Friday, May 29, 2009

Run With Richard: Classroom Welcomes Canadian Teachers with a Jogging Tour of London


As teachers, we're constantly telling students how important it is to be healthy, stay active, drink water, play sports and focus on the academics. But we're not so great at taking our own advice.

I am a classic teacher and recruiter. I pick up some new exercise routine, go hard-core for a few months and then find myself swamped with work and...well, you know how it goes. I've tried running for years, do it for a few weeks (oh the torture!) and switch over to dragon boating or working out at the gym or whatever passing phase I happen to find myself in. I always come back to running though. It's just so easy. It's free. It's a great exercise routine to take with you when you travel. Who needs a gym when you have two feet and a pair of running shoes right?

Anyway, all of this is to say that I am running again, but this time I'm following the Couch to 5KM program. It's a very light, easy way to become a proper jogger within 9 weeks.

Richard is one of the directors of Classroom Ltd and a serious runner. He runs all the time. Rumour has it that he just did a 10km run with 12 000 other runners in London and came in 36th. 36th!!!

Richard would love to take our teachers on a jogging tour of London, but we've never quite managed to get it sorted. It's just another thing to organize in our very busy days.

Now that I'm determined to stick to this whole running thing, I've asked Richard if he'll take us all on our first jogging tour of London. You see, our office is at Oxford Circus, so we are right at the heart of downtown London. Regents park is right around the corner. It's a great place to jog.

Richard loves the idea, so this year we're doing our first ever Classroom Canada Run With Richard on November 2nd, 2009 at 6pm. How silly does this sound?!!

It will be silly, I know that much for sure. Richard has a very dry, British sense of humour. He's witty, smart and an all round good sport. His task is to come up with a 5km route where he can show our new arrivals (and perhaps even some of our other teachers) a different view of London. I've already told him that he has to go slow. I'll likely be telling him that every day until we actually run. And will be panting it while we run!

If you're already a jogger and one of the Classroom Canada teachers then your task is easy. Show up. Jog. Simple.

If you're not a jogger but like the idea, you might like the same program I am doing. You start off nice & slow, and these podcasts are free to download. I feel like I have my very own personal trainer, and it's free! And really, it's pretty easy. I have a bad back, wonky knee and orthotics, and I can do it. So I'm sure you can too.

What do you think? Will you, or would you, run with Richard? let me know so I know if this idea is worth all the effort, or if it's just another zany idea...


Happy Friday! I'm off to run now.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

200 Resources Continued: 10 Blogs About Teaching in London

Here are my favourite Blogs About Teaching in London, or Teaching in the UK in general and in no particular order:
  1. To Miss With Love - Miss Snuffy describes herself as "a black teacher in inner-city London and here are some of my stories... I love my job and I love these kids. But boy, do I sometimes wonder why..." I love this blog. She's sassy, speaks her mind, stirs the pot with frank & honest accounts of teaching in London. You might not agree with everything she says, but at least she says what she really thinks.
  2. Classroom Canada Teachers Blog - This is a new blog, for the Classroom Canada teachers in London to blog together about their experiences. Many of our teachers have blogs and now they can blog together to make it a bit easier to post regularly & often.
  3. Urban School Teacher Blog - Mr. Teacher is a British teacher sharing his stories about working in an inner city school. It's a great read.
  4. Across the Pond - Jodi is one of our teachers heading over to London in September, and Tyson will be a Teaching Assistant with us. He's going to teachers college the next year. These two are sharing their stories about all the things they are doing to get ready to teach in the UK. They write often and have an easy to read style that I really enjoy.
  5. Heather in the U.K. - another Classroom Canada teacher, Heather has a writing style that I really enjoy. She only posts about 3 times a month, but her posts are thoughtful, well written and very informative.
  6. School Gate - Sarah Ebner writes this very informative blog about education issues in the UK. Parents, students, teachers and administrators alike enjoy this blog. It's great! You'll learn heaps about teaching in the UK by following along.
  7. Learning is Delightful & Delicious - ..."as by the way am I" - what a great title! Love it.
  8. An American Teacher in London - Alicia is an American teacher who was brought over by another agency that hasn't really supported her all that well.. She's had a pretty rough experience and tells her story through the blog. She's also had some pretty great experiences with her travels.
  9. Frank Chalk - another British teacher writing about what it's really like to teach in a secondary school in the UK. More political than most, it's a good read to get to know the issues surrounding teaching in the UK.
  10. This blog of course!
Do you know of any others? Please share below!

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

200 Resources Continued: 10 Books Teachers Should Read Before Moving to the UK

A few weeks ago, I wrote our 200th Blog post and posted 110 great resources for teaching in London, England. I promised to post 200 resources in total, but only got to 110. I haven't forgotten, and will now post 10 more resources a day until we finally have our 200!

Here are the topics I will cover over the next 9 blogging days, in no particular order:
  • Curriculum
  • Movies to Watch
  • Books to Read
  • Blogs About Teaching in London
  • Blogs About Education in General
  • Social Media Networking & Teaching
  • Documentaries to Watch
  • Life in London
Don't forget to read the original post: Our 200th Blog Post: 200 Great Resources for Teachers in London, England

On to today's topic!

10 Books Teachers Should Read Before Moving to the UK



  1. Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians by Victoria Westcott (that's me!) 110 page ebook filled with everything you could possibly want to know about teaching in London, England.
  2. Living in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians by Network Canada My book (#1) is about teaching in London as a Canadian, and this book is about moving to London as a Canadian. Combined, they are the 2 most important books you will read before you depart for teaching in the UK, and specifically for London.
  3. Time Out London I just picked up a cheap copy from Costco and highly recommend it. The Time Out is a weekly magazine that Londoners read to keep their social calendars filled. It's a valuable resource to say the least! The Time Out guide books are very good, geared towards a young & professional crowd and light enough to carry in your purse or bag.
  4. Frommer's London Day by Day This was another good Costco find. Cheap ($7.99), light and with a good pull out map. Well worth the money.
  5. Any book by Lee & Marlene Canter - the Canters write books about Assertive Discipline, a behaviour management approach that is becoming more & more popular in London schools.
  6. Any book by Nick Hornby - Nick Hornby is a London fiction writer and wrote Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, About a Boy, A Long Way Down, How to be Good, and more. He tends to be enjoyed by men & women alike, and I've lived in one of the neighbourhoods he describes in A Long Way Down. It's great to read novels set in London!
  7. A Small Island by Andrea Levi - What a great read! If you want to know more about Jamaican-Londoners and enjoy novels, this one is the perfect book for you. I loved it, and can't recommend it enough.
  8. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson An easy, light, comical read.
  9. Confessions of a Shopoholic by Sophie Kinsella. It's set in London. It makes the list because everyone needs a good light read every once in a while. Bridget Jones Diary is another good light read based in London of course. Now, before the male teachers think I'm just being silly, keep in mind that Nick Hornby is the male equivalent here. ;-)
  10. The Guardian Book Club - not one book, but many. You can follow along and read one book a month, and listen to the podcasts as well. When you are actually living in London, you can join the bookclub and get invited to meet the authors and participate in discussions. With wine ta'boot! I met Margaret Atwood and Zadie Smith. Very cool! This month they are reading Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels.
But what do you think? Any books that I should have included and forgot? Or do you just want to recommend some great books to our readers? Please share below.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Professional Development Workshops for Teachers in London, England

Classroom Canada Professional Development Workshops for our Teachers in London, England

Classroom Canada runs workshops for our teachers in London every November. This year the workshops will run November 2nd-5th, after school hours. We will end the week with the Classroom Canada London Scavenger Hunt (a very silly & ridiculously fun event, not to be missed). To see details about last year's workshops & Scavenger Hunt, just click here.

This year, we will focus on the following:
  • Behaviour Management
  • Literacy & Numeracy for Primary Teaching
  • Secondary School Teaching
  • Special Educational Needs Teaching
Our workshops are free, and we limit the number of participants to 20 teachers.

More Workshops for Teachers in London

The TES also holds Professional Development Workshops for Teachers in London.

TES Education London: 2nd and 3rd October, 2009

  • 2 days of workshops & discussions
  • for early years, primary & secondary school teachers to improve their teaching practice in London.
  • Seminar tickets are £9 EXCLUDING VAT (aka Tax) per ticket until 31 July 2009
  • Seminar tickets for the all day TESC conference are £70 EXCLUDING VAT per ticket until 31 July 2009
  • See the full list of seminars/workshops here
  • Register here
TES Special Educational Needs London: 16th and 17th October, 2009

  • Special Needs London has the resources, ideas, advice and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training to provide teachers, SENCOs, support staff and parents with the tools and skills to help all pupils achieve.

  • Learn about the latest issues from professionals with SEN expertise, within the inspiring CPD seminar programme. Great for new & experienced teachers alike.
  • Find thousands of resources to compare and buy for every kind of special and additional educational need.
  • See what's new, try things out for yourself – and take advantage of special show discounts and free samples!
  • Check out the seminars & workshops here.
  • Seminar tickets are £9 EXCLUDING VAT (aka Tax) per ticket until 31July 2009
  • Register online here.
I strongly recommend that you attend both the TES events and sign up for as many seminars as you can. They are affordable and will only improve your teaching practice. You will meet teachers from across London and all walks of life, and learn more about teaching in London.

What other workshops would you like to see Classroom Canada deliver? Do you know of any other workshops that I can recommend for teachers on here? Please share below.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Interactive Online Guides to Your Favourite Spots in London, England

Daniel from http://www.comeawaywithme.co.uk/LondonAudioGuide emailed me this past weekend to inform me of this very cool site. I am very excited to share it with you.

You can click on an interactive map of London, England and hear detailed historical information on your MP3 player or computer about the building or area. I just clicked on St. Paul's Cathedral, one of my favourite buildings in London and learned more while checking my email and my calendar for the day. I can just imagine having the MP3 files on my iPod while I walk around downtown London. What a great idea!

You can listen for free online, or download all 5 hours for only 6 GBP. That's a bargain and a half. Thanks for sharing with us Daniel!

Any more great sites to share? Please leave your comments below.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Friday, May 22, 2009

PS22 Chorus: 5th Grade New Yorkers Sing With Full Hearts



Have you heard of PS22 yet? These guys are BIG.

Actually, they're quite small. They're a chorus of 70 fifth grade students from NYC and everyone from Ashton Kusher to Tori Amos to Perez Hilton loves these kids.





Happy Friday!

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Teacher Photos for Resumes and CVs

This blog post was written by Jennifer Westcott, Classroom Canada's Marketing Consultant. She also happens to be my big sister.

Ah, the teacher photo. How can such a seemingly simple request produce such a dramatic range of results? How many ways can "Submit a head and shoulders shot for marketing purposes" be interpreted?

You'd be surprised.

Perhaps the confusion stems from an inherent misunderstanding of the term "marketing purposes." We here at Classroom Canada ask for a head and shoulders shot of all of our teachers because resumes with a photo attached result in more school interview requests than ones without. Why is that the case? We have no idea. But it is.

So we ask for photos that we can attach to your resumes and circulate amongst potential employers. And about 20% of the time, you'll send us something we can use. The other 80%? Well, many of them can be cropped into something usable, but many others simply can't be saved. So we'll ask you to resubmit. 20% of the re-submissions will make the cut, some of those can be cropped, many again can't be used.

And the cycle continues.

So, let's put the teacher photo issue to bed, here and now. We'll look at the three most common offenders and why they don't work and end with what IS a suitable photo. Our commander-in-chief, Victoria Westcott, kindly agreed to be our model. All of these photos were taken with the same non-professional camera, and no special lighting/flash/tricks were used. You can do this at home!


#3 Offender: "I'm a Serial Killer"

Would you want this woman anywhere NEAR your children, let alone teaching them? Sure, technically this is a head and shoulders photo, but so is a mug shot. A smile goes a long way.

#2 Offender: "I'm a Kid Trapped in an Adult's Body"

Yes, this is slightly preferable to the homage to Ted Bundy above. But, seriously? This is the image you want to present to potential employers? Potential BRITISH employers? Yes, you've got oodles of personality and yes, you're great with children - that's why we chose you to work with us! But employers need to see that you're a teacher first and foremost.

#1 Offender: "My Best Friend Shot This at Our Favourite Bar"

You wouldn't believe how many of these we get. Never mind the fact that it's totally out of focus (that happens after one too many Margaritas), but why oh why would you want your first impression to be that of a partier?

Yes, you probably do like to go out with your friends and have fun (so do we! And just wait 'til you're in London!) and there's nothing wrong with that. But put yourself in your potential boss' shoes. You've got two resumes sitting before you. One has a photo of a well-dressed, put-together, smiling applicant, the other is a blurry mess depicting buzzed woman in a nightclub holding an Appletini. Who would you choose?

So what should a "head and shoulders shot for marketing purposes" look like? Put on a nice, clean, ironed shirt. Step outside into a spot that's sheltered from the sun (or at least have the sun behind the photographer, not behind you) and have a friend/relative/colleague squeeze off a few shots. Request that the shots be centered (but don't worry if they're a little off, like I said, we can crop) and taken from about the mid-chest up. Black & White prints cleaner than colour, but it doesn't really make that much of a difference.

And ta-da! A decent looking photo that is sure to impress!

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

10 Things Teachers Should Know About London, England


Watch more London videos at tripfilms.com


I'm back from interviewing teachers in Vancouver & swamped with playing catch-up. Last week, we sent about 200 emails with our teachers' resumes for jobs in London schools that start in September. It's the busiest time of year for schools, and therefore it's also insanely busy for us here at Classroom Canada.

So, all of this is to say that I am completely stealing a post from Tyson & Jodi. Thanks guys! They are a teacher/teaching assistant couple and fellow bloggers. I was excited to see that Tyson posted the above video today. I hope you enjoy it as well & visit their blog.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

School Uniforms in England


Most of our schools in London have school uniforms. Check out the Guardian's collection of school uniform pictures over the ages here. What a great idea!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day Trips from London: Brighton

London to Brighton in two minutes from Lobster Pictures on Vimeo.



When it's sunny, Londoners like to take the train to Brighton and wander the beach. It's only about 45 minutes by train, and well worth the train fare (less than 20 pounds if I recall correctly). I spent many a good weekend in Brighton with my teacher friends. Check out the incredible video above - London to Brighton in 2 Minutes.

I'm off to Vancouver to interview teachers for jobs in London, England. Have a great long weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

SATs week in the UK: Students Take National Tests

Sarah Ebner writes a great post today in her School Gate blog for parents to understand the levels assigned to their children with the UK national tests (called SATs). Reading her post inspired me to share a similar piece that I wrote for teachers to understand the SATs levels.

Here is an excerpt from the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand the SATs tests in England. Year 6 students across England are being tested this week with the SATs so it's important that you understand what this means.

Standard Assessment Tests
The second major difference is that they have National Tests and these ARE a very big deal. Schools take them very seriously, and their funding can change depending on how their students do overall.

SATS (Standard Assessment Tests) tests are given at the end of year 2, year 6 and year 9. They are used to show students’ progress compared with other children born in the same month. They look a little something like this:

Key Stage 1
SATs take place in year 2 in May. Each child is teacher-assessed in reading, writing (including spelling and handwriting), maths (including number, shape, space and measurement) and science.

Key Stage 2
SATs take place in May and are far more formal than Key Stage 1 and much more stressful! The tests are taken in 6 years and cover the three core subjects, English, Maths and Science. The papers are sent away to be marked with results being available before the students leave primary school at the
end of July.

Key Stage 3
SATs take place in May and are formal tests/exams. The exams cover work done in English, Maths and Science in years 7 to 9. These exams are often used to decide which stream students will be placed in in their final years.

Here is a simple table to show you the levels assigned:

level w Working towards level 1, very weak
level 1 Average for a typical 5 year old
level 2 Average for a typical 7 year old
level 3 Average for a typical 9 year old
level 4 Average for a typical 11 year old
level 5 Average for a typical 13 year old
level 6 Average for a typical 14 year old
level 7 Above average for typical 14 yr old
level 8 Only available in maths

So, if you’re teaching Year 6 and the majority of your students achieve level 4, well done! If some get level 5, even better! Level 3 is below average and means that you should work with the parents to see what can be done to raise that level to a 4.

Additionally you may find bands ‘a’, ‘b’ and ‘c’ are given within the levels. This indicates a range within the level, ‘a’ being the highest and ‘c’ being the lowest. Teachers will use this to pre-assess the children and determine where the students are in advance and how you can expect them to achieve on the tests.

For example, with my Year 6 math students, many of them were pre-assessed and achieved Level 4b’s. This meant that I could teach them and bring them up to at least a level 4a, and more likely a 5c. In reality, most of my students achieved 5b’s! So they went up by a full level.

SATS results are combined with the teacher’s assessment and used to stream the students at secondary school. They do matter, although you will hear some people brushing them off and saying “Oh, it’s just a silly test.” Because the secondary schools are streamed in London, it’s quite important how your students do in Year 6 SATs.

If you want to see some sample Key Stage 2 SATs test, go here: http://www.st-josephs-pickering.n-yorks.sch.uk/past_test_papers.htm

For sample Key Stage 3 SATS papers, go here: http://www.emaths.co.uk/KS3SAT.htm

There is so much controversy about these tests, I could write a whole book on the subject. In fact, by the time you are reading this book, they may be scrapped altogether!

What you need to know is this: once you have experience teaching in those age groups, and have your students do well in the tests, then your job possibilities are wide open! In my first year, I taught Year 6 maths so gained experience preparing my students for their SATs tests. My students did as well as can be expected, and a few did even better. The next year, I was then asked to teach small groups of year 6 students (less than 10 students) in Maths and Literacy. I was able to concentrate on their specific needs and 9 out of 10 of my students achieved above grade level in their tests. This meant that the school was able to qualify for more funding to hire a subject specialist the next year.

To see examples of students work, and the assessment of their work, go to this website: http://curriculum.qca.org.uk/ You simply type in the age group and subject and you can see samples easily.
I hope this helps you understand the SATs a bit better. I'm off to Vancouver this weekend to interview more teachers for jobs in London, England. Please apply asap if you live in the area and want to be interviewed.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Job Interviews for Teachers in & around Vancouver - this weekend!

Between sending out resumes to schools in London with jobs for teachers that start in September and helping our teachers prepare for the upcoming journey, I also have new applicants to interview on a somewhat regular basis. A lot of teachers assume that I am no longer interviewing, but that's not the case.

I interview year round. I was personally selected to teach in London in July 2004, on the plane by August 24th and teaching by September 1st, 2004. So, last minute works for some. Not for most, but for some. I don't recommend leaving this kind of decision to the last minute, but since I did it myself I can't hold it against anyone else.

Anyway, Victoria Day long weekend is coming up. As a born & bred Ontarion, I value this weekend as May 24th (read: May Two Four!). It's the weekend for a case of beer, good friends, camp fires and a cottage. But now that I live in Victoria, BC, I think it's just a good excuse to get off the island and into the big city of Vancouver.

I just got off the phone with a Vancouver teacher who did her teacher's college training with one of my teachers last year. She's heard great things about us and wants to teach in London this upcoming autumn. Since I'm coming to Vancouver anyway, I figure I might as well squeeze in some interviews with great teachers.

Which brings me to the point of this post: if you are in Vancouver (or nearby) and want to discuss teaching in London, please send me your resume. Make sure you highlight the fact that you are in Vancouver in your email so I read your resume right away. Otherwise, your resume will be placed into the box with all the others from across the country for me to eventually read, but not today.

I still do phone interviews with teachers across the country, so if you're not in Vancouver apply anyway. I just did an interview with a Canadian teacher in the Bahamas last week. I've also interviewed Canadian teachers in Australia, China and Korea. Our teachers come from coast to coast and I'm very proud of that.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Canadian Teacher Blogs of Note


Sarah Ebner, of Times School Gate blog just sent me an email that I asked to share with you. Sarah agreed, so here goes:

Hello Victoria,
I just wanted you to introduce you to Siobhan Curious, who is writing some guest posts for me, on saving her teaching career!

http://timesonline.typepad.com/schoolgate/2009/05/introducing-guest-blogger-and-teacher-siobhan-curious-and-her-first-post-how-she-saved-her-teaching-.html

You probably know her, because she is Canadian (that sounds terrible, as if everyone in Canada knows everyone else, but I mean it in the sense of being teaching bloggers and Canadian!) and I thought you might find them interesting. I would also really like more teachers to see them...

Best wishes, and thanks,

Sarah
Editor, School Gate
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/schoolgate
I wish I could reply that I actually know Siobhan and that we're old friends from elementary school. Wouldn't that be funny? That does often happen with Canadians so it's not that far-fetched.

Thanks to Sarah for pointing out another great Canadian teacher blog. I'll be a regular reader, and hope our readers here check out her posts over on Sarah's site.

If you don't already know of Sarah's blog, please do check it out here. She's a fabulous blogger & journalist. The comments on her blog are always an enjoyable read as well. Plenty of teachers, administrators and parents read & comment.

Another great blog to check out is the Classroom Canada Teachers Blog, written by our teachers in London for all those teachers who want to know what it's really like to teach in London, England.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Job Hunting for Teachers: Let the Madness Begin


Okay, I lied. I said I would post 90 more resources for teachers in regards to teaching in the UK, to make my 200th blog post complete with 200 resources. But let's face it - this is the busiest time of year for recruiters.

For the next two weeks all I can do is focus on my teachers & getting them jobs for September. In the recruitment world, we call this "flinging mud against the wall" - some will stick, but most won't, but you have to throw the mud to see what will happen. We're talking about teacher's resumes (or CVs) here. I know you don't want to hear your resumes compared to mud, but that's the expression we use. Or, "you have to be in it to win it." I prefer the mud analogy though.

Most schools in London know what they need for September and they've posted their jobs online for all to see. I've been doing this job (as well as teaching in London) for almost 5 years now, so I see the same schools again & again. They try to fill the jobs themselves with teachers already in London, but they often won't be able to. There just aren't enough teachers for the whole city. So, for those of us who do this job, we fling your resumes against the wall in the hopes that schools will say "Okay, I'll interview that teacher."

The best agency has good relationships with their schools already, so when the schools see your resumes they actually read them. The agency knows the schools and their needs so they send teachers that they know will fit the school ethos.

This weekend I spent a full two days printing out jobs & going through all my teachers to see which resumes I should send to which schools. The teachers that I have already selected to work in London with Classroom Canada have told me what kind of job they would like and are in that pool of candidates. I go through every job & every teacher & try to make some perfect matches. It's time consuming to say the least.

If I wasn't any good at my job, I would just send random CVs, or call schools at inappropriate times of the day (when the bell rings for example) or send teachers CVs that aren't actually interested in the jobs on offer. I know some recruiters (not with Classroom) who make a fake resume to send to schools. They hope that by sending an amazing resume that they've created from scratch they can get the school to call them and ask to see said teacher. When the school calls, the recruiter then lies and says "Oh, I'm sorry but X teacher has already been placed at one of our schools. I have another candidate that you might like to meet..."

Dodgey? (or as we say in Canada, "sketchy?") You bet it is. We don't do that kind of stuff. Most of the recruiters with Classroom have worked for other teaching agencies (both as teachers & as recruiters) so we all came to Classroom with the same interests - we want to work with an agency that is honest & the best possible teaching agency. You'll notice from the interviews with our recruiters on the right hand side of this page that we're all really happy to work with Classroom. We often joke about the other companies we've worked with before working with Classroom & the kinds of dodgey stuff they pull. It's scary, but true.

Anyway, the point of this post is to say, I'm swamped. So, if you want to teach with us and have submitted your resume, I will call you eventually. Just maybe not today. If you are one of our teachers already, then please keep me in the loop with your needs & wants for a teaching job. I can't find you the perfect job if you aren't clear with me about what that is. Thankfully, our teachers are amazing at communicating with us, so I'm not too worried about this one.

Like this post and want to read more? Check out:
Jobs for Teachers: What Kinds of Jobs Are There for Teachers in the UK?
Jobs for Secondary Teachers in London Schools
Teacher Jobs in London Up by 21-32%
52 Reasons to Teach in London, England
10 Myths About Teaching in London, England

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Jobs for Secondary Teachers in London Schools

Yesterday, I promised that I would write down 90 more resources for teaching in London to complete my 200th blog post with 200 resources. I have to break that promise. Sorry!

I have a school that just contacted me and wants to see some resumes in the next 3 hours so I literally have to drop everything and just focus on getting my teacher's resumes into the school's hands. This is the nature of my job and to be honest, part of the reason I love doing what I do. The most important thing is that we get our teachers working, so that means drop everything & run with it.

So, I thought I would let you know what jobs I am going to send resumes for.

The school is outside of Central London and very supportive of its international staff team.

  • Teacher of English
  • Teacher of Science
  • Teacher of Geography
  • Teacher of Maths
  • Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages - French
So what should you do if you want to apply for these jobs? Send your resume to victoria at classroomcanada dot com. With the urgency though, I will be sending the resumes of my teachers that have already applied and have been selected to teach with us.

There are 1394 classroom teacher jobs available in London as of today. This one is urgent, but usually we have plenty of time to interview interested teachers, check their references and determine if we think they are suitable candidates for our schools. In this case, I am submitting the resumes of teachers who have already gone through this process. Also, I should note: If you are one of our teachers and I phone you with an urgent message to get back to me, that means right away. Have your cell phone on you and check your messages. Sadly, 3 of my teachers missed their chance this morning because I had to submit resumes and couldn't get ahold of these three very good teachers. It is a matter of being available at the right time. Hard to predict I know! Don't panic - there are plenty of other teaching jobs.

I will try to find some time this weekend to post the remaining 90 resources. Watch this space. Have a great weekend everyone! Congratulations to all those teachers at Brock University that finished their placements this morning. And to those students at York - you're almost done. Soon enough!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jobs for Teachers: What Kinds of Jobs Are There for Teaching in the UK?

How many jobs are there for teachers in London, England? Well, today, there are 1315 classroom teacher jobs listed online. Many of these jobs start September 1st, and some are to finish off this current academic year.

You can see the teacher jobs listed here.

There are a few things you need to know before applying to specific jobs:
  1. If you are still in Canada (or anywhere else for that matter), schools are highly unlikely to read your resume. They use agencies (like us) when they want to hire teachers from abroad, and use the TES when they want to hire teachers they can meet in person.
  2. If you were to be hired directly by a school, they will pay you less than if you go through an agency, at least until you have your QTS. You won't have your QTS in your first year of teaching, and don't really need to worry about getting it unless you plan to stay more than 4 years. To read more about QTS and agencies, please read this detailed post.
  3. Agencies use these same ads on the TES to "hook" you. That doesn't mean the school has actually contacted the agency and asked for help with hiring a teacher! This is VERY important. All it means is that there is a job available. The agency wants you to think that it's a real job that they need to fill, and you then apply to said agency in hopes of securing that specific job. They're not dumb! They know that they will get more teachers if they appear to have more jobs. Real jobs get filled very quickly! If the agency is any good, they get the job from the school, already have a great group of teachers to put forward that are there in London, arrange the interviews for the next day and ta-da! One of their teachers gets the job before they even have time to advertise. That's how we do it anyway. So if you see an ad for a teaching job that's been up for more than a few days, I'd be very sceptical that the job is a real job, and not just "borrowed" from the TES listings. Of course, there are exceptions. Science jobs are very hard to fill, so the ads for science teacher positions will stay up a long time before they are actually filled.
  4. When we have specific jobs for our schools, we give them to our teachers who are in London already. It is very rare for us to advertise in Canada for these specific jobs because we know our schools want to see people immediately. Having said that though, I do have a teacher in Ontario who has an interview on the phone this week with one of our schools. He is an experienced teacher and the job is perfect for him, so that does happen as well. What's the job? He is a PE teacher for primary school students, with 2 years experience doing that specific job. The job is exactly that - a PE job for a primary teacher. I have no doubt that he will get the job, simply because his experience and references are outstanding. And that's why I love what I do!
  5. The most important thing to secure the teaching job that you want is to find an agency that you trust, has a good repuatation and you know will be able to find you the job. Simple right? It is. So, if you want to teach in London, then obviously I will say you should apply to Classroom Canada. And if you want to teach anywhere other than London, keep reading this blog & do your research and find a company that fits the criteria for you.
I hope this helps you understand more about the jobs for teachers in London. I know it's overwhelming, but that's why I do the job I do - to make it easier for teachers like you.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts? Please share below.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Teaching in London, England: Music in the Classroom

I loved teaching in London schools where I could use music in my classroom. It does not matter how old your students are, music can be an incredibly powerful tool in teaching all kids.

Students in London are really into R&B, hip hop, rap and pop music. Depending on your tastes, teaching with music can be a wonderful or painful experience!

I posted on my twitter page and my facebook page that I'd be writing a blog post about using music in teaching and asked for any suggestions from fellow teachers. Here is what they said:

Erika:
I used the song "Captain Kidd" by Great Big Sea last week with my Year 7s in English class. We are doing pirate themed creative writing, and it fit :) The kids were singing the chorus by the end of it.


Steven:
for the young'uns, mary had a little amp. good compilation. and of course sho mo & the monkey bunch.

and high school students need to be schooled about the best hiphop record ever, which as you know is digable planets reachin' (a refutation of time & space).

my friend johne clarke plays music all day in his high school communication classes. he teaches video production, and brags about all the shows he & i saw in the 90s.

Kathleen:
There is research about certain classical composers and how their music helps people with concentration. Good for intensive quiet writing or math sessions. For younger grades, short themes (ie batman, spiderman, etc) put on for tidy up time or getting ready time - use like a timer. Something like that would need to be integrated into classroom mgt strategies at beginning of year.
Bristleblocks@ClassroomCanada
(Re: music in the classroom) I used a lot of instrumental music that can be classified as "world music."
gr1teacher
"Great Big Sun" by Justin Roberts is my class' fave CD. Check out his site at justinroberts.org/music
I personally use music that the kids are into as a way to manage their behaviours. So, if I am teaching Year 6 in a fairly tough inner city school, then to start the day (or week, or year...) I will say that I'm happy to play their music at the end of the day provided that the music is appropriate and they earn the time by completely their work, being kind to each other, listening and so on. It tends to motivate the children. The only issue is getting them to agree on the music! There are a variety of ways to do this -
  1. Just pick something most students will like (whatever is popular in your class, when I was there Beyonce was really big).
  2. Have one student (ie the student councellor) choose the music. Or, if it is your class, you can rotate through the class list so each student gets a choice, but there can be no fighting! No complaining, no whinging, no grumbling, etc.
  3. Have a radio station that you know is appropriate and play that. There are plenty of good online radio stations that you can play through the Interactive White Board.
  4. Have a stack of class CDs that the students can choose.
  5. Just choose your own! You are the teacher after all.
The important thing here is that music can inspire, focus, motivate and create an all-round happy classroom environment. It can also create tension, anger, frustration and an all-round miserable classroom environment depending on how you introduce it to the class. That's your job! As the teacher, you need to decide how to introduce music into your classroom but do it right, and your job is made much easier by a happy class.

Kathleen's suggestion of using classical music is a good one and is in place in quite a few London schools. Some schools even name their classrooms after composers. So, rather than saying "Miss Westcott's class" they would say "Bach's class." The students learn about the composers & are able to indentify their music by the time they finish the year. Concentration improves and a love for music can't be a bad thing!

What about you? What music do you use? How do you use it in your class? Please share your thoughts below.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Year 6 SATS Cancelled Due to Head Teacher's Refusal to Participate

Year 5 students can relax this summer with the knowledge that their upcoming school year will be like any other. The Year 6 SATs tests have been canceled for next year. The SATs are the compulsory national tests that students in Year 2, 6 and 9 take in England.

Teachers and Head Teachers (aka principals) have always grumbled about the tests, particularly for the 11 year old students as the pressure creates unnecessary stress in the classroom and at home.

To read more about the boycott of the SATs, check out this Guardian newspaper article.

More articles about Assessment in London schools:
Videos About Assessment for Learning
Teaching in the UK: Assessment for Learning Explained

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Survey Results from the Classroom Canada Newsletters

At the beginning of the week, I emailed subscribers to our newsletters and asked for their feedback. I asked these three questions:

  1. How many email newsletters would you like to read per month?
  2. What information would you like to see more of?
  3. What is your impression of Classroom Canada?
I also asked for any advice, feedback, comments or questions. The results are in! Click on the photo above to see the more detailed answers.

Here are the results in a nutshell.
  1. For the number of emails per month, most want only 1 email/month, but 2 emails/month follows closely behind. I'm pleased to hear this, as I usually only send 1 email a month but every once in a while if there is important information, then 2 emails are sent. Sounds like we're on the right track for most people anyway.
  2. The vast majority of our readers want more information about: specific job teaching posts, nitty gritty details (visa, flights, accommodations) and information about the application process. I will send out an email next month with all of these details.
  3. The impression of Classroom Canada is an interesting one! 42 people answered. 26 people said that we are a caring, friendly and informative teaching agency; 22 said we are Canadian owned & operated, 12 said their staff genuinely care about their teachers experiences, 13 said we have plenty of teaching jobs and 10 said that we are experienced teachers ourselves. Now, this question had drop-down answers, where you can select more than one answer. So, some people selected a few answers and some people just selected one. In hindsight, to make these results more useful, I would change the drop down menu so that people can only choose one. I can't tell by these results if I should really change anything. What do you think?
Here are the results for the final question, where I asked for any advice or feedback:
  1. I've noticed a recurring theme in the Coffee Time Series interviews that I have come across so far - the difficulty Canadian teachers have faced/are facing with classroom and behaviour management - would it be a good idea to compile a list of strategies that teachers over in London have already tried, along with whether they were successful or not? If there is already a similar feature on the Classroom site, I apologize!
  2. I like how Victoria is passionate about what she does, and takes the time to answer questions throughly and completely. Victoria is honest about her experiences and genuine.
  3. It would be nice if you could share how likely it is to get a full time position or how often you get sub work. I heard some companies provide more work than others depending on the amount of schools they have on their list.
  4. I would really like to hear more about the job postings in London. That is what makes me remember a teaching agency the most -- access to jobs.
  5. I'd like to know more about people comparing and contrasting the teaching experiences between UK and Canada in the coffee time series.
  6. I really wish that the Guide to Teaching in London was available as a print edition, perhaps by special order.
  7. I haven't used classroom canada except to read your email newsletter.
  8. Finding a lecturer in education studies post or an English teacher post in the UK is not the problem. What is the serious problem is to find ways to beat the point-based visa. So far I had two real good interviews and waiting to hear from them. If I do not hear from them, it would be for that bloody point-based visa issue. Employers have to heavily justify that there were no candidates for this post; thus, they are applying for a sponsorship visa.
There's a lot of great feedback in these comments.

Here are some blog posts that deal with these issues:
Teaching Jobs in London, England
Teacher Jobs in London Up by 21-32%
10 Myths About Teaching in London

Sometimes it's hard to hear the truth, but I really believe it's important to take into account every person's views on what we are doing & how we come across. I have to admit that I often feel as though I am repeating myself through this blog, the interviews I conduct, the Guide to Teaching in London and in answering general queries. I often worry that people must think I sound like a broken record. Judging from the answers above, I'm just being paranoid. People clearly want more information about the nitty-gritty details (visas, jobs, accommodations), and they don't necessarily read this blog on a regular enough basis to know this information already. So, I need to send this information through the newsletters as well as through the blog.

What about you? If this is your first time to this blog, what do you think? And, for all those fabulous regular readers out there, please please please give your feedback to this survey below! What would you like me to write about? Am I a broken record? Thanks for sharing. :-)

Check out the brand-spanking-new Classroom Canada Teachers Blog where our teachers share their insights, stories, photos, rants, raves and everything in between about teaching in London.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.


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