Travel Teacher Oops: Basically Neighbors with the “Biebs”

One of the Hallways of Le Fevre

One of the Hallways of Le Fevre

Adelaide, Australia. 2010. Raiding the supply of “blueys” or blue withdrawal room forms in the staff room of Le Fevre High School, I grabbed a substantial stack. Recently, I had been called a “f**king bitch” in class by one of my year 8 students, so I armed myself with the blue tickets to the “naughty room.”

The withdrawal room was where you sent unruly, belligerent or uncooperative students. As I contemplated how long my blue pile would last, the assistant principal Jane Prince, whisked into the staff room.

“Steph, we need you to teach the Year 7 transition class today,” she mentioned while filling teacher pigeon holes (mailboxes) full of paperwork.

“The what class?” By now I was so used to winging it at Le Fevre, where I had been assigned as an American exchange teacher, it didn’t faze me one bit to be given a class I didn’t have a clue about.

A classroom awaiting students.

A classroom awaiting students.

“The transition class. Year 7s from feeder schools will be visiting today. We need to introduce these prospective students to our maths and language arts programs.”

“Jane, you really want me to teach this class?

“Yes, why not?” Jane grabbed another stack of papers, licked her thumb and began rifling through them. Soon they were completely sorted. She turned to look at me, while peering over the top rim of her glasses frames.

Because, seriously, you want the kids to come here, right? To impress them.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Travel Oops: “Someone smashed a window, Miss! And he’s right there!”

© Jade Taylor 2010

© Jade Taylor 2010

After local troublemakers invaded Le Fevre and punched the principal as he tried to get them out of the school, the entire staff was on high alert. First, the assailants had broken a window and then charged into the main building to “bash” a year 12 who had slept with one of their girlfriends. They brought knives and knuckledusters (brass knuckles).

Having a school lockdown situation was nothing new to me since I came from the US. I was now in Australia as an exchange teacher. Word on the street with my year 11’s was that the derelicts weren’t finished. Another massive bashing was on the way.

Two weeks earlier, at nearby Henley High School, students had given their uniforms to some hooligans from another school.  Consequently, the intruders, who had major grudges, stalked the Henley halls unnoticed. They kicked the crap out of a student, who again, had slept with the wrong girl and then unwisely publicized it on Facebook.

Continue reading

Travel Oops — “Do You Have a Gun, Miss?”

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

A “temporary” building with two classrooms, P301, on the inside, was a faded green mint color — like saltwater taffy gone stale, having been left in a carnival candy sack too long.

But I had windows, a big white board, carpet and neat tables and chairs lined up perfectly. On high, the air conditioning unit blasted air that could cut any perennial’s life short. Was this real? I didn’t have any of these items in my US classroom.

In the little climate controlled temporary, I felt a certain calm even on the first day as a new exchange teacher.  Of course this was mixed with a free-flowing anxiety. I didn’t know a thing about Australian students or Year 8s, for that matter, but really, how hard could it be? Plus, if I totally bombed, I could definitely milk my accent for the first week of school, at least.

Right?

Continue reading