Blog

fall 2017 (141)

Adéu Spain

My time here in Barcelona has come to an end. This has been such a great experience and I have learned so much both personally and professionally. Prior to coming here I had never travelled outside of North America, so this experience has allowed me to grow so much. Saying goodbye to the teachers and students at Rubí was bittersweet. I’m excited to return to Canada, see my friends and family, and begin my next teaching placement, but I’m sad to leave behind the amazing people I’ve met and the country of Spain. I’m definitely not looking forward to the cold weather in Canada!

While here I’ve had the opportunity to also experience both French and Italian culture. I took a trip to Paris and Rome. Both cities were incredible. It was great to see other parts of Europe and iconic landmarks that I have always dreamed about visiting. It’s interesting to see that so many people in Europe speak multiple languages. 

Over my time in Spain I have further developed my classroom management skills, lesson planning abilities, flexibility and ELL instructional skills. I previously had very little experience with ELL students, so this placement has allowed me to cultivate tactics that I can use in my future classrooms. Also, being put in situations where I don’t understand then language being spoken to me has allowed me to see things from an ELL perspective. I have a better appreciation for how ELL students might feel in a classroom when they don’t understand what people are saying. Even though I will be starting my Calgary placement a week later than most students, I feel prepared to hit the ground running. After my placement in Spain I am even more comfortable in the classroom. The experience I have gained here will be so beneficial to me as I continue to move forward in the BEd program and eventually into my teaching career.

Living in Barcelona for the past 9 weeks has been incredible. I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone and discovered how self-sufficient I can be. I have seen so many amazing buildings and landscape, tasted wonderful food, heard delightful music, and met many welcoming people. Spain is a beautiful country with a rich history, and I’m so happy that I was able to experience it.

 

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Southern (American) Hospitality

I’m not even sure I know what to say about my time Brazil so far. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how different our education systems and teaching styles are. I’ve also learned a lot about a culture that I had no idea about. I’ll do my best to sum up my thoughts and feelings in one post. But I’m not sure I can ever capture the true spirit of my time here with words. It’s really been truly special.

I think when the phrase “Southern Hospitality” gets thrown around, they are really talking about “Southern (American) Hospitality”. I have met some of the most hospitable people ever here in Goiânia. Everyone from Uber drivers, to waiters, to our co-teachers and tutors from the University (PUC) has been patient and kind to us. It would be reaching a lot to say that my Portuguese speaking skills are beginner. It’s a really hard language! I feel at times frustrated with myself, and envious of those who can communicate with each other with such ease. I find myself desperately wanting to converse and thank people for their kindness, but I just know don’t how too. But, some part of me thinks they know. A smile has become my best way of expressing my gratitude to people.

We’ve made people who are quick to want to connect with us and show us around their city and really be the best local tour guides you could ask for. There seems to be a pretty even divide between people who live here; you either love it here or you don’t. I think I fall on the loving it side of this debate! The city is littered with parks and açai stand for an afternoon snack, and just outside of the city limits, if you’re brave enough to drive, are some of the most stunning waterfalls and adorable colonial towns. The people we’ve met have not been shy about showing us all of these places, and more!

In terms of my professional development, the teaching that we have been lucky enough to observe has been very similar to something you would see in a Canadian institution. However, because these classes are “extra-curricular” they aren’t like regular classrooms. Students only visit these English language classes twice a week for 90 minutes. I’ve been visiting once a week with three different classes, with three different skill levels. My first class is a group of students called Pre-Intermediate 1. The students range from about 16-50 years old. My second class in Teens 2, and they range from about 11-14 years old, and lastly, my Juniors 2 class. They range from about 8-10 years old. So, it’s safe to say that I’ve been exposed to all different age groups and skill levels. What I’ve seen in these classes is a more traditional approach to learning, but it appears to be working for most students. Unfortunately, because these are private extra-curricular classes, that are truthfully quite expensive, we’ve only been able to see students from one socio-economic background. That meaning, the majority of the students in all of the classes attend private schools, where it is widely common for them to receive a significantly better education than those of a lower socio-economic status who attend public school. I feel like this might have an impact on the sort of teaching style that is used in the classrooms. There is hardly any need for differentiation due to a specific learning need or disability. Technology wasn’t engaged as much as I would have expected. Not for a lack of trying on the teachers part, but more for a lack of resources available to the teachers. The teachers, for the most part, are provided with the bare essentials for their classrooms and teaching practices. They really have to fend for themselves and be creative with how to continue to engage their students, with their limited resources. 

Prof. André and Pre-Intermediate 1

Prof. Márcia and Juniors 2

Prof. Fabiano and Teens 2

I was pleasantly surprised to see how passionate the majority of the students seemed to learning English. Though their individual reasons for learning English varied, over all, they all wanted to learn English to be able to pursue a better career and open up more opportunities in their future. Again, part of me wonders, if this level of English training was offered to students in a public school, would the level of passion and dedication be the same? It’s clear from the students that, even though they still have an overwhelmingly traditional school system, there will be inevitable change to come. They are motivated and passionately smart people who will propel serious change within Brazil over the coming years.

Overall, I’ve seen a lot of similarities within my exposure to the Brazilian school system to the type of education system I experienced as a child. Traditional is the name of the game when it comes to education I’ve seen in Brazil. I don’t think that’s a bad thing; we have TLC’s popping up all over the country. There is certainly value in this type of education. With its status as a developing country, I think that, as their country continues to develop, so will their education system. I look forward to returning as an experienced teacher one day and seeing the progress that will inevitably take place.

I’m not ready for goodbye yet, so I guess I’ll just have to come back soon!! 

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The emotional rollercoaster begins...

Well, it's officially my last week in China. On one hand, I am so excited to go back to Canada. I've been fantasizing about clean washrooms, privacy, my own bedroom, spending time with my family and fiancé, and being able to drive again! Meanwhile... I've felt quite sad that I'm leaving China. I have met so many wonderful people and made so many friends. I am sad to leave such a welcoming and unique country. Further, I was able to fit in quite a bit of traveling and experiences, but I still don't feel quite satisfied. There's so much more I would like to do and see! I've also enjoyed the atmosphere and food in and around campus. I cannot fail to mention how great it's been to have such a low cost of living here. 

I've spent most of my time catching up with my Chinese friends before I leave, and doing the souvenir shopping which I had left until last minute. Further, I didn't have much time to go out and practice my photography much, so I've been trying to shoot as much as I can before November 6th comes around. Here are some of the photos I've taken during the last couple weeks:

Xian's Ancient City Wall

 

Xian's Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

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Saying that I have six days left in Germany seems unreal...even more unreal than it was to say I was coming here six months ago. 

I feel like this journey has taught me so much about what type of teacher I want to be and strategies I plan to include in my practise that I had never thought of before. My partner teacher here is very passionate about team teaching and collaborative teaching strategies in the classroom and seeing the benefits of this within her own class has been fascinating. It had never occurred to me to merge group work with multiple teachers in a classroom, but I've witnessed some of the benefits of merging these two techniques such as: more support for English Language Learners (ELLs), more opportunities for formative feedback, and longer classroom discussion because the students are in smaller learning groups. Furthermore, I've gotten to witness and be a part of cross-disciplinary collaboration between teachers. Teachers at my school spend much less time planning lessons and researching, which may seem risky to some, but instead they spend time collaborating and spending time talking to each other. The teachers at my school are highly collaborative and aim to provide their students with a more authentic learning experience that is focused on real-world problems, applications and authentic knowledge they can use every day. The usefulness of the knowledge versus the knowledge itself is much more important, which is something for me to consider going into teaching. It's important to gather perspectives from others and always put into perspective the usefulness of what you are attempting to teach your students. I don't know if I would feel comfortable completely adopting this method for myself, as I think adequate Lesson and Unit Planning are essential for achieving course outlines and ensuring authentic assessment, but I do think achieving a balance between planning and collaborating are something that needs to be considered. I have seen in my Practicums that departments in High Schools rarely collaborate on interdisciplinary projects or themes. This not only serves to segregate the disciplines, but also makes it more difficult for these teachers to collaborate during staff conferences when required. The value in simply spending time getting to know your colleagues and doing regular cross-disciplinary knowledge-building and sharing is something everyone benefits from. 

As far as cultural differences and language barriers are concerned, I haven't really experienced much difficulty since being in Germany---therefore Hamburg has felt much like my second home since arriving. However, last week our water pipes in our second-floor apartment become backed up and our kitchen and bathroom water was draining into the apartment kitchen below us. The tenants below us are refugees and not only do they not understand English, but they do not speak German very well either. Consequently, we had quite a difficult time trying to communicate with them to figure out a) what was happening, b) what we were going to do about it, c) how this issue wasn't really our problem since we are only renting this apartment via Air BnB, and d) how we plan to proceed to get the problem fixed. We had to use a lot of basic German keywords and the Google translate app and eventually we came to some type of understanding, although we're still not totally sure if they understood any of what we said (haha!). The experience got me thinking about how difficult it would be living in a country where you don't speak either of the languages spoken and a simple problem like this occurs. How would you contact someone to get it fixed? The man of the house had already dismantled the whole sink to try and fix it himself, we're assuming because this is how he would have done it at home, however, here you are supposed to contact the Building Management company who owns the building to deal with the issue. Therefore, even societal norms can interfere with your process of assimilating into a new country. We managed to get the pipe fixed the next day and the Building Manager, who spoke fluent German and English (thank goodness!) was present. This experience provided me with some insight into the small struggles that new immigrants in any country faces, which will help me relate to these students in my future classrooms. 

Now for the fun stuff! Over the German "Autumn Holidays" I had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam, Croatia (Dubrovnik and Split) and Rome. All of them were equally wonderful and unique for what they had to offer and each had their own rich history. Rome in particular was fascinating because I have a Minor in Greek and Roman studies from my Undergraduate Degree, and experiencing the places and stories I had studied and read about for four years was so satisfying and enriching. It made me realize the value of witnessing and experiencing knowledge instead of just learning about it from a textbook. There's something so special about being somewhere when you already know the backstory, you already appreciate it, and then you get to touch it and experience it because it's real. This stresses the fact that some of the best ways to authenticate knowledge in my future classrooms would be to give my students as many opportunities to experience things---to "do" instead of only "observe". We often get so lost in trying to cover all of the content we forget about how much deeper student understandings can go if we just emulsify them in an experience instead of getting them to just read about "what it's like".

The other cities I traveled had some similar experiences like in Amsterdam at the Anne Frank House---it's one thing to know about Anne's story, but to actually stand in her bedroom in the "Hiding Place" and see the pictures she put on the wall, you realize just how real her story is, it makes her come alive

As far as going home, it will be hard to return to real life again. These two months here have felt like I've been in some wonderful fishbowl---a far off land where nothing can touch me and I'm free to explore and discover as I wish and I can happily ignore what's going on outside of the fishbowl (back in Calgary). I am excited to return home to my family and friends, but the "real life" aspect about returning to work is not so appealing (of course haha!). All-in-all, I feel extremely blessed that I was able to embark on this journey and to gain some valuable insight into teaching that I wouldn't have been exposed to at home. 

See you (hopefully) soon Hamburg! 

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Teaching

Teaching in China over the last month has been quite the experience. The students I've been working with all plan to go to universities overseas so I have been able to teach in English. One thing I've noticed however is that China seems to be more results driven than schools in Canada. Every thing seems to be done with the end goal that students do well on the exams. Even in the labs, I hear things like "Make multiple measurements so you do better on the lab exam" whereas in Canada students would be encouraged to make multiple measurements as it is more reflective of how science is done in the real world. Lectures also seem very motivated by students doing well on exams. I wonder though if that's just a result of the uniqueness of my position in the schools I've been in. Since students are intending to pass international exams such as the SAT or A-levels, there is more pressure on teachers to ensure students do well. As well, students have two teachers for each course: a Chinese teacher, and a foreign teacher. So far I have been working primarily with the foreign teachers, but it would be interesting to see what a Chinese class is like. As the class is done in Chinese however I'm not sure how much benefit I would get from observing. I have gotten along very well with my students. It's interesting to see how similar they are to students in Canada despite living in a country that is so different. It really makes the world seem smaller.

Apart from the extra practice teaching, this TAB experience has provided me with many additional benefits with respect to teaching physics. Since the classes are based around A-level physics, I've gotten to see a different curriculum than ours. I've also gotten the chance to learn about teaching physics from a number of teachers who have unique perspectives since they are from different countries. They've given me lots of useful resources that I likely wouldn't have seen in North America. 

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One week left in China

I have now been in China for over 2 months…. wow. My Chinese learning has come a long way, but the more I talk to people the more I realize how little I know haha. I am actually quite sad that our TAB experience is coming to an end soon. Having said this, I am also excited to begin my practicum when I come home and teach English students again. Last weekend Sherin and I had the opportunity to visit the city of Chengdu. This was such a cool experience, we got the chance to visit the Panda Research Centre. We also met some really nice Chinese guys and hung out with them for the night. They took us to a great hot pot restaurant which was delicious. Their English was not very good so we had to try use the little bit of language we have learned, and thankfully we all had translator apps on our phones.

 

I have also started teaching English to many Chinese University students campus. I really enjoy tutoring them and they are very appreciative. In exchange, they help me practice speaking, reading and writing Chinese. I hope to make the very most of my week in China!

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Still exploring!

It took me a long time, but I have finally gotten comfortable here! I have found a routine in the schools, have settled into daily life, and have overall gotten quite used to the local way of life. Two weeks ago I took perhaps the biggest step yet in proving that I can handle this country - I started driving a scooter through the insane Vietnamese traffic! I have to admit that it was (and often still is) a scary experience, but I am very proud of myself for even trying.

We have also found more time lately to explore some of the beautiful areas surrounding Da Nang. Through my newfound 'scooter liberty' I have been able to visit 'Ba Na Hills', an amusement park/castle on top of a mountain at the end of the longest non-stop single track cable car in the world! I also visited 'My Son', a UNESCO world heritage site of 12th century Hindu Temples, and 'Hoi An', a city just south of Da Nang famous for old town with tailoring, markets and beautiful lanterns. I continue to be in awe at all the sights, sounds, and culture this country has to offer. Hopefully I will be able to explore more before our time here comes to an end.

During my stay here I have also grown quite a bit as a person. I have noticed that I am no longer as stressed as I used to be when I am feeling unprepared for the situation I find myself in and that it has become easier for me to just go with the flow when my plans my plans don't work out. I hope that I can continue this way after I get back home to Canada. As we are getting closer to the end of our placement I am looking forward to spending the last couple of days with my students and enjoying the time we have left.

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EXACTLY A WEEK LEFT!

I am so so grateful to have been placed at Ainosato Nishi Elementary here in Sapporo. It was a very emotional last day for April and I. We will miss the students and teachers dearly. Words cannot describe how much love I have for the teachers and students at that school. Everyday, students would greet us with a loud "hello, good morning" and "see you" when we left. There wasn't a day where I didn't have a huge smile on my face. During our time with homeroom class, we had many opportunities to share with them cultural differences and activities. For example, one of the table group conversations we had was about different sounds that animals make. It was very surprising to them and to myself how different each sound was. A dog sound in Japanese is "wan wan" and we would say "woof woof". (The girls and I found this shirt that we couldn't stop laughing about and now we finally understand that it was a pun and not a typo.) April and I also taught them how to play "Duck Duck Goose" and they taught us a Japanese game in return. My greatest learning experience occurred when I was observing a few classes in Japanese. Initially, I didn't understand why we had to observe a class taught in a different language. Even though April and I didn't understand what the teacher and students were saying, we used their gestures and tone of voice to try to put it together. We had to think about the class in a different way and it allowed us to think outside the box and to observe every little thing that was going on. Throughout the lessons, the teacher used many effective teaching strategies. In one of the math lessons, she presented the class with a question. She gave the students an opportunity to solve it. After, she asked the class for the answer. She doesn't tell them whether it was right or wrong but she asks them for the reason for their answer. This way, students are able to understand why and how they got the answer.

School festivals are also very important here. Students practice for weeks for a one day event at the school. During these festivals students would do a combination of a play and singing a song. Students would audition for the part they want to play in the play. Students also have to audition for piano parts as well. If the students don't get the part they want, the would audition for another. They are not discourage because in the end, everyone will be able to play a role in the play. All the costumes and props are made by the teachers and students in that class. I had the opportunity to make tissue flowers and sew flowers onto a dress for one of the girls. The play and song were absolutely amazing.

On our last day, our homeroom surprised us with a goodbye party. They sang to us, told jokes, played Duck Duck Goose and another Japanese game. I felt so much love from them. The goodbye party turned into a crying party and seeing the children crying made it even more difficult to say goodbye. I will never forget them and there will always be a place in my heart for them. 

The funny pun shirt.

A scene from the school play. 

This week, we went on a 2 day excursion to a few places outside of Sapporo with other international students. We got to visit Lake Utonai Wildlife Conservation, Ainu Museum, Volcano Science Museum and made udon (Japanese thick noodle). I learnt so much about the history of the Ainu people and other facts about Hokkaido. We were all trying to piece together the information with the very little Japanese we know. 

What's left? I am currently trying to spend as much time with my host family. I can't believe that it's almost time to go home. I will really miss them. I am so grateful for all they have done for me and opening their heart and home to me. I can't thank them enough. They have taught me many Japanese traditions and brought me to many places to eat and sight see. This week, I will also be spending some time with a few university students I met and attending a few university classes. 

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Last 10 Days in Hamburg

Well the countdown is officially on... Only 9 more days until my plane touches down in Calgary signifying that my TAB experience has come to an end. I am amazed by how fast time has flown by while I have been abroad, but looking back on the past 9 weeks makes me realize how grateful I am to have had so many wonderful experiences both inside the classroom and out. I have thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the German culture and seeing how different things such as food and accents are between Hamburg (the city I am living in) and other German cities such as Berlin and Munich. I have also had the opportunity to visit a few smaller German cities and am looking forward to one more day trip planned with our liaison from the University before we leave!

The students in Germany have been on a two week Autumn holiday since October 13th, which means I have had the opportunity to do a little bit of traveling while focusing on our online course work. I had a wonderful time exploring Amsterdam and a couple of cities in Croatia - it was great to be able to take advantage of how close we are to other countries here in Germany and see a little bit more of Europe! I have been spending the last week of the holiday back in Hamburg working on course work and exploring more areas of this city that I haven't seen yet. I want to make sure I take it all in before I have to head back to Calgary!

This week Carrie and I had the opportunity to attend a seminar at the University of Hamburg thanks to arrangements made by our liaison. The seminar was titled Teaching English in Multilingual Classrooms and it was a class of master's students studying to become teachers, in addition to also studying English and one other subject (German, Russian, Economics, Chemistry, Biology, etc.). The professor and students were all extremely welcoming and eager to include us in discussions, which was really wonderful. The basis of the course was essentially exploring the topic of English learning in multilingual classrooms from both a linguistics point of view and an education point of view. During the seminar we discussed topics such as the difference between multilingualism and plurilingualism, the difference between language acquisition and language learning, and how the idea of transfer plays into the learning of a language. We also discussed the following two questions: Do you think the languages you speak are part of your personality/identity and why? Have the languages you speak influenced your idea of language learning and your teaching so far? It was really interesting to hear some of the students answers to these questions and see how different they were from mine since I only speak English while many of these students speak a minimum of three different languages. I realized that I don't really consider the fact that I speak English a part of my identity when I am at home (because everyone else around me is also speaking English), but living abroad for two months has shown me that traveling to foreign places makes the language I speak a larger part of my identity. This is because there is often a larger diversity of languages being spoken and/or sometimes English is not the dominant language spoken in a certain country, therefore making the fact that I speak English something that is different from those around me. Reflecting on the second question brought me to the realization that one of the reasons that I have often felt slightly uneasy about my ability to support ELL students in the classroom is likely because I never had to experience the types of learning struggles that they do with I was in school since my schooling was always taught in my first (and only) language. This has resulted in me sometimes feeling unable to really understand how ELL students feel in the classroom and how I can best help them succeed. Reflecting on my time in the classrooms here in Hamburg makes me see that I have learned a number of important lessons. I believe that one of the most important of these lessons has been broadening my perspective in terms of better understanding how ELL students often feel in classrooms back home when they can't understand what is going on or what their teacher is explaining. The classes I have specifically been teaching are taught in English, however I have sat in on some German classes and the majority of between lesson instruction/conversation happens in German. Learning how it feels to not be able to understand and engage in many of the conversations that occur in the classroom has been an eye-opening and important experience for me. I feel like now once I go into classrooms back in Canada I will have a better appreciation for the struggles that my ELL students are facing, in addition to being able to utilize some of the techniques I have seen teachers utilize here. For example, students seem to love singing songs and reading stories out-loud together as a class, so these are things that I see myself utilizing in my own classrooms to help engage ELL students in their English learning.

My time in Hamburg has been invaluable in providing me with both personal and professional learning experiences, and I am going to be very sad to leave this wonderful city and the students that I have had the pleasure of teaching. However, I am also looking forward to getting back to my family and friends back home. Participating in TAB and having the opportunity to get more hands-on experience in classrooms has made me feel more prepared to enter into Field 3, so I am also excited to begin my placement in a grade 1/2 classroom!

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Japan is awesome!

Konnichiwa! Genki desu ka? (Hello! How are you?)

I can’t believe that there is only about one more week in Japan before I go home to Calgary. The experience has been amazing and was full of adventures. I got to go to an onsen, attend the 38th Sapporo English Speech competition and go to Hell’s Valley (Noboribetsu). I am constantly eating amazing food (that I will surely miss when I go back to Calgary). 

The junior high experience has continued to change my view about Japanese education. While the original appearance looks to be that of a Traditional Learning Center in which all the students are paired boy-girl arrangement in rows, the process of table configuration is easily changed because the students know when and how to do this efficiently. This might be because when they clean the classroom and when they eat lunch they must move all the tables and chairs. The students are always actively learning and the teacher provides hands on experience in many of the classes. For instance, I had the opportunity to observe a chemistry, physics and biology class. In each class, the students are doing hands on science. In chemistry the students are mixing chemicals together to learn about endothermic and exothermic reactions; in physics, students are sliding cars off ramps/ dropping objects to learn about forces; in biology, students got to dissect a squid. The teacher provides minimal information, with the students having to figure and answer the questions themselves, which must greatly improve their critical mindset.

The class community is amazing as students come in early, give up their breaks during classes and stay after school to practice together for their Choir Competition within the school. Students conduct the music themselves and a classmate will be on the piano. The school is decorated with classwork and each class has a banner and/or pictures of the entire class as decoration. In English class, the teacher encourages the students to help each other if they are struggling. 

Japan’s educating style has provided me with new techniques and insight about how to approach a topic. I find myself thinking of how to integrate students greeting at the start of the class and the end of the class. 

I am only here in Japan for a few more days, but I will take advantage of this time and have more wonderful experiences here! 

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See you later, Japan

I am leaving this beautiful country in a week and it's crazy how fast it all went by. I still remember our first week here and now we're almost going home. 

I was able to immerse myself in a culture to the point of being scared of having reverse culture shock in Canada. I have learned much about Japanese culture, especially from living with my host families and teaching in an elementary and jr. high school. I love Japanese culture and to deepen my understanding of every day life has been incredibly valuable for me. I even forgot how to speak Cantonese to my parents when they Facetimed me. Instead, I spoke a weird combination of English and Japanese. Hah.

From this experience, I want to continue learning Japanese and I am even more motivated to become fluent in it. I just hope I will find opportunities to speak it in Calgary so I don't forget anything. 

Mandy and I finished our week at a Jr. High school and it was lots of fun. However, we had to change our attitude and approach when teaching jr. high students. They are shyer than elementary students and require more prompt to be able to answer questions or ask us questions. Students learning English struggle with the spontaneity and flow of the language, so we try to adjust the way we ask questions. Still, the students greeted us with enthusiasm and tried their best to speak English to us! In a grade 8 class or in Japan, they call it jr. high, grade 2, they acted our a hamburger shop scenario and the students got very creative with it. It's nice to see that they are having fun with English despite how hard it is to learn. I am glad we were able to participate in the activity. The teachers at both the elementary and jr. high school do everything in their power to help us feel welcome and comfortable. I am going to miss the strong community that Japanese schools build within. By strong community, I mean that students have fun and talk to everyone in their class, not just their friends. Their classroom becomes their family and the school becomes one big family as well. The students have strong and fun relationships with their teachers and are not afraid to make mistakes. Japanese teachers embrace mistakes because everyone makes them and you can learn from them. The level of engagement, despite the standardization of schools, is always high. For instance, students commit their all to a school musical or play. They are not ashamed of approaching the task with high energy because everyone is expected to do the same. I feel that in Canada, students feel almost scared to give it their all due to judgement from their peers or the stigmatization of being the best. However, I might be biased in my perception of these students because these schools are affiliated with the university, making them more prestigious schools. 

Some more key differences between Japanese and Canadian Schooling:

  • The teachers in both our elementary and jr. high school were almost entirely male. It was interesting to watch male teachers work with students in elementary! It is almost a rare sight in Canada.
  • Being a teacher is very respectable in Japan because it is a lot of hard work. Teachers work every single day even on weekends and even until 7 pm sometimes. 
  • Science classes are experiential and hands on. Mandy and I got to see grade 8 students dissect squids!
  • Japanese students will approach you with excitement if they see outside of school and they will say hi to you. Mandy and I are very popular at the nearest train station near the schools. 
  • Each teacher alters their lesson plan to fit the personality and progression of the class. For instance, if one class is a little weaker on their English, the teacher will instantly shift gears to fit their learning. 

Some cool things I have done in my last weeks in Sapporo!

  • Mandy and I went to Noboribetsu, which is a city that is 2 hours away from Sapporo. It is popular for their onsens and "Hell's Valley." Hell's Valley has the best smell of rotten eggs (Sulphur).

  • I went to Furano with my host family which is famous for lavender! The lavender ice cream was oishii! (delicious) 


  • I won a Bulbasaur from the Japanese claw game machine which we're all addicted to now even though it's really hard to win

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Sayonara, Japan!

I thought now would be a good time to start my last blog post while in Japan, as I am having my first feelings of anxiety knowing I have to leave this wonderful place and my fantastic second host family in exactly 10 days.

(Signatures from some of our students at Daiichi Elementary)

This week and last, Stephanie and I have had the pleasure of visiting Koryo Junior High School in Iwamizawa. In Japan, they start mandatory English classes in junior high, so there is more for us to do here than there was in the elementary schools. It’s great to be able to help out with English classes and have more conversations with students. The junior high students are shy, but always willing to share their recommendation for anime, music, or food we should try. Many teachers here are also quite proficient in English, so we have the pleasure of speaking to them about their lives here often.

(enjoying some of the fall colours in Iwamizawa)

(enjoying some of my walks home as the sun sets in Iwamizawa - 15 hours ahead of Calgary time!)

Saturday was my 22nd birthday, and my host family spoiled me. I was very fortunate. My host family took me to a nice Korean BBQ restaurant in Iwamizawa (Korean BBQ is very popular here), and we tried all sorts of interesting foods like tongue, heart, bone marrow, and tripe. After that we went to karaoke which is extremely popular in Japan, but nothing like the way we do karaoke back home. In Japan, you rent a private room with couches and a karaoke machine, and you sing with your friends. It was a different experience for me, but it is incredibly fun. If any of you find yourselves in Japan in the future, try karaoke!

(My host mom- Megumi, Father- Hajime, and Brother- Shim at dinner)

(Celebrating with karaoke - this is my host Mom singing "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer)

Gearing up to come home is starting to get exciting, but stressful. Right now I am trying to balance schoolwork, fun, spending time with my host family, and making sure I have done as much as I can while I am here.

(The University treated Stephanie and I to lunch and a wine tour)

I have learned so much since I have been here. I will have to admit, it was hard for me being a privileged, English speaking North American to adjust to a new culture and language. I will be the first to admit that it has been hard to let go of my sense of entitlement I noticed I carried with me. If I were to give advice to the Japan group, or any TAB student for next year, especially first time travellers, it would be that. Lose all sense of entitlement you might have before travelling, especially to a non-English speaking country. I found myself a lot of times on this trip getting frustrated or angry because I can’t understand. I have found myself several times wondering things like “they know I don’t speak Japanese, why haven’t they adapted to me”. This is something I have had to completely let go in order to become fully immersed in Japanese culture. This realization is not one I am most proud of, but is very important. It is something I will take with me even back home. I have now been in the shoes of someone who does not speak the native language, and know how tough it is mentally to cope with that. I am extremely thankful for my language learning experience here, tough as it may have been. I didn’t realize how quickly you start to pick up a language when you are 100% immersed in it and have no choice but to communicate that way. I find myself understanding small parts and phrases in conversations around me, and it is such a cool feeling.

In a week and a half, I leave this amazing place and make my 48 hour trek back home. Wish me luck making all my connections! I can not wait to be back home and to hear everyone’s TAB experiences. Hard to believe that I am even here right now, let alone that I have almost reached the end! Thank you U of C, Werklund, my fellow Japan mates, and everyone who has been supporting me back home on this journey. I look forward to coming home and sharing my learning! Enjoy a few more of my favourite pictures from my last few weeks below. 

Best, 

Kaitlin

(Running into local kids in a restaurant, they always want pictures and autographs)

(My host mother and I enjoying a day shopping on the weekend)

(Shopping in Furano)

(Blue Lake, Furano)

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For JV and João Pedro

As a few of you may know, On Friday October 20th, two students, João Vitor Gomes and João Pedro Calembo were shot and killed and four other students injured by a classmate who brought a gun to school in Goiânia.

I debated writing this post, out of respect for the families affected, but I believe that when tragedies occur, it is important to talk about how we feel. I was very blessed and lucky to be a get to know/teach João Vitor, or JV, at a different school to where the incident took place. JV was brilliant and had a witty sarcastic humor that would make the whole class laugh. He always talked about how he hated soccer, even though he was Brazilian and how he adored cars (his ten-year plan was to learn to drive and own his own car). It’s crazy how in such a short amount of time you can get to know your students quirks and build a relationship.

It puts into perspective how we don’t know how much time we have and how important it is to ensure and constantly give appreciation to those we care about. It also brings up the very important topic of bullying and how we need to do whatever possible to ensure that our students are in a safe, respectful environment and we provide whatever necessary, to get the help that they need. It is senseless and unimaginable. It breaks my heart for the families of the two young boys and I still can’t comprehend how this happened. I have been thinking constantly about how he didn’t get to experience certain things that we do in our lifetimes, like drive a car or travel the world. I’ve been feeling incredibly guilty when I’m experiencing these amazing opportunities to realize that JV won’t get to experience this. I know it’s not healthy to think about how life can be incredibly unfair, but the ups and downs have been very eyeopening. This is a very short post, as I don't know how else to express my sadness and frustrations, but I hope that we never have to experience this tragedy in the classroom and hope that the remaining weeks will bring some answers and possibly some closure for the families. 

Sending my love to JV & João Pedro.

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Good Morning (from) Vietnam!

It is crazy to think that "packing" has now been added to my to-do list here in Vietnam! It is only a little more than a week until I board my first of three flights home to Calgary. Vietnam has been an amazing experience both professionally and personally.

On the professional side I have gained serious appreciation for elementary school teachers, like seriously, how do you do it?! The students are amazing but so high-energy! Even though I am a secondary-school teacher, I have learned so much about the competitive drive of students here in Vietnam and what really motivates the younger students to learn. In the secondary-school I have learned the importance of having a 'plan B' when relying solely on technology and just how amazing the and creative the students are. Watching presentations that my grade 12 students prepared was not only insightful but educational for myself. I enjoyed seeing what the students are capable of doing is they are provided with the right guidance and motivational tools.

On a personal level Vietnam has enabled me to see an entirely different world than what I am used to at home. Touring multiple cities and villages on motorbike you really gain a feel for the vastly diverse ways of living in this country. Having come a month early to Vietnam I was really able to explore the whole country-side. Learning to drive the motorcycle was a bit tricky but the skill has saved me a small fortune in cab rides to and from the school. I think the hardest part of Vietnam has been getting used to the mattress (literally the hardest) and the bugs! We had one particular night of screaming and panicking as a colony of cockroaches decided to make a visit in our AirBnB. After incidentally alerting the whole neighbourhood with our screams and RAID fumes, we all fled to a hotel for the weekend before braving our house once again. The cockroaches have yet to make a second appearance and I'm now able to sleep soundly once again. The experience has been educational, comical, at times stressful, but overall 100% worth the experience.

There are many things I'm looking forward to when I get home. Some of which include: butternut squash soup from Vendome cafe, a soft mattress, and a hot shower. However there are even more things that I am going to miss about Vietnam. I have loved the people here and their kind and generous nature, the beautiful coastal beaches of Da Nang and the hustle and bustle of the streets at night are all things I will miss dearly. I look forward to sharing my experience with future TAB participants and can't wait to implement some of the many things I have learned into my placement back home.

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The countdown home begins...

Well, there's only about 2 weeks left here in China now. There is one thing on my bucket list that I absolutely had to do prior to leaving China... Visit Chengdu city, famous for its pandas! Chengdu is the 4th largest city in China, and its riddled with famous landmarks across the city.

I flew in on Thursday, and spent that first day frolicking at an ancient marketplace, exploring some of the city on foot, and eating hotpot. The following day, I visited the Wenshuyuan Buddhist Temple. There, I also indulged in a famous jasmine tea at the temple's teahouse.


Alas, I woke up early on Saturday to head to Chengdu's Research and Giant Panda Breeding Base. I did my research prior to the visit, as I wanted to be sure that I was visiting an ethical institution. I arrived at 730AM, even though the official opening time is at 8AM. Being there so early meant we beat the crowds and got close to the pandas as they were feeding. It was an unreal experience! That evening, we met 2 Chinese men who were also traveling in Chengdu. We ended up hanging out and conversing in both Chinese and English. I'm grateful that I was able to visit Chengdu before heading back to Canada.

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Two weeks left in Perth!

Hello everyone! These past few weeks have been incredible, but very busy! I travelled to Brisbane and Cairns for more adventures over the school break, and have been having even more adventures back in Perth. However, I continue to appreciate this experience for what it is offering me with regards to my future teaching career, and I have not been disappointed by my opportunity to visit a diverse array of schools in Perth. This past week I spent at an inclusive education school, which has some classrooms that are for students with special needs only, and some classrooms where special needs students are fully integrated into regular classrooms.

The whole of my first day was spent in a kindergarten special education classroom. One of the teaching assistants told me that she hoped I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the students, because some visitors do feel that way- but on the contrary, I fell in love with the class almost immediately. After just one day, I felt like I had formed positive relationships with the students as well as a deep respect for all of the special education teachers out there, and for all teachers who work hard every day to create inclusive classrooms and differentiate their teaching strategies to suit the needs of all students.

There was a strong focus on play in this school, and on positive teacher-student relationships. The atmosphere there was warm and fun, though the teachers still clearly knew when to “use their teacher voice,” and the students responded to it. Being in this school reminded me how much joy I get from working with kids, particular younger kids. As such, it has made me even more excited for my upcoming practicum in Calgary with grade 2 students.

It’s hard to believe that there are only two weeks left of TAB. I feel like I have grown so much personally and professionally, and have had so much fun, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss Canada. Part of me doesn’t want to leave, but I am ready to start the next chapter of my life and career. This upcoming week will include a day trip to an Indigenous school outside of Perth. I anticipate that it will be a very valuable and unique experience.

Thanks for reading! Here are some highlights of my past few weeks:

 Great Barrier Reef round 2! Love these big guys:

Daintree Rainforest with my amazing boyfriend who came all the way from Canada to visit me!

Rottnest Island, Western Australia: home to the happy quokkas!

One of many ultra friendly quokkas interested in my ice cream!

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Japan 2017

Going into my 9th week abroad I am trying to soak up as much Japanese culture as I can. We have now finished out placement at the elementary and have moved to a junior high. The though of teaching at a junior high always scared me, it might be because everyone always says it's the hardest grade to teach and the kids are all crazy or because most of my experience has been with kids under 12. Anyways I was nervous to go to the junior high. The elementary kids were crazy about us and we didn't even have to anything to earn their admiration. Every day we would get swarmed with students asking us to sign everything they could possible find. It was really cute but overwhelming. It was very difficult to communicate with the students because in Japan students only start learning English in grade 5 and my Japanese is pretty much non-existent. In Japan students all eat a school lunch prepared buy cooks. They take turns serving the lunch to their classmates. This is actually a really cool part of the Japanese education system and we were lucky enough to join a different classroom for lunch everyday. It was both good and bad at the same time. Good because it was a unique experience that I will probably never get to again, bad because they students would ask me so many questions but I couldn't understand any of them or ask them any questions in return. Another cool thing about the Japanese education system is school festivals. The elementary school we were at was preparing and practicing for one that was a few weeks away. Each grade puts together a different dance, play or concert, they are all so creative and it creates a collaborative school culture. So after all signing and the high fiving, junior high was a big change. 

In junior high students have an English class once or twice a week and the English teachers are a bit more fluent in English compared to the elementary teachers. We are helping out in all of the English classes, mostly trying to get the students to introduce themselves to us and asking us questions. I am really enjoying working with the junior high students. Before I came to Japan I had this perception that students never stepped out of line but they aren't all like that their behaviour is the same as I've seen in Calgary schools. I guess wherever you go kids will be kids. 
Aside from the school placement I have still been able to venture outside of Iwamizawa and explore what Hokkaido has to offer. Last weekend I went hiking with a friend I meet at an English conversation class I volunteer for. This weekend I went to two different cities for sightseeing. Japan is a beautiful country and has so much to offer. I am obsessed with the bread here and hit up every bakery I see!
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Boa tarde do brasil,

Where has the time gone? It seems like we only just arrived in Brazil. It is very hard to believe that in just over two weeks I will be back in Canada and cold weather. Some days its so hot here I can’t wait but then I remember I hate being cold. Our time in Brazil has been a mixture of keeping busy with our online classes, visiting language classes, taking Portuguese and exploring.

The last few weeks we have had the opportunity to observe in different levels of English language classes. The schedule they made for us had us rotating through three different classes but due to holidays and tests I have really only had the opportunity regularly visit one class. It is a juniors 6 class with about 12 students ranging in age from about 12-14. They are quite chatty and easily distracted but a fun class. I enjoyed having a few classes to observe the teacher, Fabiano, and his teaching style as while as brush up on my English grammar. The students were asking me what I was writing in my notebook and I told them I was learning along with them and they were amused by that. This week, I had the opportunity to teach a short lesson on interrupted past continuous and the difference between ‘when’ and ‘while’. I had to look it up to make sure I would teach it correctly. I decided to mix in a short lesson of Canadian vocab. It was fun to share some very Canadian things, places, and people with the students. We talked about Moose, elk, hockey, lacrosse, maple syrup, the RCMP and of course Ryan Gosling. We finished by played a game where they picked two actions and had to combine with ‘when’ or ‘while’ and incorporated some of the Canadian vocab. It was learning moment for me through out the whole lesson as I adjusted as I went and had to think on my feet to fix hiccups in my lesson. My biggest takeaway is that explain Canadian things is difficult and I need to speak slowly (always my problem).

This class also helps me with my Portuguese. I wish I could say that I was able to have basic conversations but alas, Portuguese had not come easy to me. I can say hello, greet for morning, afternoon, and night, say goodbye, how are you? And respond. But other than asking people their names, age, where they are from and what their profession is, I struggle. The students love when they can speak Portuguese to me at the end of the class since usually class is a no Portuguese zone, however they all get very excited and speak at the same time. Once they slow down and take turns it is beneficial for me – they love to help me. I usually can pick up a few words of what they ask me but overall, I struggle a lot. I able to read/recognize written text and words but I am struggling with the understanding and speaking. Our Portuguese teacher, Pedro has been wonderful and this week he took us along with the other exchange students to eat a traditional Brazilian dish called Pamonha. It is a corn based dish that is served in a corn husk, very hard to describe but very tasty. We also tried it deep fried and a corn based dessert that was like a pudding. Pedro helped us with ordering in Portuguese which is a skill I am still working on, it seems if your pronunciation isn't just right people don't seem to understand at all what you want or need. I am hoping in the next few weeks I can work on my clarity, pronunciation, and confidence in speaking Portuguese so at the very least I can order Acai with granola and condensed milk (my favourite) and not receive granola and banana instead. Small goals.

 We have used our weekends to see Goiânia and more recently a few places nearby. We were brave and rented a car to go to nearby Pirenópolis and it was both exhilarating and nerve racking at the same time. Brazil drivers are pretty crazy. We had a wonderful couple days exploring the town - touristic, charming, and full of great places to eat and shop. We also explored some nearby waterfalls and drove up one of the craziest, steep, bumpy sand road I have ever driven on.

The next weekend we went camping. We rented a FIAT Toro, which is a little truck, and off we went to Chapada dos Veirdos. We were a little under-prepared, who knew it got cold in Brazil? We spent our days sweltering in the heat while we hiked to amazing waterfalls and cascades and our nights were spent shivering in a tent. It was an experience I will never forget.

We have visited local breweries in Pirenópolis and in Goiânia and drank some amazing local cerveja (beer). We have had lots of cerveja both local and not. But I still need to try 'pequi' - it is a local fruit and apparently people either love it or hate it. You can't bite the fruit because it has tiny thorns that get stuck in your tongue and it has a very strong aroma. I am hoping to try it before we go just to say I have - we have tried cerveja with pequi flavour as well as a sauce.

 We have also used some of free time to visit more classes at the language centre at the request of some of the teachers. They say it is a great opportunity for them to practice their English and in turn we learn a little bit more about Goiania, Brazil, the education system and about the students. They love to ask questions about what we think of Brazil, what we like here, what we don’t – which is hard to answer. I love Brazil, but it so different from Canada. The biggest thing for me is the safety, everyone is always reminding us to be safe, and not walk anywhere at night. We are also able to share about ourselves, Calgary, and Canada with the students so it’s a win-win. Again, I always have to remember to speak slowly and use simple language so the students are able to understand me – I always want to say a lot in a small span of time.

 I am looking forward to seeing what our final weeks here have in store for us. Hoping to learn as much Portuguese as I can and soak up as much of the sun before heading back to Canada. Our time here is wrapping up so quickly it is hard to believe I will be teaching in a kindergarten class in just a few weeks.    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tchau for now!

 

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2 weeks to go!!!

Well, 2 weeks to go. Unbelievable. The past few weeks since my last post have been busy with our online classes as well as our placement here in Brisbane. It is so crazy that last time I wrote it was 4 weeks until I flew home, which seemed like quite a while. Now it seems like I’ve closed my eyes and I am flying home in 2 weeks. The weather here is getting very wet and although it is nice to get some relief from the constant (almost unbearable) heat, I need to work on my tan before I come home and rain is not going to help!! I am hoping for some last minute sunshine next week to help me.

Kelsey and I have been spending time at a school called St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls School. It is an all girls school, which I have never seen before, so it has been an interesting experience. Compared to our previous school, I find that we are more useful here. ALL classrooms have a back room that is used for small group work, which is where I have been spending most of my time, helping particular groups in their rotations. I have been helping with Grade 1 English and Grade 5 math to name a few. One day last week, I was lucky enough to be in a Grade 6 English classroom where the students (and me) got to watch Zootopia! It was awesome. During the movie, the teacher shared with me all the projects that she intends to do with this movie and it was great to see! They will be creating their own podcast in groups as the final project. I have also been spending a great amount of time in a Grade 5 classroom while they are learning about Bushfires. I have had to learn lots about Australian Bushfires to help these students as they are writing a narrative about it! I have had to be quick on my feet and infer information from the novel they are reading but it has been great! The students love working with me and think it is hilarious when I have to ask them what common words in their vocabulary mean, and are really dedicated and willing to ask me for help when they need it. It is toward the end of the school year for the students here in Australia so they all understand their expectations and are getting ready for the intensity of the following year, or Secondary school. The staff at this school has been so accommodating and are overjoyed to have an extra set of hands in the classroom. The school is smaller than our previous one so the staff room is more intimate and all teachers have made an effort to introduce themselves to us and ask what we are doing. One teacher is visiting Canada in December and has been picking our brains about her preparations for her trip (for example, what clothes to bring). It has been great! The girls who attend the school are lovely as well. It is not overly obvious that they are high SES girls. Yes, many of them sport Apple watches and a few talk about how they got ponies for their birthday or own a bakery, but overall they are lovely girls who are eager to learn. I really love being at this school and it is opening my eyes at the different types of schools. As someone who attended public school my whole school career (minus one year), I am a huge advocate for public school. However, seeing this private school is showing me that there is a difference. All of the classes at St. Aidan’s have 16-18 girls, whereas I grew up with 25+ students in my class. I have no complaints, as I had an excellent education at a public school, but I think that had a lot to do with my work ethic and dedication to succeed. I think that private schools have a lot going for them, and lots of times you get what you pay for and I think you do at St. Aidan’s.

As for our adventures for the past few weeks, Kelsey and I have been doing some local exploring around Brisbane. We have been to a few museums as well as visited Stradbroke Island with other international students at QUT! Stradbroke, or Straddie as the locals call it, was incredible. We were both quite disappointed as it literally rained ALL DAY. However, on our walk around Stradbroke Island, through the rain, we were looking out into the ocean appreciating the sights and we saw whales!! It was incredible. Kelsey and I were in awe and stood and watched the ocean for 15 minutes while getting soaked. When we finally moved on along our walk, we saw a family of wild kangaroos cross our path in front of us. Overall, this day was one that I will definitely remember as a highlight from the past 3 months. Tomorrow we are going to see a rugby game, New Zealand All Blacks vs. Australian Wallabies and I am SO excited. I purchased these tickets back in June when they went on sale and have been looking forward to it since then. I love watching sports and follow international Rugby from back home so to be able to experience this event will be a great life moment for me. As far as rugby goes, this event is pinnacle for any rugby fan. It is on my bucket list to see the All Blacks perform the Hakka in real life, and I will see that tomorrow!!

Well that’s it for now! In the next few weeks we have 4 more days at St. Aidan’s, a QUT conference, I am going to visit the Australia zoo and then we leave so it will be a busy time! I will leave you with some pictures of the past few weeks! The next time I write I will be on my way home or already home! Crazy how time flies. 

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Week 7 - No signs of slowing down!

I left off my last post speaking about the Independence referendum that took place in in Spain on October 1st. Well, the aftermath of the referendum has been quite messy leading to large protests and strikes across Spain. Those for and against the independence of Catalonia made sure that their voices were heard over the last two weeks. It has been interesting to be a bystander to such a historic event, but it is hard to watch as this issue carries on. Inevitably, there will be people hurt no matter what the course of action is. While an official call for independence hasn’t been made, the President of Catalonia has until tomorrow night to decide his course of action. I am sure that most of Spain will be holding its breath.

 

On a much lighter note, in these last few weeks I have realized just how close countries are to each other in Europe. It has really made me appreciate being here and has made me, in a way, envious of the people who live here. It is quite easy to go from one country to the next or even to experience vastly different cultures within the same territory! Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit a friend in Nice, France. While I was there, I got to experience French culture AND travel to Monaco and Italy in the same day. Once I traveled from one state to another in the matter of an hour when I was in the U.S. and I thought that was pretty cool. But within a day I was able to travel to three different countries all situated along the French Riviera. I jumped on a train with my passport, but I didn’t need my passport. I went from one country to another without showing my passport to anyone. That is a completely foreign idea to me. Everywhere I have ever gone, someone has asked me for some form of I.D., but not here. It is an experience that I’ll never forget and am so thankful for. On the way back from a small refugee town in Italy, we pulled into the first stop in France. Officers came on board and pulled every African and North African off the train without even asking for their travel papers. This really concerned me, but I was told that this was something that happened on every train ride. Thousands of refugees from Liberia and North African countries attempt to get into France via train after taking a boat ride into Italy. It was shocking to me, but I suppose not everyone has the freedom of movement like I have been afforded. You can’t help but be thankful for your freedom after seeing something like that.

 

While in Barcelona, I had the chance to visit Parc del Laberint d’Horta. Several famous French and Spanish architects created this classical wonder over the course of nearly 200 years. The park is a beautiful estate that once belonged to a family who graciously donated it to the city of Barcelona. It was truly a sight to behold knowing that each element of the estate was carefully crafted. The hedge maze is the main attraction here. While it is the tail end of summer and now moving into fall, the grass was not as green and the bushes and trees have begun to shed their leaves, it was still an incredible sight. There were photographers all over the park taking photos of nature, of newlyweds, and of each other for, what I believe to be, social media purposes. I am glad that I had the opportunity to visit the estate.

 

As for school, I will say that, while I have been ill and have missed a few days of teaching, I am having a difficult time adjusting to the relationship that the students have with their teachers. The students seem eager to learn and to take part in planned activities, but they continuously speak over both myself and other teachers. Initially I believed this to be because I was new and the students weren’t quite comfortable with me. But now, almost five weeks later, the students are speaking over me in class to and even higher degree. In my observations I have noticed that the teachers seem to allow this kind of behaviour, and I am not one to preach at all about how a teacher should manage their classroom and so I won’t. I have accepted that this is how the teacher-student relationship works at this school, however I have been working on my own classroom management skills and the teachers have been kind enough to give me some leeway in this department. Explaining that, culturally, in Canada students do not speak when the teacher is giving instructions or when other students are speaking. They seem to be responding well, and I have noticed that they are much less likely to talk over me when the teacher has left the room. I never wanted to be a “mean” teacher, but I realize now that I have limits to the loudness of a classroom and high expectations for the respect that students have for their teacher and fellow students. If anything, I think that this experience is preparing me to manage a classroom and that’s a skill that I didn’t expect to focus on while in Spain. That being said, the students are so bright and curious. I absolutely love the idea of being a teacher, now more than ever.  

Adios for now mi amigos! Xoxo

Love,

 

Hana K. 

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