The Journey with Jenny – Teaching in England
Week one being the “New-American-Maths-Teacher” flew by. The first two days were spent preparing for the kiddos to come. And, with that, came an overflow of new information, frantic lesson planning, time spent organising my classroom, many nerves, and, of course, a sense of eagerness and excitement.The schools here are A LOT different than back home… so much so that I felt like I was taking on the role of a professor at Hogwarts. For example, each of the pupils is a part of a “tutor group”. These groups meet daily from 10:00-10:20am; and as a tutor, you are responsible for being these children’s’ main point of contact and support. Every tutor group is a part of a larger house. Yes, that’s right, MCA has four houses that compete against one another throughout the school year (I truly thought that only happened in Harry Potter). There is also an extensive routine and behaviour policy that the staff and students must adhere to. And, it wouldn’t be England if we didn’t have a break for tea at 10:20. Guess I’m not in Kansas (well, Nebraksa) anymore, huh?I teach seven different classes between four different grade levels. My youngsters (year 7’s; USA equivalent of grade 6) are little angels. Just envision a classroom full of little 4-foot-tall boys and girls whose blazers are about two sizes too big, sitting properly in their chairs, eager to learn. Now, my year 8’s, 9’s and 10’s are a little different story. I have had to learn how to be the strict teacher; laying down the law and not letting the students push my boundaries. The three days I actually taught this week were full of their expected ups and downs. Nevertheless, I am excited to get to know all 196 of my students and be the teacher I’ve spent my whole life preparing to be.After having a four-month-long summer holiday, my body was certainly in shock from suddenly having 8-hour workdays again. So, exhaustion is an understatement. However, in my classroom, on my front whiteboard, I have the word “persevere” written largely for all to see. This is my motto for my students, and myself, during this crazy, first year. Resilience is preached to both the staff and the pupils; all we can do is push through and give our best effort each passing day.As for my personal life, I have been doing well. Of course, I deeply miss my friends and family back home. But, hearing my wonderful mom’s voice over the phone becomes a bigger blessing each call we have. I have been challenged to realize all I have taken for granted in my 22 years; which has led to a stronger heart of gratitude and understanding. Thankfully, I have made some lovely friends here: including my sweet roommate, Jess (also a teacher at MCA, who moved from South Africa!), and my next-door neighbor, Kirsty, who has the most selfless heart (and unbelievable patience as she helps me navigate adulting in the UK).I still occasionally have to pinch myself to remember that I am actually here, and doing this. I am so thankful for all the love and support I have back home; I wouldn’t be here without you. I will be getting a UK phone number soon, but please don’t let that (or the 6 hour time difference) stop you from reaching out! I will do my best to post updates about how teaching, life, and everything is going!Sending all my love from Mildenhall!!
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