Back from Canada

small-welcome.jpgI arrived back from Canada around 8.30am on Sunday morning; I slept for around 14 hours (so thank you Heather for allowing me the day off to recover from the jet-lag). Canada was very cold, when we arrived (myself, and 9 other Hackney teachers) it was -8° Celsius with a wind-chill making it feel more like -15!! Apparently they were going through a warm spell and it had been -20 the week before! We flew into Toronto on Saturday February 17th and had dinner in the rotating restaurant up the CN Tower. On Sunday we drove 4 hours to South West Ontario to a place called Windsor. We stopped off at Niagara Falls which was beautiful, but freezing! During the week, we visited 7 schools and attended two board meetings. The teachers we met were enthusiastic and really making a difference to the lives of the children there. I was a little shocked when I saw all of the schools using chalk boards (in my short teaching career of 5 years, I’ve only seen dry-wipe boards and more recently interactive whiteboards being used – we are very lucky over here). We were taken to a Hockey match, something I’d like to do again, and took a trip to Detroit one evening for some shopping. Our hotel over-looked the Detroit River and the Detroit sky-line. Even in that short trip we could see big differences in the Canadian and American life-styles. Canadians are very proud of their history and as most people in Canada are immigrants to Canada they had a lovely way of welcoming children as ‘New Canadians’ as the different cultures and diversity were celebrated. Canada has huge, transient population so teachers could have around 50%, or more, of the children in their class change from month to month. An issue that, at Lauriston, we deal with on a tiny scale in comparison.

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We were followed around by the media for the week and appeared on two television networks, on the radio and in the newspaper!

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So, all in all, the week was fantastic. I learnt a lot about the Canadian Education system and reflected on how lucky we are in England. It was fantastic to spend a week with 9 other Hackney teachers and reaffirm what a great job we are all doing to provide the children we have with the best we have to offer. There are elements that we are going to try and introduce into our schools such as professional book clubs to keep abreast of current educational research and produce data walls so that teachers across year groups can see the progress of all children.

I hope you all had a fabulous half term, Martha x

 

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