Last Tuesday, I got the most amazing piece of news...I was offered a position teaching at the University's private primary school, starting next semester! I was thrilled (I am still thrilled) and immediately accepted a chance to visit the school during my lunch break the next day. I was brought to the Principal's office and then led on a school tour...starting with the kreş...in English, the Nursery. A nursery? The kids are beyond adorable, let it be known that Turkish children are some of the cutest in the world, in high competition with Asian children, who are also beyond adorable. I've supply taught every grade level and subject, I have experience teaching in every age level...but I haven't really spent much time in Nurseries...the bulk of my teaching experience has happened to fall into the Key Stage 2 area...meaning, grades 3, 4, 5 and 6. I've never really had an age preference in primary schools, I fell into my Grade 5 practicum because it was the only grade that was going through the Intensive French at that time. I was offered a job in Year 5 in England. I just love teaching kids, the age never seemed to make much difference to me.
I've been debating over the past few months with regards to which age level I like teaching best, university students or primary school children. Children are easier to motivate, and excited to learn but often have more behavioural issues (sharing, fighting, listening to instructions...). Adults are more responsible to motivating themselves, and don't tend to have behavioural issues (you don't need to reward them with stickers for sitting nicely, or take away their playtime for fighting). Those points considered, I've been missing primary teaching like crazy these past couple months. I miss the exciting, creative, organized-sort-of-chaos of it all. I miss little children getting excited to learn. I miss the teaching environment (primary school teachers tend to be the nicest people in the world...you kind of have to be pretty nice, in order to hang around with that many small children, all day long. That said, I have met exceptions to the rule.)
I've never taught at a private school before, so I didn't really know what to expect. I must admit though, this school is POSH. (Although, you wouldn't expect much less from one of the nation's leading universities, would you?). Classrooms are beautiful, immaculately clean, organized and shiny-new. Turkish tea is made in large water hot water dispensers delivered by the cafeteria catering staff to teacher's staff rooms. Hell, there's even a room just for tea (appropriately named 'Tea Room', they do take their çay seriously here.) There is a vegetarian option and salad bar everyday at the cafeteria (Finally!), but my most favourite example of the extravagance in this primary school is this: Children eat at round tables with linen table clothes, bread baskets and water pitchers. With a few decorations, you could seriously hold a high class event in this cafeteria.
So, I'm teaching a total of 24 class hours per week (prep time not included). 2 hours of those are teaching French to 6 grade students, 22 hours spent divided between the 3 Pre Kindergarten and 4 Kindergarten classes, team-teaching Literacy in English to Turkish 5 and 6 year olds, who, by the way speak VERY limited English. Think of it as French immersion, in reverse. I've spent the past three days in the nursery, observing lessons, teaching observation lessons and getting used to the routines and proceedures of the school. I have a two week break, starting on Monday, and on 14 February I'm starting my job full time.