The US School System

US School system

Hey there, and welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll have fun becoming fluent in American English. I’m your English coach Christina and today, we’re going back to school!

What’s the real goal of the American school system? How should you talk to your kid’s teachers? What’s expected of you as a parent? (Hint: A LOT!) If you’ve moved your family to the USA, or are thinking about it, and the American school system is a mystery for you, this episode will clear things up!
Let’s go!

Tuesday May 22: FINAL DAY to join the Faster Fluency Conversation Club

Wouldn’t it be great to talk about subjects like this together?

To practice speaking English, and learn about other cultures? Good news, you still have one day to join the Faster Fluency Conversation Club, where you’ll get regular speaking practice to boost your fluency faster, plus corrections and help from me!

All the details and registrations are at

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Now, let’s talk about the American school system.

“Good job!”

The first thing you might notice about the American school system is the teachers’ super positive attitude. Some people might say they’re little too positive…

If there’s one phrase your kids must understand it’s this: “Good job!” Teachers encourage students when they succeed, like “Good job, Joey, you got an A on your math test!”
And teachers encourage students when they…don’t. “You came in 8th place in the competition? Well, you did your best. Good job!”

Teachers, coaches, the high school principal, they’re all about positive reinforcement & encouragement. Schools exist to educate your kids, but also to build their self-confidence…which is probably why we Americans think we’re the best at everything…

Practical projects

Americans have a reputation for being pragmatic, and maybe it starts in the school system. Group and individual projects are a big part of school programs, and often there’s more practice than theory.

Sure, there are the standard history projects, English projects, and things like that. But they may also be related to the real world.

One parent, Laurent, told me how his kids learned to do taxes because the school organized a project where middle school students worked on tax returns for local citizens.
When I was in middle school, we had a project where we learned to play the stock market. I’m not even joking… You may be surprised with the kinds of projects your kids come home with!

Sports, sports, sports

Sure classes are important in American schools, but sports are just as important. And honestly, sometimes more important, which is not always a good thing.

But school sports are a huge part of American students’ education, from elementary school to university. It’s a way to develop kids’ character, leadership, and team spirit but it’s hard work.

If your kids play sports, they have to arrive at school early or stay late after classes. They might have practice 5 times a week and during summer break, with matches every weekend.

Students in the American school system work hard to be good at their sports, and for good reason. If you’re good in sports, you can get a scholarship, that pays for your very expensive university fees.

Last year, an estimated 3 billion dollars in athletics scholarships were given to student athletes. In American schools, sports is a business, not just a fun weekend hobby!

Parent Teachers Association

If you thought school was just for your kids, think again. American schools ask A LOT of the parents, like with the PTA, or Parent-Teacher Association.

There are all sorts of roles for parents: Becoming room parents and organizing events for students, accompanying classes when they take field trips, becoming a band parent if your kid is in the marching band.

Parents are expected to volunteer and be active in the school life too! Why? According to the National Parent Teachers Association, and I quote “when parents are involved in school processes, students achieve more regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parents’ education levels.”

Basically the more you as a parent participate in school life, the better the students perform, according to the national PTA. And since American schools are competitive, they want you to be involved as much as possible.

Now, what about you?

If you live in the USA, or have friends who do, what are some surprising things you’ve noticed about the school system, good or bad? Oh, because we didn’t even talk about the, ahem, “food” they often serve in the cafeteria. Let’s just say, invest in a good lunch box if you want your kid to eat healthy….

And if you want an exciting opportunity to practice speaking with me and other Ambassadors from around the world, join the Faster Fluency Conversation Club, which is happening in May and June of 2018.

Go to this page for the dates, details, and to register for the program. Today, May 22, 2018 is the final day to join!
Thanks for watching Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!

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