From September 12 – 19, the 8th graders went to Malta to take part in a series of English-language classes at the A-Class English Academy. The students were joined by Mr. Stefan, Ms. Paulina, and me. It was an excellent trip which provided educational experiences in the classroom, cultural experience in Maltese society, and some good exercise and a lot of fun on the beaches of Malta. Mr.Stefan and Ms. Paulina provided excellent supervision, guidance, support, and comapanionship to the students and helped organize the activities when the students were not in school.

I sat in on the lessons with the students so that I could both take note of the teaching methods of my Maltese colleagues and to observe my students not from the front of the classroom teaching but at the back of the classroom as a (mostly) silent observer.

I was very proud of these young people. Their level of English is very high, and twice their first teacher had to change the material so that it was more challenging. Our 8th graders will be taking the Cambridge First Certificate Exam (FCE) at the end of the school year, and the FCE materials the teachers provided to our students was challenging. The students' ability to complete the tasks with a minimum of errors made me confident that they will be ready at the end of the year to pass this important exam.

Additionally, the teachers told me that they were impressed with our students' level. They also said that their enthusiasm, humor, and personality made them a pleasure to work with. The teachers noted that the students have no trace of a non-native speaker accent. Finally, they made a point of telling me that they were very polite and exceptionally well mannered.

All of the above I knew, but it was good to hear it from others. These young people represented our school, their families, and Poland very well.

In many ways, it's been a good beginning to the school year, and we're all confident that it's going to be an outstanding one. Good beginnings tell, and good beginnings last a lifetime.

---Mr. John