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Which Way Am I Going Again?

Siobhan is an primary teacher from Sydney who decided to move to the UK after university to teach in schools in London through Protocol Education. Below she shares her experience of finding her way around the new term AND all those stairs!

When I think back on my teaching in London, I'm going to remember cream coloured walls, very colourful displays, lovely and friendly teachers, and staircases that make no logical sense.  Seriously, what IS it about Victorian school buildings?

Having had my own class for 6 months, I got used to my school and knowing the ins and outs.  It also helped that it was a much smaller school with less likelihood of me getting lost.  Now that I'm back on supply, I'm remembering how confusing the stairwells in the old Victorian buildings are.  When I go into a school I've not supplied in before, I find I'm focusing more on trying to remember which staircase spits me out into the right corridor than on the names of the teachers or students.  Even with this extra attention, I seem to be failing.

Even worse is when I go back to schools that I haven't been to in over 6 months and I know there is a trick to the stairs, but I can't remember what it is.  The teachers recognise me and say hi, have a little chat (which is always lovely), but then they assume that I know where I'm going because I've been there before and they either walk off thinking I'm completely in control (a rarity) or they give me funny looks when I clarify directions.  For the moment I can bluff through it and say "It's the beginning of the school year and classrooms have changed - it's thrown me a little bit!"  But I know this won't be feasible for long!

To add to this confusion, Victorian stairwells have hidden rooms mid level!  4 flights of stairs per level (the price you pay for such large, open classrooms) and 2 flights up there is the PPA room or the SENCO office or storage cupboards.  Instead of retrieving PE or Art supplies for the next lesson quickly, I end up wasting half my lunch trying to FIND the cupboard in the first place (let along the items IN the cupboard).  Is it on a level or a sub level?  Was it the red or the yellow staircase?  Honestly, one of these days I'm convinced I'm going to open a door looking for the PPA room and end up in Narnia!

The good news is that with 3 stories in the building (thats right, 12 flights of stairs), I simply need to take the class in from the playground and climb the stairs to the classroom and I have found my way to keep warm in this Winter.

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Tags: Siobhan, Australian, Primary Teacher, Protocol Education, Supply, Stairs

Category: Australian Teachers

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