Secret diary of an expat teacher – Week 2
Miss Cazbar evoked the ANZAC spirit to face the Vicky Pollard wannabes on Monday and come to terms with the UK education system’s ability streaming ‘segregation’.
Miss Cazbar is the pen name of a real Aussie teacher who is currently working in London. Her’s and some other people’s names are changed in order to protect their true identities.
After a big ANZAC weekend featuring footy and Tim Tams, I was ready to embark on my second week of teaching on Monday morning. If those brave diggers could face incredible odds with courage, then surely I could face some Vicky Pollard wannabes at a London government school.
The English department would almost be back to full capacity with the return of teachers stuck abroad and I felt I had gotten to know the school and the students fairly well.
But that old chestnut of ‘one step forward, two steps back’ proved true. Schools here stream their students into ability levels from Year 7, and I’m lucky enough to teach the bottom set in a couple of year levels. Like most teachers, I’m a latte-loving, ABC-viewing leftie pinko, so I’ve always been against this kind of segregation. It’s good for the bright sparks in the top set, but at the other end you end up having all the turds in one class.
I’ve actually made significant headway with one of these classes, who have benefited from having one consistent teacher rather than being shared between teachers. However, it’s a constant battle. In Australia you’d always have a couple of knobs in each class, but they were counter-balanced by students that restored your faith in Generation Y. The system here does nothing to improve the confidence of the students or the sanity of the educators.
It probably didn’t help that I was still living out of a suitcase until the end of the second week. Now that I’ve got a room of my own, maybe I can finally unpack my patience. Another packet of Tim Tams wouldn’t hurt, either!
Miss Cazbar is an Australian teacher who has come to work in a London school. Follow their secret diary, chronicling the experience; exclusive to Australian Times each week on www.australiantimes.co.uk/just-for-teachers