Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Shayne's Day #75: The one with the british kids

Quick update about my teaching situation. I started at Southbank International School last week and it has been the ride of a lifetime. On Wednesday, I went in for an orientation and spent the day in a second grade classroom. On Friday, I subbed for the first time and ended up in first grade. And today, I went back for my second supply teaching job and was in third grade. Southbank has been absolutely wonderful so far and I am over the moon about the small quaint campus and incredible staff. I have met truly fabulous people and look forward to working with them. They have all been so helpful and welcoming and I am really happy to be at Southbank. Now, onto the kids! Brace yourself because now that I am working with british youngsters - the stories are about to get real good!

Basically, each class has 8-15 kids. Small yes, but it's because the school is located in an old house so the rooms themselves are super tiny. Eight seems like a really small class, but in a tiny coat closet, those personalities get real big, real fast. So far each class has consisted of about 1/3 American students, 1/3 British students, and 1/3 Multi-cultural kiddos (I have had some from Germany, Spain, Denmark, South Africa, The Netherlands, and India). So, the population is incredible and diverse! If I could just get them to listen long enough to start a good discussion - the diverse group would be money!

Instead, I try to get a kid's attention, and he turns away. I move their behavior clip and they laugh. I try to play a fun game and they throw things. Basically, if I imagine my three toughest 5th graders from earlier this year (I am not going to name name's, but some of you know who kept me awake at night!) and multiply them across the entire school, that is what I have dealt with so far. Actually, thinking back, I can't imagine that even my toughest kiddo's were ever as naughty as some of the students I had today. Seriously - no exaggeration. But, just like all things british, I am embracing every moment and going directly to laughter when things get tough. Just because it's different doesn't mean it's bad. And certainly, I can learn from this! I can imagine myself in two years, sitting in an interview back in the states, and saying, "Yes, after this...I can do anything!"

So, here it is...my top ten kid moment list from my first three days in the classroom:

10. 3rd grade: Girl is at the front doing the calendar routine and boy raises his hand. He says to her, "Excuse me, could you please pull your jeans up? I can see your thong." No one laughs, she doesn't get embarrassed - she simply pulls her pants up and moves on. I am sitting there thinking, "That 8 year old just said thong, that 8 year old just said thong..."

9. 2nd grade: Boy says to me, "So Ms. Shayne, you are from the states. I have technically been to the states, but it was Alaska. My dad says Alaska is really more like it's own country and I agree. If Alaska is separated from America by an entire county, it probably has its own cultural thing going on." I ask, "Well, what about Hawaii?" Boy says, "No, they are separated by water. Not much happens over water." I think, "Huh - valid point."

8. 2nd grade: We are working on creating maps which lay out the city they are designing. Girl says, "I know our teacher told us that all roads should lead to the center of the city, but I think all roads should lead to Harod's." Boy responds, "Yeah, my mom would agree, but I think all roads should lead to McDonalds."

7. 2nd grade: We are working in small math groups counting money. The kids are using menus to plan out what they would order, adding up the prices, and figuring how much change they would get back from a 20 pounder. One boy thinks outloud, "Ok, I have picked my starter, my main, and my dessert. Should I order that with a pint of beer or cider?"

6. 1st grade: The kids are free-playing during Friday Fun...sorry, that's wrong and I was corrected about 30 times. Here it's Fun Friday - please forgive me. Ok, so I say, "Boys, why don't you go pick a game? I see Guess Who, Checkers, Chess, and Go Fish." They boys walk over, select the Chess board and set it up. I watch them waiting, waiting, waiting. I say, "Are you going to play?" One boy says no, "We are just trying to look busy so you will stop bothering us."

5. 3rd grade: I am doing a read aloud and tell the kids they can either sit in their chairs or on the carpet. One boy hops up on top of the table and lays down. I say, "You need to get down and choose a chair or the carpet." He says, "Oh, no thank you, I am going to stay here." At least he was polite right?

4. 2nd grade: I am out on recess duty and four little girls who I know walk up to me. One is in tears. Another one says, "Ms. Shayne, we are supposed to be practicing for the talent show, but SHE (points to the one in tears) says I am being too mean and she doesn't want to do it anymore. I say, "Well, let's have a re-group, take a break, and talk through it." Mean girl says, "No, we CAN'T take a break. If SHE drops out and we can't practice, then it will ruin our talent show chances FOR LIFE!!!" Mean girl storms away, little girl cries harder.

3. 5th grade: (OHHH - 5th grade!): So I am sitting in the room waiting for the 3rd graders to get back from technology and I hear the 5th graders working on a project in the hallway. One of them says, "Hey, have you heard that song Friday?" (yes, yes - we know it went viral in the states like months ago - but, it's just getting popular here). The girl starts singing, "Sittin' in the front seat, chillin' in the back seat, what seat should I take?" The boy says, "I came up with my own words, check it out. Peeing in the front seat, peeing in the back seat, in which seat should I pee?" I bury my face in my hands.

2. 5th grade: Continued from #3 - but, this one deserves it's own countdown number.....The next boy says, "No, no, no, I have a better one. Humping in the front seat, humping in the back seat, which friend should I hump?" I go from burying my face to hitting my forehead on the desk. All I can think is, "If one of my 5th graders ever said hump, I would have fallen over dead." When I told Jake this story he said, "At least they didn't say f#$@ing in the front seat..."

1. On my way home: I am walking down the street and I see three women sitting outside of Starbucks. One of them has a two-year-old and she is trying to get him to sit and eat a brownie. She is screaming, "SIT DOWN - SIT DOWN NOW!" The baby, with a binky in his mouth, shakes his head 'no' and walks away. The mother throws up her hands and goes back to talking with her friends. I remind myself: 1. This is why the 5th graders said 'humping,' 2. There is nothing you can do in one day to really make an impact, 3. Don't lose sleep over the kids you supply teach for, 4. Go home, have a glass of wine, do a craft, chillax, and thank your husband for the opportunity to be just a sub!

Lesson Learned: When the kids say, "No," - just throw my hands up and walk away :)


  1. I have to say the #7 was my favorite of the countdown. So glad that you are able to look at these experiences and find the bright side. Remember when all else fails...have the kids clean and organize!
    Miss you bunches:)

  2. Dear Kristyn, I love your positive thinking for solutions. I just have this itty bitty (that's what she said) feeling this beautiful young Brits wouldn't understand what it is to..CLEAN AND ORGANIZE!! Love the suggestion!!!
    Keep at it Shayne, you will make a difference