• 10th June
    2011
  • 10

Last post

This is it. My last post. Maybe. I am no longer in England, so this blog has fulfilled its purpose.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has read my entries, viewed my photos, and shared this experience with me. I have loved writing to a growing audience, and really appreciate the positive feedback from all of you.

Keeping a blog was a new experience for me, and has been extremely interesting. Writing these entries was a huge part of my abroad experience. It has shaped my memories of everything I have done in the past four months. There was a really fascinating element of crafting the way I thought about my student teaching, my travels, and my day-to-day life in Bath through chronicling it all here. I have enjoyed every aspect of this process immensely.

Thanks again for reading! It’s been amazing.

  • 8th June
    2011
  • 08
  • 6th June
    2011
  • 06
Hey! Thanks for following me! I actually have a question for you!
I go to Mansfield University of PA and I was considering doing my student teaching placement in England. What was your experience like? What were some major differences? And is there a region you recommend looking into for my placement?

Asked by: thepensieve

Hi! Do you know what level you’d like to teach? I worked at a secondary school, and taught Year 7 (11 year olds) and Year 13 (17 year olds). I taught the Year 7s English and the Year 13s American History. I have a lot of posts about my school placement, if you go back through my tumblr they’re all tagged with ‘education’ and ‘teaching.’ They might help you get a better idea of what your placement could be like.

That being said, my placement was fairly unique for a number of reasons. I only went into my school once a week for 10 weeks, as I was taking my own classes and volunteering in addition to my placement. Also, my school was split into 3 campuses, and I was observing/teaching on all 3, so that entailed a lot of running around. Additionally, my host teacher had never hosted an American student before and was fairly disorganized, so that made for a few more frustrations.

Major differences: in the UK, education is more of a ‘commodity,’ which makes all public schools a lot like American private schools (ex- almost all schools have mandatory uniforms). Essentially, education is viewed as a product the taxpayer is purchasing. They are thus entitled to the best product possible. As a result, there’s a great deal of standardized testing and a lot of pressure on the kids to do well. OFSTED comes in to inspect schools annually, and that puts pressure on the staff too. Furthermore, British schools operate under a National Curriculum. This is a standardized curriculum across the UK (excluding Wales now), where all children all across the country are learning the same things at the same time. Some find this restrictive and feel it limits their creativity within the classroom, while others believe this simply isn’t the case.

As for a region I’d recommend- I was in Bath, which is an affluent community, so most of the kids came from a good background and were very hardworking. Bristol, just 10 minutes from Bath, is known for having some of the poorer schools in the nation (in terms of league tables). Their schools are also much more diverse. If you’re looking for really diverse classrooms, though, you’d probably want to do London or somewhere just outside London. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what programs Mansfield offers.

Anyways, I’m sorry that was so long- I usually try to be very concise, but I wanted to give you a good answer! I definitely recommend studying abroad if you get a chance- it’s one of the best things you can do! And please hit me up with any more questions if you have any :)

  • 31st May
    2011
  • 31

If you’ve been wondering about my program in Bath, this video encapsulates it pretty perfectly. The program is called Advanced Studies in England, and the video was created by a friend and fellow ASE student for his internship at Suited and Booted Studios. Enjoy!

  • 29th May
    2011
  • 29
  • 28th May
    2011
  • 28

Things I Miss

This is the last list, I promise. Here are the things I miss most about Bath:

  • The weather. Wasn’t expecting that one. But seriously, I’m struggling to cope with the intense heat at home. I prefer the sunny, breezy days of Bath in springtime.
  • Electric showers. It’s so nice just turning it on with a button, and having it automatically set to the temperature you like.
  • Ben’s Cookies
  • Linley House- all those quirks, from the tower bathroom to the double shower room to the classroom in the basement. Okay, I don’t miss the tiny kitchen.
  • Bath Abbey- walking by it and feeling a surge of happiness, the cupboard, the gift shop, tower tours every week, that view from the top, scampering up to do the bell room talk, hearing the bells ring for hours on Monday nights
  • Reading in the common room on sunny days with tea
  • Walking- You don’t walk in America like you walk in Europe. As much as I love driving, I miss being able to walk everywhere. And I miss walking around and soaking up the beautiful Georgian architecture of the Bath limestone buildings.
  • Pomegranate juice from Sainsbury’s
  • Marks and Spencer cookies
  • Iceland
  • The British accent
  • Millionaire shortbread
  • Feeling like everything is from Harry Potter. Seriously, everything in England feels like it could have been used in the movies or been an inspiration to JKR.
  • Castles. The States are seriously lacking in the castle department.
  • Churches. Ours are nice, but nothing like European abbeys and cathedrals.
  • Pubs. There’s nothing like it back here. Drinks with friends in a relaxed, casual atmosphere? Cider and black? Nope.
  • Being able to hop on an EasyJet flight and go anywhere I want.
  • Pounds! WHY do we have one dollar bills? Pound coins are so much smarter and more efficient. And pence are just cooler. 50p and 20p are my favorites; our coins are so boring in comparison.
  • British/European chocolate. It’s so much better! I love all things Cadbury. And biscuits? Dark chocolate digestives? Wegmans doesn’t stock them, so I’ll definitely be making a special request in the near future.
  • Everyone- I met and became close with so many amazing people, and I miss them all.

Of course, I don’t miss things like having to convert everything in my head and realize I’m spending more money than I’d like to, academic work, and missing my dogs every time I see one. But aside from that, I miss Bath and England a whole lot.

  • 27th May
    2011
  • 27

Things I Learned

  • How to work with foreign currencies
  • I’m fairly competent with maps
  • How to fly alone internationally
  • What it’s like to sleep in a hostel
  • How to shop and cook for myself
  • I can teach!
  • How to navigate new cities
  • I love Bath
  • How to be an adult (or at the very least, I’m on my way!)
  • The world is a very, very big place. It hits me every once in awhile that the world is absolutely enormous, and that I’m just one tiny piece of it. But that doesn’t mean I won’t explore it and do something meaningful in it!
  • On that note, I want to experience everything- I know that sounds naive and cliche, but after this past semester, I want to continue to experience the world firsthand. Sitting in a classroom and thinking about the world abstractly is all well and good, but exploring and experiencing is so much more fulfilling and exciting!

I also learned a great deal about things like Virginia Woolf, Bath Abbey, the English education system, and myself that I can’t articulate concisely in this list.

  • 26th May
    2011
  • 26

Study abroad statistics

Here are some statistics from my semester in Bath:

  • Planes taken: 12
  • Famous people met: 2
  • Trains taken: 12
  • Concerts attended: 2
  • Countries visited: 7
  • Lessons taught at Hayesfield: 3
  • Lessons observed at Hayesfield: 40
  • Money made: £4
  • Tower tours given: 31
  • Church services attended: 4
  • Papers written: 6
  • Books checked out from Bath Central Library: 2
  • Boats ridden: 4
  • Ghost walks taken: 2
  • Castles explored: 7
  • Churches explored: 16
  • Books read: 12
  • Episodes of Doctor Who watched: 21 
  • Hostels stayed in: 6 
  • Postcards sent: 18
  • Foreign currencies used: 5

Other things just cannot be enumerated- things like Ben’s Cookies eaten, friends made, and hugs given and received. 

  • 25th May
    2011
  • 25
  • 25th May
    2011
  • 25