Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coffee Time!

Coffee Time with a Classroom Canada Teacher:

Every few weeks we will be introducing you to one of our teachers in London through these emails. So sit back, relax, grab a latte and enjoy the chat.


Jenn graduated in May and was on the plane to London a couple of days after finishing her B.Ed. She has secured a full-time teaching position with one of our schools that runs from September until July and describes her first three months in London below.

Teacher: Jenn
Bachelor Of Education - Nipissing University
Ages taught: Junior/Intermediate
Subject(s): Math

How long have you been teaching in London now?
I have been teaching in London for almost 3 months.

What do you teach?
I took on a 3 day contract as a Physical Education Secondary Teacher within two weeks of moving to London and did some general supply teaching in the Primary Schools for the other two days.

Why did you choose Classroom Canada?
I did quite a large amount of research before moving to the UK. I interviewed with Time Plan as well as Impact Teachers, but no agency was as personal and friendly as Classroom Canada. Other agencies are solely run through the UK, but with Classroom Canada you have the opportunity to interview with a fellow Canadian who has experienced many years teaching within the UK. I chose Classroom because I didn't feel like another number in a data base of international teachers in the UK. They get to know you as an individual in order to find you the position that best suits you.

What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
The biggest adjustment that I have had to make in my teaching is definitely classroom management. Strategies that work in Canada do not always work in the inner city schools of London and I was therefore forced to adapt to the students at hand. It is just important to realize that some of these schools see different supply teachers every day. They need time to adjust to the situation at hand. You will not gain their respect right away. These students know their rights and the meaning of mutual respect between students and teachers and each student will come around on their own time. These students each have their own unique personalities and as difficult as they may seem at the time, they will come around.

Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences:
6:30am - Preparation for School
730am - On route to School (usually takes an hour commute, depending on where your school is located.)
4:30pm- Arrive home, hit the gym and eat dinner
7:30pm - Site seeing, cycle around town

What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London:
I've only been here 3 months and can already say that I have learned so much. If you take a fraction of what you learn in these classrooms back to Canada it will only make you a stronger teacher in the end. The reality is, that there are very few teaching opportunities in Canada right now and what better way to start your career than in London, England? There is always something to do, regardless of your interests.
On another note: do not bring any electrical appliances (besides a computer). Everything is cheaper and better over here. Girls I am talking to you - hair straighteners, blow dryers etc. Converters DO NOT WORK. You will need an adapter for your computer, but that is all :)

Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:

Myself, along with my two flat mates decided to go site seeing our first week here. Very typical, obviously. So we decided we were going to Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace for the day. Hyde Park - Beautiful. We finally arrived at the Palace and we did not even realize where we were. We thought the Palace was the Parliament Buildings!? So we asked someone where the Palace was, only to get a smart answer 'ummm right behind you?' Embarrassing, yet hilarious Canadian Moment.

Describe the worst thing:
The feeling of losing control of your class. Every London teacher has and will experience at least one of these lessons throughout their time here. These students are different and each and everyone of them come with their own personal issues. You need to remember that there are support staff within the school that will help you and when all else fails, just stay calm. Shouting only makes things worse. I speak from experience when I say, just pick yourself up, and focus on a new day. Things only getting better in time. Never give up, these are the students that need you the most.

What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than with any other agency?
I remained with Classroom because when it came down to it, they never once disappointed me. It is the last week of school and I am still working 5 days a week. They have become my London family. They took the time to get to know me and have also created a great network of international teachers.

What qualities do you have that make your stay in London more enjoyable?
I am a very outgoing individual. Your experience will only be what you make of it and when it comes down to it, YOU ARE IN LONDON!!!!!!! The city, that I swear, never sleeps. As a teacher I also strongly believe in making a difference in childrens lives and the students over here need devoted teachers, that are willing to take the time to get to know them and understand them in order for them to fully reach their potential.

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Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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