Student Teaching in London

The Sixth Week

Thursday, December 10

Today I again spent almost the whole day with class 6 and 7. I was only in Class 6 briefly. I helped with drawing little circles on card, that would be cut out and they'd be using to make Christmas tree decorations.

In Class 7, I helped with doing writing, and with the reading. Selwa was the only one in the class who wasn't able to read anything. They were looking for something they could read, and I was helping them. I felt very sorry for her, being unable to find anything easy enough that she could read it. Sally, on the other hand, was reading very well.

I talked with the Class 7 teacher for quite a while about the things she does, about some of the reading theorists like Clay and Graves. She said one thing she disagreed with was where it was said that they should write on unlined paper; she thinks it's better, easier for them, if they can have lined paper to write on.

I also tried reading from the old book I had bought in England to Class 6, but they were not interested. I did tell them the stories about the jackal, changing it to "fox".

I made some tapes of the children, in Class 6 and Class 2. Here's what was on the tape:

(Class 2)

I liked working with you; it was fun.
School's custard's lumpy.
I think you gave me a nice ---.
My name's Jamie and I'm a rich millionaire.
So where's the microphone? My name's David. I'd rather eat rubbers instead of the school dinners.
My name's Priya and I think you gave me a good education.
...I'm a pop star, and I'm rich, and I got lots of clothes, and I go to St. John's School.
I'd rather eat ping-pong balls instead of the school peas.
My name's Shuna and this is Capital Radio.
Jessica sings Turn your radio on
Hello, my name is HusPus and you're listening to Pirate Radio, and we're going to listen to this song
bum bum...
The boys in our class are really ugly.
I hate school dinners.
I've got a friend called Jose.
In background
I didn't know you had any friends.
This is Curly Wurly Raisin. You're listening to Pirate Radio. And also Dipsash is here to sing.
Dipash (in background)
No no
Here's a rap by Jamie ....
This is Georgina speaking here from Bird Studio. And now, we're going to ask some questions to Michelle here now. Say hello.
What are the top five birds.
Don't know.
That is a very correct answer.
Thank you.
(Class 6)
Joshua. Foshua. Silly Lemon Squashua.
I like Christmas Trees.
Why did the zebra cross the road? --- How did the train cross the road? It was a train crossing. I like Advent Calendars. How did the Christmas tree light his candles?
There were two biscuits crossing the road. One got run over. What did the other say? - Crumbs!
I liked the play. It was nice. Best of all I liked the bit when I came up. [Say what you were.] I was a Winged Monkey.
Does it record yourself? Is it going to say Christopher's?
Yeah, do it, I want to hear. I've got a microphone like this at my house, and I sing a song and it tapes.
I liked the play. I liked the best bit where the Munchkins starts around the block.
I liked the play.
I like to play with my sister.
Why can't we tape what they say?
You can speak to the Wizard, he'll hear your request, he'll try to help you, he'll do his best.
We are making Christmas Trees.
We did the play of the Wizard of Oz. I was the Wicked Witch.
Trains are good. I like them. - It doesn't go on. - And I like them very much. Intercities are good. I am moving. I like you, radio, very much.
I like busses.
I like trains.
I like busses because they are big.
I liked it when Dorothy threw the water over the witch.
Sing Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead
Joshua (during singing)
Jolly good fun, Jolly good fun...
In background
He said, 'Jolly good fun'.
In background
Joshua was right there.
(Class 2)
Kellogg's Corn Flake.
This is half of Class 2 singing 'Found a Peanut'.
Sing Found a Peanut:

 Found a Peanut last night...   | Didn't like it...
 It was moldy...                | Went the other way...
 E' i' anyway...                | Met the Devil...
 Had a tummyache...             | Kicked his teeth in...
 Went to hospital...            | Came alive again...
 Had an operation...            | Go' a job...
 Died anyway / Went and died... | Crackin' peanuts...
 Went to heaven...              | Found a peanut......
And you just carry it on, and it goes on forever, everlasting.

For lunch, we had hot pot and iced sponge (cake with frosting).

At lunchtime, I went a couple blocks and bought yet another roll of film, my actual final roll of film.

I took a picture I'd been wanting to get for weeks: Rula skipping out of the building, ringing the big bell at the end of dinner play.

Going in afterwards, there was a fight among some girls in Class 7. I never found out why, but Chloe had punched Selwa. Selwa was crying and saying she wanted to go home. I held her for a minute, then two of the girls walked her into the building: Charlene was on one side of her, and Olivia was on the other side, comforting her as they brought her in, saying, We'll be your friends. It looked very cute.

In the afternoon, I said something about wishing I could have gotten some pictures drawn by the kids, and Paloma said "Something about that is going on."

I gave an Art lesson in Class 2. I showed them how to make the pattern by drawing it slowly on the board. About half of them got it. That was when Shuna gave me hers.

Nicola gave me a box of chocolate mints for a Christmas present. That meant a lot to me.

I also got a box of candy, soft caramel, from the staff at the school. I like that kind of candy more, but it didn't mean quite as much to me.

After school, I walked partway to Arsenal Station with Nicola. That was nice.

Anna had left this note for me for the final day:

  EW 1 Spellings:learn
     2 Delilah song - finish
     3 Handwriting p.12 Book 3.
  Maths Fin. co-ord. game
        Beta p.76
  10.30 spelling Test
  11.05-12.30 Unit - Music - photos
  1.30-2.30 R.E. David becomes King from Bible
  2.45-3.30 Rehearsal

That afternoon, I went to Camden Town. I mainly wanted to get a picture of the Cecil Sharp House. Though I left immediately, it takes so long to get there, by the time I reached it, it was too dark to take any pictures.

I went to Woolworth as long as I was there. I got some truffle candy for 79p (real truffle candy, not the stuff they call truffles in America), 2 boxes of Christmas cards for 79p each, and a Wildlife Calendar to give to my sister Beth for a Christmas present.

At the Late Night Shop, I got a big bottle of the worst soda I've ever tasted.

I got the last set of developed pictures for £1.99.

I wanted to get some laundry done, but I was too late by the time I got to the laundromat.

On television there was some show about Antarctica.

That night I spent a couple of hours writing out the Christmas cards, each with it's own special message to each kid in class 2.

Friday, December 11

This was my last day at St. John's (28th day), and I started the day doing laundry at 7:00. I somehow managed to get done just in time to make it to the tube to school at 8:10.

In Class 6, I helped with cutting out the card circles for the Christmas decorations.

In Class 7, I watched the "news" (show and tell) and helped with the painting of Santas.

That day, I heard Christopher and Natalie reading

I also heard Gary reading that day. In Class 2, I heard Michelle, Georgina, and Nicola.

Most of the morning, I watched the early performances of the older class' plays.

Class 4 did a play called Babushka, a Russian legend.

Class 3 did the Nativity story, about the Little Donkey.

And Class 1 did Oliver Twist (the funniest play). One of the funniest lines was when one of the cops start finding things in the Artful Dodger's pockets, and he makes excuses for them all (e.g. "That's my uncle's...").

So the only play I completely missed was Class 5's play of Jack and the Beanstalk, with lots of songs. I used to hear the main song ("I'm Going up Going up Going up 'Till I reach the very top Then stop/ I'm Going up Going up Going up... So what I'm climbing/ I'm climbing higher than the stars upon the sky, Climbing higher, And I want to touch the sky.") It sounded so pretty, I always wished I had gotten a chance to tape it, but never did.

Joanne, who was originally cast as Delilah (not a good choice I thought), got sick just in time for the play. The part was taken over by Katie. It was such a surprise to hear that she was a really good singer! She sounded like a professional singer! That really made the whole play a lot better. I asked the teacher about it, why she didn't cast our top singer in the lead, and she said it was because Katie does that sort of thing outside school, and she wanted to give Joanne a chance too. But having Katie really made everybody look a lot better.

At 12:00 I gave out the cards to Class 2. They got really excited when they saw that they all had special messages inside them! It was worth all the hours I had spent doing them the night before.

One of the two most embarrassing things that happened to me while I was there involved those cards: I misspelled Lindsay's name! That was terrible. I didn't realize it until long after I had given it to her. She never mentioned anything about it.

I know, now you want to know what the other most embarrassing thing that happened was! I forget when it happened, but it was at the end of the week. In the lobby of Kent House, there were TV magazines. I used to ask for them, so I could take them home with me. They'd write a message on the cover: "DO NOT REMOVE FROM TV ROOM". But, at the end of each week, they'd normally just throw them away, so I'd like to take them instead, to remember what was on TV and for articles and pictures. I have a couple with pictures from "Emu's Wide World" and "Doctor Who", and another kind of magazine with a picture from "Jacob Two-Two". This always worked out fine, except for one night, when it was late and I was tired, and I forgot what day it was. I brought the magazine up to my room before the week was over! My roommate saw it, and was rather shocked. And when I realized why, oh my! I waited until it was quite late, and sneaked down into the lobby and replaced the magazine before anybody else discovered what I had done.

For the last lunch there we had pizza, and doughnuts in custard.

At dinner play, I played my pennywhistle. Georgina wanted to hear me make something up. She said she likes to do that.

In the afternoon, I got cards from every one of them, that they had been making up in school without my knowing about it. I was quite surprised.

Here is what I received from them:

Nicola gave me three cards! One was very big. On the front she wrote "I wish you woulden't leave." Inside, she wrote, "I told my Mum all about what you taught me from Nicola" in marker, then in pen beside it is "And she was very pleased with you."

The second card said, "Good bye I hope you like it in America." In a space that opened up on the front (a lot of the cards had little panels to open on the front) she wrote, "Good by Mr Kephart. hope you like chocklets." Inside the card, she wrote, "Please come back. I will miss you merry Christmas."

The third card from Nicola was a store-bought card.

Juliette gave me a cute store-bought card, in an envelope that had written on it "To Class 2 Teacher" and my name spelled, "Mr Kepaht".

Jessica drew a picture of an owl by a Christmas tree, saying, "Boo-hoo" and "Bye".

Shuna wrote "Thank you for making your visit as delightful as it was" and "PS. I hope you get your book published." She drew some nice pictures in the card, and a happy-face frowning and crying.

Georgina also gave me two cards. One was a store-bought card. She spelled my name "Mr Kepard".

On the second card, Georgina spelled my name "Mr Kephard" (getting closer). She wrote "It is sad very sad to see you go Love from Georgina. I'll miss you." She was one of the only ones who wrote "Love".

Priya didn't make a card; she wrote her message like a letter and folded it in fourths. She made a rather funny spelling mistake, writing, "I am sad that you are living." (I hope it was just a spelling mistake!) Then she wrote, "You are a nice teacher and you have teached me a lot about the world. I will miss your fairy tales." She also signed it "Love".

Michelle gave me two cards. On the store-bought card, she spelled my name "Mr.Kepart". But on the other card she spelled my name right! She wrote, "We will all miss you and of course your great fairy tales have a safe journey to Philadelphia."

Steven gave me a card with a funny picture on the front. There was a dog flying an airplane with MK on the wing, and a person falling through the air (who I suppose is me) saying, "America here I come."

Nina drew a picture of a snowman standing beside a bare tree with tears. Above it she wrote, "The tree is crying because you are leaving." Her handwriting is as cute as she is.

Salah drew a picture of "Super Kephart!" flying through the sky with two suitcases, saying, "bye bye London". Inside he wrote, "I hope you had a nice time at my school in London and I hope you a nice time in London."

Jamie drew a picture of Santa Claus carrying a bag of toys on the card he gave me.

John drew a picture of an airplane, with the exhaust coming out the back, and the sun, both saying "good bye". He wrote "Please come back and have a happy new years eve." And he spelled my name right!

David drew an airplane a lot like John's (not surprising), but his airplane said "don't go." The message in his was really sweet. He wrote, "Please do not leave i like you a lot."

Dipash drew a picture of an airplane too, also saying "good bye" out the back. He asked me to write back.

Lindsay drew a picture of a snowman on the front of the card, saying, "bye bye." In the corner she drew and erased a mouse saying, "don't go."

Martinique drew a picture of a cat by a car with two suitcases. Inside it, she made a funny punching glove on a strip of paper folded up to spring out.

Leith drew a war scene on the front of the card. Inside he wrote, "I am sad you are going and I am going to America to it is not going to be the same with out you beause you are one of the niceest techers and I hope you have a nice time."

Joanne made a card like a little book, with several inside pages. She wrote, "Sorry that your leaving! but I am glad you came!" And she thanked me for coming and wrote, "I hope you liked it here as well as we liked you."

I also got a big card, signed by the staff. Most of them just wrote "Best wishes". Hayley wrote, "Thanks for all your hard work." Pauline wrote, "I've enjoyed talking to you about "Graves". Thanks for your help with Class 7." And Anna wrote in the middle of the card, "All the best - hope the job-hunt is successful!"

I finished the art lesson with them from yesterday.

I taped some of the songs from Samson, Katie singing, which I had wanted to get. I also tried taping Lindsay, but for some reason it didn't come out. I wanted very much to get her on tape, because she had a very unusual-sounding voice: a very high voice, so that, with her accent, it sounded to me like an old lady's voice. But there's no record of her on the tape.

At the end of the day, I went with the class to swimming. On the bus, I let them pass around the pictures I had taken while there, so they could all see them.

I gave Anna the Philadelphia souvenir I had bought at Woolworth's before I left for England.

After school, Joshua was saying what he hopes I get for Christmas: toys in stockings, and a robot that can do "whatever you want." Richard suggested that it could go shopping, and turn you invisible or into a witch.

After school, I had some time to talk with Hayley and Pauline (the Class 6 and Class 7 teachers) as they waited for a cab from school.

On the way back, I got some fish and chips for £1.50, the best I had had the whole time I was in England! Wouldn't you know I'd find the best place to get it, and a place right on the way back, on the very last day!

I wanted to get to Camden Town. I still had one more Christmas present to get: for my sister Suzy. But there was a detour on Seven Sisters Road. I went from Finsbury to Leicester Square. There, I got some Chocolate Roses for Suzy.

From there, I went straight back to the school, to help with the big play (the evening performance, for the parents). I got there about 7:00; the play was to begin at 7:30.

They got changed into their costumes in the room, except for Michelle. She asked me if she could change in the toilet (i.e. in the bathroom) and I said she could.

Then they played games they had brought in, until the play began.

Jessica finished making her card for me.

Esther gave me a Christmas present: a cup or mug I think it was. It was wrapped in wrapping paper of "The Snowman", the most popular Christmas show in England. I never saw that show. There was some store downtown that had regular, free showings of the cartoon, but I never got to it.

Lindsay showed me her "Fashion Book" she was making up.

Michelle and Shuna gave me designs; Shuna's was from the art lesson, and Michelle's was a pretty spirograph-flower type of picture.

Michelle also gave me her address, so I could give it to Laura, so she would write to her. Nicola gave me her address too, so I could write to her. She wrote it in yellow ink on white paper, barely visible. Michelle asked if she wanted me to give it to somebody in America too, but she didn't say anything; she wanted me to write to her.

They were called over too early, which caused a little extra tension. I told them the story of "The Man, The Tiger, and The Fox".

Leyla's mother wished me a nice trip.

I rode partway home (as far as Green Lanes) with Anna, at 9:30.

It took me exactly one hour to pack.

I sorted my pictures, and went to bed.

Saturday, December 12

This was the day I went home.

I got up early and watched "Nanny and the Professor", and then saw somebody who looked an awful lot like Nicola on something for the BBC swim-a-thon.

Across the street I got some cheese croissants and fanta soda for breakfast.

I left for Heathrow with Jill and Chuck.

We had to wait until 1:55 to check in the luggage.

After that, we could walk around for a while. I got some lemonade soda for 35p, a box of Turkish Delight for £1.25 (I let them try some, Chuck thought it was awful), some cognac candy for 50p, and a new Reader's Digest for £1.20.

For lunch, around 4:00, I got a cheese torpedo for £1.70 and pineapple juice.

The flight was delayed one hour, from 3:55 to 4:55, and we didn't take off until 7:00 (I heard there was a problem with an engine).

The movie was lousy: "Amazing Grace and Chuck". Dinner was alright: chicken sandwiches.

We landed at 9:00, and I got home between midnight and 1:00.

The end

© Rick Kephart

Audio files taped in England.
A little map of the classroom in England
Some words I learned are different between England and the U.S.
The Unit I did on the physical structure of the Earth.

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