My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

5 Articles Tagged with “Bury St Edmunds”

  1. Cows of Cambridge, or, Vegetable steamers need to diet

    Day three in England, and I officially have cookware!

    I’m sitting here watching a season 3 episode of Buffy, streaming it from my laptop’s external hard drive to my tablet, which is connected to the TV via a micro-HDMI cable. It’s fun! There wasn’t anything attractive on TV this hour—which was not the case earlier this afternoon. At one point, three different channels were showing reruns of Buffy, Doctor Who, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s common to see some TNG up against Voyager. I watched some Farscape this morning and quite enjoyed it. The abundance of science fiction on British television is definitely a plus.

    I spent more time in front of the television than I would like today, but I spent the rest of it out walking, and we also walked a considerable distance yesterday, when we went to Cambridge. Jodie had some viewings scheduled for places that she could rent with her husband, Ian, and two other teachers who are coming over from Canada. We took the train from Bury to Cambridge, which was easy and pleasant, and then a cab to the first viewing. From there, we walked to the…

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  2. Living in Bury St Edmunds: Arrival

    Hello from England!

    My flight to Gatwick was uneventful—I kind of knew what to expect this time. Several teachers I had met from my iday experience were on an Air Transat flight the same night, but I flew Sunwing. I met up with another Canadian teacher, Josie, teaching at the same school as me. Unfortunately, this flight was not any better than the last when it came to getting sleep. I’m not supremely tired (it’s 10:20 pm local time as I write this), but I know I will sleep well.

    Jodie (not to be confused with Josie), the teacher who put me in touch with my new roommate, is staying here for a few weeks while looking for a new place for her and her husband Ian. Ian is arriving on Tuesday with their dog. I don’t mind having extra people in the house, especially because I’ve already met them, and I think it will make it easier for me to get settled in here. Jodie, having lived for several months already, is certainly a valuable resource. She showed me the way to a nearby superstore (called Asda) so I could stock up on groceries and…

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  3. Iday Diary for Friday, June 22

    Last full day in England! This time we left very early to drive to the school I was visiting. It was one of the more distant schools, plus my driver was dropping someone else off at another school. So at 7 am we left the hotel and began the long drive down to Werrington, near Peterborough, so I could see Ken Stimpson Community School. It’s interesting that this school and Thetford were my first and last interviews of the day, respectively. I had ranked them rather high on my own personal list, but I guess I came across well early in the day and at the very end.

    With such a positive experience at Thetford, it seemed like I would do nothing but judge Ken Stimpson by comparison, but they really are quite different schools. Thetford is two campuses in a state of flux; it has a frenetic kind of energy from administration to the English department. Ken Stimpson, by contrast, is very orderly. I’ve already remarked upon the campus-like nature of UK schools, but this one felt even more like a university campus. Lots of key fob authentication and basically an entire wing dedicated to staff activities.

    The “community”…

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  4. Iday Diary for Wednesday, June 20

    Me, dressed in tie and sports coat, ready for interviews

    Interview day. I woke up early—I think around 5:30—to make sure I had enough time to prepare before breakfast at 6:30. In particular, I was worried about my tie, which up until now I had only practised. Now it was time for the real thing. Doing up the top button on my shirt was tricky too, and as I went down to breakfast I felt quite self-conscious. All this fancy dress is foreign to me, but it’s something I’m going to be doing a lot in England—as in, every day when I go to work.

    Turns out I don’t suck quite so badly at tying a tie as I worried, and after enough reassurances from others at the table I decided to shut up and focus on getting into an interview mindset. To be honest, I wasn’t all that worried. Thanks to some marvellous practice with my partner student teacher, Erica, I was feeling prepared. I knew how to answer my questions; I was confident in my ability and passion as a teacher; I had this down. Now it was just a matter of waiting.

    We were picked up by minibus and driven to the Athenaeum, a subscription club in…

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  5. Iday Diary for Tuesday, June 19

    The customs line at London Gatwick grew quickly. There must not have been an international flight for few hours, because few stations were open when we arrived, and several of them were being staffed by trainees. We stood in line, dead tired and late to meet our drivers, waiting to be processed. Karianne advised us not to say that we were “looking for work” (because apparently that’s code for “I’m a shiftless migrant trying to get into the country”) but rather that we were here for “job interviews”. A likely story indeed.

    Somehow I managed to get into the country, and then we grabbed our luggage and made our way out into the arrivals section of the airport. Britain! We met our drivers and briefly popped into the Marks and Spencer to grab some food and drink for the ride to Bury St Edmunds—I was starving. There were two drivers, and they decided to split the 9 of us by taking three of us in one van with the majority of the luggage and the remaining 6 in the other van. I inveigled my way into the van with three people on the reasoning that it would be quieter and…

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