Another year over…

by Josh Barnstable

Wheeling the orange bin over to my locker, I carefully squeezed into the small space along with the bin, in front of a tower of lockers. I opened the top locker on the right, next to the greystone wall. Cobwebs had covered my locker, and a few Daddy-Long Legs had occupied a small space in my locker for the second semester, but I didn’t mind. It kept the flies away anyway. I opened my locker door to a rather tidied mess. I took my time to look at a one thing. My maths book. Something I’d grown to despise, full of linear equations, simultaneous equations, fractions and, worst of all, algebra. I contemplated asking one of the stray year 7’s for their lighter so I could set fire to it, but I thought that was too much. I put my arm into the inside of the locker that had been my own haven for a year now, and sweeped everything out into the bin, and, with that, I knew Year 10 was over.

It’d been an interesting year. The work was noticeably more difficult, and everything seemed more rushed. It was as if classes were 10 minutes shorter. That isn’t a bad thing though. Double periods still felt like an eternity. The first semester is a blur, I can barely remember it. One highlight that sticks out was my Careers class. With a foreign teacher that can barely talk English, it was made quite interesting by the slack Year 10’s, and there was never a dull moment. Things even escalated into a chair fight once. But, despite all this, I still managed to organise a week’s worth of Work Experience at the Shepparton News with the school’s career advisor (a different person to the aforementioned foreigner).

Another good moment from Semester One was the first English class of the year. Every year you get an influx of new teachers, and when friends and I saw ‘G. Peters’ next to Advanced English, we immediately thought of some old, cranky guy named Gary. We were quite stunned when a young female by the name of Georgia walked in, and I think I share the same view as most students at school when I say she’s the best teacher at Numurkah. We still call her Gary though…

Semester Two is more vivid in my mind. I missed a large chunk of the third term due to having pneumonia, so I didn’t get into the swing of things until about week four. I soon learned that Tuesday was to be my best day. Double P.E in the morning, double English with Gary in the morning/afternoon, then double Maths to finish off, which wasn’t too bad with fellow Almanacker Jeff Paterson for all of those classes. We soon labeled Tuesday as ‘our day’. P.E had the best moments though, ranging from competitive games of Dodgeball against the Year 9’s to student-teachers arriving and forming a great bond immediately with Jeff and I. Our actual P.E teacher, Cam Byrne, is leaving Numurkah at the end of 2010, so with last Tuesday being the last time we’ll see him, it was quite sad to shake his hand and leave his office for the final time.

While Tuesday was the day I looked forward to the most, Thursday was the complete opposite. Why? Advanced (see below) and Maths in the morning, then four periods of Science to finish. The final two periods seemed to take forever to get through, and when that bell went to signal the end of the day, it was one of the happiest times of the week, knowing it was the longest time between my upcoming Thursday science-fest.

With the aforementioned Advanced class, it involved building confidence, so it was generally for the more timid people of the school. It was mostly a bludge class, no serious work got done, but I felt like I got the most out of it compared to any other subjects. I never imagined I’d be diving off a 2m-high tree stump (pretty high when you’re standing up on it!) into the arms of my classmates. Thankfully they didn’t drop me. We also had the chance to undergo five weeks of community service at any place we wanted within Numurkah. I chose to teach English at my old primary school. I was with a prep class for four of the five weeks (I pulled a sickie the day after the Almanac launch), letting them read to me, and teaching them the alphabet and how to write and spell certain words. It was fulfilling, and I know that I have that option as a teacher if journalism and radio host falls through.

It wouldn’t be a school year if it wasn’t full of controversy though. My own group of friends endured quite a big speed-bump at the start of term four, and we still haven’t properly recovered. And everyone from NSC will know of the ‘mirrors’ scandal. That is all I will say on that matter.

But now, all those memories will fade as the summer holidays start and Year 11 begins. Year 10 was a fairly easy year; it wasn’t a great stepping stone into VCE I’ll admit. But, not to worry about VCE just yet. I’ve nine weeks of freedom. So as the last bit of scrap falls from my locker to the orange bin, I walk out of the school, feeling on top of the world.

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Great piece Josh.
    I myself have considered the path of teaching although i hear the pay is pretty lousy and you have to put up with certain students!
    One of my teaches told me never to become a teacher, so i think ill take her advice :)

  2. “One of my teaches”…?

    You’d have to learn how to spell first, Danni.

  3. Barney,

    About the G.Peters thing, I have a similar story…

    When I was in year 9, I looked at the timetables on the first day of school and it listed my new maths teacher as being “Jan Borchardt”. Naturally, when I entered maths for the first time I expected a woman, but I almost jumped back in surprise as I saw an intimidating 6’6 man. At first I thought it was a sub teacher, but no, he was our maths teacher – he was Dutch and Jan is the Dutch equivalent of John.

    We played a lot of silent ball in that class.

  4. Jake 'Cobba' Stevens says

    Yeah, good one Josh, sounds just like my year too. Very relatable, but I don’t think teaching is the right path for me either! I feel a little uneasy about VCE too, because of a pretty lazy year 10, but I hope I’ll pull through anyway. Nice work.

  5. Thanks for the comments guys.

    Danni, I second Gigs.

    Adam, it’s always an intruiging moment just before you meet your new teacher for certain subjects.

    Thanks Cobba, the high cost of VCE is the most alarming to me at the moment..

  6. ‘Our day’ was my favourite aswell, Gary is easily the best teacher and it’s sad to see burna but atleast we dominated soccer and everything with him. Good stuff Barney summed the year up well.

  7. Loved playing indoor soccer, Burna scored like 52 goals last Tuesday ahaha.

  8. It was awesome how we got the 12th man soccer names going ‘Barnski throws the ball up, Jeffski goes bang and sends it down to Burnavich, Burnavich bends it like Beckham and SCORES!!’ lol

  9. Ahhh it was a typo people! :P
    Maybe i can be a chef! i just made lunch for the family without burning down the kitchen! :)

  10. Beautiful, beautiful article Josh. Superbly written and great content.

    If you thought year 10 was full on, just wait til you hit VCE! I now expect articles at the conclusion of years 11 and 12 also! :P

  11. Thank you Susie, much appreciated.

    It shouldn’t be too long until the end of year 11. I have 38 weeks of school until I finish year 12. :(

  12. 38 weeks of school until you FINISH? It’s way more than that Barney.

  13. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Hey Josh,

    what’s Ulupna Island like these days. Used to go camping there every year in my single days. Beautiful spot.

  14. 12: Sorry, established that with Susie last night on MSN, must be 38 weeks until year 11 is finished.

    13: Phil, I actually haven’t been out to Ulupna in quite a while, Mum and Dad have though. It’s where we got our pet kangaroo from I think. But it is a beautiful place, I went there on grade 3 camp, was beautiful to eat damper for breakfast watching all the kangaroos and koalas wake up. It’s only a 20-30 minute drive from my place as well.

Leave a Comment