Monday, August 13, 2012
Quit panicking & start packing!
I originally wrote this post in 2008, but the advice still holds even 4 years on.
It's official! Teachers about to move to London are freaking out about what to pack and what to leave behind. It's a serious dilemma for those of you flying with cheap airlines as you only have room for 20 kg. Eek!
So here's the advice I give based on my own experiences as well as my teachers' experiences over the past 8 years.
10 Things Teachers Should Pack When Moving to London
1. Canadiana (stickers, books about Moose, Beavers, or Canadian geography in general)
2. Passport with your visa
3. Clothes for teaching (for men - shirts, trousers & ties; for women - "business casual" just like at home)
4. Photos of home. Students will be curious about where you live, what your house looks like & your neighbourhood. It's a good idea to post photos of home on your wall if there's space.
5. A USB memory stick with your best teaching resources. You can also organize all of your materials online, through google documents or any other solid online site. I use dropbox myself.
6. One or two black-line master resources that you can use with any age group. It's important that you have a resource on hand that will fill any time you may have, whether you are supply teaching or teaching your own class. You can always buy this in London though, so don't fret.
7. Kraft Dinner. Even if you enjoy eating it only once a year you will actually miss it. Trust me on this one, every Canadian misses KD when in London.
8. Your favourite chocolate bar. Mine is Crispy Crunch, and I couldn't find it in London, so I brought some with me for emergency situations. You can always buy Canadian food at the Canada Shop. They tend to be quite expensive though, so if you are very particular, you should stock up.
9. If you are staying in our accommodations, you will have a very basic residence-style room with a single bed, a desk, a wardrobe, a sink and shared bathrooms & kitchens. You will therefore need bedding, towels, kitchen supplies, etc. 90% of our teachers just buy all that stuff in London and save their luggage room for their clothes and shoes. But if you want to bring this stuff, then be sure to make it light. Otherwise, you can buy these items for cheap at Argos.
10. Living in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians. This book was written by Network Canada and is the only guide book to London that I really recommend for Canadian teachers. The others (like Lonely Planet) are too heavy and not worth the $ any more (because they become out of date before they're even published).
What NOT to Pack for Teaching in London:1. Hair appliances (they won't work as the voltage is stronger in the UK, you will only fry your favourite straightener)
2. That heavy winter coat you wear every day in Canadian winters
3. School supplies - yes, you read that correctly. You don't need them. The schools in London are well-equipped and if you need something, just ask. Teachers are not expected to buy supplies for their classroom like we are in Canada.
4. Textbooks - same as above
5. Months and months of birth control - the National Health Service provides birth control for free, so don't pay a fortune in Canada for a year's supply. As a teacher, you pay tax in the UK for the health services, so you benefit from this same service.
The most important thing to remember is that London is a fabulous place to shop, so whatever you need, you can buy there. I've had teachers ask me if they should bring their own pillows, toilet paper and even chalk. You can get it there! Pack lightly, and leave yourself room to bring home more when you return.
Did I miss anything? Please share your two pence below!