Well, I got bored. After nearly a year living as a "Lady of Leisure," I ran out of things to occupy my days. I found myself some days with literally nothing to do. So I got a job. I interviewed with a teaching agency, and now I'm a "CRT," which stands for Casual Relief Teacher. Basically, I'm a substitute teacher. So far I've been in a Prep classroom one day up in Richmond, with a Year 6 class for three days at a school in St Kilda, and with a Year 3 class the next day at the same school. It's been pretty good, though it's hard not knowing the kids' names by heart or developing any sort of real rapport or relationship with them. But I don't have to do any lesson planning or grading (hooray!), the extra money will be nice, and I only have to work on the days I want to work.
Here are some differences I've noticed so far between American and Australian schools:
1. Popular names are different here. I've had more than one Henry, Harry, Jack, and Hugo. Yes, Hugo!
2. Math is called maths. That's not plural. I can't get used to saying, "Get out your maths book" or "After lunch, you have maths." Very strange.
3. Students are required to wear hats when they go outside. Because the Australian sun is so strong, this is ingrained in kids from a young age. They automatically put them on when they go out to recess.
4. Apparently peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are distinctly American. Kids thought it was weird that I brought one for lunch one day.
5. Allergies are a big deal out here. I guess lots of Australian kids have them-to food, insects, etc. I even had to go to anaphylaxis training and learn how to use an Epi-pen.
6. There doesn't seem to be a class called social studies. One school calls it T.I., and I forget what that stands for. Science is definitely not a big part of the curriculum, at least in the classes I've seen.
7. Kids don't learn Spanish as a second language. Japanese and Italian are the ones I've encountered so far.
8. Kindergarten is what Americans would call preschool, and what we would call kindergarten is called Prep here.
9. Primary school includes everything up to eighth grade, and secondary school is high school. You call it Year 6 instead of 6th grade.
10. The school year has four terms, and all schools in Victoria are on the same schedule. There are two-week breaks between each term, and a long "summer" holiday in December/January. We're coming to the end of Term 1 right now.
11. My accent is definitely a novelty. Kids have no clue where Colorado is, though to be fair, I had no clue where Melbourne was until about a year ago.
12. I have to be especially careful with how I spell words, both for the students and in my notes to the teacher. Behaviour, favourite, colour, realise, centre, practise, etc.-I will never get used to some of these!
13. Student planners are called diaries. Waldo is called Wally, so they have Where's Wally books instead of Where's Waldo.
14. I read aloud a short story where the sun was compared to a penny. The kids didn't know what a penny was. Whoops!
15. Kids are the same all over the world. Some of my Year 6 students the other day were basically the Australian versions of some of my sixth graders back in Colorado-looks, personality, everything!
I'll try to be good about still updating the blog, even though I'm now a working woman. In other news, the Tough Mudder race is this weekend, so we're off to Phillip Island to torture ourselves. Here's hoping we don't die!