Matt – My reflections on Teaching in England

Having just moved to England, I was apprehensive and unsure of what to expect from my new school. I have heard horror stories of teachers who faced unruly classrooms, disrespectful students and unsupportive coworkers. I am happy to report that at my school, this is not the case.

I have had an enjoyable experience thus far, having met a very supportive staff and many eager students. The school itself is minutes away from London, an affluent area in Westminster.

The school was last rated as Outstanding by OFSTED, with students regularly outperforming the average scores for their groups in national assessments, and having the best student attendance in all of Westminster.

Students are offered a range of clubs and activities to choose from (including a trip to China over half-term), and are encouraged to represent their school positively both inside and outside of the building.

Behaviour at the school is managed with extreme effectively, with several procedures in place to keep students in check.  Students who fail to complete homework are sent to 5 o’clock club, where they work on homework and study until 5 o’clock under teacher supervision.

Students are expected to line up outside silently according to their year group and level. They are instructed to walk silently on the left side of corridors, and not following these rules can result in an X. Teachers are encouraged to be strict in enforcing these rules. It has actually allowed for a very effective and well-structured school environment where things run smoothly and efficiently.

Consequences need to be clear and enforced. The best approach for these students is to have a rigidly structured lesson supported by clear consequences for bad behaviour. This keeps students working and focused, so as to remove any opportunity for disruptive behaviour and reprimand those who act out regardless.

Overall, my experience has been very positive. I have met many very supportive staff members (including some Canadians!) who are eager to help me with any problems I may have. This includes behaviour management specialists to help me with any issues related to student behaviour, and heads of department to address any concerns related to student achievement and lesson planning.

I have used this year as an opportunity to embrace my position as a new teacher who is adjusting to a new curriculum and school, which has allowed for immense growth in just a month.

I look forward to teaching here for the year, taking the opportunity to travel (starting with a trip to Switzerland next week!), and continuing in my growth as an educator!

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