Wednesday, February 8, 2012
US vs UK
I stepped into the beautiful new building of WASPS primary school. It looks just like an ordinary US elementary school - everyone is diligently prepping for the day, having chats with colleagues. I am soaking it all in. One of the most striking differences I saw was the ratio of female to male teachers. In this school, there is about half male and half female teachers. They like to have a balance of both. In the US the majority of teachers, especially elementary school teachers, are female. I also noticed that the day was very chaotic. Throughout the day I was constantly confused as to where the kids were going, the people walking in and out of the classroom, and what I was supposed to be doing. Each subject felt very rushed to me. In the US, there seems to be more structure and a clear transitions from one subject and one activity to another. Also, I noticed that at WASPS, change was not handled particularly well. When kids moved slower than expected they ended up rushing and many of them did not finish their assignment in order to move on to what was next. When a student's notebook was lost, the assistant teacher spent the majority of the English time looking for the notebook rather than giving the student a piece of paper so she could focus on the lesson. The teacher's teaching style was similar to in the US. There was a warm up at the beginning of each subject and the material was presented in a visual, interactive way in order to get the students interested and keep their attention. For the most part, I felt like I was in a 5th grade class in the US, minus the accents, of course!