Walk a mile in their shoesDoug Conway
Parents become students on Swap Day
You never really understand someone until you walk a mile in his shoes. Or, as Atticus Finch put it in To Kill A Mockingbird, until you “climb in his skin and walk around in it”.
Swap Day gives Trinity parents a golden chance to do just that – to attend School in place of their Year 7 sons – and one mum got into character so thoroughly that she turned up wearing his school uniform.
“I thought, ‘I have one chance at this; I really have to immerse myself in the role – the uniform, the whole works,” said a khaki-clad Junie Hsieh, mother of Jonah (7WH), in between her English, Maths, Geography, and Christian Studies classes.
“It was a great experience. I think sometimes we parents forget what kids actually go through. I have learned so much, firstly just to dress properly – my hair, my attire. It has given me more insight into how they have to prepare in the morning. Socks are not that easy to put on and keep up. The uniform is part of the discipline bit it also takes effort.
“All the things they do are building blocks for them to be a better person.
“Swap Day has given me a better understanding of what it is to be a student and the pressure they face, with studies and socially as well.
“Now every time I talk to my son I think this experience will stay with me.”
John Allen, Head of the Middle School, said Swap Day gave parents the chance to experience the School from the inside, including the timetable and lessons, and to navigate their way around the campus.
“We believe it gives parents a wonderful insight into their sons’ experience,” he said.
“That insight builds relationships, it fosters and cultivates great relationships with teachers.
“It gives parents a greater understanding of the School and the way it operates, and a greater empathy with their sons.
“It gives them an opportunity to understand how they feel when they come home and to connect with them from a position of understanding.”
That thought resonated with Tim Chen, father of Ethan (7Ar), who said: “It was absolutely amazing – better than I ever could have imagined.
“I now understand the intensity level my son brings home. I gained a real appreciation of how nurturing the teachers and students are. What a wonderful environment and community this school provides.”
He described his time in Science, Maths and English as “a lot of fun”.
Lauren Keogh, mother of Joel (7Ta), said: “Swap Day has helped me visualise a day in the life for him.
“We went to a House meeting, where it was about humility, being all-round good citizens, how you conduct yourself. These are values we can take home and do the same thing.”
Her husband Anthony said: “It’s important as a parent to see how the kids navigate their way around the School. There were no computers in my day so I was impressed with the quality and methodology the teachers showed, using the technology in a professional way.”
He said he also learned a lot in woodwork “which will help me with maintenance I’m doing around the house”.
Click HERE to read the article by the Education Editor of Sydney Morning Herald who attended this year’s Swap Day.