Thursday, November 20, 2008

2 Teachers, 2 Stories. Which one are you?

This is the story of 2 teachers from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I chose to write about Jane (name changed) and Erika because they are both so different and therefore so are their experiences teaching in London, England.

First, there's Jane. I met Jane when I visited Lakehead last year for their Teacher Education Job Fair. I go to most of the universities in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec every year to talk to new teachers about their job opportunities in the United Kingdom. When I met Jane, she was very keen to talk about teaching History and English in secondary schools.

After months of paperwork, interviews, reference checking, setting up her accommodations, bank account and networking with our other teachers, Jane flew to London to begin her new life & adventures in teaching abroad. She lasted one week.

It wasn't for her.

Jane didn't actually step foot in any London school (she arrived in August, before school started in September), so it wasn't the teaching that drove her away (phew!). She just discovered that London wasn't the right place for her. It was an incredibly expensive lesson to learn, and I know she doesn't regret it. She's now teaching in Northern Ontario in a remote area and loves it. Talk about night & day!

Then there's Erika. I also met Erika at Lakehead on the same day that I met Jane. She went through the same process, and arrived in London around the same time. Erika also teaches History & English in a London secondary school. She loves it! Erika posted her reflections on teaching with us in this blog post.

I sat down and chatted with Erika during the Classroom Canada Scavenger Hunt & we discussed the differences between her and Jane. She was shocked that Jane could travel all that way to only go home within a week, but agreed that it was for best for her. We all understand that teaching & living in London isn't for everyone.

But Erika is most grateful for the friendships she has made with our other teachers. She's been traveling around Europe & is filled with enthusiasm and humour. She is really having an experience she will cherish forever. Yes, she has stories to tell about her first year of teaching that would shock you, but that's also just the nature of a first year teacher in an inner city school.

The point? Well, which teacher are you?

If you worry that you won't enjoy teaching & living in London, then please do your research. Think long & hard about it. Are you excited by big cities like New York, Tokyo, Paris, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto? Then London won't be so shocking to you. But if the idea of teaching in Northern Canada is really more your kind of thing, they are always looking for teachers as well.

Like this post? You might also like 52 Reasons to Teach in London, Pros & Cons to Teaching in London, and Myths About Teaching in London.

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Thanks for sharing your two pence!

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