From Upper Dicker to a Life Down Under
Former Bede's Head of Year, Stud House Tutor and Teacher of Maths and ICT, Michael Krause, writes to us from his new home in Australia.
Travelling in a fried-out kombi on a hippy trail, head full of zombie... well sort of but not quite. And before you ask we are nowhere near Ramsay Street either! So, what makes one give up the lushness of England’s pastures green and swap them for the sun-bleached plains of Geelong in Victoria? That is the million-dollar question we still ask ourselves at times.
After 15 years within the Trust and 27 years of living in boarding schools between us, the Krause family moved to Australia’s biggest boarding school for a January start. With Catherine heading up The Hermitage House, and being a tutor in a boys’ boarding house myself, we both remain fully immersed in a thriving boarding community. This was something important to us wherever our next move from our respective schools would take us.
I have come to experience that teenagers are very similar the world over and all come with the same richness and complexities as those with whom I was fortunate to work with over my career at Bede’s. Boarding is unique in the sense that micro-communities need to not only function in their own physical environments but are also part of the wider school community as soon as they step out of the front door of their house. For some of the boarders I work with, boarding is an absolute necessity as their closest neighbour may be 30km away and the nearest regional centre with a school some 200km away.
Having completed my first term it has taken some getting used to - no half-term breaks, alongside a whole new language of acronyms for school life (Australians like to shorten anything they can get their hands on!), but these are only minor differences to overcome. The more relaxed atmosphere that is synonymous with life down under, has also taken some getting used to but is mostly for the good.
So, what do I miss? It is really simple: the people. This is what makes Bede’s such a unique warm and vibrant place to both live and work and I am lucky like so many others, to have spent a significant part of my life as part of the Bede’s family. The genuine care and understanding shown for each other and the lifelong friendships formed in Upper Dicker and Eastbourne, can never be replaced. Testament to this is that we have already had our first visit by an Old Bedian when Will Rossi (many will remember his mother Rachel from the school office) dropped in for a steak. As we speak we are packing our bags for a road trip to catch up with current Director of Hockey Kevin Johnson and former teacher and Crossways tutor Erin Hunter, who will be representing Wales and South Africa at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Like many who have moved on from Bede’s be it at the end of their school careers, or indeed their professional lives, being away from the community allows you to reflect on just what a remarkable place it is. I always look forward to hearing news and follow the relevant social media accounts with much interest. If you are ever in the area please look us up and pop in for a good old English brew cuppa or a 'Shrimp on the Barbie', whatever takes your fancy!