Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Day in the Life Of.Paul Bold

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Day in the Life Of.Paul Bold

Article excerpt

This teacher and boarding houseparent acts as a father figure to 30 pupils - helping to create a 'home from home' for an internationally diverse school community

Life as a teacher and boarding houseparent is intense, and during term time you're "at work" almost continually.

My day begins before 6am, when I take my dogs for a walk before the boarders of Sankt Gilgen International School in Austria wake up. I use this time to get into the right frame of mind to play "dad" to 30 pupils.

We live in the Alps, and in winter, the temperature can be as low as minus 20°C. Any overnight snow needs to be cleared from the vehicles to allow emergency exits - during which time I consider how best to approach the teaching day.

We work in a team comprising of two houseparents, a residential assistant who is also a teacher, and two non-teaching graduate assistants. Their role is essentially anything from being an older sibling, driver, first aider or cook.

Our school has 130 pupils of various nationalities, aged 12- to 18. Although my role as a boarding parent entitles me to a reduced workload, my lesson prep as a science teacher can take anything from a few minutes to several hours.

Before lessons start at 8am, I check pupils' uniform, which is no simple task as our uniform comprises of traditional Austrian dress or a more classically "British" blazer and tie. The dual uniform is because we value our beautiful Austrian location and Austrians are fiercely proud of their national dress; you can wear a dirndl or lederhosen to church, to the opera, to a formal dinner or to bring the cows off the mountain.

We need to be flexible with our time; as well as being a classroom teacher we may extend our roles as climbing instructors, ski leaders or yoga gurus. It is rare that we close the classroom door at 4pm and go straight home.

When the school day is completed, I return to the boarding house. …

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