Edinburgh: the birthplace of King James I and Harry Potter

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January 31st 2012
Published: January 31st 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

So much has happened in the past two weeks. I recently returned from Edinburgh, Scotland for a weekend. I went with a group of students from Liverpool Hope University. Most of us were exchange students who are student teaching. However, we made friends with the Student Union representatives on the trip. Since I am not in classes at Liverpool Hope, I do not get to meet many students except from my dorm. So, this trip was a great way to meet four others and learn about the Student Union at Liverpool Hope. It is run very differently from Hope College or any other university I have experienced back in the States.

In Edinburgh, we went to the castle. The castle is most famously known for housing Mary Queen of Scots and being the birthplace of her son King James I of England. While Mary was executed for plots to assassinate her cousin once-removed, Elizabeth, King James took the thrown after Elizabeth died because Queen Elizabeth did not have any children. I paid 3.50 pounds for a headset that had multiple history lectures on it while I toured the castle. I was so immersed in the lectures that I completely missed the workers of the castle telling me it was time to leave. I was the last person to leave the castle with my friend Lindsay. I was disappointed that I did not get to hear all the headset had to offer. I am taking this as an excuse to go back one day.

While wondering around Edinburgh, my group discovered the Elephant House. This was the coffee shop that J.K. Rowling wrote her early Harry Potter novels. I understand now where she got her inspiration for Hogwarts castle. She wrote it just down the hill from Edinburgh’s castle. I am not sure which birthplace I was more excited to see. While King James I is responsible for the King James Authorized Bible, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has undoubtedly left an impact on my generation. It was exciting to stumble across the coffee shop. I am also happy to report it had the best mocha I have ever had.

School is also going very well. My mentor teacher is very encouraging and helpful, always giving me feedback. Today, I taught a lesson that I designed as a murder mystery to discover who killed Thomas Becket. The class I taught it to has a very low ability level. I was originally very nervous to teach them and I had a rough lesson with them last week. However, my supervisor here in Liverpool reminded me that while they may not be expected to learn a lot, this will be the class I will receive the most pride from when they learn and achieve my expectations. I am grateful for this advice because it gave me the patience to go back and rethink how I would teach a class that would be considered special ed in the United States without me having any special ed training. Today, the lesson went amazing. I was so excited to see every child engaged in the material and being "detectives" to uncover the murder mystery. I realized as I was teaching them, that I was having just as much fun as they were.

While I know not every lesson I ever teach will be as successful, the energy level the students and I had in the class is what I will aspire to every time I teach. It is encouraging to think that this early in my teaching career I am having successful lessons. I know I have a lot to learn about teaching and classroom management. However, I have already seen myself improve after three weeks in the class and the wonderful guidance from my mentor teacher and supervisors.

Every day I am so grateful for this opportunity to be here. I am learning so much about British history, culture, and how countries interact in this growing global society. I love British history so much; I think I will find any opportunity to incorporate it in my lessons back in the States when I am a certified and employed teacher. Every day I am one step closer to my own classroom.

I hope everyone is well back home. I miss you all and thank you for your unwavering support. It does not go unnoticed.

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