Friday, 19 June 2015

Challenging, creative and rewarding teaching experiences

COUNTRY: Maldives
PROJECT: Teaching & Swimming Coaching
WRITTEN BY: Kaitlin Foster, University of Sydney, Education

This week we were given the opportunity to organise our own school holiday program. We needed to devise the timetable, classroom allocations and lunchtime duties – we were the principles of our very own school! We divided the students into both a senior school (years three, four and five) and junior school (years one, two and three).

In the senior classes over the course of the week the students were doing a broad range of activities throughout the day – anywhere from drama activities to an exploration of living and non-living things that could be found at our school! Jess and Mikey focused their unit of work on environmental awareness and the positive interactions the students could make with their local environment. A particular highlight was when the students were able to make their own pot plant or pencil case out of half an empty water bottle. In Kaitlin and Kate’s classroom they spent the week on both English and Science, finishing the week off by giving every student an opportunity to use the pot plant they made in Jess’ class and plant their own seeds!

Real life walking, talking ‘Wild Things’ were found in Ruby and Sam’s classroom – making for some very interesting lunchtime activities. In addition to this, the girls also explored with their classes through art lessons some of the iconic natural and built Australian environments. Two of the Physical Education teachers Izzy and Ally taught the senior classes a human body unit of work – giving the students the opportunity to assemble their own skeletons!

In the junior classrooms, Kate and Olivia developed both a ‘mental maths’ unit as well as a world culture unit. The students enjoyed the opportunity to learn about new cultures as they each developed their own world fact file that they compared to the Maldivian culture each day. Heather and Hilary engaged their classes with health lessons whereby the students each made a ‘health food plate’ of the major food groups as well as discussed friendships in their lessons. A very popular topic this week of Australian icons was a standout in Helena and Melinda’s classroom. The students enjoyed the opportunity to explore Australian landmarks through engaging visual arts lessons where they explored colour and pattern.

After by far the busiest and most rewarding week here, we packed our bags and travelled by speedboat to the Herathera Island Resort. As we stepped off the boat, we all felt instantly relaxed in our own little paradise. We were treated to buffet lunches, dinners and breakfasts but also to picturesque sunsets on both nights that left the entire group speechless. We all feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be in such a beautiful part of the world.

To top off an already incredible week we were treated with a candlelit barbeque dinner on the beach at sunset upon our return to Hithadhoo. We look forward to the week ahead ready to conquer our last opportunities to teach at both Hithadhoo and Sharafuden Schools before travelling home, relaxed and having eaten far too much food.

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