Strange Days

Strange.  Very strange.  I just wrote this post when my browser collapsed, and now I have to re-write it.

Two weeks to go.  Two weeks of teaching and living in England left for us.  Yet I am completely convinced that this is my home.  I know I have a home to go back to in Portland, but sensing that return is suddenly feeling quite strange.

I miss many things back home.  I miss our beautiful bungalow home.  I miss my music collection and my comfy couch.  I miss my quiet street and my backyard.  I miss friends and family.  But at the same time, the shell I have been living in for the past year fits just fine.  Like a hermit crab this home, this life, has adjusted to me and I am sitting satisfied.  But the shell is soon to no longer be mine, and I will return to the one I left behind a year ago.

When it ends here it will be abrupt.  We move out of this home in less than two weeks, then travel for two more before heading home on July 31st.  We are packing our bags, shipping boxes home, and sorting goods such as clothes, games, toys, magazines, and books to give away to our friends over here.  It took us four weeks to prep our home in Portland for our departure, but here we are only taking about two weeks to do the same.  We brought little over to England and will return with the same weight, though the contents will be different.  We also will come home with a change within ourselves.  I am not totally sure what it will look like to our friends, family, and work associates, but we are different.

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The lunatic is on the grass…

Did I mention we spent a weekend in Cambridge?!?

The grass that Roger Waters wrote about.

The grass that Roger Waters wrote about.  Apparently if I stepped on it I could get in serious trouble.  Really.

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Along the back of Kings College, founded by Henry VI and completed by Henry VIII. We are on a punt.

Along the back of King’s College, founded by Henry VI and completed by Henry VIII.
We are on a punt, which is a kind of flat-bottomed boat.

Syd Barrett memorial painting at The Anchor pub.  Three members of Pink Floyd all lived in Cambridge and played around on the music circuit before they came together.

Syd Barrett memorial painting at The Anchor pub. David Gilmour,  Roger Waters, and Syd lived in Cambridge and played around on the music circuit before they came together in London to form Pink Floyd.  Actually, David joined after Syd left the band, but that is another story.

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Front of Kings College.  There are 31 colleges under the banner of Cambridge University.  Trinity is the most difficult to get into.  People like Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin are associated with Trinity. Salman Rushdie went to King's.

Front of King’s College. There are 31 colleges under the banner of Cambridge University. Trinity is the most difficult to get into. People like Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin are associated with Trinity. Salman Rushdie went to King’s.

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We drove down for the weekend.  We took a walking tour of the city to get oriented, then walked around the place to visit various museums, churches, historic sights, go punting, find ancient pubs, look at architecture, and see a couple of the colleges.  It was the end of term, so students were jovial and occasionally drunk.  We saw a couple different gents fall off their punts into the River Cam.

The following day we visited Anglesey Abbey, a Manor home with lavish gardens and room to roam or explore.  Weather was pleasant and the kids had fun circumventing the large property.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/anglesey-abbey/

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My two lunatics on the grass.

My two lunatics on the grass.

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It was Father's Day at Anglesey Abbey, so I got me a piece of cake!

It was Father’s Day at Anglesey Abbey, so I got me a piece of cake!

Midsummer Night’s Dream, in Three Acts

Act I: Fulbright End-Cap Meeting

Last weekend all the U.S. Fulbright teachers in the U.K. were invited to Belfast, Northern Ireland, for an End-Cap meeting.  Along with the 23 other teachers were department heads of Fulbright from the U.S., as well as personnel from the British Council, who help both us over here and the UK teachers in the U.S.

I traveled to Belfast with my family and we arranged to stay four nights.  Our Fulbright meetings were conducted over two days.  The meetings were good on many levels, especially being able to see my teaching peers and to share stories from our year.  Now some of the teachers I am in regular touch with, but others not so much, so all of us together made it especially exciting.

This is Jim, from North Carolina, discussing his year teaching math in Scotland.

This is Jim, from North Carolina, discussing his year teaching math in Scotland.

One of our requirements was to create a presentation outlining our year teaching.  There were specific points that Fulbright wanted us to cover/discuss, yet room for sharing personal stories and adventures.  I was amazed at how many of us had the same ups and downs, the same discoveries and the same challenges.  Some teachers had a rough time teaching, whilst others had really smooth times.  Just being able to share and discuss how we have grown as teachers was incredibly helpful and invigorating.  We all feel that as professionals we have crossed a rubicon of sorts, as we agreed that few of us will return to the U.S. the same kind of teacher as we were before we left.  I myself am grateful that I will be changing grade levels next year, moving from 4th to 3rd, as it allows me to continue to change and adapt.  I think that if I was to return to the same thing I would fall into old habits and not continue to push myself.

We also discussed our re-entry to our lives back home.  Now, when I was in Washington D.C. a year ago and they were telling me about culture shock I had my head in the clouds, (considering what to wear if I had tea with the Queen, for example).  I wish I had paid more attention back then!  This time I really listened, because it is not just me returning but my family as well.  Apparently reverse culture shock is indeed a factor to contend with, so much so that we all got a book on how to deal with it!  We have changed as people and as professionals, no doubt about it.  Mind you we have changed for the better (we think), but again we have changed.   Dealing with that change will be a challenging factor back in Portland.  Anxiety, depression, and confusion are all things we were told to expect at various levels, but that we will pull out of it once it has run its course.

After all those meetings a stop in the pub relaxes everyone.  McHughs Pub on Midsummer's Night.

After all those meetings a stop in the pub relaxes everyone. McHughs Pub on Midsummer’s Night.

Being in Belfast meant being at the 54th parallel latitude.  Portland, OR, is at the 45th parallel. This meant really, really long days when it comes to the time around Midsummer’s Night (what we in the US call the summer solstice).  The sun set around 10pm, with dusk hovering for a good hour after that.  We were thankful for the blackout curtains in our hotel room, because kids do not want to go to sleep when it is still light out.

Us teachers also had the opportunity to visit different schools around Belfast.  I visited what would be called an Infant School, years P1-P3 (K-2).  The school was absolutely amazing to be in.  The high quality of the student work, which was displayed everywhere, was impressive.  The Headteacher gave us a tour and allowed us to spend time in each grade level.

Cindy, teacher, Christine, Headteacher, Me, and a teaching assistant at Belmont Primary, Northern Ireland.

Cindy, teacher, Christine, Headteacher, Me, and a teaching assistant at Belmont Primary, Northern Ireland.

P2 (2nd graders) working on story organization.

P2 (1st graders) working on story organization.

The school was covered with amazing displays of artistic merit.

The school was covered with amazing displays of artistic merit.

These P3 students were showing off their mental maths skills.  Working on math without a pencil is a large part of math success here in the UK.  I will try to employ some of these skill sets upon my return.

These P3 students were showing off their mental maths skills. Working on math without a pencil is a large part of math success here in the UK. I will try to employ some of these skill sets upon my return.

After two days together it was time to say goodbye.  Some stayed on for the weekend, whilst others had plans, such as going to the Ascot horse race, or catching a match at Wimbledon.  We all agreed that staying in touch, somehow and someway, was an achievable goal.

But a dark cloud was fully revealed during our meetings.  The teacher exchange part of the  Fulbright program has been severely cut by the U.S. government.  Cut so much that there will be no exchange next year with the U.K.! The only countries signed on to participate for 2013-2014 are France, Mexico, Czech Republic, and Hungary.  And after next year, the program is very much in jeopardy.  Many of us are very disappointed that our government chose this program to cut.  Through conversations I learned that there are U.S. Senators who feel the program benefits far too few to be continued, despite the fact that each one of us affect the lives of hundreds of children throughout the course of our careers.  The message now is to let our Senators know that we are not happy with this and do what we can to try and save the program.  If you are reading this and feel the same way, do contact your state representatives and let your voice be heard.  

It is hard for us to fathom that we, for the foreseeable future, are the end of the line…

Act II: Belfast proper

Upon first exploring Europe as a temporary citizen I found myself amazed at almost every turn.  But after so many months, things like castles, sheep, endless farmlands, and British accents are just part of the norm.  Going to Belfast whipped my intrigue back into shape as it was a city that, upon leaving, left me with more questions than answers.

Now I do not want to go on with a history of the city’s conflicts, as anyone can find that information on the internet or in a good book.  But I was unprepared to see and learn what I did right up front.  There has been 18 years of peace between the Catholics and the Protestants (the Republicans and the Unionists).  But when touring the city the story of the conflict between the two is written, literally, on the walls.  I have never seen such a proliferation of murals telling stories, striking messages, or honouring the dead.  Additionally, I have never visited a place where walls stand that divide people.  I thought I had seen a lot but this was jaw-dropping in so many ways.

I have included some of the many, many photos we took just to give you a feel for what we saw.  Most of it must be seen to be believed.

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This, unfortunately, is a wall that divides a section of Belfast.

This, unfortunately, is a wall that divides a section of Belfast.

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Like I said, I left Belfast with more questions than answers.

Belfast is famous for housing the H & W shipbuilding company.  They are the ones who built the Titanic.  Rebecca’s grandfather, whom she never met, worked at these shipyards building the Olympic, the Titanic’s sister ship, back at the turn of the century.

Belfast has a new Titanic Museum that only opened about a year ago.  I highly recommend it.  The kids loved it, we loved it, and tourists love it.  Very informative with both interactive and guided learning activities.

Last photo of the Titanic taken.

Last photo of the Titanic taken.

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Good museums have plenty for people, especially, to touch.

Good museums have plenty for people to touch. Rachel, Ethan, Billy, and Zachary.  The other kids belong to Cindy, who lives in Chicago but teaches down the road from us in Leicester.

Belfast is very proud of their association with building the Titanic and its shipbuilding history.  A lot of money has been sunk into the dockyard part of town, making it a pleasant place to visit.

Belfast is very proud of their association with building the Titanic and its shipbuilding history. A lot of money has been sunk into the dockyard part of town, making it a pleasant place to visit.

Act III: The North

On our last full day we rented a car and drove all the way to the Northern coast of Ireland.  We visited a rope bridge, a fishing village, and witnessed a UNESCO sight called the Giant’s Causeway.  Intermittent rain squalls fell, but I stayed determined to wear shorts on the first official day of summer.

Ballintoy Harbour.

Ballintoy Bay.

Giant's Causeway, a basalt anomaly.

Giant’s Causeway, a volcanic basalt anomaly.

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Zachary is disappointed because we told him he could not go near the unfenced edge of the cliff.

Zachary is disappointed because we told him he could not go near the unfenced edge of the cliff.

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We are now back in the East Midlands with only 2.5 weeks of school left!  Both my children’s school and my school are knee-deep in our summer performances.  They are performing Oliver, and we are performing The Pied Piper of Hamelin.  I am in uncharted waters teaching in late June/early July, but it is still a 190 day school year, much like at home.  With sports days, Leavers ceremonies, and end of the year celebrations I suspect this time will fly by.  Then we have to say goodbye, which will not be easy.

Belfast, and Northern Ireland, was our last big trip until July 15th, when we REALLY take a big leap into the unknown.  Stay posted!

Shoes

Whilst debating what to pack last year in Portland, my friend Mike Whitcomb came by, who was visiting from Southern California.  He and I have done a bit of hiking together, and he has lived abroad before. He was a wealth of ideas and support.  Mike wanted to know what shoes I was thinking of bringing over, because I would need an array to support all kinds of activities.  I pulled out the pairs I was considering, and he mulled them over, sharing both good and bad points about each.

Shoes=weight, so I was very particular on the pairs that I initially packed.  I know I could buy shoes and clothes over here, but I wanted to save money for traveling, so I brought over what I planned on sticking with for a year.  And I did!  Yes I have purchased some souvenir clothing (t-shirts, etc…), but all the clothes I initially packed up I am still wearing.  I do plan on leaving many bits of clothing behind because I am kind of sick of wearing most them!  They have served their purpose at this point.  My shoes, on the other hand, are still being debated on their worth.

These are my Australian Redback black boots.  I use these for school exclusively, as they are comfortable to wear all day, as well as completely waterproof.  I have taken them out for weekend excursions,but I do not want to scuff them up.

These are my Australian Redback black boots. I use these almost exclusively for school, as they are comfortable to wear all day, as well as completely waterproof. I have taken them out for weekend excursions,but I do not want to scuff them up. They are most definitely going home with me as I love these boots.

These are my Clarks, which I also wear almost exclusively for school.  I have taken them out on day trips as well.  They are comfortable but I feel that they are expendable as well.  They may not come home with me.  On the other hand, they are the perfect work shoe.

These are my Clarks, which I also wear almost exclusively for school. I have taken them out on day trips as well. They are comfortable but I feel that they are expendable. They may not come home with me. On the other hand, they are the perfect work shoe.  They may be a game time decision when it comes to packing for home.  They do look very European, helping my feet fit in.

I bought these funky Merrill slip-on shoes for Europe.  Mike did not think these were a good shoe to bring.  Turns out, they are the workhorse for my feet!  I have worn them in the pouring rain and the driving snow.  They are completely waterproof and keep my feet very warm.  They work well for rambles as well as for teaching.  Of all my shoes they probably have the most miles put on them, and I am glad I brought them.

I bought these funky Merrill slip-on shoes for Europe. Mike did not think these were a good shoe to bring. Turns out, they are the workhorse for my feet! I have worn them in the pouring rain and the driving snow. They are completely waterproof and keep my feet very warm. They work well for rambles as well as for teaching. Of all my shoes they definitely have the most miles put on them, and I am glad I brought them.  You can see some wax drops still on one shoe, left over from our torch carrying parade in Edinburgh.  I want to take them home with me as they have many miles left on them, but they could be left behind if luggage space is an issue.

I had to bring some sandals, so I brought my Tevas.  I have hardly worn them.  The weather here just does not really bode well for wearing these a lot.  If it is wet out, it is too cold for them.  I did bring them to Spain, which was a good idea.  They will come home with me as I wear them a lot in Oregon.

I had to bring some sandals, so I brought my Tevas. Turns out  I have hardly worn them. The weather here just does not really bode well for wearing these a lot. If it is wet out, it is too cold for them. I did bring them to Spain, which was a good idea. They will come home with me as I wear them a lot in Oregon.  I only have flip-flops left back in Portland, so I kind of need these shoes.  I cannot wear these to work over here.

I bought these Adidas trainers a month or two before we came abroad.  They make a good walking shoe for sure.  BUT they are not waterproof.  I wore them in the rain and my feet both got wet and cold.  A great dry weather shoe for walking, but a nuisance if it is wet out.

I bought these Adidas trainers a month or two before we came abroad. They make a good walking shoe for sure. BUT they are not waterproof. I wore them in the rain and my feet both got wet and cold. A great dry weather shoe for walking, but a nuisance if it is wet out.  I keep them for weekend getaways, but if the weather looks dodgy they stay in my closet.  I cannot wear these to work.

My Adidas running shoes.  Worn exclusively for running.  Alas, I wear these the least as never wear them casually.  They will come home with me as they were not cheap (and they are really lightweight).

My Adidas running shoes. Worn exclusively for running. Alas, I wear these the least as never wear them casually. They will come home with me as they were not cheap (plus they are really lightweight).

Again, shoes=weight, so I have to think about which ones come home with me.  I also have a pair of rubber boots (wellies) that I do want to bring home, but they are a bit bulky. I hardly wear them, but they are kind of cool and obviously work well in wet weather.   I know for sure that some of my trousers, shirts, socks, and underwear will be left behind to clear some luggage room., but the jury is still out when it comes to my footwear.

Beginning the first week in July the whole family will begin to downsize what we have over here.  Some toys will be given to friends.  Books will be given away.  Clothes will be sorted into “keep” and “donate” piles.  The beginning of the end is in sight.  It will be hard to leave, but we are going home to a lot of positive things that we miss.

The latest dinner discussion is what level of reverse culture shock we may experience.

Dutch Treat

Back in February, on a dark and stormy night, Rebecca and I sat around discussing where we could go for our May break holiday. Planning ahead means that everything is cheaper and more options are available, so we threw out ideas on places to visit.  We decided to look at airplane costs to various destinations.  Our closest airport is East Midlands, about a 40 minute drive (20 miles) away, and one can fly to all over the continent from there.  We saw that flights to Amsterdam were incredibly cheap, so we decided that would be the place to go in late May.

Now, we are not thick.  We know all about Amsterdam and their lax drug and prostitution laws.  In fact, when we told people where we were going we got a few raised eyebrows.  Yes we did not choose a real “holiday” kind of destination (no pools or beaches), but the culture and art history there drew us in and we figured that the kids would go along with the ride.  Plus we expected that it would be Spring weather.  And we were correct!  We visited for a week and had mostly sunny and clear skies the whole time.  We toured five different museums, ate pancakes for dinner on a boat, rode bicycles through town on the hottest day of the year (we were told), and took a train out of town to visit museums and eat Italian food in Den Haag.

Below is a photo journal of our week in Holland:

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Stuart, our trusty bike tour guide.  We whizzed through the city and I was surprised no one in our group crashed.  I thought Portland had a lot of cyclists, but Amsterdam had much, much more bike riders.

Stuart, our trusty bike tour guide. We whizzed through the city and I was surprised no one in our group crashed. I thought Portland had a lot of cyclists, but Amsterdam had much, much more bike riders.

Pancake boat for dinner.

Pancake boat for dinner.

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Van Gogh Museum

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MC Escher Museum, Den Haag

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Gemeentmuseum, Den Haag  (largest collection of Piet Mondrian in Europe)

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"Victory Boogie Woogie". Mondrian's last painting, which was never finished.

“Victory Boogie Woogie”. Mondrian’s last painting, which was never finished.

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Kandinsky

Kandinsky

Rembrandt

Rembrandt

We visited the Ann Frank museum.  A more somber experience.  Rebecca, Annika and I all had either read her book or did a report on her, so we knew what to expect.  Zachary was in a little over his head, but the exposure was what was most important for him.  It had rained cats and dogs the evening we went, and we caught a window where there was no rain, so there was no queue for entry!  Photos were not allowed inside, but I would recommend reading her diary to anyone interested in either WWII, or what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl.

Riijksmuseum

Amsterdam’s most famous museum had gone under a 10 year makeover, and it was reopened only a few weeks before we arrived, so we absolutely lucked out.  The weather was gorgeous this day, which led to the museum itself to be not that crowded.  A huge place where we zipped along in some places, and stayed for a while in others. I was emotionally taken seeing paintings in person that I have seen in books my whole life.

Rembrandts

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Vermeer

Vermeer

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On this day, our bike riding day, the Dutch we met said it was by far the hottest day of the year for them, close to 80 degrees.

On this day, our bike riding day, the Dutch we met said it was by far the hottest day of the year for them, close to 80 degrees.

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The Dutch put their trash out on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, on the corner, for morning pickup.

The Dutch put their trash out on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, on the corner, for morning pickup.

Our apartment is the building with the black door, second floor.  We were in the De Pijp neighborhood, south of the city centre, but right on the tram line.

Our apartment is the building with the black door (Madison), second floor. We were in the De Pijp neighborhood, south of the city centre, but right on the tram line.

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Sea of bicycles, Den Haag.

Sea of bicycles, Den Haag.

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It is very light out here at night, meaning it is hard to put the kids to bed at a reasonable hour.  Plus our clocks were moved an hour up, so bedtime tended to be around 11pm, much to our disappointment.

We took hundreds of photos, but I hope what I posted was enough to get an idea.  The kids had a lot of fun because we balanced the cultural side with kid-friendly things, such as visiting the parks and playing in playgrounds.  The city is very family friendly, as we were treated well.  Staying just out of the city centre meant that the people we interacted with were locals.  We saw and heard lots of Americans, who obviously come for the party atmosphere that the city does offer.  But we also saw a lot of tourists from all over the world, as the city (and country) has a lot more to offer.

Friends, old and new

Old Friends

Our very good friends, Doug and Susan Nellis (sorry Susan), flew over from Seattle for a long weekend visit.  They stayed a few days in London, took the train to Melton, then flew to Ireland for the rest of their holiday.  It really meant a lot to us to have such close friends come and see how we are getting on.  Doug made it clear that he understood more what we are experiencing by seeing it first hand himself, and realized what an undertaking our year abroad really is.

The gang at Belton House in Grantham.  Weather was pleasant and sunny.

The gang at Belton House in Grantham. Weather was pleasant and sunny.

They arrived the weekend of my school’s Maypole event, and were good sports to attend it with me.  We also took them out to Sir Isaac Newton’s boyhood home, and to a couple of our favourite pubs in town.  Somehow we all squeezed into my exchange partner’s car without too many problems, though driving to Grantham was as far as I wanted to drive.  Being away from our good friends who understand us has been a year-long challenge, but we have prevailed.  Thankfully good people like the Nellis’s (sorry Susan) were able to take time out of their lives to visit.

Rebecca and Susan.

Rebecca and Susan.

Doug enjoyed the food along the way.  He even had a pork pie, albeit for breakfast, which might have not been the best time of day to do so.

Doug enjoyed the food along the way. He even had a pork pie, albeit for breakfast, which might have not been the best time of day to do so.

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New Friends

Alison Donnelly is the musical coordinator for our Summer Performance.  She also gives piano lessons to many of the Waltham students.  She and I have been working alongside each other all year, and we finally coordinated an evening over at her and her partner, Lorraine’s, home in Skillington.

The two of them, along with their son Patrick, were incredible hosts.  We had a great meal of grilled vegetables and meats (right at the table), along with a tasty helping of sides and drinks.  Skillington is a small village about 20 minutes away.  Their home is only about 10 years old or so, but is built to look like it is 200 years old!  Across the gravel path from their home were the farmer’s pastures with horses, geese, sheep and hogs roaming about.  We were quite envious of their beautiful surroundings.

Mrs Donnelly and Rebecca.  I work with a Mrs Donnelly back in Portland, and she herself is a former music teacher.

Mrs Donnelly and Rebecca. I work with a Mrs Donnelly back in Portland, and she herself is a former music teacher.

Their village home.

Their village home.

Pavlova for pudding!

Pavlova for pudding!

Also during our holiday break we went out to a pub in Syston, called the Gate Hangs Well (the well is a reference to one that holds water).  Three families gathered for this meal out.  This night was nice because for the most part Rebecca and I got to ask our friends about what they do in England, rather than just us talking about our adventures of living here.  Also, even though Kaye and I work together, we tried very hard not to talk about school.

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As we hit the “two months left” mark we are starting to realise that we not only will be returning to old friends, but leaving new ones behind.  It is not easy nor inexpensive to travel 5,000 miles away, even though we have left an open invitation to all our new friends to come and visit us.  Maybe they will, maybe not.  We will do our best to remain friends with these people since they have taken the time to become ours.

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Religious Education

I teach in a Church of England school.  The Church of England was founded by Henry VIII when he wanted to break away from the Catholic Church in Rome.  He wanted to get divorced but the Pope said no.  So he created his own church, and got the divorce(s) that he wanted.

My school is founded on Christian values and religious education is part of the curriculum.  We visit our village church every so often for school-related services, and the vicar comes to our school every Thursday to lead the school assembly.  In the classroom itself there is a year-long curriculum that is taught as well.  For most of the year one of our school’s TAs taught the RE lessons in my class.  But with her now made redundant, all subjects are taught by me, including RE.  Luckily the last two units are quite interesting to teach since they reach a broad audience.

I just finished the unit on what one finds inside of a place of worship.  We looked at Mosques, Gurdwaras, Churches, and Mandirs.  To culminate the unit, as well as send us off into our holiday break, we took a field trip to a Mandir in Leicester.  We learned that the UK, India, Australia, and North America are some of the largest practitioners of Hinduism in the world.

A Mandir is a Hindu temple.  Leicester has the largest Indian population in all of England, many practising Hinduism.  My class went along with the Year 5/6 class (Sycamore), so that the costs could be offset.  They studied Hinduism as well.  Our school rents a coach, like a large tour bus, and it is not cheap, thus more cost effective to fill it with as many kids as possible.  Field trips can only ask for donations, never requiring families to pay.  Just like in Portland, most families tend to pay so that the school only has to pick up a small portion of the costs.

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The St. Philips Centre in Leicester is run out of a Christian church, but what it really does is work as a bridge between all the faiths in Leicester.  The two representatives that worked with our school on this day were Muslim and Hindu in faith.  We arrived at the Centre, where the kids all got some juice and biscuits, and the adults had coffee, tea, and biscuits made available.  A very nice gesture.  We were given a synopsis of our planned trip, then hopped back on our coach to visit the Mandir.

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We arrived, removed our shoes, and entered the temple.  Our school spent some time just exploring about, thinking of questions we could ask the priest when his turn came to speak to the classes.  The paintings on the walls and ceilings were bright and beautiful, and the look on the kids’ faces was extraordinary, since this place was so unlike the churches that they (and I) are more familiar with.

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Not the most exciting from the outside.

Not the most exciting building from the outside.

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This was painted on the ceiling.  There are eight different religious icons represented here.  The reason being is that Hinduism accepts all religions.

This was painted on the ceiling. There are eight different religious icons represented here. The reason being is that Hinduism accepts all religions.

Ganesha.  Kids liked this god a lot for some reason.  There are hundreds of gods in Hinduism, but they all derive from Brahman, the one true god.

Ganesha. Kids liked this god a lot for some reason. There are hundreds of gods in Hinduism, but they all derive from Brahman, their one true god.

 

The temple priest taking questions from the students.  On the whole they asked many great questions and were very respectful.

The temple priest taking questions from the students. On the whole they asked many great questions and were very respectful.

On the way back to the Centre for lunch we passed this Mandir, the largest in Leicester.

On the way back to the Centre for lunch we passed this Mandir, the largest in Leicester.

All in all a great day out.  Kids were behaved, weather was dry, and we all learned something.  My last RE unit is on people who inspire us.  Ghandi is on the cover of the teacher’s guide (yes, I DO have a teacher’s guide for RE, thank goodness), so I think I will not have a problem teaching this unit.

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