Term number 2 came to a close yesterday. I feel that this term was better planned and executed than Term 1. I have a much better view of how to implement expectations in the curriculum, as well as how to organise my week so that I can maximize the hours (really, minutes) that I have for each subject. Students responded really well to my lessons, and the feel in the room was more academically robust. I had more energy and had better health and had more fun this past term.
On the downside I lost three students, all to other schools who have more measures in place to meet their academic needs. I cannot take it personally that they decided to leave, but it does leave a void and they were all nice children. I will just work extra hard with those that I still have in my room because they are all learning the value of hard work from me. I am getting an exchange student from France for one week, so that should be an interesting addition, if only temporary.
Even though the term was better executed I still did not get in all the lessons I hoped to. Next term, Summer Term, my LAST term, means that I need to really streamline what I want to teach and make each lesson strong with no filler or waste. I had the opportunity to get out and see other schools and other teachers teach, which really helped me understand how a classroom in England should look and feel. In actuality it is not much different than in America, but there are some bits and bobs, as well as specific ways of showing student work, that I am now getting a better grip on. In America I do not have much room on the walls for student work. I also have on average up to 30 kids, so there is no floor space either. Wall to wall desks and tables for the most part. I have a lot more room here, and I am expected to utilise it with detail to displays and student work. I will take back home the word ‘presentation’ to my Portland classroom, as over here it is all about student and teacher and classroom presentation all the time.
My early planning sees a lot of fun subject matter that I will cover, including studying a village in India and comparing it with our village, a couple science units that are new to me, persuasive writing (which I love to teach), and a unit on being conscious of our environment and our impact on the Earth. PE will change as we are adding a PE teacher to come in once a week so that our teacher PPA time is not interrupted (this is mandated by the government, and something that I do not get back in Portland). Because we will no longer have a TA coming in to cover our classes for PPA, teaching PE will no longer be my responsibility! BUT I now will have to teach both the Health and the Religion subjects in much more detail. In RE we will be looking at various places of worship, which sounds interesting, as well as people who inspire us (religious leaders). Ghandi is on the cover of that unit, so my interest is already piqued, as he ties in with the India unit.
I will be away from the computer for a while. We have some of our best friends, the Simmons family from Portland, over to visit. Tomorrow we meet them in London for a few days, then they will travel by train with us back to Melton for a few more days. Finally, for a week, we will all travel to Malaga, Espana, for one week in the sunshine. I have not been to Spain since I was six years old so I am really looking forward to this. It will be nice to spend time with good American friends as we can catch up on all we have missed in Portland, and they can see how we are getting on living in Europe. Plus, it is snowing now as I type with no sign of Spring in sight. Apparently it is 40 degrees warmer in Malaga right now!