Monday, November 19, 2012

Five Days

Finally, FINALLY I managed to snag five days of teaching assignments. I was pre-booked Tuesday through Friday at Wembley; two Year 3 classes followed by two Reception classes - apparently my consultant's goal is to have me meet every student in that school by having me teach every class by Christmas. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, my week began with an unknown Monday. I went to the station, waited as per usual, and almost at the last minute got a call asking that I go to Minet. No big deal that; just had to go to Ealing Broadway, hop over to the First Great Western line  to get to Hayes and Harlington. Unlike with Slough, I did not need to buy an extra ticket for this - Oyster sufficed. Switched to a bus and took it to the stop I was told and that's where the directions the consultant had provided me with ended. I was left standing at a crossroads with only the school's postal code - not even it's name - so I couldn't ask anyone for directions. I called back the consultant responsible for dispatching me and got to listen to a whole bunch of "bloody hell" mutterings as the poor man tried to find a search engine that would help him find how to get me where he wanted me.

I got to the school and what followed was pretty straightforward. I was in a Year One class, the students were more-or-less well behaved, I had lesson plans left by the teacher, and there was a teaching assistant in the room with me; in the teaching sense, it was golden. There were, however, some friction with the other adults. In physical education, for instance, I had just gotten my students in position for their exercises when another teacher came in and told them to stand up and put their shoes in the corner - apparently they did gym in bare feet which, to me at least, seemed rather risky to me. By the time I got the students resettled and ready to begin, their half hour period was down to half that. Later, at the end of the day, a woman - I don't know if she was a teaching assistant or another teacher or what since she never introduced herself - admonished me for opening the door to parents a whole five minutes early. Apparently, it was on "the sheet" and I should have read "the sheet" and known better. Except I never received any such sheet, was never told any such thing, and, when I asked the deputy head teacher about it at the end of the day she had no idea what I was talking about. Figures.

The rest of the week at Wembley was good. I did two days in two different Year 3 classes. The first class was learning about ancient Greece - I was in my element and nearly jumped for joy. In the second class - who were a bit more on the monkey side of things - I made the mistake of in math of accidentally giving the high ability group the low-level work and the low ability group the high ability work...needless to say math class did not go well, although the rest of the day did. Thursday and Friday I was in two different Reception classes. I like Reception well enough but I'm not a fan of how it's set up at Wembley - it's one big room with four classes sharing it, each one being designated a corner for lesson times, the pairs at either end being separated on by a short line of bookcases. It can be a challenge, therefore, for student and teacher alike to stay focused and not be distracted by the class just on the other side of a partition.

It was a great week overall though - I got to work, got to do so at the same school for the most part and even had an adventure getting to the new school on Monday. It was a good week and, hopefully, the weeks to come will be just like it!

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