Here is a picture of the school that I taught at today. Of course this is from the back, but you still get the gist of it. Most of the schools that I have taught at in London look similar to this. Very historical, tall, and old. They have so much history behind them.
I taught Years 5 & 6 today. At first I was very overwhelmed thinking, what do I know about teaching older children? I was kind of panicked. My degree from BYU is in Early Childhood Education which focuses on Preschool- 3rd Grade. So the younger kids is what I am used to. But let me tell you! I was completely surprised at how much I absolutely loved it today! It was very refreshing teaching older kids who know how to write, spell, can think for themselves, don't cry, don't tug on your shirt and stretch your sweater out, understand sarcastic or more adult like humor...... I loved it! It was so much fun. They were all very well behaved and fun to teach. It was a great day! It almost made me wonder why I didn't major in Elementary Education instead of Early Childhood. Oh well. That is over and done with.
I was a little concerned about the math lesson because, honestly, math is not my strong point. I did well in it and everything, I just hadn't done it in a while, and feel a little rusty. I am ok with teaching little kid math, but the older grades, I feel a little more intimidated by it. But today was a breeze! They were doing addition with large numbers and with decimals. If I wanted to make sure what I was doing was right, I would just call on one of the children to come and demonstrate how to do the problem on the board. Then one of the super smarty pants kids would raise their hand, rattle off all of these math terms and ways of thinking, and then give the answer. I would say, "Exactly. That's how I would have done it. " (Ya, right!) It was great! I am grateful for children like those at times like this. :) One of the problems on their worksheet that they did was in money, and I accidentally slipped one time and said dollars instead of pounds. They all laughed and said, "Dollars???" I told them that we have different money where I am from.
They loved my accent! When I started talking, they all looked at their friends and smiled and it was obvious that they were thinking, "Where is she from?" One girl asked if I was from Ireland. Uh, no. But good guess. :) I told them America and they all went, " Wow....." Then later one girl asked me, "Mrs. Hembree, do you know Dr. _____?" She rattled off some name of a doctor that she knows that lives in the US. I said, "No I don't. What state does he live in?" She said she wasn't sure. I told her, "The US is a pretty big place. You don't really know everyone from there." It was really cute.
They had P.E today and yes! It is true! Even the older children change right in front of each other in the classroom like it is no big deal! They strip down to their underwear and everything. I am going to have to get used to this.....
All the schools here teach something called, RE, which stands for Religious Education. It still blows my mind that they are allowed to do that here! Today we learned about Christmas and sang, "The 12 Days of Christmas." We then talked about all the parts of that song and what Christan meaning they have. Things I didn't even know! Like, "Two Turtle Doves," stands for the two parts of the Bible, Old and New Testament. "Three French Hens", stands for faith, hope and charity. Anyway, I learned just as much as the kids did.
During independent work time at their desks, a girl raises her hand and asked me, "Miss, are you Christian?" I told her I was. She asked a little while later, "Are you Catholic?" I shake my head no. "Roman Catholic?" Another negative shake. "Episcopalian?" Shake. And all these other ones that I can't remember right now. She then said, "Well then what kind of Christian are you?" At home if a student asks you this, you are taught to just blow it off and not get into a religious discussion with your student. That is inappropriate. But I figured since it was in their curriculum to teach about Jesus and Christianity, why not? So using simple turns and purposely trying not to go into too much detail, I said, "Well, I am actually a Mormon. Have you heard of that?" She said no. I then said, "Well we are called Mormons, but we are Christians. It is a special kind I guess, but we do believe in Jesus Christ." She smiled and I moved on. It was a cute little interaction that was priceless.