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Living in London
September 2000

Saturday, September 30, 2000

My roommates are great. We all get along so far. It's nice to have people who are in the same boat as you are. They understand what you're going through. Amy had a job as soon as she arrived in London as a Nursery teacher (age 3!). However her commute was over 1 1/2 hours each way and she wasn't enjoying job so she quit and began subbing last week. Krista quit teaching altogether last Tuesday (Tuesday was hell day for our whole house, amazingly enough we ended our evening in tears ... of laughter!), however she now has a full time job as a resource teacher (learning mentor) here in London. I think I will look into that type of full time job here for January. Leanne has been here for 6 months already. She has a full time position teaching year 2. I subbed at her school last week. It is a very poor school with some very tough students. I was only in year one, but still given a run for my money.

Schools here are very different, but it's hard to put your finger on all the differences. Some of the obvious ones are:
- P.E. ... ALL the students have P.E. kits. They change into them in the classroom. If they don't have their kit, often they go in their knickers. This made me nervous the first few times I taught P.E.!
- School Dinners ... if students don't bring a pack lunch they eat school dinners. The poorer students get this free. Teachers can buy dinners too. I had one on a day my lunch was small. They're not bad and they offer vegetarian because of all the different religions and beliefs that the students have.
-Assembly... every day the school has an assembly in the morning or afternoon. Usually the infants have one and the juniors have a separate one. They do not have an intercom system so this is in lue of announcements. However each assembly has a theme and takes 15 - 20 minutes.
- Handbells ... the schools also do not have buzzers so the head teacher rings a handbell at the beginning of school and at play time. For the first bell the students must freeze and then line up when they hear the second bell.
- Terminology... this is a hard habit to break. Recess=play time. When it's raining they have "wet play" = indoor recess. Attendance = register. Pants = trousers. Underware = pants or knickers. Periods = fullstops. Running shoes = trainers. Sweaters or jackets = jumpers.
- Miss - They use this term when they talk to women teachers. Miss, may I go toilet, I'm desperate!

Okay enough of culture shock. Last weekend I experienced my first "It's good to live in London day". This phrase was coined by Amy. Each week we have to set aside one day where we do something we couldn't if we didn't live here. Our "London Day" was on Sunday last week because we had too much fun Friday night at an Irish bar that Saturday was spent sleeping and lazing about! Anyway, we went to Greenwich - checked out the market and a few of the local pubs. Nothing too exciting; it was raining quite hard.

On Thursday Anoushka was in town. That was sooo cool! She know some other people in town and I brought Amy, one of my flat mates, along and we went out for Italian.

This weekend Krista and I went back to Greenwich to shop. It was great because there was a free jazz festival taking place, so ever where we went we saw a new band! Plus it only rain briefly and was a nice day!

Friday, September 29, 2000

Last time I wrote I was off to see the King and I. It was a good show, but it didn't wow me like some other musicals I have been to. The stage and the costumes were beautiful.

Then on Friday Dad and I went to the Cotswolds for the
weekend. Dad spoiled me and paid for everything. That was very nice. The weekend was perfect despite our stay in a fleabag B&B that was reminisent of Fawlty Towers!

We did two walks in the area. One was abut 4 hours and took us up and down hills through sheep farm and historical sights. It was great and we ended it with a nice cup of tea. Our second walk was less rigorous, but enjoyable none the less.

On Monday Dad left and I started my adventures in subbing. My first day was in one of the roughest, toughest, poorest schools in South East London. The day went okay, however, because I only had 6 students.

My second day was one of the worst professional days of my life! I would have come home there and then if someone offered me a plane ticket. Thank goodness the day after that very good.

I have now taught everything from reception (four years old) to year 6. I also have developed a relationship with one school already and I will be subbing there for 3 days next week! It is a nice school, with a friendly staff and decent students! Yippeee!

In the Cotswolds

Here's a picture taken on one of our walks in the Cotswolds.

Links related to the journal entries:

Riverfront Jazz Festival in Greenwich.

Greenwich Market.

The King and I - in London.

Walking in the Cotswolds.

Initial Education Personnel