Part four: Kayla Walley’s update from Harlow

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Kayla Walley, a third-year primary/ elementary education student at MUNL, writes about her experiences at Harlow while completing an education internship at a local school.

Travelling Abroad

As someone who lives at home with my parents, moving overseas and away from my parents was a huge change. Despite this, choosing to do my education internship at the Harlow campus has been one of my best decisions.

I am in my third year of the primary/elementary program at Memorial as part of my first degree. In the fall semester of your third year, you must complete a 65-day internship at a primary/elementary school.

MUNL offers the phenomenal opportunity to complete your internship in Harlow, Essex.

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After two years of a worldwide pandemic and so much uncertainty, when I learned that Harlow campus would reopen and accept students for the 2022 fall semester, there was no question in my mind- I wanted to go.

I love to travel, and I am particularly interested in the United Kingdom and all it offers, so this truly called my name.

Home away from home

On our way to Essex, I kept telling my colleague, also taking advantage of this opportunity, that what we were doing did not feel real and still doesn’t after six weeks.

I have not experienced any homesickness, except for missing my family. The biggest reason for this is the amazing staff at Harlow Campus. The general manager, Cristin Casey, is a beautiful person who makes you feel welcome and goes out of her way to let you know you are supported and cared for.

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Photo Credit: Kayla Walley

Cristin is very passionate about the Harlow campus and truly wants to see everyone succeed in their placements here.

The other staff we see daily, such as Dawn, Darrin, or Nick, are incredibly friendly and approachable. If you need help with something, advice on where you should travel, or just a chat, they are more than happy to help.

We have been fortunate to receive such beautiful accommodations as the Cabot House, and our daily meals throughout the week are superb. Overall, the Harlow Campus is lovely and feels like home.

Internship Experience at Harlow

Along with the advantage of living in such a friendly atmosphere, I am also lucky to have the opportunity to complete my teaching internship at an incredible school called Pemberley Academy.

Throughout the first half of my internship, whenever someone asked me how my internship was going and how I liked the school, I struggled to find the words. I have been blown away by the community built at Pemberley Academy.

As a small school of around 212 students, Pemberley has become a cohesive and collaborative learning environment for students and teachers.

The relationships among and between the staff and students are amazing. The teachers work closely together to continuously improve their teaching and to support each other throughout each day. You can almost always see a smile or hear laughter in the staff room. They love to make up staff room games such as a ten-second challenge to find the most random thing in the closet.

The school also provides countless opportunities for teachers to receive extra training.

Every Wednesday after school, the teachers attend a continuous professional development session. This session differs each week. It could be a session about new techniques for teaching maths, or it could be a session on trauma-perceptive practice that supports schools in understanding behaviour and supports emotional well-being.

The school encourages the teachers to continuously learn more and strengthen their teaching.

The student-to-teacher relationships at Pemberley are unlike any other school I have seen. Being a smaller school makes it easier to have stronger connections, but Pemberley Academy has worked hard to make these bonds. The teachers know almost every student and are always chatting with students about their day.

After each school day, there are various clubs. Each term, teachers decide what club they would like to run and offer a day of the week for it. These clubs are a great success, with numerous students attending multiple clubs weekly.

A great variety of clubs allow students to choose one to their liking– for example, there are clubs for football, sewing, dancing, cheerleading, reading, art, Legos, etc. This is a fantastic opportunity for the students to be a part of their school community without the pressure of academic success.

It allows the students to see their teachers outside the classroom and in a more fun environment.

Another special thing about Pemberley is the presence of the head teacher. In my own K-12 schooling, I do not remember having any connection with my school principal. They were usually in their office with the door closed, away from all the students.

At Pemberley Academy, the head teacher sometimes seems impossible to find, as he is out of his office and building connections with the students. Every morning, he is outside, greeting the students and their families. He is in the hall during lunch, helping give out school lunches to the students who ordered. He can also be seen on the football field, joking around with the students and trying to steal the ball from them.

This sort of presence completes the community built within the school, and I am so lucky to be a part of it during my time here.

Overall, coming to Harlow has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. From the campus to the school where I get to do my internship, I have opened myself up and become more independent, which I don’t think I would have been able to do at home in Newfoundland.

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Photo Credit: Kayla Walley

If the opportunity arises for anyone to come to Harlow, I wholeheartedly encourage them to take advantage of it. I am thankful every day that I have been able to learn abroad.

Students interested in registering for courses/work experience programs at Harlow can contact their academic departments and/or advisors for more information about the application process.

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