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 more....now 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