Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Day at Hayesfield!

So as many of you know, part of my study abroad experience is teaching at a school in Bath, along with a class called Education in England. Yesterday (Tuesday) was my first day of placement! The school is located about a mile from my residence, and I have to walk there and back, and the last 5 minutes of the walk there is up a hill, which is pretty awful to climb at 7:45 in the morning.  But once I got there, my first class was with the head of the department in a Sixth Form class.  For those of you who do not know much about English Education system (myself included), Sixth Form is the equivalent of juniors and seniors in a US high school. After year 11, British students must take an exam, generally a GCSE (general certificate of secondary education) if they wish to move on to Sixth form. Compulsory education ends at age 16 (year 11) so students are not required to attend sixth form, but you must if you wish to continue to uni.

Anyways, my first class was a sixth form. They were studying the Civil Rights movement in America, which was really interesting for me to observe as an American myself. What was also interesting was the fact that sixth form students were not required to wear a uniform unlike the other students at Hayesfield. After period one, my cooperating teacher picked me up at the sixth form building (there are three buildings at Hayesfield: Upper, sixth form, and lower schools) and took me to the lower school, a 5 minute walk.  There, I was in a Year 7 history class (the equivalent of 6th grade). They were presenting on medieval castles they had made at home. My cooperating teacher was funny because he is a geography teacher but he is filling in for someone on long-term sick leave.  He told me anytime I wanted to teach a lesson I could, since I "probably know more about history" than he does (direct quote). My third class was a Psychology class with more sixth form girls.  I participated in the lesson by creating a quiz with some of the girls. Next was lunch, then Year 8 history on the Industrial Revolution.  They had the best reaction to my cooperating teacher introducing me as the "American". A few of them asked me questions related to the group work assignment, but I really think they wanted me to speak because after I answered someones question they said "wow I really love your accent" and didn't even listen to my explanation. My last class of the day was a Year 11 history class, preparing them for the GCSE.

I was at Hayesfield from 8am-3:30pm, which makes for an extremely long day, and then count the mile I have to walk both ways. But it was totally worth it.  Just being able to be a part of something so far out of my comfort zone is eyeopening for me and I loved it!

Up for this week: Class tomorrow, Wales on Friday, and Canterbury on Saturday and Sunday!

Keep Calm and Follow the Moon

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