K… warning: I don’t have any of my own pictures yet for this blog, as I haven’t taken my camera to school yet. But it’s still interesting to read, I swear.
So today was my second day as Miss H in room 8. (Although, the my host teacher keeps forgetting and calls me Miss Hubacker- which doesn’t feel like it fits me.) I work at Frimley Primary School- the same as Heidi, but kids a year older. http://www.frimely.school.nz can be checked out if you’re interested in more information, but it’s one of the most amazing facilities! The staff room is larger than most classrooms, with an outside deck on the second floor that overlooks the playground, field, etc. It’s beautiful. My favorite part is the classrooms that have amazing coverings on the walls from ceiling to floor that’s like carpet/tag/bulliten board, which they call Front Runner, in order so things can be pinned, Velcro-ed, etc directly to the wall at all levels. It allows space to be used so much more efficiently.
There’s a staff of about 40 (with about 25 certified teachers) and a student population of about 500. Apparently they have a high certified male staff ratio with about 5/25 being males. Although this is a picture of my principal!
The kids are having fun adjusting to my presence, and I’m having fun adjusting to their accents. I feel so bad when I have to have them repeat their thought or idea! (One little boy was trying to tell me about a local fruit called feijoas- think kiwis- and I kept thinking he was saying Fritos!) I’ve already been allowed to work with small math and writing groups, as well as monitor the class while Adrienne is working with her group. As I’m doing more and more with the class, the kids are coming across more things that I do slightly differently than her and they try to call me on it. My response is always been “Oh, that’s just how we do it in America.” They accept the answer with no questions, but now I’m apparently talking for how a whole nation writes their twos.
The school system in Frimley has an interesting categorizing method for the economic status of the schools. Rather than percent of free/reduced lunch or other contributing factors, each school is given a number. One number. It’s on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest economic surroundings and ten being the the most affluent neighborhoods. They put in the numbers from the census (how many renting households, single parent homes, incomes, etc) into a formula and apparently out pops the number,. The economic number is really only one variable of a school here, but it’s interesting how much more upfront they are about that sort of stuff. Frimely is about a 3, and they get extra government funds as a result. Schools with 9s ands 10s is responsible for their own fund raising etc.
Frimely is huge on professional development, and there’s an amazing program for new teachers where the first year you get a day out of your classroom a week, to catch up on assessments, go visit other schools, take workshops, etc. As a second year teacher you get half a day out of the class! Sounds great!
The school goes year round in New Zealand, starting in February and ending in December. So instead of a 2007-2008 school year, it’s just one year. There are four terms, ten weeks each with a two week holiday in between. In fact, the end of the first term is coming up April 18, and then I get two weeks off. Then a big holiday around Christmas through January and the beginning of February. Of the four terms, each student has to wear a sun hat in Term 1 and Term 4 when the sun is the strongest.
I’m sure I’ll have many more blogs regarding school and Frimley and room 8. For now just wish me luck. Tomorrow is Friday, so not too hard of a week and who knows. Maybe a little wine tasting this weekend??