I'm from Melbourne originally. My son, Sean lives there, currently working as a project manager, for a power company. Lyndsey, my daughter, lives in Canberra, doing her PhD in Environmental Science at ANU.
I grew up in Devon Meadows, outside Cranbourne, ~40km south east of Melbourne. Dad (Ray) had bought 3 acres of scrub, and built a house. It was a bit tough on Mum, (Carole), with three boys under 5 years old, plenty of black dirt, tank water, and no car or licence. Stephen, Mark and I had a ball playing in the bush.
I went to Devon Meadows Primary School, followed by Doveton High School. When Stephen and Mark, were zoned to Koo Wee Rup High School, I switched there for Year 10. I went on to study Applied Science at Melbourne University and did a Diploma of Education at Melbourne Teachers' College. In the 1990's, I completed my Master of Education back at Melbourne University.
I've been a teacher for all my working life. I began, as a foundation staff member, at Cranbourne High School, where I met my former wife, Sheryl, in 1976. After 8 years there (about 3 too long) I was given one of the opportunities of a lifetime, by Frank Gray, the the Principal of the new Langwarrin Post Primary School, to be one of the foundation staff members there.
I had a fabulous year there, and learned more about teaching and education than in the previous eight years. Then, after a free trip to the U.S. and Brazil, courtesy of Rotary, what appeared to be an incredible school in Hiroshima lured me away. However, it turned out to not live up to the publicity, and my family and I were back within a year. I love the city and Japan, and still have friends there.
We were an amazing group of personalities at Langwarrin, and the core group of staff "super-nova-ed" after about six years. I moved on to Ballam Park Secondary College after 8 years (with a 6-month stint at the Narre Warren School Support Centre). It was a very conservative place, but, as Curriculum Coordinator, and with the support of Principal, Michael Derum, I was able to effect some changes, and we began to increase our enrolments. Then, most of us Ballam Park staff were "shafted" in the merger to create Karingal Park Secondary College, and I picked up a job as Professional Development Coordinator at Springvale Secondary College.
Springvale is one of the most multi-cultural schools in Australia. Most of the staff were conservative, but it "worked". It was a very good school with the kids.
After a year and a half, I had personal problems, and took advantage of another opportunity to teach overseas, at Bali International School. I worked with some wonderful people there, and all, except two, are gone in only four years. I was forced out, by some of the most unpleasant people I've ever had the misfortune to encounter, in the "ethnic cleansing" that followed the appointment of a new director. I did a range of things, including freelance writing, editing for the Bali Echo magazine, being the National Trainer for the Indonesian Cricket Foundation (and Captain of the Bali International Cricket Club) and selling advertising space in the East Timor Sun newspaper.
Helen and I had met, as colleagues, in Bali, and we were offered jobs as teachers at Sekolah Ciputra. Helen successfully applied for the vacant primary principal job before we actually began there, and, after 8 months, I was offered the newly-created secondary equivalent in the High School. We both love seeing the way the school is developing into an "international"-style school, and, in particular, we are continually amazed at the enthusiasm with which most of our Indonesian colleagues are developing as professional educators.
Being on the wrong side of 50 now, I hope that I'm getting a bit wiser. I'm certainly trying keep fitter, manage my weight and keep on top of things physically and emotionally. In Indonesia, expatriates live the lives of the rich and famous. It isn't all "beer and skittles", but it is always interesting, and, professionally and financially rewarding.