Meet our Gap Tutors!
This year, SGGS have welcomed 2 gap year students, Jane and Sarah, from Australia and New Zealand. They are with us until December, and we are keeping them busy! We asked them to put together some words to introduce themselves...
Hello! I am Jane, and I am one of the new gap tutors working at Stratford Girls Grammar School. I arrived from 41 degrees in Australia at the start of January and will leave for home in December this year. I finished school at the end of 2017, so I am here for my ‘gap year’, before starting University in 2019. I am from a small town called Bairnsdale in Victoria, three and half hours from Melbourne which, for some people from the UK could mean you’re in a different country in that time, but for me, I make that trip every couple of weeks!
Despite the cold, so far I have loved being in Stratford and at this school. I’ve never been surrounded by such kind and generous staff, who are willing to help or talk about absolutely anything. All the girls at the school are so lovely and I feel so welcomed around the school. The girls are always asking me about Australia and how many spiders and snakes I’ve seen living in Australia or if I have a pet kangaroo (!) They me laugh every day and I'm excited for what the rest of the year will bring.
I came here for the experience, to live away from home and find real independence, to have a full time job, to travel and discover new places around the world, and a lot of other things that I haven’t realised yet. This gap year is very far out of my comfort zone; I am a big family and friend-orientated person, so moving here and leaving everyone at home was really difficult for me. However, now that I am a two months in and have a routine, I am finding everything a little bit easier. I know this year will be one of the best of my life and that I will not regret being here. I feel extremely lucky to be at this school and in this beautiful town, and I know it’s going to get better and better.
At school, I have been doing lots of different jobs, including a variety of PE classes, reception work, washing windows, helping the kitchen ladies, covering classes and helping the Events Manager with the faciliites. Every day is different and exciting. I play lots of sports, like Netball, Hockey, Volleyball and Badminton, and I think SGGS is so lucky to have so many sporting opportunities and events. That said, standing in the cold at sport fixtures is definitely not my favourite thing to do here!!
I have really loved my first two months here, and can't believe how quickly the time is going!
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My name is Sarah Parker and I am lucky enough to be one of the 2 new Gap tutors at SGGS for 2018. Although the temperature here is about 25 degrees lower than it is at home, I have been enjoying my time here very much and am looking forward to the adventures that are to come. Below is a photo of my house back in New Zealand. The paddock that the picture was taken in belongs to the National Fieldays, which is the biggest agricultural event in the southern hemisphere! Over my lifetime, I have been lucky enough to have had numerous pets including turtles, fish, mice, chickens, ducks, goats, calves, sheep, cats and more recently two beautiful puppies.
I applied to be a Gap Tutor through Letz Live/ Tutors Worldwide; a collaboration of companies that has, just this year placed over 300 people from New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa to schools all around the UK. I went through Letz Live/ Tutors Worldwide because the school that I went to in Hamilton (St Paul’s Collegiate school) has always had Gappies. They have a close relationship with Letz Live regarding gap tutors so there were regular seminars and explanatory evenings hosted at my school; allowing me to be introduced to the idea of a gap year.
I have always loved travelling and seeing new places. My mum's side of the family is from the UK and so I have visited a few times. I love the culture and the different scenery that Europe has. This gap year is an opportunity to explore more of Europe and learn valuable life skills on the way. The process of being placed at a school involves being interviewed at our own schools and then the company sort through everyone and place us at different schools. Gappies don't have a choice at which school they are be placed at, but I feel that I was very lucky to have got SGGS as my school, as being in the Midlands means that you're close to lots of things - Stratford is one of the most beautiful places I have been to! In a lot of ways, school in the UK is very similar to school in NZ, such as having big exams at the end of the year, and the general culture of the school. However, in NZ we don’t work towards the same exam qualifications, we have our own system called NCEA; there are 3 levels (level 1, 2 and 3), where you accumulate “credits” from each assignment and exam.
I would love to visit Greece because of the buildings and their culture. I have been to Rome before but would like to explore it again to have more vivid memories of it, and be able to explore it at my own pace. I am very excited to be going on a top deck tour, through Letz Travel (the travel component of letz live). The top deck is similar to a contiki. The one I am going on is called Cobblestones & Canals. We travel to 11 different countries in 20 days; the countries that i am visiting include Italy, Greece, Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro, and Hungary.
The day of my departure from New Zealand was also the same day that a lot of other people were leaving from various stops along my long journey here. SGGS's other Gappie Jane and I met on the plane from Abu Dhabi to Heathrow, as she travelled from Melbourne, Australia and i was travelling from Auckland, New Zealand. I was so excited to see the cottage that Jane and I now live in, and am so mesmerized by its aging beauty; exposed beams in the bedrooms, the small doorways, and the very small steep staircase. The cottage is small, but perfect for Jane and I. It has two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen. Jane and I were out in contact with the gappies at KES through the Gappie Facebook page. We have met up with them a couple of times and enjoy talking through our different experiences at the different schools. When we first arrived I knew no one in Stratford, but quickly the generosity of the Stratford community was shown through donations of things such as towels and heated blankets (obviously knowing we'd feel the cold!), as well as being invited to lots of peoples houses for dinners. I feel very lucky to have been brought into the SGGS family.
Both Jane and I leave for home in December this year. I am still unsure of what i want to do next year, and I am hoping that this year shows me more of my options regarding my future. I am concentrating on taking every opportunity presented to me by SGGS, and exploring my adventurous side when it comes to travelling. I hope to improve my problem-solving skills and continue to thrive as part of a team.
Despite missing home (especially my dogs), I am very happy here and whilst I know I may be missing out on things going on at home, I am proud of myself for achieving what I have so far, and am looking forward to doing more. I speak to my family every other day and am really excited that my sister and my Mum are coming over to visit in June, and I'm looking forward to being able to share some of my experience with them, and show them around what for now, is my home.