Sunday, September 26, 2010

A week without tears...

It has been a week since my last blog post and I am proud to say that I didn’t cry even one time in front of my work colleagues, or otherwise! I am getting a small handle on behavior in my Year 10 class. The relationship piece has been huge. Apparently, they like me. Now, this does not translate into amazingly seamless days with no disruptions and lots of learning. But, it does mean that it is a more peaceful place for all of us. They have told me that I am the only teacher who lets them do lab practicals. Likely, it is just because I obviously have a high tolerance for craziness and, since I'm new, I just don't know any better. But, honestly, compared to last week and the one before, things are looking up in that class.

Year 11s have been another story. They came back from job shadowing for two weeks and they were out of control. They were fine just sitting in their desks, but once we got up to do a practical, it was complete mayhem. They were throwing water on each other and even a little acid was thrown. Good times. We broke about 9 test tubes in one lesson. So, I got the head of department to come in and witness this and she just totally screamed at them and they were silent little mice. The next day, we did some notes and a power point and will be working back up to being able to get out of our seats. This is a high ability class, they don’t generally have behavior problems but since I’m new and they’ve been there for 5 years, they rule and I don’t know anything. We’ll be turning that around in the next few weeks. With them, I don’t get as frustrated because I know that they will actually learn and I can be somewhat effective as a teacher once I get to know them and get them on my side.

This weekend has been quite fun. I attended my regular happy hour festivities with my work colleagues, which is always fun and then, went out in Chesham with my roommate and her boyfriend and some other new friends. On Saturday, I went to see the Chesham United football team (soccer) play. This was really fun as it is a real community feel and they have a bar. During the game, there was no drinking and I saw several my little Year 10 cherubs there. After the game came the best, most random part of the weekend…the meat raffle!

After every home game, to raise money for the football club, the local butcher donates a bunch of meat to be raffled off. I had seen a sign for this last Friday when I was at the football club for a comedy show and I had been excited all week about participating! We bought five tickets and were the first number drawn! WOO HOO! We won 5 sausages, a pack of bacon, and 4 disc-shaped slices of black pudding. Black pudding is a very popular and a very British food item. It is not what you would think of when you hear the word, “pudding.” (By the way, I have yet to really understand what pudding means here since sometimes it means desert, sometimes it means a popover like with Yorkshire Pudding, and sometimes it means a meat product.)

Black pudding, if you’ve never heard of it, is sausage made out of blood and oatmeal. Yes, feel free to gag. When I asked my parents if they’d had this, my dad actually said that he just couldn’t eat it which is saying a lot because he eats just about everything. He thinks that eating black pudding is only one step away from being willing to eat pickled sheep brains! This morning, we cooked up a big traditional English breakfast. It included scrambled eggs, baked beans, sausage, bacon (more ham like), and black pudding. Apparently, there is no better taste than baked beans mixed with black pudding. I think I might disagree. The taste wasn’t so bad. Honestly, the flavor was okay, but I couldn’t get over the texture, which was kind of mealy? I’m not quite sure how to actually describe it. I will say that it wasn’t horrible but it is just not something I see myself really every feeling the need to eat again.

Mostly, I just couldn’t get over the fact that I attended, and won meat, at a meat raffle! I just like saying it. So hilarious. I giggled about it all night! So now I am just getting ready for another extremely busy week. Monday night we have “open evening” at school where the school is basically putting together a sales pitch for prospective students. We’ll have to be at school tomorrow until 9 pm but only have a half-day with the kids so that’s nice.

I’m having a really fun time here. I pretty much want it to be the weekend all of the time but alas, that is not possible. But, only 4 more weeks until we have a half-term break for a week. My friend Courtney is coming to visit and I can’t wait to see her and show her around Chesham. Yay for holidays (I’ve had to stop saying vacation!) and weekends!

Sorry for the sparse postings. I am knackered (like my use of English slang) every night and can barely function after school and working out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Went to a country pub for lunch today that has been open for 900 years! CRAZY! It was very quaint and the food was SOOOO good.

It is a Sunday tradition to have a "Sunday Roast." So, I had beef roast with vegetables, roasted potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding which was like a popover. Amazingly delicious. Any visits to England WILL result in a Sunday Roast at a country pub.

Here's the website for the pub if you want to check it out...

Back to the grindstone.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Limestone, Steel, and AluMINIUM...oh my!

Another week almost done. SCIENCE H. LOGIC! THANK GANESH. I don’t think I could possibly survive a six-day school week if I was forced to at gunpoint. I would have to show up drunk on the sixth day, just to make it through. For the most part, things are going well. I really like my Year 8 and 9 classes and LOVE my Year 7 classes. They have all responded quite well to my management style and have been quite enthusiastic about the content we are learning.

But, my Year 10 class (well, really about six kids in the class but there are only 20 total so they pretty much create a whole class nose dive) is so challenging that I have literally sobbed after they leave every single time I have them because I feel like such an absolutely horrible teacher. Fortunately, I only see them three days per week (once on Tuesdays and twice on Thursdays and Fridays) and so at least I have two days a week where I don’t cry at school in front of my whole department. Good times. These are kids who hate school, know they are in the lowest group, have low skills, are constantly in and out of in/out of school suspension, and have ZERO interest in the curriculum. I can understand that last part as I also have limited interest in this unit as well.

The unit is called “Products from Rocks” and it is all about limestone, steel, aluminum (ALUMINIUM here), and titanium. I could see it potentially being interesting (and I’m a science nerd) if you put the right spin on it. But, the parts they have to know (literally memorize in great detail for their giant national exam) are things like: the EXACT reactions when making quicklime, slaked lime, etc. What the hell is all that? Yeah, I asked myself the same thing before, during, and after “teaching” it.

I could see that the curriculum developers were trying to show that materials from the earth are used to make building materials and other things- somewhat relatable to everyone- but they literally SUCK OUT anything potentially interesting by making the tests just about memorizing the parts and reactions of an iron blast furnace or the molecular structure of wrought iron vs. cast iron. See why I’m struggling? There is no “so what?” The whole curriculum is all about the “what” with no implications as to WHY someone might need to know this information for anything other than a giant test. Obviously, if you are hanging on to being in school by a very thin thread, a giant test that you already know you won’t do well on is not very motivating to behave and learn.

I know that Love and Logic says that if you can’t get kids to do something for themselves, you should get them to love you and do it for you. I am not sure I’ll be able to get these kids to love me! They HATE me because I ask them to follow classroom expectations of my classroom and of the school. Case in point- four girls had nail polish on today. It is not allowed in the WHOLE SCHOOL. I just brought them some cotton balls and nail polish remover and put it on their desks today- tried not to make a big deal or a power struggle or anything- and then the rest of the class they were yelling, disruptive, and refusing to follow any of the procedures of the lab. Why I did a lab, I cannot tell you.

I have been trying a variety of different instructional strategies and anything with the tiniest bit of freedom of movement or choices in the classroom leads to COMPLETE MAYHEM. There was a FULL ON water fight in the classroom the other day. After that first day last week, everyone said to me, “oh don’t worry, it can’t be worse than it was today.” WRONG! It has gotten worse EVERY subsequent day. So, tomorrow, because I literally don’t know what else to do, we are doing book work (like- copy shit straight out of the book- kind of book work) and video clips. Fortunately, my discovery streaming still works here so I have free videos even if they are HELLA boring. (If anyone in Thompson Admin is reading this, PLEASE don’t cancel my account or I will die.)

I know that I am being dramatic. I am not used to ABSOLUTELY SUCKING at being a teacher. This is worse than when I was a student teacher and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I really need to take heart in the positive things that are happening- and there are a lot of positives- but I just dread those five hours per week.

On a lighter note, the Deputy Head Teacher (Assistant Principal) has coerced me into doing a “Games Club” with him at lunch on Fridays. I am going to be doing Scrabble and he will teach kids chess and bridge. More than 30 kids signed up today (was likely due to his promise of free candy!) but at least that is one thing fun. And, my Year 9 kids got to test their lung capacity the other day by blowing into some sort of monitoring tool. I had to use the word “blow” a lot to describe how to use it which then caused them to erupt into constant fits of giggling every time I used the word. Same problem as when I used to teach the word “homozygous” to 7th graders. Ah, teenagers. Funny though. I have one word for Kendra: Djibouti. Oh wait, one more: Bangkok.

Let me tell you though that it sucks not having a car because it takes me forever to get everywhere. This is a small town but it takes me almost an extra hour to go to the gym because I have such a long walk there and back. I wasn’t getting home until about 8 every night and then had to start my lesson planning after making/cleaning up dinner. I was going to bed close to midnight, which is not cutting it for me. I am going to have to do much more work on the weekends than I did last weekend. But, not on a Friday- I plan to begin swilling beers within 10 minutes of the final bell. I now have to drink on Fridays not just for fun, but for sanity maintenance. J

So, any advice on teaching the high school juvenile delinquents with low skills who are on the verge of being kicked out of school is greatly appreciated. I am sure there are those out there reading this (I can think of perhaps three of you right now!) who have. Yay for weekends. Holy schnikes.

I might have to stop following the news in the US. This Tea Party crap makes me utterly sick. (Sorry, just had to throw that in.) GO SOCIALISM! I love being a Pinko.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ski buddies in London...

Today I went to London to meet my Australian friend, Skye. We worked together at Winter Park Resort in 2001 and haven't seen each other for about two years. So, it was great that she is in London visiting and very surreal to be hanging out together in a place that is foreign to both of us!

We walked all around the Borough Market which is near London Bridge. Just so we are all clear, London Bridge was NOT falling down. I'm hilarious. The bridge behind us in called the Tower Bridge. Behind us and to the left is the actual Tower of London where things like Anne Boelyn's execution took place and her ghost wanders at night.

Skye is trained as a pastry chef and her boyfriend, Nick, is a chef in London, so it was fun to walk around a food market area with foodies who know about all the random things I wasn't sure of. There were lots of niche market organic things and then prepared food sold in the market too. Let's just say that I have consumed enough melted cheese this weekend to make any Wisconsin cheese-head proud. I actually saw an import beer stand that had beers from Colorado. No New Belgium but they did have O'Dells. Fort Collins REPRESENT!! Holler! I'll post the rest of the pictures from today on Facebook because I am too lazy to do it on here- takes too long.

Tomorrow I am on the train to Planningville as soon as I get up. First stop is my kitchen table where I will be learning about enzymes and planning two Year 7 units- one on Forces and Space and the other on Life. Space. Boring. Maybe I'll teach astrology and just act confused when someone says I am supposed to be teaching astronomy.

Mismatched shoes, a few tears, and FINALLY a weekend....

Warning: Wrote this quickly and didn't do much proofreading. Apologize in advance for errors.

Well, I have completed week one! Phew. Honestly, I can barely remember Monday because this week felt quite long. I am not in any sort of routine yet and once I am, I am sure that it will seem to go a little faster. My brain still doesn’t understand only seeing kids on random days instead of daily. I am sure it is only a matter of a few weeks to get into the swing of things. I am already Pavlovianly ready for a beer approximately one minute after the bell on a Friday. And by one, I mean at least five. I would like everyone to know that I am attempting to EXERCISE instead of what I really want to do every night when I come home- DRINK A BOTTLE OF WINE! I joined a gym this week! YAY! It is a mile walk each way from my house too, so I get plenty of random singing to my ipod done as I walk through Chesham.

Besides having lost complete control of one class and wearing mismatched shoes on Friday, (they were at least both Danskos so it is not like I was wearing one high heel and one flip-flop!) it was a good week. I learned to light a Bunsen burner, taught my Year 7s how to light one (but we forgot to wear our safety glasses so fortunately nobody singed off their eyebrows!) and did “freeze-frame” skits with my Year 9s about the digestive system where one kid got to play the part of poo. J

So, the fateful period where I lost control. Here’s what happened. And, first of all, before I say that I “lost control,” I actually did what love and logic says to do, I have just never actually had to go to this extreme with so many kids at the same time! My Head of Science and I decided that she would take the highest science students that I had been teaching because I literally know JACKSHIT about the content. Yes, I can learn it, it is not that hard, but I have to learn all new content for Year 11 too. And, since I am responsible for preparing them for an exam that decides their future, we decided that it would be better if she taught the kids who had to move at double the pace. So we swapped our classes and I was left with a class of only 19 kids, but 19 kids who are not altogether excited to be in science.

I had worked really hard to develop a project for them to work on to learn the content instead of the regular procedures that are usually followed in this science class. I thought maybe if they could see some sort of real-life application of what they were learning, it might be a little more motivating. They have all known the Head of Science since they were in Year 7 so they obviously have a good relationship with her and were really angry when they found out they would be switching classes to be with the new American lady. So, as we swapped classes and they all came in, there were four boys who literally acted as if I were not in the room. They were yelling back and forth at each other, dropping f-bombs every other word. It was basically like I wasn’t there. I gave them choices about moving seats, etc. and as the Love and Logic DVD said, I narrowed the choice each time. I finally asked one of them to leave as his final choice (I will think of saying next time, “Are you able to walk out of here on your own or do you need to be escorted?” I’m sure there will be a next time!)

When he wouldn’t get up, I did what the school protocol is and got my head of department whose classroom is only like 4 feet from mine. She came in, guns blazing, and took them into the hall where she had already called one of the Assistant Headteachers (like a Dean) and then they were removed. During all the “choice giving” I was really really struggling to maintain calm, nonyelling composure because I didn’t want them to think they could “break” me, which is what they were waiting for. I also didn’t want them to think that they could act like that and remain in the classroom. So, the rest of the lesson (oh by the way, this was the second lesson I’d already had with them, we barely made it through the first but some of that was taken up by the class switching and introductions so the issues didn’t arise as severely during that first hour!) I was left with only about 14 students and we completed a review of naming compounds. They were SILENT.

Once they left, my floodgates released and I sobbed for the majority of lunch. I just felt really inept. I have had wild kids in my room before, but never this many, who are 15, who are all on their last leg toward expulsion, who have really low skills, and who literally acted as if I were not in the room. I must add here though that the “One Rule” and “Living Above the Line” and all other Love and Logic tactics (and CHAMPS!) have been REALLY effective with everyone else, especially a rowdy group of Year 9 kids on a Friday afternoon. Literally, besides this one group of students, I have had, pretty much, no other issues.

As suggested by my wonderful friend Natalie, I started “Communication Logs” with them (thanks Lesli Cochran and Chris Tovani, I believe!) where I am writing back and forth with them every time I see them trying to build a relationship. One of the kids who has been the biggest pain is the one who is actually asking me questions back about what I like to do outside of school, etc. J I know this whole thing comes down to relationships and I am trying trying trying but that is the part that takes some time.

I had them twice yesterday (the initial incident was Thursday). There were only 10 kids there because it was the end of Ramadan and one of the boys from the previous day was in the in-school suspension room which is called ‘The Learning Zone!” It wasn’t perfect, but it was better. All of the administrators (Senior Leadership Team it is called here) have come in to make sure I am okay. As my dad said, they are probably just relieved I didn’t book a flight home. Never. I’m tougher than that! They are just kids. Many of them have crappy home lives and low skills. I get it.

But now I am off to London to see my Aussie friend, Skye, who is in Europe for the month! YAY! Haven’t seen her in more than two years!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday done. Check and check.

Today began my first full week of school! I know all of you teachers at home hate me that you are well into the school year but next summer I’ll have a very short summer so it is a good trade. I am starting to get the hang of things at my school. Fortunately, my Year 12 group tells me everything I need to do that I’m not doing in terms of organization and that is actually quite helpful. I spent most of Sunday working on my plans for this week. The actual planning doesn’t take me too long, it is the relearning the material I have never taught and creating all of my teaching materials that is taking me forever.

I did get to have a pretty fun weekend. On Friday, I went out for happy hour at 4 with some work colleagues and didn’t get home until after 11. That’s always a pretty good night. After we left the pub, we “went for a curry” as they say here. This was NOT a good plan at 10 pm and between the massive amounts of beer I consumed and the Indian food, Saturday morning was a bit rough! J On Saturday during the day, I went to the mall in a town called Watford with my new friend (who, by the way, is a SKIER!!!)! I got to see all of the super-cute clothes that I cannot afford on my meager teacher salary! Then, on Saturday night, Anna and I had a bbq with the neighboUrs in the backyard. It was fun to sit outside all bundled up swilling wine. It got really cold and last night we even had to turn on the heat! (Really cold is only relative to how it has been- it wasn’t really that cold!)

As of today, I have now met all of my different students. It is going to take me quite awhile to get their names memorized- that is for sure. I think in total, I see about 200 different kids per week. Fortunately, their day planners have a little white board in the back so they are able to write their name and prop it up so that I can just read their names. Phew. I have been teaching the highest level of kids in “chemistry.” I say “chemistry” because really it is a collection of random facts that are randomly related to chemistry. The unit is called Products from Rocks and it is SO incredibly boring! I am working really really hard to make it engaging but it is a struggle!

However, today, my Head of Science suggested that perhaps I switch with her and take the lowest group because they move more slowly and won’t need to know this random chemistry stuff that I know JACK about in the same depth as the higher kids. So, I think I will do this switch. With the lower kids I am able to have more freedom in how I structure the unit. So, I have made up a long-term project for them where they will have to design certain structures in a town and choose which “products from rocks” they use to design these based on characteristics that they will research. We’ll see how it goes. This will be something that they have never done before as the curriculum is generally so prescribed that they aren’t able to have projects like this. Yay for Understanding by Design!

So far, it seems that the kids have responded well to “The One Rule” and “Living Above the Line.” Not surprisingly, the Year 7-9 kids have been excited when brainstorming all the ways that they can think of to break the rules. I always get some answers like “throw desks out the window,” “set the school on fire.” I just let them say stuff like that as long as we eventually get the realistic ways of not following “The One Rule” on the list like being disrespectful, not raising your hand, or not doing work. So far, the kids here seem just like the kids at home, they just wear a uniform. J I have been extra careful to go over expectations and make lots of “Looks like/Sounds Like” charts whenever we do something new like group work, etc.

Anyway, enough teacher talk. But, that is pretty much my whole life at the moment since I only have two friends! J I really like the people in my department and have enjoyed lunch with them everyday! I am going to be so fried after five days this week. It will take awhile to get used to the random schedule I have. I had Year 8 kids three times today and then I only see them once more this week.

I would like to share a website that someone here shared with me, it is hilarious and totally inappropriate. Don’t read it if you think you might be easily offended by vulgarity. But, it is so close to Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts that I have to share it.

Hilarious and a delightful time waster. Just keep clicking “more top tips” and they just keep on coming.

Hasta lasagna!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First day survival! WOO HOO!

I have survived the first day! It was actually quite fun. After my feelings of complete inadequacy yesterday, I was greatly relieved that today was so fun! I guess I will just give the full on play-by-play of the day so it is possible to get a full picture!

I got picked up today at 7:50 (I KNOW! WHAT? It is SOOOO late compared to CBMS!) by my Head of Science. It was nice to get a ride so that I wasn’t completely sweaty when I got to school in my dress clothes- my NEW clothes I should mention which was half the fun of it being the first day of school. At 8:30 we have a staff briefing in the teacher’s lounge/mailbox room (they call them pigeon holes). Apparently, there are a few teachers who don’t like email so we have our announcements done in person every morning. This is just humorous to me after hearing that CBMS has moved past email and only uses google docs.

So, today being the first day of school meant that on the Year 7 and Year 12 classes came first thing. This is because the Year 7 kids are new to the school and the Year 12 kids are starting “Sixth Form” which is an optional level of school if you want to attend university. The Year 12’s have all chosen to be at Chesham Park and they choose which 3-4 subjects they take because they have taken exams in every subject the previous year. The exams after Year 11 are called GCSE exams. See why I cried from all of the lingo and acronyms? And, I even knew what Sixth Form and GCSE’s were before getting here!

Because I am a Year 12 Form Tutor (Homeroom Advisor) I had to meet with the whole Year 12 group for their orientation. I believe there are about 60 kids in the sixth form and they are split into three groups. They do not have to wear uniforms and have their own area of the building with a lounge, computer lab, and some study areas. As you might guess, a bunch of 17 year olds on their first day of not wearing uniforms were not exactly following the dress code. They are expected to wear business attire and there were some in clothes that would really only be business attire if streetwalking was their job! Ha!

After two periods with them where we filled out paperwork and took attendance (registration it is called here), I had my first science class. My first class was Year 10 science. They are the top science kids and have my class 5 periods per week. All we really did today was go over “the one rule” and did “Headlines” about ourselves. Tomorrow I have them again, twice, and we will start content. I have made a bunch of graphic organizers for their first few days of class so at least that is all organized. They are only 14-15 year olds so they were still relatively acquiescing to everything I asked them to do. I, of course, had a few kids who’s names I already know after only meeting them for a 50 minute class- there are always a few in every class who are likely to be complete turds! I will work on building a relationship with them straight away to hopefully combat that!

Then, we have school-wide lunch. All of the little Year 7 kids (who are only 11) looked SO lost and I felt sad that I couldn’t help them because I am equally lost! Everyone in the science department eats together in our office, which is connected to my room since there really isn’t time to go anywhere else in the building. But, it is nice to have people to eat with and not be like a new kid in the cafeteria wondering where to sit.

After lunch, I had my Year 11 class. There are about 35 kids in the class and they were rowdy, loud, and not that interested in school today. I think my high school teacher friends would be proud of my classroom management today with all those crazy high school kids! There were two boys sitting next to each other who were absolutely unable to follow any directions and were rudely chatting the entire time I was trying to speak. During my first short work time, I did a full-on Love and Logic move! I “bent ever so slightly at the waist, looking to side, whispered that one of them needed to find a new seat, assumed compliance, and walked away!” Nobody even noticed that I whispered to them, I did a circuit of the room and by the time I got back to them, one had packed up and moved to the new desk. No muss. No fuss. Kinda bitchy! Go me! I don’t have to see Year 11 kids for two weeks because they have job shadow. Glad to not have to be that “on” until they come back.

My last class of the day was my absolute favorite. They were Year 7 kids and they are SO cute! Imagine all of our sixth graders but in a suit. They were wide-eyed, nervous, and asking one million questions about things like writing with a pen or pencil, using the back of the paper, etc. They were delightful and did a great job with the “one rule” and “living above the line.” They were really excited that the homework I assigned them was just to tell their families about those two items. When I said to them that I have them three times a week and another teacher only one time, one little girl went, “yessssssss!” under her breath. So adorable.

Last of the day, the Year 12 kids come back for 10 minutes to check in. Some of the girls were quite nice and were very concerned that I survived my day okay! I am going to like being their Form Tutor, I think.

I stayed at school until about six but since we don’t get out until 3:20, I wanted to get as prepared as possible for next week so I didn’t have to do as much over the weekend- or really- so I can plan for the week after next over this weekend and try to stay a week ahead. The problem for me is that I am an idiot and don’t know how to do any labs with chemicals. Fortunately the assistants will help me because otherwise I’d be doing some random mixing which is never good.

I have more Year 7 kids tomorrow. I can’t wait! I am definitely a middle school teacher at heart. Tomorrow I will meet my Year 9 kids and see my Year 10 kids twice. I have one period off tomorrow which is delightful because this is a crazy race every day I am starting to feel already!

I also made a FRIEND!! YAYAYAY! Another new teacher is living in my town, right by where I live! So, we are going to happy hour it up after school tomorrow with everyone and then walk home together! Yay for new friends! I get really excited when I have new phone number to add into my phone. Feel like less of a loser! J

So, disregard the tears of yesterday, today was good day and I am hoping that tomorrow is as well. Tomorrow I will actually teach some science so we’ll see. Sorry this has been so long, I’m not offended if you haven’t even made it to this point, but I just wanted to share the full story.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Let the games begin...

I have kids tomorrow. I am excited and nervous as hell! Today was a staff training day and it was completely overwhelming because I don't know any of the English acronyms. And, just as in the US, education is all about acronyms. I feel like a total idiot. I have a really hard time not being good at my job. So, I had a few tears, but I will be okay. I have made a graphic organizer for myself of my schedule so I can see it all laid out for a whole week at a time with my planning written on the schedule. I'm planned up until next Friday so I think I'll at least be able to breathe a little bit over the next week.

My department (and everyone really) is extremely patient and lets me ask one million questions without seeming annoyed- outwardly annoyed anyway. I ALMOST got to go on a field trip with the Year 12 kids to Parliament next Tuesday- I was really excited but they couldn't find anyone to cover the classes I would miss, so alas, next time. They go to Oxford later in the year and I will for sure get to go on that field trip. I am what is called a "form tutor" which is like a homeroom teacher for Year 12. So, they touch base with me every morning and afternoon and I am in charge of tracking their social, emotional, and academic needs throughout the year.

Thank Ganesh that the Year 11 kids are gone for the next two weeks after tomorrow so that I have 5 free class periods without them while they go on a job shadow. Having a reduced class load will drastically improve my easing in process. Teachers here work their asses off. Not to say they don't at home, but six preps is out of control. I know, I know that elementary teachers have a lot (blah blah blah) but I am having a pity party for myself right now so they can just shut up! :)

On a positive note, there were mimosas at my first staff meeting. Who doesn't love that. There was also beer in our science department fridge. Got to love a country that isn't as crazily Puritanical as ours- wait- didn't the Puritans leave England because they weren't strict enough?

Anyway, I am hanging in there and nervous for tomorrow. Will try to post again tomorrow night after school is over from the first day. My brain is mush. I am freaked out. Dream of me tonight having a successful first day because you will all be sleeping while I am teaching!