It is just after 2 pm here in Adelaide and the temperature is currently 41 degrees Celsius (105 F). We are having a short heatwave following a longer one two weeks ago that saw the temperature here get to 44.5 deg. C (112 F) on Wednesday, January 15. My youngest son’s basketball game was cancelled for this morning and all around Adelaide, air conditioners are on the go, providing cool refuge from the dry heat.
Heat is often a factor in the start of the school year here in South Australia. It cranked up to 43 deg C (109 F) on Tuesday for the first day of the 2014 school year. At my school, we have fully air conditioned buildings and a policy that restricts outside play for students beyond a prescribed temperature. But kids need that chance to run around and be active and this restriction to the indoors produces students who can become ratty and disruptive when “cooped up inside”. I remember a record fortnight of 40 deg C + temperatures in 2009, and I still feel that my class were never as settled as they could have been because of that start, and their enforced indoor play breaks. Break time also means a break from personalities that can rub up against each other, and combine that with a tendency for some kids to break their boredom with some less than appropriate or sensible behavioural choices and hot weather can be a testing time for a teacher trying to establish group norms of a learning community.
Hot weather can be extremely risky here in South Australia, with a constant threat of bushfires. One broke out at Bangor in the state’s mid-north, and came within 2 kilometres of my parents’ house in Wirrabara. It is still burning two weeks later and of course, extreme heat this weekend threatens to revive it as a threat to people living in the area.
I don’t really like summer. Given a choice between summer or winter, I prefer the latter. Of course, I am talking about the days of extreme heat that really are not much fun for anyone. But I won’t let tomorrow’s forecast of 43 deg C put my off my regular game of golf. I just need a 2 litre water bottle half frozen overnight then topped up, a Powerade or 2 from the vending machine at the halfway point and light coloured shirt and shorts, and I should be fine.