Welcome Friends! I hope you enjoy tasting these teaching and travel tidbits.
Come along with me as I attempt to navigate my way through a new country, school system, and life for a year!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Teaching at Stocks Green Primary School

It's been quite a while since I last posted, and despite what you all might be thinking, it's because I have been swallowed up whole at work.  For the past few weeks on top of everything else we need to accomplish at school, we have been very busy practicing (or "practising" as they spell it here) our Nativity Play.  You heard that right, in the UK there is no separation of church and state like there is in the US, so we can actually celebrate the birth of Christ right there at school! Our play, called "The Shiniest Star" was a musical and the kids did a really fabulous job.  As you can see, they were darn cute.  I'm hoping it's okay to post this photo, as I took it right off our school website and I think it's from far enough away and just blurry enough that you can't really recognize specific kids.  This shot is from the ending with all of Year 1 and Year 2 onstage for the final song.  My class played the parts of the stars, centurions, animals and angels, while Year 2 had more of the major speaking roles.  They all twinkled, marched, swayed and gave glory to God right on cue.  This week we will be walking to the local church during the school day to practice (practise) for a carol service that parents bring the kids to sing in at night.  I've become a regular at this church, and am really appreciative of how they helped me find a new home when I was suddenly homeless last month.  It all worked out for the best and I made wonderful new friends when a fabulous farm family took me into their home while I was finding a new place to live.  I lived on the dairy farm for 10 days, and really enjoyed my time there.  I even got to see a baby calf being born!  That and seeing a hedgehog in the wild were some of my recent highlights.      

All the craziness of moving came right about Thanksgiving time, so I wasn't able to post anything then, but that was also really great.  I had planned a little "feast" for my class, you know, the typical thing with the kids dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians eating popcorn and Ocean Spray cranberry sauce (my mom and sister should be thrilled, there are more Ocean Spray products here than I've ever seen in the US!   For those of you who might now know it,  I grew up on a cranberry farm and my mom and sister are still Ocean Spray growers) but much to my surprise, the parents of my class made it quite an event.  Somehow the kids all made special Thanksgiving greetings for me that one of the parents bound into a book.  Some children came in with decorations for our feast and one brought in 3 dozen cupcakes decorated as turkeys that her mum had made.  I was feeling the love!  Later that night (after a fun birthday party on the farm) quite a few of the mums and I went out to a local establishment for a little more Thanksgiving celebration.  I was on my best behavior (behaviour) and only drank tea, but it was really nice to get to chat informally with the parents of some of my pupils.  Since they aren't allowed to work in the classroom like they are in the US, I don't often get a chance to get to know the parents, so it was a real treat!

Our school has been in the news here lately, as we made the list of the top 200 schools in the UK, and the top 8 of this region.  Quite an honor!  We haven't found out exactly what number we are yet, but it's a pretty big deal to make this list. The teachers and children really do work hard, very hard, so this distinction is well earned.  I'm still trying to keep up with all the paperwork, but my class is making great progress and  I'm even being trusted to have a student teacher in my room next term, so I guess I'm doing okay.  One more week until Christmas break!
I'm really missing my family, especially with the holiday drawing near, but I know I was chosen for this adventure for a reason, so I'm trying to make the most of the experience and learn all I can.   I hope all of you have a blessed Christmas and I'll post again in 2013!


  1. I love the fact that church and state can be combined in education. What a difference!

  2. I loved that Cara got to be in her school nativity & was amazed at the songs they were able to sing at school - you're right quite a difference from the US


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