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Histories of London

Heather is a Primary Teacher from Canada who is currently working in London through Protocol Education. As an overseas teacher, you often come across many differences from your home country. Teaching local history wasn't something Heather had really considered.

Upon coming to London from Canada, I anticipated learning more about the customs and overall history of my newfound home. I did not, however, expect to be teaching the local history which was unfamiliar to me.

Often as a primary teacher, we come to realize how much learning we have to do in order to keep up with the ever changing curriculum, as well as the needs of our students. We come to expect that we’ll have to teach academic in areas we found challenging as students ourselves. For example, I’m not a maths whiz by any means, and regularly I take a group of students and work on augmenting their skills.

In London, I truly did get to learn and thus teach the stories of London and its people as I took on the role as history connoisseur as needed.

Sometimes, I’d had an inkling or trail of some of the rich histories that had been foretold to me, such as ‘The Battle of Hastings’ and ‘The Great Fire of London’. I’d never had the chance though to really work with the details and understand the importance and depth they required in order to maintain themselves as great enough ordeals to mark their place in the history books/curriculum.

I’d never read about or questioned how there was so much information on ‘The Great Fire of London’. I just ignorantly figured it was a big fire that happened and it was so enormous we couldn’t forget. I didn’t know about the fire having begun in a baker’s house on Drury Lane – hence ‘The Monument’. It also added a bit of character and made it more personal in learning about Samuel Pepys who kept a diary (which included his efforts to save his cheese in the ground).

Another historical figure I learned about was Florence Nightingale, the woman who pioneered nursing and insisted on cleanliness to aid the wounded and sick, followed by the Jamaican-born nurse Mary Seacole who assisted during the Crimean War.

These people, this history, along with the presence of more common veterans of World War 2 and survivors of the Blitz, further enveloped my understanding of Britain’s history. My knowledge has become much more engrained through teaching it in various ways, and watching the students do the same. Furthermore, I have a greater consciousness of world events, and how no matter in what country you find yourself, the whole world has developed as a result of connected events which are continuing to circuit and create the issues that we face today.

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Tags: Heather, Canadian-trained, Protocol-Education, history, London, teaching, differences, compare

Category: Australian Teachers

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