Overall, there are not many big differences in expectations of teachers and students but I have been able to pick up on a few during my time here. Teachers are required to change up their displays once a term and each must have a display for English, Maths, IPC, and one in the hallway. The Deputy Heads of the school go around to each room and perform a check for tidiness and a change in displays. The teachers put a lot of time into the displays and it definitely shows, as many of them are amazingly creative!
Another difference in teacher expectations is that each are required to lead an after school activity at least once throughout the year. If they are not leading an activity, then they are still required to participate in one a week minimum. Overall, the school puts a big emphasis on extra curricular activities and the arts. Each year group puts on a show throughout the year that is led by the teachers. I have been able to see the Year 3 and Year 1 shows and the Foundation Stage show is up next!
The teachers here were mostly trained at Universities in England, with the exception of one who went to a state school in California. Most of them said that they only had to do a 2-4 week placement in a school before getting their license but had a lot of courses to gain content knowledge and learn about different methods of teaching.
Students are expected to follow the Golden Rules, which I mentioned in my last blog entry. They are assigned homework on Friday’s and it is usually due on the following Tuesday or Wednesday. I was able to do some comparing between the National Curriculum and Common Core standards and for the most part, students are held to the same standards. However, in one of our recent staff meetings, the Maths Coordinator said that the standards are being shifted down a year level. So, what is now taught in Year 4 will now be taught in Year 3.
I have been teaching primarily Maths, English, Guided Reading and IPC all in Year 4. In English I have started teaching a unit on Newspapers and in IPC we started our new unit which is all about Shaping Up! However, in my two full weeks teaching I will also be teaching Spelling, Handwriting, and SEAL. SEAL is the school-wide curriculum that focuses on a different topic each term. Right now our focus is on Change.
The Year 4 classes are also going on a residential trip to Northern Czech Republic for 3 days and 2 nights. We leave Wednesday morning and will return to school on Friday! I am sure I will have plenty to share from that trip in my next entry!
I have been receiving mentoring from EAST with weekly Skype meetings with my supervisor. He has come to the school once to observe me and will be coming for a final visit at the beginning of next week. I am also receiving guidance from my cooperating teacher and the other Year 4 teacher that I work with. They have been helpful with most questions I have and giving both positive feedback and constructive criticism. I can’t believe I only have four weeks left! Time sure does fly by!