Monday, September 29, 2008

Reflections of a Teacher in London

Sheena, the woman on the left in this photo, lives in our accommodations with other teachers from across Canada and teaches full-time in a primary school in Central London. She sent us these reflections about her time teaching so far:

"So I moved to London to teach. Is it what I’d expected? I’m not sure really. I guess I was like most people, who have dreams and expectations about what it would be like. I’m not sure I ever really thought that what I imagined London to be like would be the reality.

Firstly, I can honestly say that I am lucky. Profoundly lucky that I am here with a bunch of teachers that are from all over Canada, who are going through exactly what I am going through. We all miss the comforts of home, but all at different times. Thankfully, we all experience this at different times and can be there for each other.

I am also so lucky that I met my flat mates. Without them, I would be lost right now. We are totally different people but we have two things in common; we are all far from Canada and we are all teachers. Somehow it makes us bond in a way that can’t really be explained.

Secondly, I have to talk about my first teaching job in London. I knew that my first teaching job would be scary, but somehow it's different over here. There are so many things that I never even imagined would be different.

During my first week of work, I definitely felt like I was swimming under ten feet of water. I felt like the rules were different, the kids were crazy, and that I knew nothing!

But now, I’m on to week three and it feels like everything is settling. I guess I try to look at every challenge as something I can overcome, even if sometimes it takes longer than I thought.

So now, in my third week of work, I don’t feel like I’m sinking anymore. No doubt I’m still adjusting, but definitely not sinking!

Above all, I love living in London. It's not the quaint, quiet city that some people think it is. Conversely, it is bustling and charming all at the same time. I am never bored here, I’m always busy doing something different.

But most of all I can say that I’m comfortable living here. I’ve come to realize that you can be enamored with a city that you visit, but to live in and love a city you must feel truly comfortable there. That’s how London makes me feel."

I am so pleased that Sheena found amazing friends and flatmates through Classroom Canada. That sense of community, understanding and belonging is so important when teaching abroad. Keep up the great work & keep on laughing Sheena!

Watch this space for more reflections from our teachers in London.

Also, check out Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians. The American edition is in the works and should be available by Christmas.

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Thanks for sharing your two pence!

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