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Inside Teaching : April 2011
www.atra.edu.au | email@example.com 20 QUESTIONS 33 I searched ‘Jane Caro’ on the web and Google gave me 2,720,000 results covering areas as diverse as the non- party-political coalition that you convene in support of public education called Priority Public, mentoring, feminism, religion and atheism, advertising, hosting Life Matters on ABC Radio National, your board membership of Bell Shakespeare, and loads more. With this in mind I thought I’d start with a hard-hitting question: when you appear on The Gruen Transfer, do you borrow Wil Anderson’s nail polish and would you ever put on his thongs? I do tend to do a bit, perhaps all connected to an interest in communication and education and the arts. I like to contribute to things. I don’t wear nail polish and Wil’s thongs are his thing – a style statement. The Gruen Transfer was amazing, something I didn’t expect to happen. Generally women get booted out of television before their 50s. Have you ever succumbed to a desire to deck Russel Howcroft? No, I like Russel – an honest man who believes absolutely in what he does, very bright. What occupation do you have in your passport? Writer. Writing is my core skill. I’m a writer/broadcaster/speaker. Your book, The F Word, co-written with Catherine Fox, is dedicated to your parents, Kate and Andy; can you tell me a bit about their importance in your life? Parents are incredibly important. Mine are strong-minded and argumentative, with each other and me and my siblings. They have a curiosity about the world and what people think. My father has so much energy, even at 80. He’s fast moving and dynamic, to a fault on occasion. I inherited a lot of that. My mother is the more intellectual and analytical. They’ve been a fantastic team for 55 or so years. They gave me a model of a good, respectful relationship. What my father liked about my mother was her brain. He took her ideas seriously. Not a lot of fathers did 55 years ago, so many daughters didn’t expect to be taken seriously. Publicly smart, clever women usually have fathers who accept that in their daughters. It’s a key to my feminism to some extent. Plus my mother was an out-and-out feminist. As was her mother. The F Word could have been dedicated to Vittoria – Do you have a serious caffeine addiction? Yes! – as you and Catherine planned it over morning coffees after dropping off your daughters at school. Do you think it’s important for work to move outside traditional work venues? And I could add over wine on many an occasion. A bit of wildness and naughtiness is to be encouraged. We didn’t want to write a book about dressing differently or speaking differently and stuff like that. You don’t have to change anything. Why should you be anything other than what you are? Lighten up and have a good time and let other people take on some of the responsibilities in parenting and in household chores. Women still feel that they have to do those things to have a right to exist. I think the traditional workplace is dying out more and more. My husband and I both work from home. Centralised offices are coming to the end of their lifespan. I don’t want to work under those circumstances where time is more important than quality. Accountability has made the workplace brutal. How about schools? Are they held back by being building bound? I don’t want a time when there’s no community. I remember in the early days of computers seeing an interactive department which was filled with young ear-phoned people staring at screens. Separated. There will always be a point for children to be together. We need to liberate parents and children from each other. Children need to know their peers and their community. Home schooling keeps children under control. Your children are not little-yous. They are, according to Khalil Gibran, ‘the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.’ Children are brutal and honest and there are benefits in being part of that, learning street smarts and savvy, lessening vulnerability. You’re working on your third book? Can you tell me about it? It’s my first novel, for young adults, called Just A Girl, a historical novel about Elizabeth I on the night before being crowned. She’s in the Tower of London, unable to sleep. To pass the time she sits and thinks about how she’s survived for the past 25 years. It’s to be published by the University of Queensland