Student Teaching in London

The Fourth Week

Monday, Nov.23

This was another rainy day, but only a light rain and not too unpleasant. But it was also a bit colder out. I walked to school again.

I spent Assembly-time in Class 6 (which I did enjoy more than being in Class 2). I heard as many of the kids read as there was time for. Then I went back to Class 2.

As always, I heard readers in Class 2 throughout the day. It was a good day: I got to every reader I had to hear. That doesn't always happen.

I gave another maths lesson on division today. I started by putting up a division problem (3 into 531) and called on somebody to solve it. Then I had that person put up a problem, and call on somebody else to solve it, and so on and so forth. The only problem with it was that some children are never called on, such as Nicholas and Joanne

Then after doing that a few times, I put up some word problems. The first one was:

1. A boy bought 4 bags of crisps. He spent £1.24 altogether. How much did each bag cost?
The only problem here was that I'm still not used to English money. I made the bags crisps (potato chips) much too expensive!

The second problem worked out better:

2. Some girls win some money in a contest, and they all share it. How much does each girl get? (The children supply the amounts.)
There was a lot of reaction to this, and that turned out very well.

Then I had them do 4 pages in their maths book. That took a long time.

Nicola did well in the maths lesson today.

Nina was completely lost during the maths lesson.

Jamie was making some very careless mistakes during the maths lesson. That seems to be his biggest problem.

John did well in the maths lesson today, except that he does it very slowly. He had a harder book in reading today, with stories from "Wind in the Willows", but he did a good job.

Huseyin did fine in maths today, except for a problem with 0's in the dividend. It was common problem: Priya, Katie, Martinique, Esther, and Leyla all had the same problem. They want to put down remainders when there shouldn't be any.

Dipash is doing fine in maths now. He had a little bit of trouble in reading today, but not too bad.

Salah is the most ready to contribute during discussions, which I like. He is way ahead of everybody else in maths, his only trouble was that he put the decimal point in the wrong place a few times.

Nicholas has been doing fine. He did very well at rehearsal for the play today, in his part as narrator.

Simone was another one having the problem with 0's in the maths lesson. In reading, she laughs a lot at her own mistakes, which is a good way to react to that.

Michelle was making quite a few careless mistakes in maths today too. She did fine in reading today though.

Juliette and Paloma were absent today.

Lindsay was not able to do any of the hard division problems in maths.

Shelley was doing an excellent job in the maths lesson, and also did well reading today.

Jessica did fine in maths today. Today was when I noticed how her personality changes when she's playing outside.

I found out about another English word: tyres. I had seen that on a sign on a garage. I asked the co-op about it, if that was a true spelling of the word. She said she never saw it spelled any other way!

I also finally figured out what the word "Revision" (which I've often noticed without understanding) means in their books: it means "review".

At dinner play, Kelly and Emma kept asking me to say different words, because they thought my accent was funny.

For lunch we had some English food called flan. I forget what it is, though. I always pick things I never heard of. We pick out what we want for lunch at the beginning of the week. I never seemed to be able to remember what I ordered for lunch, as it got later in the week! Fortunately, it was no big disaster if we took the wrong thing for dinner.

I began my Unit in Class 2 today. This section of the Unit was about the 7 continents. They took turns pointing to continents and calling on someone to name it, and naming a continent and having someone point to it. They enjoyed doing that very much. But, once again, the only problem was that not everyone gets called on.

Then I had them draw outlines of the continents and name them. There were a few kids who didn't draw the positions correctly. And there are still some people forgetting to put down the title and date at the top of the page as they're supposed to!

I got ahold of this letter from Miss Sagar to the parents, dated "23rd November 87", about the Christmas fair:

Dear Parents,
November Fair - 27th November - Friday 6.30 p.m.
From now on please send to school any of the following items for sale at the Fair:
New Gifts
White Elephant
Second Hand Uniform
Baby Wear
We shall need refreshments such as cakes, sponges, flans, etc; on the morning of the sale - 27th.
In the past we have had a marvelous response from the parents of St. John's and I feel sure you will do the same this year.
Please label tins if you wish to have them returned.

I left at 4:30, and walked home slowly and got back at 5:00. There I found a letter from my friend Herman in Rome. I read it before taking the bus to Corpus Christi Church, for the Tridentine Mass at 5:45. Somehow, I got there just in time.

The bus ride back took 45 minutes, and got me back just in time for the next episode of Dr. Who at 7:35. It was the first episode of a new story: DRAGONFIRE.

Tuesday, Nov.24

I spent half of this morning and all of the afternoon in Class 6. In the morning, I first listened to Philippe read, and then helped him and another boy, Leonard, with the drawings they were doing. Since their play was THE WIZARD OF OZ, they were drawing Oz-pictures.

I found out that Philippe's problems come from problems at home. There's no father. He lives with his mother and uncle I think, and there are some strange situations there. Also, his mother always brings him to school late, which never helped things.

In Class 2, I helped the kids who were working on stories.

This morning was an observation by the Supervisor in the morning. She watched while I gave the maths lesson (and was favorably impressed).

The maths lesson was on place value this time. I did a similar lesson, well, identical lesson actually, back at Bridgeport, which made this much easier. I put up a chart as the teacher there likes to do it, and which seems to work very well:

   millions thousands units
    H T U     H T U   H T U

These stand for Hundred millions, Ten millions, (unit) millions, etc.

I showed how the numbers are written in the columns, starting with numbers less than 1000, then less than a million, then over a million, and showed how commas separate the three section, and that 0's must be used to fill in unused columns between used columns.

Then I gave out little slips of paper, and had everyone write "a large number" on it. Then I collected the papers and read them out, having the kids write the numbers in charts, and check their own work. This took a bit longer than it could have.

Then I had them sit in groups of three. Everyone writes five numbers in their charts, read the numbers for the others to write in their charts, and they compare answers. This worked well, but only among the brighter students. Other groups had no idea what to do. Maybe it should have been demonstrated on the board.

For lunch there was "pudding", which I found means "cake" in England.

In the afternoon, I watched class 6 doing their Wizard of Oz rehearsing. I also told some stories.

I tried playing some of the Samson songs on the piano, possibly to play it for the play.

For one of the projects for my Unit, I needed a bar magnet. The co-op suggested that I call the science department of the local "high school" (I forget what exactly they really call it), and ask them for a magnet. I tried calling. I couldn't get him.

I did get home in time to watch EMU'S WIDE WORLD at 4:30, one of my favorite shows in England.

That afternoon, the other girl at Kent House from West Chester University, Lori, was going to go to the library. I had already tried to get to a library. The is one just a couple blocks from Kent House, but I think there had been water damage or something, and it was closed. That was down a street, where there were quite a few stores. I don't think I ever got anything there, though. There was one funny thing I noticed there: on the window of a store selling fruit and vegetables, there was a sign with Bananaman, saying "Bananaman says eat lots of bananas" or something like that.

But, to get back to what I was saying, about the library. Lori and I went to the library, and spent quite a while there. I never did find out anything about taking books out. Lori was looking up things for her lessons. I just wanted to see what a library in England was like.

I found a couple of interesting things there, but the main things was a pamphlet about the Cecil Sharp House, giving the schedule for November-December. It seems the Saturday I decided to go, just happened to be the one week there was no dance! But now I knew for sure there would be a dance the following week.

That evening, I spent a pleasant time talking with some of the other people staying at kent House, one from New Zealand, one from Japan. The girl from Japan was there learning English. She said that she can understand most of what people are saying, English or Kiwi, but that she has a great deal of trouble understanding the accent of Americans.

Wednesday, November 25

This was the day of the big play I went to with the infants at Unicorn Theatre.

The morning started with Anna coming in very late. I had no idea what was happening, why I was in the classroom by myself. But I did manage to get things started alright. She came in before the time came to go to assembly.

Joanne came in late, after the others had all gone to the assembly. I was in the room by myself. She was afraid to go to assembly late. I told her I would explain that she came in late and try to prevent her getting in trouble, but she was just too afraid. So I let her stay there, and do some work, until the class came back from assembly.

I continued the unit, with the lesson on the interior of the Earth. I put a picture up on the board, and discussed each layer, and talked about the magnetic field. The lesson went rather well; they all seemed pretty interested in it. Salah asked a good question: he wanted to know how the core got there. Nicholas answered the question in a religious way. Jessica also asked some intelligent questions during the lesson. Even Shelley, who is usually very quiet, was participating in this lesson!

I also had them get started on the unsuccessful globe-building activity.

I gave a science lesson on light today. This was another lesson just like I had once done at Bridgeport, at least in part. It had to do with the way light travels in straight lines. It was taught to the whole class except for a small group.

First, I had them examine the pictures (from that science teacher that time). I did this with Whole class except for small group. I had some discussion questions planned:

Why are there dark areas and why doesn't the light fill the room?
Why does the shadow go sideways?
Why are there dark shadows in the picture but not in the classroom?
If the light were brighter, would the shadows disappear?
Why are lights usually pointed downwards?
Unfortunately, this didn't quite work out, because the questions were prepared using a different picture than the one we actually used! Most of the class caught onto the lesson. Then for the last 10 minutes, they wrote down what they learned from the pictures.

After that, in the hall, came the part that was like Bridgeport. A light shines, and it's asked why we can't see the light going across the hall. Then erasers are clapped, and the chalk dust makes the beam of light visible.

This didn't work as well as it did at Bridgeport, because a lamp had to be used because there was no flashlight available.

The unit lesson today was on the interior of the Earth. This was mostly just discussion and board diagrams. And there was the beginning of the globe-building on the "yellow table". The yellow table is the area set aside for "practical" work, such as model-building like this.

This lesson did go well; they were attentive and interested. I found out how important it is to write down everything they're supposed to do up on the board,

I decided to try to help Nicola with her comprehension by asking her a lot more questions as she read the story. After every sentence or two, I would stop her and ask her questions about what she had just read. She began being able to answer them!

Jamie was very interested in the unit lesson today.

Leith has been doing quite well in reading.

John was very interested in today's unit lesson. John still hasn't remembered to bring his reading book in!

Joanne did fine during the lesson, and worked on the globe today.

Priya has been participating in class a lot lately; that's always good to see.

Michelle finished her story about the "kow" in her reading book today.

Juliette was not enthusiastic about doing her reading today, but she did a fine job.

I've noticed that Paloma can always answer questions when I call on her, but she doesn't raise her hand very often.

Shuna responds very well when asked to give out or collect materials; she's a good one to pick to do that sort of thing.

Lindsay doesn't like to participate in class, and she usually can't answer difficult questions.

Esther found some facts about her continent, but she was too shy to share them with the class.

Eloise was causing a mild disturbance at her table. This was a surprise, because she doesn't normally get into any trouble; she's usually very quiet. And this was the only time she got into any trouble.

Shelley did participate a little in class today! I was very happy about that; it's very unusual to see her hand up.

Jessica asked a lot of intelligent questions during today's lesson.

They were also working that day on sewing their costumes for the Samson play.

For lunch we had spaghetti with tuna, and "sponge and syrup" (i.e. sponge cake)

In the afternoon came the "Jacob Two-Two" play, with classes 6 and 7. I had been given a synopsis, with this written at the top: Richard, 1.15 kick off (5 in your group). Here is what the synopsis said:

Six year old JACOB, the youngest in a family of five children is bored. None of his brothers or sisters will play with him and his mother is too busy for him to help her. As the youngest, he always finds himself having to repeat everything twice just to make himself heard, hence his name - JACOB TWO-TWO. What Jacob wants most of all though is to be able to run an errand; for him, the sure sign that he is at last growing up. So when his father sends him off to the greengrocers to buy two pounds of firm red tomatoes, he is over the moon.
On arrival at the shop Jacob finds that MRS COOPER, the greengrocer is paying no attention to him, he starts to pick out the tomatoes himself and when he keeps repeating what he wants over and over again Mrs Cooper, - in mock anger threatens to call a passing policeman. Terrified, Jacob bolts from the shop and runs to a nearby park where, surrounded by the closing in fog, he falls asleep.
He wakes to find himself in a prison cell with LOUIS LOSER, his lawyer, talking to him. Louis' name is most appropriate, he has never won a case in his life and it seems unlikely that JUSTICE ROUGH (who hates small children) will acquit Jacob of his charge of 'Insulting Behavior to a Big Person'. But Jacob doesn't despair even when at the end of his trial he is sentenced to two years, two months, two days, two hours and two minutes in the darkest dungeon of the children's prison. Just as the sentence is passed, two of the jury stand up, shed their disguises and reveal themselves as INTREPID SHAPIRO and FEARLESS O'TOOLE, the leaders of 'Child Power'.
Blindfolded and with a supersonic bleeper in his ear (given to him by Child Power so that they can find him wherever he is) he is taken off by two extremely unpleasant warders, FISH and FOWL to the children's prison at Slimers Isle.
Once at the prison, Jacob meets the governor, THE HORRIBLE HOODED FANG, but quickly realises that he isn't the vile man he makes himself out to be, consequently, Jacob refuses to shake like the rest of the children when he approaches and this only succeeds in making the Hooded Fang even more angry.
Having been fed on a variety of particularly revolting 'goodies' the children are put to work manufacturing the fog that permanently surrounds the prison. Eavesdropping on Fish and Fowl's conversation, Jacob learns that without the fog the prison cannot exist. The children realise that the only thing to do is enlist the help of Intrepid and Fearless. However, Jacob's bleeper has been removed and Child Power no longer know where he is. They write a letter and Jacob succeeds in getting the Fang to deliver it, by threatening to tell the rest of the children his secret. (What secret you may ask? The answer to this and the Fang's fate will be revealed in the show). Needless to say though, Jacob is returned home safely after his dream and everything is alright.
A few days earlier, I had been given a copy of the paperback book JACOB TWO-TWO MEETS THE HOODED FANG by Mordecai Richler (but told not to read the ending so it wd spoil the play). They had been listening to the book read to them for some time, so they were familiar with the story. I was very grateful for being given that copy of the book, because I had been searching all over London to buy that book, to take home with me.

The play was to run from 2:00 to 4:00, so leaving at 1:15 should have given us plenty of time. Unfortunately, traffic was very bad that day, and we were 5 minutes late. We were pleasantly surprised that they had not started the play yet.

I had a group of five: there was Jenny, Emma, Fezile, Jack, and one other, I'm not sure but I think it was Richard. Jenny sat next to me on the bus and talked and talked. She gave me a completely description of every room in her house. She also sang a little of "Swimming, Swimming, in a Swimming Pool/When days are hot, when days are cold, in a swimming pool/Front stroke, side stroke, fancy diving too/Oh don't you wish you had nothing else to do." I enjoyed listening to her.

On the way back to St. John's, some of the kids on the bus, mainly Emma, started singing the "Child Power" song that was sung in the play. A minute later it turned into "Star Trekking" (it had the same melody). We got back around 4:30.

When I got back to the classroom, the co-op had gone already (as I had expected). She left this note for me:

I've left both Geog. + Science books, in case you want to mark both!
Hope the play was good.
I did check both.

Later that day, I went to go and find the Woolworth's in Camden Town. I could not find it anywhere! It was as if it had simply disappeared. I went back without being able to find it.

The Fourth Week: Thursday-Sunday

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