You know there’s a lot to be said about a boys school education. All my american friends will probably go on and on about harry potter, gays, etc. But unless you’ve gone to a boys only school – particularly one with a big heritage, you can never undersstand the difference. Maybe im a snob for this, but the only high school education worth getting is at a boys school. I’ve taught at co-ed schools (both in SA & the USA) and I can say there is lot lacking.
This weekend I was at the SACS water polo tournament – which is for boys schools. One of the things that stood out to me (and something that I never noticed was missing in America) was simple etiquette. When I walked past any kid, they ALL greeted me (“Good morning, sir,” etc) they waited at doors and let me through first, they shook my hand when we got introduced. Simple things that I’ve realized are pretty rare in America. (This is not a dig on America). Now maybe its a reflec action after years of indoctrination, but when you notice that the kid is staring you in the eyes with a solid and sincere greeting you will realize thats why a boys school education is best.
One of the things I think you learn at a boys school is about respect and social behaviour. Sure there are always the odd bad apples and miscreants that went to a boys school, but on the whole you can spot a boys school old boy a mile away. When i was at UCT you could instantly see who was boys school educated and who attended a co-ed school (even a rich private co-ed school). My co-ed friend put it down to arrogance, but I dont think its that. It has a lot to do with pride. Pride in where we went to school. Pride in how we do things. And Appreciation. Appreciation I being given the opportunity to go to a good school and for the sacrifice our parents/family made to get us & keep us there. Its also about putting your neck on the line when you see something is wrong – like the lone SACS kid this weekend that shouted at a bunch of random kids watching the tournament to keep quiet while the headmaster was addressing the crowd. Most kids wouldn’t do it, but a boys school kid will have the guts to stand up and do whats right. Co-ed school kids tend to do whats cool far more often than whats right.
If I hadnt gone to my school, I wouldnt have gotten into water polo. So for me thats the #1 thing I got from my high school days. But I also made some of the best friends in the world. Every time I wear a tie, i think about every day i had to wear my tie in school, and how if it looked crooked or wasnt done up to my neck line I’d get a talking to (or worse). Sounds pedantic. But thats why I like it. I hated it when I was there, but I appreciate all the virtues it taught me.
A few years back I was getting a ride to university with a fellow old boy (and an ex player of mine) Scott Forrest. We were driving the back roads to avoid the traffic and we took a short cut through our old school. On the way we went past a boy who’s shirt was hanging out and his tie was undone. Scotty yanked the brakes, got out and almost ripped this kids head off. He got the name of the kid, and phoned one of the masters at the school. I found this whole thing incredibly funny, but also it highlights a point. Is wearing the uniform in the greater scheme of things that important – not really. But the uniform represents the school and it lets people know where you’re from. We are all proud of it. I’m sure 99% of all the old boys still have their old school blazer and their old tie. I do. When i go to watch rugby I make sure I wear a smart shirt and my old boys tie. I want people to know im an old boy. And I want my kids to learn that.
Thats my opinion for the week. Later this week i’ll be blogging about my internal check ups.