Sunday, 19 September 2010

"Miss Clarke, that's Rubbish!"

 While I have the chance, I will keep you up to date on my job over here- TEACHING. We initially came over here to substitute. but when we arrived, we asked our agency if there was any chance that they could hook us up with long term positions. Like most people who come over, it is usually first come, first serve, but because we are charming newfies......Liz found us positions- at the same school.... Fairly far away. Well, she DID do what we asked.....we just never got everything we wanted- a school close by, and a longer position. Having said that, I LOVE my school (and it continues to grow on me) AND I love my students even for some details.

 My school is located in a place called Tilbury Town (which sounds like Strawberry Shortcake's home or somethin') It is about an hour away, when you take the bus annnnd the C2C- National Express Train. We have to get up about 6, and be out the door for about 7. We then catch a bus to a place where we catch another bus which takes us to Barking (filthy place from what I've seen, but manageable). We hop on the train from there and take a 25 minute, quiet train ride to Tilbury Town. We get off the train, and walk about 5 minutes up the road where we arrive at Landsdowne Primary School :)

  I started to teach year 6 on the 2nd day of the school (which is grade 5 back home). When I was asked if i accept, I actually started to panic a little, because I am so used to the smaller kids, and honestly I am a little intimidated by the material I have to teach! Buttttttt, having said that, I went in there with a positive attitude and prepared myself with fun creative starters and "the first few days of school activities" jussssst in case. To my surprise, there wasn't time for anything I had brought with me. The day I got there, I was introduced to the Deputy Head (Vice Principal) and I was brought to my classroom where I was to wait for the other year 6 teachers. One had been there for years, and the other one was as new as I was (but she had some time to prepare before school even started!) I was thrown right into Guided Reading, Literacy (English) and Maths (yes, there is an "s" on Math..) I had to give them a test in Maths, and then later one in Science. They were to follow the schedule as it was presented, and there was NO time for anything "extra." I was a little dissapointed at first, thinking that it was just too structured! What if I don't get my math lesson finished and I need to go over it tomorrow (yet, we are moving on to another completely different topic). What if they need more time to work on their storyboards in Literacy, but we are changing books tomorrow?!?! Like, Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's going on? And that was pretty much how it was the first week.

 The second week (13th-17th) I was still getting the hang of it, but I also tried to fit a few things in for myself. At the beginning of school, I always think it's nice to come together as a class, and create the rules of your classroom, and decorate something as a group. We did both. The rules were straight forward (even though they continue to break them). As for the small art activity, I gave them each a puzzle piece (made from bristol board) and told them that they were a very important part of our class, and without them, we would't be complete . They could decorate their puzzle piece however they wanted, and eventually we put it together by our classroom door. It is a big puzzle, surrounded by their homemade sheilds (about themselves) and above it all reads: We are each a piece, but we come together as a whole! (My LSA came up with that, which sounds great!) Anyway, I fit things in when I can, but there isn't much time at all!

 So, as a year 6 teacher, I teach guided reading, literacy, maths & mental maths, religion (help!!) debate, ICT(computers), topic (whatever it is, it relates to other subjects- right now, it's Charles Darwin), art, science, and phys. ed. The kids also learn french, music and PHSE (which is about emotional and positive schol behaviour). Instead of having plans weeks in advance, I get them week to week and sometimes day to day (depending on the subject) It kind of stresses me out a little bit, but I try my best to keep up and teach myself the shit I don't know. Another thing that is nuts, is the fact that they don't have textbooks here..I am serious. These kids have nothing to look at when they are learning math, or science. It's up to me to creat questions, visuals, and introductions to topics, etc. Like I don't have enough to do...craaazy.

 The kids come to class with their uniforms on (colors are blue, white and grey) and can interchange the colors when they want. All students have the same bookbag, the same pens, pencils, rubbers (erasers) and the same excersizes. It is good because a lot of the students come from poor families, and unfortunately....messed up home environments. It's sad for me to think that these kids don't have breakfast before coming to school, some of them are abused, some of them have prostitutes, addicts and criminals for parents, not to mention delinquint siblings. My class for the most part, are a good group of kids, but they do act up with anger and disruptive behaviour. I am working with them to get things on track. Rewards are in order for attendence (coming to school everyday is valued here, and stressed, because a lot of kids are kept home by parents who don't care, or can't wake up until 1pm to bring their child to school) I give rewards for students who try their best, and show respect to classmate, etc. Tryin to stay positve here! Whenever a student gets in trouble or I have to talk to them (mostly a boy), he tends to respond back with, "Miss Clarke, that's' Rubbish!" as if to say "That's bullshit Miss." They also have a tendency to cover their face, and make a moaning sound (like a 3 yr old) when I have to say their name or keep them focused. It drives me NUTSSSSSSSSS, and I am trying to squash that, ASAP.

 Anyway, I was asked last week to stay until half term (end of October because the Australian teacher I am in for, won't be back until then) so of course, I accepted. I went out and bought a month train/bus pass because I was spending so much money on it, and then I get some interesting news from the SECRETARY- not even the principal. She tells me that the Australian is coming bacl Oct. 1st, and that my position will be ending at that time. Needless to say, I was rottttttted!!! I'm still trying to get more info from the school, PLUS my agency and so I have to wait until tomorrow to see about it. I never signed a contract (as most teachers haven't) and so I guess they can do whatever they want. It just rots me because I bought a month pass (in the district I am teaching in) and I was asked to stay, but now it's changing?!? UGH!

 If I can get a job this quick, and this easily, Timeplan guarantees that I will hook into something else, So I hope! The Head and Deputy Head at Landsdowne School say very good things about me there, and they actually wish they could keep me. They have visited my classroom and they told the kids that they were the best behaved  in year 6! I am happy to get some good feedback, and so it should travel fast. I'm not worried...I just don't want to get attatched to my kids, and then have to leave them!

 Ok, HAND CRAMP!!.....But, next blog.......British kids and their language/slang...friggin' hilarious!
 Until next time..Take Care...xoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxxo

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Time is flyyyyyyin...'s 8 am on Sunday morning, and right now, I feel wide awake, but give me about an hour or so and I will be droppin' again. I have been super busy this past week and a half especially, but I'm still managing to go out for some drinks, with new friends and foreigners..haha.

 The week before last, my friend Cristin who lives in Harlow with her awesome boyfriend, Neil, came to pick us up for lunch and show us their new flat, etc. It was great to see a familiar face, and to still be able to click after all these years was also awesome. She brought us to see the MUN campus in Harlow, which isn't' very big at all, but it's so beautiful! Their flat is also in a beautiful spot and they seem to be very happy with life! I haven't been able to see them since, because I have been so busy, but we are definately past due...

 We also managed to explore Covent garden a bit, which is in London and is where all the buskers and street performers are, as well as a market with all kinds of things! It was extremely busy but worth taking a look. Statue people, a uni-cycle man, singers, a small orchestra type group, comedians, and jugglers. etc. I took a few pictures to post....someday, lol.

 So then, last weekend rolled around, and we figured we would see a show on Friday night, and then go out with the girls Saturday night. We bought tickets to see STOMP, and it was amazing. I loved every minute of it, and would see it again. The rhythm and beats that a group of people can make while putting on a show with characters who don't talk, yet engage the audience, is something I would reccomend everyone to see. They were using match boxes, making a sweeping sound with brooms, strapping a kitchen sink to themselves and creating music with that too!  Two thumbs up.

 By the time we walked around a bit afterwards, we decided to hop on the train before last call. Something disturbing kept coming on the announcements while we were waiting for our train: that one of the routes was cancelled due to someone under the train!!! He would repeat this every 3 minutes or so, and by the end of it, I was sick thinking about it. Stuff like that happens all the time here, but it was still shocking and sad to me :(

 Saturday night, we ventured into London yet again to start off at a Canadian bar called the Maple Leaf...haha.. WHY you ask?....why not! It was very close to the Canadian store where they sell Tim Hortons coffee, Kraft dinner (and very likely, savoury) but when we got there, it was closed. A few beers later, we moved onto a pub called O'Neils which was 3 floors of pub style atmosphere, live band, and dance bar...enough to keep everyone happy! Good night had by all.

 Sunday was  a lazy day, where we sat around, and chatted with each other. Watching tv, wrapped in a blanket and loving it. I'm glad I had the chance to relax, because what happened still keeping me going, and I am UUber busy from now until mid break (Oct.22) You will have to stay posted in order to find

 Well, that was LAST weekend, and this weekend is almost up too....Friday night I passed out at about 10:00 due to exhaustion.....loved my bed that night! Lastnight we had a low key night at a pub in Wanstead, where the beer is good and the atmosphere is even better. Chatted with a guy from Italy and plenty of English guys (most of em Rugby players dressed as cowboys?!) and was asked for my number twice, so I did what I was supposed to do....and took their numbers instead! Smart I know. I'm not having strangers call and text my phone if I'm not interested. It's the best way to go about it really. Better luck next time, HAHAHA.

 It's now quarter to 9 (am) and I am starting to get tired again. I'm going to take advantage of my sleep while it's a Sunday....the week brings work, work, work.

 Fill you in soon enough. Cheers! xo

Monday, 6 September 2010

Man, people are......people, I guess.

 I haven't posted since last Monday, and so I figured if I want to keep up to date, then I'm gonna have to post at LEAST once a week. I could do more, but when I get started, I haven trouble stoppin, not sure if you noticed.

Well, it's 12:10 am here and while I should be sleeping, due to work tomorrow (fill you in later)....I am here feeling anxious about work, etc, so of course, I can't sleep. It might also be due to the fact that another damn SPIDER WAS CRAWLING UP MY ARM!!! Jesus, if I'm not friends with spiders by the end of this, I'll be surprised, eeeek!

 There are some interesting people around here, and that's part of why I love it so much. Much like home I guess, only 50 times MORE! Sometime last week, taking the bus home, I looked out the window only to see some guy pissing in a random driveway on the main road! Disguisting really, but he must have had to maneuvere his goods in between the gate posts from what it looked like. Plus, he was probably drunk. I do know who WAS drunk for sure though....

 This guy at the supermarket the other day was flipping out because there was only one cash open. I can understand his frustration for sure, but if you want something bad enough, you're gonna wait for it....or not. This man was about 6 bodies behind me, and he was complaining, swearing and making a scene in the store because he wanted to be served Right Now! When he saw the second cashier approach the register, dude skipped everyone, slammed money on the counter and demanded ALCOHOL. At this point, I was ready to tell buddy where to go and not put up with his shit (human nature) but I figured maybe serving this guy first just to get him out of there was the best option. Wow, that was fun.

 The next three people I saw made me laugh actually. I was on a bus (yet again) and this lady got on with her two kids, probably aged 4 and 5?! The little cuties were eating soft serve ice cream cones...well, attemping to. The mother must have bought them ONE huge scoop each on a cone, and then let them fend for themselves, because these kids weren't able to really enjoy the ice cream. More than half of it was dripping down their arms and onto their coats. It was a friggin' mess, and Mom didn't give a shit. The kids were a little stressed about it too because they were probably uncomfortable when their hands stuck to there cones, with the constant drippage of liquid sugar mushed into their fingers. I felt bad for the kids, but I was laughing on the inside cause it was a sight!

I was gonna go on, but I should really get to bed. Tomorrow I was called into a grade 5 class for the FIRST day of school, and apparently they are looking to hire me for the rest of the term. I am super excited about having a job over here now, but the fact that I wasn't able to plan anything, or see my classroom etc. etc. etc. kind of freaks me out a little...eeeeeek! And hence the reason I can't really go to sleep (plus the spidersssssss) I will fill you in on my day and my past week within the next day or two....gotta keep it going :)

Stay Thirsty My Friends (cravin' a Dos Equis right about now, lol.)