If my daughter were starting tenth grade in the States, we’d be shopping from a tenth-grade school supply list. Here we used a Year 10 List of Requirements. In Australia, students are in different years rather than grades. And there are no references to freshman, sophomores, or juniors, although there are seniors. However, that term refers to students in Years 11 and 12. Also, my daughter doesn’t attend high school but rather secondary school.
Schools here are referred to as either primary or secondary. (The terms junior school and senior school are sometimes used as well.) Primary schools serve students from age five to around eleven or twelve, while students aged thirteen to around seventeen attend secondary school. There are no middle schools. Sometimes a secondary school is a college, which means it serves Years 11 and 12 only. After secondary school, students may attend university, or uni.
Here are some of the items from the requirements list:
- Binder book: This is a bound book of lined loose-leaf notebook pages. It is not spiral bound but drilled with holes to fit in a binder. They look more like our composition books. Similar products are called exercise books, which also contain lined notebook pages, but they are not drilled.
- Grid book: Like exercise books, these are bound, but they are filled with graph paper. We’d probably call them a graph paper notebook.
- Document wallet: Like a file envelope for us.
- Diary: Her old school in the States called this an agenda; it’s a daily planner.
You might also find yourself buying rubbers at Officeworks, which are what Australians sometimes call erasers.
School started in late summer here and we’ll soon be entering autumn, not fall. The first day at my daughter’s school was the fifth of February, which would be written here as 05/02/2019, putting the day before the month.
Her first stop that day was tutor group, which is loosely equivalent to our homeroom. In her school, however, the tutor plays a much more significant role than does a homeroom teacher. We have no real equivalent in the United States to what Australians mean by a tutor in the school. This person is kind of a combined teacher, mentor, and advocate.
The school subjects are much the same, except that my daughter takes Maths, not Math. Her assignments, tasks, and tests are part of her assessment. She is accessed with marks rather than grades.
At lunchtime, she goes to her school’s canteen instead of a cafeteria. Students purchase the food and leave with it, to eat somewhere else on the campus.
I’ve always enjoyed school shopping, particularly the ads. This ad from several years ago was one of my favorites back in the States. This one is an Australian example. Comparing the two led me to conclude that Australians are much nicer people.