This was my first week working at the International Community School (ICS) in London, England! So far I have loved it. All of the teachers are extremely welcoming and have been wonderful to get to know. I am one of four interns here currently and we are all placed in different classrooms for the last three weeks of school. One thing I can say about the school is that it definitely lives up to its name. The teachers and the students come from all over. My first day was culture day where I learned that my Year 4 students (third graders in the states) were from all over the world. I had students from Saudi Arabia, Spain, Finland, Russia, Japan, Jamaica, the US and just one from England! And those are only the ones I can remember. I have met teachers from the US, England, Australia and Romania, and I’m sure there are more!
I’ve already seen many differences from the states which isn’t surprising. One of the most distinct ones for me is, compared to American schools, ICS is very laid back. The students get a lot of time to play. For example, today, my students had class from 9:00-10:25am, now have recess, PE, lunch and won’t be back to us until 12:55pm. They have much less instructional time than in American schools, but I also can see them understanding much more advanced topics than children of similar age in the US. Instead of the US common core, ICS follows the IB program which has units of inquiry on different topics that span across all subjects. It’s a very integrated way of teaching!
My first two days, I was with Year 4 and I’ve been working with English Language Learners (ELL) on their reading. It’s very rewarding to help them learn a new English word! We’ve been doing reading response worksheets where they respond to books they’ve read in both English and their home language. I’ve also worked with small groups in math on fractions and relating fractions to multiplication which isn’t covered in the common core until fourth grade! Today, and for the rest of the week, I am with Year 1 which is the equivalent to US kindergarten. They are doing a fantastic job learning about plants this week! My Year 4 students are on a three day field trip to a farm near Bristol. For many of the students they have never seen a farm so it will be a great experience! I’ll be back with them next week!