Yesterday when I took a walk to the school where I will spend the coming two weeks, I was surprised to find a welcoming greeting outside school. This morning when I arrived for my first day there, I was even more surprised to find another sign welcoming me to my school visit. As if this wasn’t enough, I have felt overwhelmingly welcomed by each and every one of the people I have met in Pitman Middle School. Both students and teachers met me with warmth and generosity.
There are plenty of things I noticed that are different from what I am used to. Even if I now teach adult students, I can miss teaching younger students especially if I meet such nice kids as the ones I met today! Many of them were making impact just by being themselves in their regular surrounding.
Both students and teachers I met today seemed eager to know more about Sweden and that made me happy. I had anticipated a more anonymous role in this school, but I am very, very happy that it turned out to be so interactive, because it makes it really interesting. I will thus have multiple chances to explore the very soul of this particular school and get a chance to understand the nature of the school system in NJ. The many opportunities to share thoughts and reflections from my experience of teaching with my new friends in this school will be like a treasure to get back to later when there is more time. Now I merely need a good night’s sleep in order to be fit for what tomorrow may bring of new experiences.
Last time I visited a school in NJ I marvelled at the dress code. I then wrote in Swedish, but I have summoned up that text in English as well: