02 2014
Big Wave Class Teacher

Big Wave Class Teacher – Jodi’s Journal

The classroom is quiet and still, Summer-charged rays are pouring in with a vengeance through the clean windows onto the empty desks and chairs. The weekend quiet feels like the eye of a cyclone, knowing how much energy will pour through that door on Monday morning! I am one week in to my second year of teaching in the primary school where my own brown Koala sandals trod the corridors and mallee scrub school grounds as a child. It means a lot to me that several of the students in my class are the children of my own primary school friends. Last week the class proudly named themselves The Big Wave Class, listing the qualities of big waves that they aspire to.

One of these qualities was persistence because, they said, ‘A Big Wave Class Never Gives Up’. So with that in mind, today my boyfriend and I have very persistently hung blue streamers to wire to create a 3 dimensional ‘Big Wave’ at the back of the classroom to inspire the kids when they walk in on Monday morning!

Last year was without doubt the hardest year of my life, as I faced the reality of losing my close friend – my brother – suddenly and tragically. I left Ceduna at 19 to follow my journey as a singer songwriter from Byron Bay to Sydney to Canada, but I always returned home to my family and friends once a year or more. Knowing the number of times over the years that my brother so enthusiastically tried to persuade me – and his other sisters – to move back home to his much-loved Ceduna, it is with painful irony that I drive his favourite old dirt roads again. Now I can’t drop in to see him for a hug, that familiar laid-back smile and the kind of heart to heart chat that was only possible with the insightful and humorous character that was my brother.

Knowing how much he valued this place and his family, it does gives me a sense of peace to know that I’m exactly where I need to be right now, close to the land and family that he loved so much.

Back in our hometown, my brother’s memory is real and I can process my grief head on as each wave rises out of the landscape of my days. In Sydney, I couldn’t see him in the landscape – walking amongst city concrete, my brother was a number to call on my iPhone. But here at home, my brother is everywhere; I can see him windsurfing on the bay, digging postholes on the fencelines, surfing on the reefs, covered in grain dust at the silos. I cry. I yell out at the big sky from the middle of Wintry empty paddocks. I scream into the wind off the ocean. I let it all out until I can face the next day with an open heart.

The Big Wave ripples under the air conditioner draft in the quiet classroom. In many ways, this makeshift Big Wave of crepe streamers is as much an inspiration to me as it is to the kids.