From Poland to Saint Patrick High School: Finding Shamrock Pride

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From Poland to Saint Patrick High School: Finding Shamrock Pride

Daniel Osiniak '22, Staff Writer

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Last I was here, was during the summer 2016. Since then I knew that I wanted to finish school in the United States of America. After graduating from the Polish junior high school, I decided to move here.

I have been here since August 18, thereafter Saint Patrick High School has managed to make a huge impression on me. There is a lot to tell, but I will focus on the most important differences between American and Polish schools.

First, Polish students predominantly are not proud of their school community. School spirit is rarely seen. There exists a small chance you will meet something like “Shamrock Pride” in Polish schools. Students don’t wear sweaters or shirts with the logo of their schools. I think it is because sports competitions between schools are not popular there. Basketball or football matches with cheerleaders aren’t often seen. Schools have their sports teams though, but matches between schools aren’t such a big event, and I’m pretty sure that great majority of students in Polish schools don’t even know and care about current sport events. Sports are separated from schools, with the exception of PE, which is a necessary class in Polish Academic Schedule.

Now when we reach the topic of the Academic Schedule it is important to say that there is a big difference between Polish and American schedules. Here the schedule is basically the same for every day of the week and changes only after the end of the semester, whereas Polish students have different classes every day.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Period A Chemistry Polish German/Spanish Physics
Period B Mathematics German/Spanish Biology Mathematics Polish
Period C English Geography Chemistry PE English
Period D Polish History Polish History PE
Period E Arts Music Mathematics Polish Educational Hour Class
Period F Civics Mathematics English Chemistry Informatics
Period G PE PE PE Biology Technics
Period H Theology English

Example of Polish Academics Schedule for the Junior High School

In Poland, this gives the student the opportunity to have more classes during the week. There are not many significant differences in the schedule between semesters. The downside is that there are many more homework assignments each day. There is also more work to do for each class. We have to prepare for final exams and finish the material before the end of the school year, so every class is full of taking notes and making exercises. We can not waste time during the school year because the classes like biology or history are not every day, excluding Polish Language Classes and in some cases English Classes. That means students have less time for their hobbies and extra activities.

The next difference is the length of the classes. Classes are 45 minutes long, and there are 10 minute long breaks between classes, except lunch break which is 20 minutes long.

The last thing, which I find the most important, is organizing students into divisions in Polish schools. This divisions have letter names starting with “A”. Students from the same year are divided into divisions, which number around 30 students each. The personal squad of each division is the same until the graduation. We start each day with classmates from our division, which has its own academics schedule, so we have the same lessons at the same time with the same people and we finish school together. Divisions of the same year have uniform classes but in different order. Academics Schedules of divisions are different. Each division has its own preceptor, who is the teacher responsible for organizing trips for his particular division, rating the behavior of his students and organizing parent meetings. Every division has one hour each week to meet with its preceptor and talk about the next week’s plans, events and educational matters. This hour is called educational hour class.

Divisions have their own profiles, too. The division profile can be mathematics with physics or biology with chemistry. The profile of the division dictates which subject the students will concentrate on and which classes will be emphasized each year. For example when the profile of the division “A-2020” is biology with chemistry, then this division has more classes of biology and chemistry each week. In this case preceptor of division “A-2020” would be biology or chemistry teacher. This division would also has fewer classes like history or geography, which are useless for students who want to study something connected with biology-chemistry profile in the future. Students must make the decision what they want to do in the future while applying to the high school. The profile of the division, which they choose has a great impact on their preparation for final level of education, which is college or university.