Every time Kelly and I went to Riverview she and I would first check in with the headmaster of the school who would tell us our plan for the day. We would then sit in on one or two classes before morning tea. In these classes we would either sit in the back of the classroom and observe, or work with small groups of students as they completed a task assigned by the teacher. My favorite classes to sit in on were drama and music, where the students had the opportunity to display their talent and creativity – both of which they loved Kelly and I to pay special attention to. During morning tea Kelly and I would head to the teacher’s room where we had a bite to eat with the staff. This was a great opportunity for us to ask questions about anything that came to mind, allowing us to expand our knowledge about Riverview, the students, and teaching and learning in general. After morning tea we would sit in on another class before lunch and recess. We would again return to the teacher’s lounge for lunch before going outside to play with the boys. The boys were always active at recess, playing all different games – both Australian and American. This was a great time for Kelly and I to talk individually with the students, a time generally consumed by boys coming up to us and sharing every thing they knew about America or asking of us if we knew certain people from America. I always loved recess because I felt like it was one of the only times I could make personal relationships with students and learn from both talking with them and watching them play.
After recess, we moved to the auditorium for Friday assembly. Assembly was a time during which the entire fifth and sixth grade students and teachers got together to discuss pertinent things to the Riverview community. These could range from an issue of littering on the playground to a current natural disaster to an upcoming sporting event. It was also a time to pray and to recognize student accomplishments in either academics or athletics. After assembly we would attend one more class and then be dismissed for the day and head home after saying goodbye to the students and staff.
Comparing my typical day at Riverview to my previous practicum experiences, I notice very few similarities and quite a few differences. Unlike my American practicum experiences, at Riverview I did not have one single class and was always rotating around to different classrooms with different students. Although I love having my own classroom and getting to know the students in that class very well, I think that rotating through the Riverview classes was perfect for an abroad practicum. This way I got to see countless different teaching techniques, lessons and management skills and was able to learn a lot about the Australian curriculum. I also observed a lot more than I taught or worked with small groups, mainly because I did not have a set classroom but also because the boys are older than the students I usually work with and therefore did not require quite as much attention and guidance at every step in the day. Finally, I feel as though I got to spend a lot more time with the staff at Riverview than I have in previous placements which allowed me to make valuable and lasting relationships that will help me further develop my teaching skills. Although very different, I truly loved my time at Riverview and will never forget the lessons I learned or the students and staff I worked with in such a unique and welcoming community.