We all know that school and adult life can be difficult. However, Kupe House Leader Mr. Farr is here to give insight as to what it’s like to be a House Leader at Macleans College and offer us helpful words of wisdom to help navigate this game we call life.

Growing up, who inspired you?

My role model while growing up was a high school physical education teacher whom I had for three years in a row. He was quite a good athlete, and I liked the way he dealt with people. I think it was the way he presented himself and the way he was able to form really good relationships with all types of people which was most inspiring.

What is the image you would like your students to have of you like?

A lot of the same things I just talked about: that they would remember me as forming good relationships with them first and foremost, and that I’m fair and care about them as human beings, not just students at school.

Did you feel pressure when you were at high school, and do you have advice for students today who are?

Being truthful, I wasn’t a great student so I didn’t feel a lot of pressure. I felt a lot of pressure to live up to my parents’ expectations. I think they quickly realised I wasn’t—at that time in my life—cut out for academics so, no, I didn’t feel a lot of pressure. I sort of lived my life the way I wanted to; I guess that’s one part of my advice to people—to live your life the way you want to, and make sure you’re happy. The academics and their importance came to me a little bit later, after which I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed.

Do you have advice for students today who are experiencing pressure?

In our community at Macleans College, I think a lot of students do feel the need to live up to their parents’ expectations. But I think it should be something about which students should be having an ongoing conversation with them—”this is what makes me happy, and this is what I’m interested in, and this is the pathway I’d like the take”—so it is a conversation all along and that at Year 13 it’s not different ideas of what the next step is going to be. Most importantly, no matter what pathway you choose, you can always change. I had no idea of going to university when I was sixteen, seventeen, even eighteen, and I was going down a different pathway in my life. There are no dead ends, so you can always try something new and try and improve the situation you’re in.

What are some of the hobbies or interests you like to do in your spare time?

Most of my spare time is taken up by my children. I live on a lifestyle block so I spend a lot of time landscaping and working outside, so my favourite thing to do outside of spending time with my family is probably to drive my tractor, work with my hands, and do things that are completely different from what I do here so that I have a real mental break from school life. It’s a real shift, so I like to put on my gumboots, get dirty, plant trees, chop firewood, anything outside when the weather’s nice; that is what really gives me a break.

When you were younger, did you think about becoming a teacher one day?

Absolutely not—it didn’t cross my mind whatsoever. I did really respect and look up to the teacher I had in high school, and, seeing the lifestyle that he lived and the type of person he was, I thought that teaching would’ve been pretty cool. But it certainly didn’t cross my mind at the time, and it would probably shock a lot of my past teachers that I did end up being a teacher. I did not like high school at the time, so to turn around and go into teaching may have been shocking to some people. One of the biggest reasons I’m in it is for the relationships with people.

Interview conducted by Nicole Lai and Palash Manthalkar. Transcript published on 21/09/2020, with minor edits in the interests of concision and clarity. Header image supplied by The Collegian.

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