I leave for England on August 16th and begin work on September 1st. I have a job, a place to live, a British passport, and finally my plane ticket! Only have a few things left to do- sell my car, buy a new "non-Colorado" wardrobe, and learn how to teach high school...nothing major!
I will be teaching science for grades 7-11 at Chesham Park Community College in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England. Chesham is northwest of London but still on the London tube line (the Metropolitan Line for those familiar with it). I still don't have my exact teaching assignment but have been told that I will teach about 5-7 different classes per day! This is going to be a BIG SHOCK compared to my 4 sections of the same class that I have now taught for the last six years. Professionally, this experience will definitely be a challenge!
I've never taught high school so that is one of the aspects I am most nervous about. I think that I am the perfect amount of dorkiness for middle school (at least in the US) and I am nervous that I am overly dorky for high school and they will think I am an idiot. They will probably think that by default, given that they are teenagers. I just have a hunch that teenagers are kind of the same no matter where you live!
Chesham Park is a performing arts school-I'm hoping it will be like Fame or Glee but I think that might be wishful thinking. I'm hoping for some interpretive dances on scientific topics in my science class! I can see it now- photosynthesis, molecular structure of water, F=ma. I can't wait!
Mostly, I am just concerned about how I will be able to get to know students well (like I feel I do at home) when I will only see them for 50 minutes per day and some of them I won't even see everyday. I know that building relationships with teenagers is the foundation for learning in a classroom and I've had so much time to work on that in my current school that I hope I can figure out a way to expedite the process in my new school.
I have been having the same kind of dreams that I had before I started teaching my first year where I totally lose control of the classroom and the kids are just going wild and yelling and running around everywhere. I know that is unlikely to happen, but classroom management just freaks me out a bit in another culture.
My list of professional concerns goes on and on but it seems unnecessary to go to pieces over pure speculation. So, for now, I'll just enjoy the rest of the summer here in my favorite place, Colorado, and worry about getting some clothes that might be socially acceptable compared to my normal Colorado style.