Primary School

Sydney Travel Blog

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Afternoon Tea at Circular Quey!

This morning I woke up in my icebox. We had the opportunity to visit a primary school down the road. The first thing I noticed was the all the students wore uniforms. The next thing I noticed is that 90% of them were Asian. At first I went to a year 5 class. There were 30 students squished into a very small room. The woman I observed was the ESL teacher. She was doing team teaching with the classroom teacher. The lesson was about the layers of the Earth. Her mini lesson was good. She had them all at the carpet and showed a poster of each layer. She explained how we know what is in the Earth and asked them a few questions. Then she passed out a worksheet. This is when the lesson went downhill for me. She had the students one at a time read a sentence and point out the key words. It was excruciating. They were all restless and it went on forever. I was having a hard time paying attention. After that long ordeal she sent them back to their seats to do the same things all over again on their own. The second class I went to was a year 6 class. The teacher introduced me then passed out atlases for the students to look up where North Carolina and Massachusetts were. At this point a relief teacher walked in a spoke with the classroom teacher for a minute. The classroom teacher went to her desk while the relief teacher scrambled to think of something to teach. Her solution, have the students draw a map of the US. Well not exactly the whole US, just Massachusetts to Pennsylvania. Weird. The teacher explained to me that they cover each classroom teacher for an hour of planning a week. While the kids were working they were asking me questions about the states. Some of the things they were asking were interesting. They wanted to know about natural disasters, violence, guns and The Simpsons. Yikes, is this what they think of us? After seeing year 6 it was time for morning tea. All the students went outside to play and all the teachers went to the lounge for tea and pastries. That’s right, all the teachers. It was unbelievable. They all sat down and relaxed. None of them ran around and made copies or corrected anything. They all sat, chatted about their families and relaxed. It was unreal. The conversations we had were very enlightening. When we told them we don’t have time like this they thought we were crazy. We told them if we were absent we had to have sub plans. One woman asked, “What if you want to take off a few months to travel?” It was very eye opening to say the least. After tea we had a few minutes left to watch the year 1 and 2 student take their dance class in the courtyard. They were all lined up doing side steps to Madonna in unison. I need a new job!


Verna, Jill and I hopped on the train to ride back into the city to meet Adam for lunch. It was the first moment I actually felt some freedom. We had no student to worry about and no schedule to keep. We went back to Circular Quey and sat at a restaurant on the water. I had some fish and a nice glass of wine before we headed back on the train to Thelma’s house.


When we returned to Thelma’s house Jill went to lay down for a bit while chatted with Thelma. She is actually very sweet. She has little nicknames for everything. Chocolate = chocky, breakfast = breaky, dessert = sweets, someone has a cane= walks on a stick, someone in cast= in plaster, cup of tea = cuppy. She invited over two of her good friends Pat and Margaret for dinner.  Pat was very funny. She was full of stories. She told us of a time when she was on a cruise with a friend that snores. She couldn’t get to sleep so she stuck jellybeans in her ears. Dinner was very funny. Pat even left Jill and I scarves for presents. That night we once again slept in our winter clothes and froze our butts off!

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Afternoon Tea at Circular Quey!
Afternoon Tea at Circular Quey!
photo by: Sunflower300