This summer, I made a huge move from sunny California to the wet and windy United Kingdom, and I noticed a multitude of differences in the societal norms but most prominently, the way that the school systems are handled by teachers and students alike. 

As soon as I set foot in school in England, I was hit with a contrast regarding what the pupils call the teachers. For example, in America, students would call the teacher Mr Smith and Mrs Smith, while in the UK students call their teachers Miss and Sir, which is far more generalised.

Even the teachers refer to other teachers as Miss and Sir and don’t call them by their name. I remember that this confused me in the beginning as I didn’t know who they were talking about.

Another huge change was the subject of clothes in both countries.

In America, everyone was allowed to wear their own clothes to school.

The only means of a uniform was the schools dress code, however, where I went to school, most students and teachers ignored those rules unless the student’s outfit was outrightly disrupting the teacher's class and teaching.

“I really like [not wearing a uniform] because I love to wear different clothes and show off my style.

"If I had to wear uniforms, I wouldn’t like it because it would be too repetitive - but it would also be nice because I would already know what to wear,” said American student, Valentina Botero. 

In the UK, all students from the young age of 4 are given a set uniform that they must wear - sometimes all the way up until they leave for university at the age of 18.

British students would sometimes add pins onto their uniforms to create their own expression, as much as they could.

The cost of school uniforms create inequality. Some students don’t have the money to buy new uniforms and must wear secondhand clothes. 

“In part I think it was beneficial, but only if uniform policies were reinforced correctly - otherwise it just led to rebellion in students and the school looking messy,” said British student Libby Hill.

“I have always been jealous of Americans being able to wear their own clothes as they are able to be comfortable, away from the itchy fabric school uniform is comprised off - and they can express their sense of individuality.”

Some say a uniform is a better way to keep students in check and to create equality, and it stops bullying. A lot of people disagree and say the uniforms take away freedom of choice and expression as they are growing up, causing even more bullying as an adult. 

A third difference that I noticed was the aspects of testing throughout the schools.

American schools focus on multiple choice and seeing if the students know the 2-4 weeks’ worth of information they have just been taught. They use participation points towards the student’s final grade - this sometimes creates stress for shy students, as they don’t feel comfortable speaking out in class, even though most of them are A+ students. 

“Personally, I prefer multiple choice to most other testing formats in specific subjects like math and science.

"I don’t think testing is more difficult for Brits. It’s different - which opens up so many other conversations about the contrasts between our education,” said American graduate, Aleina Tuufuli.

In Britain, tests are far more essay-based. This creates the need to show all your work and have a set way in answering the questions. 

Finally, young British pupils are slightly more disrespectful towards the teachers in their school compared to American students.

My assumption is it's because all the restrictions (uniforms and rules) are too suffocating, and they need to act out, to show that they have their own thoughts and ways of showing it.

American students are more respectful - maybe because they had the release of playgrounds at breaktime and lunch to get their energy out. 

Both systems have changed the way I look at the two societies and how the atmosphere that the people grew up in impacted their everyday life.