Protocol Education

Teaching in Oxford: Catholic School Rules

20th June 2012

Kristin is a Secondary Teacher from Canada, currently working in Oxford schools through Protocol Education. You can register for teaching jobs here:

Taking up a challenge

While supply teaching in Oxford, I was lucky enough to get a 5-week position at one school. At home in Canada I usually teach French and Spanish, but when Protocol Education asked me to cover a position teaching French and German, I decided I was up for a challenge and agreed. I was really excited to get to teach language classes again.

Spot the difference

I started on a Thursday, but there were no classes for me to teach yet so I ended up observing in other teachers’ classrooms instead. While observing, I found it interesting to note the differences between Canadian schools and British schools. The most obvious difference is in the schedule. First of all, this school does not have breaks between classes, so one class ends at 9:45 am and another begins at 9:45 am, despite the fact that students may have to walk across the school to get to their next class. That means that in every class, students lose at least 5 minutes at the start, plus there are always late students wandering in. Students don’t have lockers and they carry their bags and coats with them from class to class.

Learning the routine

Classes are an hour long (really 55 minutes by the time you factor in the class transition), which is about the same as in Canada, however, British schools tend to have a 20-minute morning break around 11 am. Then lunch isn’t until 1:30, which is quite late by Canadian standards. British schools also have a lesson during the day for “tutor time”. I haven’t really figured out what this is yet. It seems to be similar to Canadian “homeroom” in that this is where they get their daily announcements, except that it can occur at any time during the day and is much longer than the 5 or 10 minutes that would normally be allotted for this. Since this school is a Catholic school, they also pray as a group during this time.

I shall continue this in my next blog, so watch this space, or read all my blogs here.

~ by Kristin, a Secondary Teacher from Canada who is working through Protocol Education in Oxford UK.

Related Blogs and Pages

My First Day Teaching in Oxford
Primary Teaching: Whatever the Weather!
Finding Your Reading Voice at Primary Level

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