Monday, 23 February 2009

School, Plans, and the Neighbourhood

It's been a while since my last post, and that's because I've not been doing much beyond school - it's a lot harder work here than it was back in the UK, in part because the work is more physical (smaller children, and more manhandling is allowed, but also needed - these kids are wilful!) and in part because there's a whole different set of rules and responsibilities; I'm doing more actual teaching here, because of a different classroom set up (whether that's personal to Francesca or cultural I've yet to find out). In a surfeit of irony, I've been teaching the children about colour (I know...) using mainly the primary colours, to make my and their lives easier; so talking about the fact that objects are coloured (it's not just a hat, it's a red hat) and that one type of thing can be multiple colours (this is a red hat, this is a blue hat; they're both hats). Some of the kids get it, some don't, one doesn't even pay attention but, given that they're functioning at approximately the level of an 18-month-old that's unsurprising.

Last Wednesday was our community trip, and that was very enjoyable. We went to a museum with an exhibition of pictures from the history of a community back to the turn of the last century, and the kids all behaved pretty well; better, I'll admit, than I expected, although the worst two weren't in that day (the 18-month-old being one of those two, of course). That meant I got to look at the exhibition as well as just look after the kids, which was nice since this was the sort of small exhibition I'd never even have heard of otherwise, let alone visited.

The week before that, though, I had to take the Wednesday off. Combining being in a new country with being around a whole bunch of kids exposed me to a lot of interesting pathogens, and a whole bunch of runny nosed kids probably tells you what that meant for me... if it doesn't, a seriously painful face, which got worse every time it's angle changed even slightly to the point where I couldn't function just about sums it up. One lunchtim trip to the chemist later, I was half-knocked out by the drugs I bought, and managed to get through to the end of Tuesday; Wednesday, however, was a bust, although with a nasal spray and two sets of anti-allergens (I checked, there was no problem with taking both) I was back in Thursday.

My one leisure-time outing the last few weeks was a walk. There's a very wild (if thin) forest behind the row of houses that I'm currently staying in, with a creek down the middle; despite being a matter of metres from the houses on each side, because they're raised (or the creek has fallen... I'm not quite sure) you can't see them from the path and the silence on a Sunday, broken only by the running of the brook, was really peaceful. I'd gone out for the purpose of going shopping, which required me to cross the creek, and just wandered down it, kinda distracted; it was one of those occasions on which I was glad I'd forgotten my iPod, as listening to the burbling brook and the complete silence otherwise was really peaceful. I think that, as spring and summer roll around, it's a walk I'll be doing often...


As far as future plans go, I've got a few. First, from March 16th through to the 22nd I'll be out of town - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania then Providence, Rhode Island, returning to Pittsburgh before returning to DC and back to work (possibly) on the 23rd (depends on the bus schedule and the ease of travelling from airport to Greyhound station). I'm meeting some friends at various points during that trip, as well as going to a concert in Boston on the 21st.
I've also got plans to go to Illinois and Minnesota - the former, April 1st through the 3rd, in Chicago, travelling then up to Minneapolis/St Paul (or the Twin Cities) through to the 13th, before returning to DC for work on the 14th.
How much contact I'll be in during either of those trips is an interesting question, but we'll see; as it were, forewarned is forearmed, and you can't claim not to have forewarning now.


  1. And the kids in your previous school weren't wilful?

    Did you explain your problem with colo(u)r? Like you don't know how to spell it.


  2. Sounds like you are getting a great chance to experience a different system. I envy you - this seems to be a common theme!

    I won't comment on your opportunity to pop over to different places over the coming weeks. Boston is beautiful city, in many ways.