Day in the life - Richard Fisher

14th November 2008 at 00:00
Richard Fisher is a science teacher at Oxley College in Burradoo, New South Wales, Australia

Cycling to work along the river, I'm quite likely to see kangaroos, pelicans and the occasional lethal snake. In winter, it can be well below zero, but leaving the car at home means my wife can get out and about and take our two daughters to the local primary.

The school day here is fairly similar to the UK. Children are children wherever you go, but generally I find the pupils more courteous than at home. Breaktime, or recess, is different too - a civilised ritual where we all sit on the balcony drinking tea.

I tend to get more free periods here than back in the UK, but today I'm unlucky and get a "lobster". That's what they call cover lessons over here, though I have no idea why. The whole language thing is a constant source of amusement. I sometimes use wireless routers in my lessons, but I've had to learn to call them rowters because to root means something quite rude out here.

The other thing that still amazes me is the enthusiasm for sport. Because of the distances involved, you sometimes set off for away matches at 4.30am - but no one seems to mind. Today is Wednesday, which means the afternoon is given over to sport and everyone wears their kit, even during morning lessons.

I inherited the under-15 rugby team from my exchange, which is a joke because I don't know the first thing about the game. But the attitude is "good on yer" for having a go, and I've been helped out by some rugby dads. To them, I'm living proof that poms don't have a clue about sport.

I get home between 4.30 and 5.30pm and then there's time to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. We've got a trampoline and swimming pool in the garden, which my two daughters love, and at weekends we head off to the beach. I feel a bit sorry for my exchange partner, living in my small three-bed detached house in Oxfordshire. We swapped everything - house, car and even cats.

Richard Fisher, 41, was talking to Steven Hastings. He is teaching in Australia on a one-year exchange organised by the League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers (LECT).

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