I will be leaving England in less than a week and it hasn't even felt like I have been here long! I can't wait to be back and see everyone (especially my Sorority Sisters, family, and all the students in my classroom). One of my professors, Dr. Leeper, just arrived in Gloucester for the week and I am so excited about the adventures that we have planned for the week. It is going to be a very long, jam-packed, adventurous week! I can't wait! On Monday, it is just a normal day. I will go to Milestone and then come back home afterward. I think we may do a little more shopping after school. Tuesday, all 5 of us are going to Widden Primary to help with a new Healthy Breakfast Kick-Off at school and then we have been invited to tour the Mosque in Gloucester, so we are going to do that. After school, we are meeting our England supervisor, Alan, and Dr. Leeper at the Cathedral in town and tour that as well. Then we are all off to Alan's home for "proper Fish and Chips". I am SOOOOO excited! Then, on Wednesday, I am going to Milestone as usual but after school, the other 3 girls, Monica, and Dr. Leeper are all meeting at Milestone and Mrs. Dance (the Head Teacher at Milestone) is taking us to a special Retreat with some of the older students at Milestone and we are having dinner together as well. We are all very excited about being given the opportunity to be a part of this. On Thursday, Dr. Leeper is taking us all to dinner somewhere in town, just to catch up and talk about all the fun we have had. On Friday, I will go to my last day at Milestone and then we have planned to go out to dinner together as an "England Family"-John, Monica, Melea, Sara, Lindsey, Kayla, and I and then stay up ALL NIGHT because we will have to leave John and Monica's around 4:30 on Saturday morning to head to the airport and we want to be able to sleep on the plane ride home! I honestly don't think I am ready to leave! I am ready to eat Chick-fil-a and I am ready to drive my car (honestly, I think this is what I have missed the most...driving!). I can't wait to get back and tell all my stories in person and show all my pictures!
Love from England,
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Today was my second day at Milestone. I was placed in room 3P again for today as well. Today I began to feel a little uneasy with the students who were in my class. Many of the previous visitors had told us that the school was such an amazing facility but that many times you found yourself being sad or feeling bad for the students who attended the school when you should be feeling happy to be there. Today was my day to reflect on the reason that I was at Milestone and to really look at the types of students who were in my class. It wasn’t so much about that the students were different but that they had disabilities that I didn’t understand and that I wasn’t trained to help with. I enjoyed being at Milestone, but I felt a bit uneasy or maybe nervous is the correct word to use…again, words can’t describe but I felt very challenged by this class.
After leaving class today, I was walking down the halls and looking at all the pictures and all the artwork that was posted on the walls and I realized that even though the students that were at this school were different than students that I had worked with in the past, they were still children that were coming to school to learn. Whether it is to learn what 2+2 is or whether it is to learn how to buy groceries at Tesco Supermarket, they are at this school to LEARN. Man…here I am in another country attempting to teach other children and they are teaching me more than I could ever have imagined! I am in tears just thinking about everything that I have encountered in just two short days at Milestone.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Today was my first day at Milestone Special School. The Milestone School is a community Special School that provides for approximately 290 children with a wide range of special educational needs.
The school offers the full National Curriculum as a basis for curriculum development, and adds to this a wide range of additional activities for personal and social growth.
Links with mainstream schools are developed through joint projects in certain subjects across the key stages. Our integration programme is important in ensuring that children who are transferring to mainstream are supported throughout the transition. By virtue of its distinctive blend of expertise, facilities and resources, The Milestone School plays a significant role in the network of services the Local Authority provides for meeting the special educational needs of pupils in Gloucestershire. The school provides advice and support for teachers of pupils with physical and learning disabilities in mainstream school. (school website)
The class that I was placed in was a class that housed 9 pupils with 1 teacher and 2 teaching aides. The students that were in my class were students with a wide range of learning difficulties. I had 1 student in the class who was blind and non-verbal. I had another student who was in a wheelchair and another student who was verbal, no physical restrictions, and appeared to be a student I would see in a mainstream school who has a mild learning difficulty. I found this placement to be very eye opening and very emotional. I have never found myself in a scenario as a teacher that I didn't think that I could handle but being in this classroom has shown me things that I don't think I can even put into words. Anyone who walks through the doors of Milestone know that it is a special place and that there are special children who go to school here. The school is such a wonderful school and so advanced in regard to the things that children with special needs need in order to grow and develop. I can't wait to see what this experience brings me.
I will post pictures later; I haven't finished editing them.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
On Sunday, John got us tickets to go to the LV= Cup Rugby Game for Gloucester Rugby. There were 9 of us going and we were soooo excited!
We left the house around 10:00am and headed to the Northampton area and John took us to a historic area known as Althorp. We went to an old church that was there that had the burial site for George Washington’s Great-Great-Great Grandfather. It was such a beautiful area. We then went for lunch in a cute little pub near the Althrop estate. I ate fish cakes and chips. It was delicious! There we met up with John and Carol, who are good friends of John and Monica’s. We all had lunch together and then headed to the game. You can find out more about the Althrop estate by clicking here.
Here are some pictures of the pub, church, and Althrop Estate. We didn't get to actually tour the estate because it was closed but I found some pictures of it. The bottom picture is the burial site of where Princess Diana was buried. She is buried on a little island on the Althrop Estate.
Gloucester won the LV= Cup and it was a great win. Below you will find a collage of some of the pictures from the game. We had SOOOOO much fun! We also stayed after the game to get pictures with a lot of the players. When we left the game, we got to the car and had a cup of tea and some hot crossed buns in the parking lot! I thought this was the coolest thing! We didn’t return home until around 10:00pm after eating dinner at KFC (this was not nearly as good at the ones in America)!
Love from England,
Saturday, March 19, 2011
On Saturday we went to Cheltenham for the day to do some shopping! Cheltenham is kind of like the equivalent of going to Atlanta to go shopping. It was a lot of fun.
We wanted something fast and friendly for lunch so we chose to eat at Pizza Hut! It was so good! Much better than Pizza Hut in America.
While shopping, we discovered this AMAZING store called Primark and it has become our best friend! They have such cute clothing and accessories and it is soooo cheap! We all bought a lot of stuff and didn’t spend that much money on all of it!
After leaving Cheltenham, we came back to the house and had a little down time and then had a small dinner and went off to bed early so that we would have plenty of rest for the big rugby game.
Love from England,
Love from England,