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Living in London
November 2000

Saturday, November 25, 2000

Life hasn't been too exciting here lately.

School is school. Half done now and glad of it. I do have a very nice class. One of my collegues who teaches the same year as I do calls my class a bunch of nerds. I suppose they are but that's what makes them a treat to teach when I allow myself to enjoy them. They cheered when they got their spelling test. One student came in singing that day, "spelling test day, spelling test day, it's spelling test day!"

My major stress has been figuring the British system and the school's system out and the paperwork involved. A minor but humorous example: I was given a lesson on the "art of doing the register" by the head teach one day...

Last weekend we had a spontaneous outing on Friday. We were at the pub (surprise, surprise) and decided to go to a disco (nightclub). It was an alright evening. Most of the house was hurting the next day. I was doing alright but tired, so Krista and I went to Oxford Street and Harrods for some xmas shopping. Harrods was very nice and Christmasy.

On Sunday I meant to go a market on my own and then the British Museum, but then Wendy called and I met her to do more shopping. For a person who really doesn't like to shop, I've done a lot of it lately. We went to 2 markets in the East end of London. One was a clothing market type of place. The other was VERY cool. It was like a huge Edmonton Farmer's Market with some Whyte Ave thrown in all under one roof (which they want to demolish for some big building... a real shame). It was good fun and we had lunch there too...

No British Museum. I did bump into Darion, a fellow London teacher I met in Scotland. I thought it was rather cool to bump into someone. :-)

Last night I went out with the deputy head and the other 2 teachers in my year group. We went to TGIFridays and had a great time, ate too much and spent too much... oh well. :-)

Saturday, November 11, 2000

Wow, it's been over two months now. Time is a funny thing.

When I got home from Scotland I realized that I didn't really relish going back to supply teaching. I didn't really mind it before when I was on a roll and it was routine. However after the break I realized I wasn't really enjoying my work. I did 3 days at Sunnyhill, a real run down school. I worked in a year one classroom, which had 3 VERY challenging students. They were only 6 years old!

When I called into work that Friday for my Monday work I was offered a long term supply job. Apparently West Thornton (where I'd done a fair bit of supply already requested me. The Deputy Head was covering a year 4 class and no longer could do both teaching and her deputy responsibilities. Initial really pressured me into taking it. Not so much in the sense of "oh come on" but really selling it... you'll have so much support, it's a good school, etc. I only had my train ride home to decide and then I had to say yes or no by 6 pm that day. I said Yes. I spent my weekend worrying about it... had I made the right decision?

On Saturday Krista and I came into town but didn't get past the first pub we stopped in for what was to be a quick pint. It was fun tho'. Sunday was spent sleeping, cleaning and doing groceries. I also bought a duvet cover for my comforter. I'm trying to get my room to feel more home-y. When I came back from Scotland I rearranged my room and now I'm doing some decorating. :-)

Well I started the new job on Monday. It was actually much harder the first few days that I imagined. Partly because it was hard to get out of supply mode in the class. Also, so much information was being thrown at me. I have 27 students. There are 2 other year four classes. All 3 teachers (now me) plan together. However one of them is also a Canadian in a supply position, so he's on a learning
curve too. He's been there since September however.

I was really overwhelmed. I didn't think I'd even stick it out. Slowly as the week went on I started to get a handle on things. The biggest thing was to realize that I'm only here for 6 weeks. It's impossible for me to run the class the way I'd like coming in this late in the term. The Deputy even said she thought it was a really difficult job I'd taken on and that she didn't expect miracles.

Does that make any sense or is it just rambling?

Yesterday we went on a school journey. We took all the year fours to the Museum of London and the British Museum. What an adventure! They use coaches here to transport student often. So it they all had nice seats with seat belts. That's a bit different. I must say I prefer it over the vinal interiors of the school buses. (When I told a colleague of mine that's what we used in Canada, she laughed and said, "like on TV"!) We spent so much time on the coaches that we only had an hour in each museum and 5 minutes (no lie) for lunch. We also had 2 incidents of car sickness. One very severe on the way there AND back... in the end he had thrown up on everything he was wearing. Bleck. It was good fun. I always find school trips a great way to bond with your students, especially the ones who are always naughty!

Today I met up with a friend of a friend (Yes Julia, Wendy and I finally met up :-) ...) Krista, Wendy and I hit Camden Town. We were to be buying Christmas gifts, but I think we spent just as much money on ourselves. But it was fun despite the terrible weather.

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Harrods