Hello to all at Westfields Sports!
My first month at Bromsgrove School can be summed up in three words: challenging, cold, and loads of fun. Iím quite enjoying being on the other side of the desk, teaching is proving to be quite an interesting job. The kids here have very long school days. They start at 8:30 am and are mostly here until 5:30 pm! From year 6 on, they also have Saturday classes for a few hours. You definitely cannot complain about hours at Westfields! I work in both the Upper and Lower Schools, and teach kids from 5 years old to 18. Most of my classes this term are netball (8 sessions per week) and Saturday afternoon matches, as the netball season over here is in full swing. I also help out in 4 classes per week which are Year 7 Geography and English, Year 6 Design and Technology (who are lethal with the drill!) and Year 1 swimming lessons. I also have one night of boarding duty per week, where I supervise the Girls Boarding house of about 30 girls. Most of the girls are really nice, apart from the one trouble maker! The school apparently has a very big international reputation, and as such has a lot of international boarders. There are quite a lot of kids from Hong Kong as well as Germany, who come all the way here just for school. Itís quite tough for them to be so far away from home, but they seem to deal with it better than those who live only an hour or so away!
The school is very big and I have been lost several times, but as soon as I speak the kids realise that Iím the Aussie GAP student and point me in the right direction. I still havenít got around to exploring all of the Upper school! The school is very old, but most of their sporting facilities are very modern, including their own Astroturf hockey pitch, 8 netball / tennis courts, 2 indoor stadiums, squash courts and their own indoor heated 25m swimming pool!
The lack of indoor space is a bit of a problem at the moment, as it is too cold outside, so all of the kids have to squish into the stadiums for PE lessons.
†††††††††††††††††† Hockey Field††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††Netball Courts
††††††††††† Since all good travel pictures always include a church, I thought Iíd include a picture of the school chapel, which all students and staff have to attend every Saturday morning. The chapel is the only building in the school which isnít centrally heated and is very cold (ie 1 or 2 degrees) and uninviting early in the morning. It makes you feel very committed to be getting up in the dark to go to church, but the sun doesnít rise until after 8 am but thatís still early for me!
As you can see, England is a very grey, gloomy place, especially in the winter time. It was very exciting when it started to snow, the other GAPs and I went out and ran around in it with the little kids! It didnít last for very long, although some more is forecast for this weekend. Hereís hoping!
My house is quite nice. I live with another Aussie GAP Sally whoís from Caulfield Grammar in Melbourne. Thereís also another, James who is from Geelong Grammar, and lives with a teacher down the road. The food here is pretty good for English Boarding school food. I was warned it could be quite bad, but so far its OK.
†Everything is quit close over here and travel is very cheap. The other two GAPS and I are going to Amsterdam and Brussels in two weeks time for the half term break. Its very exciting!
Thatís about all for now, but Iím sure Iíll have lots more to tell you about soon