Concentrate on the blackboard

Macleans College is situated in one corner of Macleans Park – a huge expanse of green lawn (about one square kilometre) flowing down to the sea. The school is in the white shape in the bottom left hand corner of the map.

Map of Macleans Park

The park is public property and contains sports fields, tennis courts and footpaths that criss-cross the area. One often sees mothers with prams or grannies with dogs going for a stroll.

The glorious view is visible from some of the classrooms of the school and I wonder how the science teacher’s sulphuric experiments can compete with this vista. I took the snaps this afternoon while waiting to fetch Jules.

The building in the extreme left hand corner is the start of the school – it is a classroom. Below you can see the rest of the college buildings with the park in the foreground. Ideally the two pics should bee seen in panorama.

Jules is in Upham House. The school uses the houses (or whanau) in the same way as Oxford and Cambridge uses colleges. They are more than ceremonial associations around sports days, the students spend most of their time in their house. It is a way of making the huge school (2,500 kids in total) more personal and manageable. There are eight houses each with  about 300 kids. These are again broken down into years, so each house has only two grade X classes (they use “years”, not “grades”). The two classes of 30 stay in one place and the teachers travel to the various houses for lessons.

Macleans View

The college itself, seen from a rise

There is also a house common room for recreation and everyone eats lunch together in these common rooms.

Uniforms are very simple and casual, with open leather sandals being worn in summer and black lace-ups in winter. The children generally look neat in blue.

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9 Responses to Concentrate on the blackboard

  1. Andrew v Zyl says:

    Yowsa…sounds profoundly idyllic! So proud that you are getting into your beach bum routine already! Go Steve! Do it for all of us! This particular lab rat has had a fairly torrid morning-some innocent Form 1 opened an file someone else had posted on a library PC which turned out to be a clip of two adults in congress. And this does not involve any trade unions…Oy vey. Noah starts school tomorrow-he’s over the moon while Lauren is a bit weepy. And Mia is almost standing on her own. Enjoy Peter Carey…seems you are finally getting to “read” whole books-an important milestone! I have just finished A question of blood by Ian Rankin. Love his stuff..although one can only subject oneself to so much Edinburgh fug…Enjoy and take care, Andrew

  2. Andrew v Zyl says:

    Yowsa…sounds profoundly idyllic! So proud that you are getting into your beach bum routine already! Go Steve! Do it for all of us! This particular lab rat has had a fairly torrid morning-some innocent Form 1 opened an file someone else had posted on a library PC which turned out to be a clip of two adults in congress. And this does not involve any trade unions…Oy vey. Noah starts school tomorrow-he’s over the moon while Lauren is a bit weepy. And Mia is almost standing on her own. Enjoy Peter Carey…seems you are finally getting to “read” whole books-an important milestone! I have just finished A question of blood by Ian Rankin. Love his stuff..although one can only subject oneself to so much Edinburgh fug…Enjoy and take care, Andrew

    • I would dearly like to know what the boy’s facial expression was, and how he put it to you that he had uncovered what he did. Spud springs to mind. I’d also be interested to know which verbal resources you used to steer him in a different direction. Great news about the kids. I also have an Ian Rankin to read but could not bring it along (baggage). So After I have done with Carey and my bedside read (Harlan Coben) I will take myself off to the library which we have joined and which allows one 35 items at one time (including DVDs, sheet music etc.) Inter-library loans are guaranteed to take less than 48 hours. Now is this heaven or WHAT?

  3. Sally says:

    What a setting ! Thanks for the glimpse – so far Auckland’s grass is looking greener…

    No doubt there’s an underbelly somewhere – given that it is still peopled by people and people are people… but maybe less so in NZ than in some other places.

    • There certainly is an underbelly and that is the profoundly narrow parameters of existence. No rich people, no poor people. Very few people who break the law – even by an inch – because the police watch every move you make. Today a cop gave me the hairy eyeball because I stopped in someone’s driveway to pick up Jules. I didn’t park, there was no one trying to gain access, it was not illegal, it lasted about 15 seconds, but it was just officially frowned upon.
      Yet there is a silver lining on this underbelly (!?) I spent some time looking at the performance schedules of the NZSO and the Auckland Philharmonic. Both of them perform regularly, their repertoire includes warhorses, new work by young composers (lots of it), edgy stuff (moderns and contemporaries) as well as family favourites. I am hoping to drag Jules to a concert at the Zoo on Friday which will be “greatest Hits” no doubt, but then a week or two down the line there’s Mahler, Shostakovich, and later still Tasmin Little will be playing Sibelius Violin Conc.
      Not a perfect society, but what pleasant environments in which to suffer the slings and arrows of social constraint.

      • Sally says:

        You’ve just done it – the music has convinced me. It is The Promised Land.
        By the way: has Arvo Pärt come your way ? Been smitten with his music for years, and last night YouTubed some of his choral works.

      • Gerald says:

        That traffic cop needs a bit more excitement in his life. I suggest you talk to the authorities there and organise an exchange program between NZ and SA. All the Kiwis will be required to manage traffic flow on Louis Botha for a few days. They’ll either be certifiable when they get back or have so much fun they may just stay and live off the bribes. Thanks so much for the detailed and colourful posts, they’re very entertaining it makes you guys seem much closer to home.

  4. I know and love Pärt. I belong to eMusic (very much cheaper than iTunes) and most of his music has been recorded through a label called ECM which is a champion of eMusic (predominantly smaller, independent labels) so I have downloaded oodles of good stuff by him. Interesting that Keith Jarrett is also an ECM exclusive – so lots of really good music available from them. An album costs $6 (R45) as opposed to R70 through iTunes. Their range is not as wide, but for exploration it is really good value. I currently have Pärt’s Te Deum (Estonian Phil Chorus) and also his Lamentate (Stuttgart RSO) waiting for my new credit so that I can download them.

    • Sally says:

      I should have known you had the inside track here !! Good for you. Been sitting with Pärt’s De Profundis last night.

      Did you see the little clip from a masterclass where he explains (tries to) what he’s done with the theme for Für Alina ? Extraordinary man.

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