Today was my first day of practice teaching at a high school - and I loved it!!!! Of course, there is a big difference between observing and teaching and there will probably be some days that I think that life is being a complete nightmare but here are a few things that I've loved today:
♥ The fact that the school doesn't have bells - it doesn't have anything to signal the end of the period so you avoid that whole "OMG the bells run we have to leave class right now mentality" - the teacher has much more control. It does have an innovative way to signal to the student to get to class; a piece of music starts playing through speakers all over the school and students should be endeavouring to get to class by the time the music finishes (about five minutes). Way more pleasant!
♥ Instead of 5/6 usual length periods, the school runs three 100-minute classes. Slightly less effort than a double period, it's actually more effective with students. It stops them dicking around in between classes and allows for you to do more intense and interesting exercises with them.
♥ The teachers there have been so nice - I arrived to a fully organised time table with a variety of different teachers, age levels and abilities... I even have to assist with doing lunch duty on our whanau day (Friday). Dorky thing to be excited about, I know!
♥ Whanau groups - sort of like school houses (if you are from overseas and have no idea what I'm talking about... I can't help you) but they permeate even more through the school. Whanau is Maori for family and these whanau groups act as home rooms, senior mentors, core curriculum classes for those students who aren't streamed into higher achieving classes...
♥ Diaries - I swear, these are like little student passports. It's fantastic. They're used for records, for goal setting, for passes out of class and for what they call commendations - showing the qualities that are outlined as befitting a student of the school. This gains them both points for the house and personal letters of achievement in the areas of good character.
Ack there's so much more, but I'd be here all night. Still feel like there's so much to soak in. I really enjoyed my first day and here's to an equally good Day 2. And a professional development meeting of playing beach volleyball.