AP Psychology teacher Naomi Schatz sends more of her regards from Australia. Read on for more of her experiences as an exchange teacher Down Under!
June 2, 2009:
“I finally got to do some teaching today! First off, spent some time doing some sport psychology with SSC’s [Saint Stephen’s College] Year 9 ‘Rugby Academy’ boys. As you can imagine, I know basically nothing about rugby, unless you count last year when Kevin [Williamson] and I took the kids to see a Rugby League game in Brisbane. I did learn a bit more on this past Friday when I watched the SSC kids play Rugby Union. For some reason I don’t understand the difference between rugby “League” versus “Union” – not to mention the Australian Football League (AFL) – as all three are very different sports!
“Anyway, the sport psych stuff went really well, in that we talked about performance anxiety, overcoming adversity, fear of injury, goal setting, confidence and self-talk. Hopefully, they also learned how to apply these same principles and strategies from sport into the classroom. Mick, the Rugby coach/teacher, seemed pleased with how the conversation went, so he is planning for me to do more of that during my stay with some of the older athletes, too.
“Later on, I spent some time with the Year 8 kids talking about bullying, sexting, peer pressure and anxiety. Amazing, isn’t it, that half a world away that the kids are still kids! That session, too, went well, and I am looking forward to following up with some of the students later on during my stay. Unfortunately, the older students (equivalent to our juniors/seniors) are all testing this week, so I am not going to have much time with them in the classrooms, although I am offering a ‘one-off’ session or two on managing stress/anxiety.”
June 12, 2009:
“I’ve had another busy week at [SSC]. Got a chance to watch the McDonald’s Cup Rugby Tournament with the MS boys. Major bummer was that Jed Dorrington, the son of the headmaster, got a concussion with his grade 7 team and then spent the afternoon in the hospital! On a brighter note, I did get to do some more sport psych work with the older rugby academy boys, as well as some test anxiety, stress and time management work with the upperclassmen. Very cool. I’ve enjoyed seeing some of the students I met last summer, as well as the chance to meet some new kids.
“Interestingly, their whole upper school essentially shuts down Friday afternoon, and the kids all load up on buses to go play sports at neighboring schools. This Friday, I kept score for the boys’ volleyball team (they won), and then watched some girls’ netball (similar to basketball, sort of), boys’ hockey and soccer, and then my new favorite sport, rugby (they lost). No concussions, but somehow a whole team managed to miss the buses home, so that was kind of funny! Speaking of sports, many kids here take a ‘sports tour’ during the the last week of school and into vacation, traveling to Melbourne and Sydney for some sightseeing and games. Good times.
“Highlight for me this week was watching their dance class! Hilarious! Some students really get into it. Others, well, not so much! On a more cultural note, I did get to join a school trip to hear the Tokyo string quartet play Wednesday night up in Brisbane – awesome! (Beethoven, Haydn & Mendelssohn for those who are interested).”