So much for keeping the blog up to date! Itâ€™s so far behind itâ€™s not funny. Ah, well. Will try to get you up to speed now! This entry will let you know whatâ€™s been happening lately and whatâ€™s happening next, and then a few updates from the last few months will follow.
Today was the last day of the academic year. We start 6 weeks holiday for the summer. Donâ€™t tell any teachers from England this, but frankly the last 7 weeks of term have been the easiest of my entire career! The Year 10s were on work experience for three weeks, and had exams for one. That left barely three weeks for teaching. I had plenty of time for preparation, and was actually up to date with marking (those who work with me will be astonishedâ€¦). I am tired today, but that may be due to a late night at the end of year staff do last night (hearts were broken, reputations shattered, a fun time had by allâ€¦).
I really enjoyed some of my classes this past 6 months. My Year 7s were a delight, and I am growing to really love my Year 10 Voc boys (students with literacy and/or behaviour issues). I will follow the Year 10 boys into Year 11 and will be really sorry to say goodbye to them at the end of this year. My Year 9s, with the exception of a handful of kids (thank you Matt, Abby, Daryl, Lee, and Laura), I hope I never have to teach again as long as I live!
In September I will teach a Year 7 lower ability class, Year 8 lower ability class, Year 9 Literacy class (students with major literacy issues), Year 10 D-G class (those are the grades they are expected to achieve â€“ in other words none are expected to pass!) and my Year 11 Voc boys, all for English. No top sets unfortunately, but that is mainly because I am leaving and they donâ€™t want a top set to be interrupted part way through the year (or at least, thatâ€™s what they told meâ€¦). Itâ€™s all about results here, and the top sets get first priority with staffing. Not quite how it works where I come from â€“ generally I try to give the most difficult classes the most suitable and experienced teachers. Ah wellâ€¦
So, now for the summer holiday. I am off backpacking through Europe, with a new acquaintance, Jan. I met Jan nearly 7 weeks ago in the dining room of a B and B in Haworth, Yorkshire. Jan was there with a friend, and happened to be an English teacher from Brisbane! She has been working on contract at a school in St Albans, although she hasnâ€™t particularly enjoyed it (she refers to the school as the â€˜Pig Penâ€™). We were there to do the Bronte thing. Jan is a huge Bronte fan. Iâ€™m not so much (too much yelling and shouting), although I like them better now for having been there. After 15 minuteâ€™s conversation we decided to join forces, as we were both a little concerned about travelling on our own. It shocks us both a little that we are travelling with someone we know so little, but we both think we will muddle along quite nicely.
The plan, and I use the term loosely, is to fly to Rome on Sunday, then work our way to Siena, Florence (where I have a date with George Emerson â€“ wonder if he will show up?) and Venice. We will then work our way around to Croatia, then up to Prague. From there to Krakow, Warsaw and Poznan in Poland (I will visit Trzciel, the home of my Hampel ancestors who lived there when it was called Tirschtiegel and was part of Prussia). After that Berlin and Hamburg, and maybe somewhere else in Germany, followed by Switzerland. Very much a whistle stop tour, but it is intended to be a taster only. One day I would like to see much more of parts of Europe.
So, I hope I can keep up the blog and let you know where I am and what I am doing. I am really looking forward to spending so much time travelling, reading, meeting new people, blah, blah, blah! This will be the longest holiday I have had in a long time when I havenâ€™t had to do school preparation or move house!