Heather is one of our Classroom Canada teachers in London and a fellow blogger. I asked if I could "steal" her most recent blog post called "Here vs. Home: Educational Edition" and she agreed. Thanks Heather!
"I posted a while ago about some of the general differences that I noticed between Canada and the U.K. This post is the same kind of idea, but with a specific focus on the things I notice are different in schools here vs. home. Not an all encompassing list by any means, but a bit of a heads up to the adjustments I had to make when I arrived. Enjoy!
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- Paper sizes have different names. Normal, letter sized paper (8.5 by 11) is called A4. Bigger paper (11 by 14) is called A3. Don't ask me why the bigger paper is 3 and the smaller paper is 4.
- Periods (as a form of punctuation) don't exist in the UK. They're called 'full stops'.
- Erasers do not exist either. They're called 'rubbers'. This also means that the verb 'erase' does not exist. When asking a class of Year 4 students to 'erase your white boards', expect them to look at you like you have 3 heads.
- There are Learning Intentions with every lesson that you teach. This is written right after the date, in their workbooks. e.g. for a literacy lesson a it could be 'L.I. I am learning the features of non-fiction text.' followed by the work for that lesson.
- It's not math. It's mathS.
- In mathS, when multiplying a decimal by 10, 100, 1000 etc. - instead of moving the decimal point to the right, you move the number to the left. When I taught a lesson on this, the teacher had a power point slide that said "THE DECIMAL POINT DOES NOT MOVE!!!" This shook me to the core.
- Don't expect to be the only adult in your class. Each class has a teaching assistant (TA), and depending on the profile of your students, you could have some people in for one on one support.
- The date is written differently (all over the UK, not just schools) - the number of the day comes before the month. eg. April 3, 2009 is 3 April 2009.
- Teachers get specific time out of class to do planning, assessments and marking. This is called PPA (planning, preparation and assessment). If you are the PPA teacher (like me this year) you are the one that covers the class while the teacher is out. Plans are left for you.
- Smart Boards, or Interactive White Boards (IWB's) are standard in all classrooms.
- You never have more than 7 weeks of school without a break. I've mentioned this before, and I totally love it. Breaks are longer as well - like the Easter one. We break up on Wednesday the 8th (a little odd, something to do with being in a Catholic school) and aren't back until the 23rd. Whoo hoo!"
Questions for me or for Heather? Please post them here.