Trip Of A Lifetime

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Arrrival In London

Well, we made it to London after all that manic travelling around the States. We were tired and I must admit, a little smelly, after the overnight flight from Toronto. But no rest for the wicked. We had to catch the train to Gloucester Street and then walk to our accomodation so that we could get ready for our first interview that afternoon.

London is as I remember it, but we've had quite a lot of sunshine during the day. It's bloody cold at night though. Jeepers!

Our first week (almost) has been so busy. We've had to organise our three temp agencies, get bank accounts and most inportantly, find somewhere to live! We do have accomodation until the 4th but nothing after that and we can't really afford to stay where we are. That has meant that we have to go to agencies, look on the Internet and search papers for suitable places and then get on the tube to find these places on foot. Half the time the places have been terrible and the other half of the time it's either already gone or has a heap of agency fees we weren't told about. There was a lot of freaking out going on.

Anyway we did manage to sign leases yesterday on a small studio apartment (this means small room that contains everything... bedroom, dining, lounge, kitchen and bathroom) in Willsden Green. The rent includes all bills and council tax, it's fully furnished and is close to the tude and a supermarket. That's all we need. Chip and Dale signed a lease for an identical apartment just across the road.

So with accomodation organised, the only thing we really need to worry about is work. Adie has had work since last Friday and he really needs a break. These schools are exhausting! The rest of us started yesterday. I can't really describe the experiences of others but I can talk about what I'm doing.

I went to the Haverstock School yesterday in Chalk Farm. I will admit that I walked past it because it actually didn't look like a school. It looked more like a hospital. It's three stories high and the front is all in frosted glass. Anyway, after security buzzed me through the front door, I made my way to the staff room to find out my teaching load for the day. Two year 7 maths, year 9 art and year 10 drama. Pretty cruisy considering I get paid for the whole day even though I only teach 4 out of 5 periods. For those of you who worked with me, the kids are pretty much the same as what we're used to, but if ours are a five on a scale of one to ten, these guys are pushing a seven. There are schools here where the kids are trying to bash through to an eleven, but I'm hoping I don't get sent there.

The day would have been fine except I have this little problem at the moment... I've lost my voice. I thought it was better when I got up on Monday, but today as I sit around not working because my voice is non-existent I think I maybe made the wrong decision. From talking to other supply teachers it seems as though there are two main problems with this type of work. The first is that the students see a supply teacher and turn feral. The second is that there is either no work left or the work left does not take up a full period or it's boring.

Here's a basic rundown of my first day in an English school:
Period 1- Students finish work with 20 minutes to spare, have to find a way to stop them wandering aruond too much.
Period 2- No class, but soem bright spark sets off a fire alarm so that we all have to stand outside in the cold.
Period 3- A drama class that has been put into a class room to do writtten work because, even though I'm drama trained and I've explained this to the head of drama, they're "year 10s."
Period 4- An art class where I can't get into the room for 20 minutes and then there's no work left, have to find a way to stop students from throwing pencils.
Period 5- A beautiful class where there was a maths support teacher who took the class for me while I helped to supervise. She used to do supply and talking to and watching her was really positive.

There is just so much going on at the moment. Adie and I can't wait to settle, have our own place, stop living out of a suitcase and start feeling less temporary. Less than one week!!!


  • Welcome to Britain! As someone who attended an English school I completely understand what you are saying, especially the bit about the kids turning feral around supply teachers! Bring back corporal punishment I say!

    By Blogger Logan, at 10:53 pm  

  • Hi Nina and Adie


    You certainly have been busy since school finished.

    Great to read about all the places you have been to and the things you have done.

    Still the same at Lyndale. A few new faces, Patricia's International Day coming up, college photos Wed & Thursday, only a six week term and already one week down.


    By Anonymous Neil, at 4:07 am  

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