In England there is a wonderful thing called Half Term. Instead of the four terms a year that we had in Australia, there are only three terms here with a half term break of a week, and in my opinion it works much better. As a teacher, I always felt like a fraud for the last two weeks of term – actually, I felt like a fraud most of the time, but that's another story - as the kids were always so tired in the 9th and 10th week of term that they would droop through the door when they came for their lessons and I felt awful trying to teach them anything. That might also have something to do with the over-active guilt gland I developed in childhood, but nevertheless, I do think that ten weeks – especially in the hot weather, is a long time for them to deal with. But here in England, the kids only have to go six weeks or so (I think?) and then they get to recharge.
That's the theory anyway. I think what generally happens is that everybody gets ill and spends most of the time snapping and snarling at each other. Like today. Frosty morning, but beautiful sun shine the rest of the day and nobody has felt like going for a walk, because we were up most of the night with coughs and colds and asthma attacks.
I can't really comment much about schooling here, as Sam doesn't communicate much (at least, not about school!) and Juliette has only been at school for a few weeks. But so far, I have to say that I am impressed that they don't use lap tops as much as they did in OZ. They have to write stuff with Pens and Pencils on Paper!! In six weeks, we have had no dramas over essays that have been eaten by computers, or lap tops that have stopped working and took two weeks to fix, with a resultant massive build up of homework due. I don't have to worry that the kids are spending their lesson time watching porn or playing minecraft, (this might happen during breaks, but I don't think it's happening during lesson time any more....). And assignments appear to hinge more on the content, than the visual impression of their power point presentation. 'Tis early days yet, however, so will be interesting to see.
What does puzzle me, is how kids here seem to have two extra years of education than they do in Australia, and yet, from my understanding, someone from Australia can come straight to university here from school. How does that work? Is the education there really so much better that they can do it all in two years less?
Answers on a postcard please....