Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My visit to Albany Senior High School

On Friday I went to visit Albany Senior High School (ASHS) with my friend Tara. Mark Osborne, DP at the school had generously offered to show us his school around.

I was very excited by this visit as I wanted to see if such school could exist or if it was like

communism, it only looks good on paper but it actually does not work at all. Thus, I went

there with my critical eye switched on. French are very talented at critiquing so I knew it will easy for me to find faults in this school- arrogance is a French gift =)

Well, how wrong was I !!!! It was very hard for me to find anything wrong with the school. I was especially impressed with the politeness and behaviour from the kids.

What have I found the best ?

I liked the fact that each teaching space has a mini staffroom made up from one teacher from each department (e.g. one teacher from science, one from maths, one from English). Indeed, in other schools every department are very insular and nobody has any idea of what is going on in other departments. It is a dream for me to be able to work collaboratively with others. It is essential that teachers work together if we want each student to have their own personalised learning. I

know that nothing prevents me now to work with other teachers, but to be honest the teaching spaces are not helping us to work together - French are also very good at making excuses =)

I liked the 100 minutes period. It is my dream to have my senior classes for 100 minutes. Who would not want to have short period with the juniors and longer ones with the seniors. When I teach Years 9 and 10, the first 40 minutes are idyllic, but then everything goes down hill. The kids start to misbehave and I become this horrible police officer who asks them to have their shoulders parallel to the board and stop swinging on their chairs. Why not letting them go. I

would rather to have the pupils more often for shorter period than a long period during which 20 minutes are a waste !!! Can you also imagine what you could do with your senior classes if you had them for 100 minutes ???!!

I loved the fact that students have 6 hours on Wednesdays to work on a project of their choice. This is amazing !!! This is what the NZ Curriculum and the Key Competencies are all about. Students work collaboratively and independently with a teacher’s supervision. They have to keep logs and tracks of what they are doing. During our visit, we met 2 students who have been on a project with tropical fish. They were enthusiastic and happy to talk to us about their project. I can see how easy and authentic literacy strategies could be in such a school.

I liked the fact that nothing online is blocked. I am trusted in my class with 30 kids but I am not trusted online !!! Why ?

I liked the QR Code to enable visitors, staff and students to log on the internet easily. Instead of having passwords and usernames given, Mark has put QR Codes in the corridors. Easy, effective and cheap...what more do you want ??!!!

What have I found ok?

As I love putting colourful displays and photos of France everywhere in my classroom, it is a pity that teachers don’t have their own classroom in order to make them look pretty =) But I say that because I am a girl and I like creating new displays every year =)


If the school was in the Waikato I would apply, this should tell you how much I liked it