Monday, April 11, 2011


Today is my last day at Kip McGrath.  I have been tutoring at Kip in the areas of English, Reading, and Maths for a year.  It has been a great experience to work and teach in  New Zealand.  I have learned many new and innovative ways to approach struggling readers and tackling maths.  At first I found myself always saying, "in America we do x,y,and z."  Once I got more comfortable in the shoes of a New Zealand teacher I was able to speak the lingo and understand the methods.  I would like to think that I can take back some of these new methods to my classroom in Arizona.
My students represented many nations, including India, Fiji, Indonesia, Brazil, and Scotland.  Oh how I love this.  There were many memorable occurrences--some of my favourites include:
  • a boy brought me a gift before every session, including donuts, Cadbury chocolate, merchandise from his mum's company, it was after the last that I pulled the plug on the gifts  
  • a girl from Scotland asked me in all seriousness why I am married but don't have any children-when I gave a reasonable response she still didn't buy it and insisted that I am much too old to not have children.
  • during the very first session the above gift boy asked me where I was from.  I told him to guess-after using clues from my accent he concluded I must be from Ireland.  
  • Scotland girl had SERIOUS handwriting issues due to dyspraxia and our first few sessions were beyond painful for both of us.  After a few months I received feedback from her teacher and parents that her confidence and quality of handwriting had improved. It was a huge milestone for me and ignited a little of that fire that burns inside of all teachers.  
  • I always love answering questions about America.  You would be amazed at what the average kid thinks and knows about America without having any ties to it.  I am constantly asked if I know any celebrities.  It is perceived that there are so many celebrities that they practically live next door to you in America.  I have been asked if I have ever seen a gangster or black person.  Kids often wonder if you can really wear whatever you want to school in America-school uniforms are the norm in nearly ALL countries except America.    I was even asked once if everyone is a millionaire in America.  So there you have it, America in the eyes of foreign kids. 


McKenna said...

This is fantastic. I absolutely love what the kids know or think they know about America! In a reading group once we were doing a book on Australia and the kids listed everything they "knew" about Down Under... at the top of the list was "There are no children there." Love these kids :)

LeashyLoo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LeashyLoo said...

Ha ha ha! Larissa you are such a celebrity / spokesperson for America here...I love it! My life is not nearly as exciting....nor do I get the interesting / hilarious questions! Nobody here seems to care as much about Canada. What great stories to tell the folks back home, eh! :)

{kim} said...

I don't know about you guys but Michael Jordan lives next door to me. And, we are millionaires.