up at the stars, it was time for bed. As far as I know, there were not incidents throughout the night. I warned John that I might snore, he replied by telling me that he might chime in during the chorus. The thought of a duet echoing throughout the cabin seemed like just the right amount of punishment for the young men who decided to defy the rules and cease to go to bed.
I awoke early in order to get back to school in time for classes. After a few cups of coffee, we headed home. I arrived home in time to have a shower and change into school clothes.
I had a great day at school today and was able to get a lot of planning done for tomorrow which is going to be an extremely long day. I’ll be looking forward to a beer after school!
I want to spend much of the weekend working on planning the next few weeks of my classes. This will allow me to do some more travelling during the next few weekends.