Friday, December 24, 2010

A special message from us to you this holiday season

Happy Holidays, Happy Christmas,
Happy 2-Whole-Weeks-Off-for-Teachers!



May your holidays be filled with love, laughter and adventures as you recuperate and prepare for another teaching term.  See you in 2011!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Classroom Canada Visits Universities Across Canada to Discuss Teaching Jobs in London, England

 
Happy holidays everyone! 

Our teachers are currently traveling across the ocean to head home for the holidays, or across the channel to the rest of Europe.  Some are stranded in London, waiting for the couple of cms of snow to clear before they can depart for their holiday adventures.  Looks like London needs to start looking to Canada for advice on how to fly despite snowfall.

Anissa & I are enjoying a couple of quiet weeks before we hit the road again to visit universities across Canada.  We'll be meeting with new and experienced teachers to discuss teaching jobs in London, England.  The jobs will start in April/May and September/October 2011.

We'll be updating this list with more universities and locations across Canada and the USA as we go along.  If you want us to come to your university or city please leave a comment & let us know.  Also, this year we're doing things a bit differently and bringing teachers who have returned home after teaching with us in London.  They'll be our ambassadors, telling all the new teachers what it's really like to teach in London with Classroom Canada.  I'm so excited to see these teachers again as I travel the country.  They make my job so much more fun!

I've linked to Coffee Time Interviews with our Teachers who have graduated from the universities below where I can.  It's always a great idea to read about teachers who are working in London and graduated from your university.  Please do click on the links & read about their experiences in teaching and traveling.

Here goes:
January 7th, 2011
St Catharines, ON, Canada
Brock University
Teacher Career Fair, Presentation & Interviews

January 11th 2011
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Queen's University (my alma mater!)
Teacher Career Fair, Presentation & Interviews (likely will do the interviews on January 12th)

January 13th, 2011
Toronto, ON, Canada
York University
Teacher Career Fair, Interviews will be same day

January 14th, 2011
London, ON, Canada
Western University
Teacher Career Fair

January 15th 2011
Peterborough, ON, Canada
Trent University
Teacher Career Fair

January 17th, 2011
Edmonton, Alberta
University of Alberta
Teacher Career Fair

January 19th
Lethbridge, Alberta
Lethbridge University
Teacher Career Fair

January 21st
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Lakehead University
Teacher Career Fair

January 21st
Vancouver, BC, Canada
UBC
Teacher Career Fair

January 25th
Fredericton, New Brunswick
UNB
Teacher Career Fair

January 28th
North Bay, ON
Nipissing
Teacher Career Fair

February 7th, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
McGill
Teacher Career Fair

February 8th, 2011
Montreal, Quebec Canada
Interviews with teachers who want to teach in London, England

February 9th, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Concordia
Teacher Career Fair

Do you want us to come to your university or city and don't see it above?  Please let us know by leaving your comment below.  That's how we decide where to go!

Resources for Teaching in London
Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Monday, December 13, 2010

British Christmas from Teachers TV

Teachers TV sent out a great email today with links to their videos specifically focused on Christmas.  They are short, 4-20 minute clips, and deal with issues like:

 "Can Christmas be inclusive?"

"How to create a Christmas newspaper"

"Bollywood Christmas"

I can't upload the videos here as they don't have licensing for Canada, but you can click on the links & see for yourself.  My personal fave from the above list is "Bollywood Christmas" because the kids are just so dang cute.  If you're thinking about teaching in London, or the UK in general, you should check out the videos to see what British schools do around Christmas and the holidays.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

World Education Rankings: Canada, the USA & the UK

Here's an interesting article about how the UK education rankings compare with the rest of the world.  Guess what Canada?  We beat 'em.  And we beat the USA too. 

Don't get overly-excited though.  This is all based on one study comparing maths, reading & science results around the world, and while we should be proud for being third, we also have to question this kind of a study in the first place.  As teachers, we know how dificult it is to judge education on test scores.  Teaching these days is far more than tests.

But take a look anyway and let me know your thoughts on the issue.

Resources for Teaching in London


Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Friday, December 3, 2010

London's in a Deep Freeze & When to Call 999 for an Emergency



No doubt you've already heard the big news out of the UK this week - it's cold across the pond!

They have snow, which means the city of London virtually shuts down, schools close, cars crash and people slip on the ice.  As Canadians and Northern Americans, we think it's kinda funny - most of us are used to a winter with snow, and can't imagine why England is never really prepared for it. 

But now that I live on the West Coast of Canada, I can see why.  On Vancouver Island we had 4 days of snow last week and I hid in my office away from the poor drivers.  You see, I live in Victoria, the land of the "newly wed and nearly dead" so...the drivers aren't the best if you know what I mean.  It's best to hide away and wait for it all to melt.


But get this - the BBC reported today that a woman called 999 (which is 911 for England) to report the theft of her snowman.  No joke.  This really happened.  

My favourite quote from the article:

"It ain't a nice road but you don't expect someone to nick your snowman."
and this one:
The force said the woman, from Chatham, thought the incident required their involvement because she used pound coins for eyes and teaspoons for arms.
What has England come to?

What would you say to this woman?

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On the Road Again! Classroom Canada at SFU December 1, 2010

Anissa & I are packing up my car & getting ready to hit the road again - this time, we're off to Vancouver for the Simon Fraser University Teacher Career Fair tomorrow afternoon.  We'll be meeting new teachers and discussing teaching jobs in London, England, with a focus on primary, secondary & special educational needs teaching jobs. 

Often times, these new teachers don't quite know where they want to teach and visit our table to simply discuss their options.  And every once in a while, a reader of this very blog will visit us, and apply to teach in London with us.  I love when that happens!  Check out Joann's coffee time - I met her at UBC a couple of years now and she's already been to teach in London and back again. 

If you're an SFU student teacher, please be sure to pop by and visit us.  I might even be bringing some home made cookies to share, bt I have a feeling Anissa & I will have some for breakfast as we'll be on the ferry at 7am (eeeeh-gah!).  We'll have apples and sweets anyway. 

To see if we're visiting your town in the new year, please see our list of University Fairs and please do let us know if you want us to come to your town. 

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog
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Monday, November 29, 2010

11 Year Old Speaks Out About Our Food System



As teachers, every once in a while, we come across a child that is so incredibly confident, strong-willed, and such a bright spark that we just have to spread the word about them.  Here's one I saw today.  Watch the video. You'll see what I mean.  Know another one?  Send me the link by leaving a comment below.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Advice for New Teachers - Work/Life Balance

I often send our readers over to Teachers TV to check out their amazing short documentary style videos for educators and I'm about to do so once again.

This time I'm sending you there to watch a video about Wellbeing at Work - Coping with Excessive Workload.  I know teachers are starting to feel the stress of the pre-holiday season, where they wonder how on earth they'll get it all done in time.  All the planning, teaching, assessing, behaviour managing, IEP writing, teacher-parent conferences, report writing...and then the Christmas concerts disrupt all their plans and how on earth do they manage to get any of it done anyway?  What about their lives outside of school? 

I've given 5 workshops at UVic over the last 2 weeks to teachers about to graduate, and I noticed that I often end up giving out some free "life" advice while I teach resume & cover letter writing and what it's really like to teach in London, England.  

Here are a few bits & pieces of advice that I seem to give again & again to new teachers:
  • Remember who you are & give yourself the time to be you.  So, if you knit - knit! If you're sporty, do your sports (or at least the British equivalents!). If you love independent movies, find your indie-world in London.  Whatever makes you happy - you absolutely have to make that time for yourself.  Not just for your own sanity either.  Your teaching will be better if you take that time, plus you're that much more interesting to your students & colleagues.
  • Going to the pub with your colleagues is an important part of many school cultures in London.  So if you drink, you'll be happy to take a break from being at school to get thee to your "local"!  And if you don't drink, it's important that you still go and just have a soda because a whole lot of staff-team-bonding happens at the pub in London.  Not all schools, but many are this way.  Don't miss out - your colleagues are there to relate to you, laugh with you (and sometimes at you), and share in your joys & struggles.  Tap into that community by being active within it.
  • Open up your mind to all the amazing possibilities available to you.  You get 13 weeks of holidays spread throughout the school year - use them!  Go to Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague, Morocco...but don't get stressed about seeing every place on your travel bucket list.  Go with the flow, be open & flexible and have fun!
  • Seeing the silver lining will help you survive your first year teaching.  In my first year of teaching, my Aussie flatmate and I came up with a rule in our house - at the end of every teaching day, we could vent about 1 thing if we had to (and trust me, we did!) and 2 positives.  It stopped our negative venting stream of thinking and forced us to find the positives.  Now, I can see 100's more positives for every one single negative - but I had to train my brain to work that way.
 Any other tips you'd like to offer to new teachers?  Please share your thoughts below. 

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Enough about us, what about you? Win a Free Ebook: Guide to Teaching in London

We've just posted a poll on the right hand side of this blog to ask our readers what brought them to our blog.

We want to know more about you - what you're interested in, why you came to this particular blog and what you want to get out of  it.  So please tick a box and leave a comment here.  Let us know a bit more about you - what makes you interested in reading about teaching in London?  Or, maybe you're not interested, and just stumbled upon the blog?

Please share your thoughts below! It helps us know what to write about.  Comments make the blogosphere.


PS) One lucky commenter will win a free copy of Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians - worth $29.95! 

Resources for Teaching in London


Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Teaching Fellow Teachers: Reflections of a Former Teacher Turned Recruitment Manager

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to teach current student-teachers at the University of Victoria in two different classes, with my new colleague Anissa Paulsen.  We chatted about teaching abroad, with a focus on teaching in London, England and the kinds of jobs and experiences that our teachers have.  We also did a short session on cover letter & CV writing, as well as my advice on how to ace the dreaded teacher interview.

The morning class ran from 11 until 12:50 and the afternoon class was from 2:30-3:50.  I thought I'd share my thoughts on how my "classes" went:
  1. First off, I love morning classes that start at 11.  I had plenty of time to drink my coffee, reply to emails, make a few phone calls and get ready for the day.  That was a total score in my mind, and I'm sure the student teachers love it too.  Especially on a Monday morning.
  2. Is it me, or are student teachers really just big kids?  I found the morning class full of energy, enthusiasm and laughter whereas the afternoon class was sluggish and frankly - they seemed a bit bored.  I even had the student-teachers open a couple of windows!  Anissa & I talked to their professor afterwards and discussed the difference in the two classes.  Don't get me wrong - I liked both classes, but I worried that my own teaching was really boring.  What was I doing wrong?  I told funny stories (or at least I think they're funny!) and tried to make the workshop as engaging as possible.  But the professor advised me on what I could have done with the afternoon class.  She explained that she always has them moving around, up out of their seats - just like primary kids.  She was a Primary School Principal so she uses the same tricks with her student teachers as she does elementary aged students.  Well how 'bout that.  I didn't even think of that!
  3. I love the enthusiasm that our teachers have for traveling the world, and love meeting new teachers with that same enthusiasm.  Our conversations are so much more meaningful to me.  In contrast, I find it hard to relate to teachers who don't want to leave the comfort zones of what they know at "home."  Huh?  You don't want to spend your weekends in Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague...?  Really? 
  4. Sometimes I can be a bit too honest.  But I won't change that anytime soon. Whether that be in a teacher's interview or during a presentation at a university - sometimes I shock myself with what I actually say outloud  -- and now you're thinking - "what did she say?!"  I will never tell.
  5. I like giving teachers unexpected freebies.  For every teacher that showed up to class yesterday we gave them a free copy of my ebook, Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians.  It saved each student $29.95 so that felt pretty cool.
  6. It's all about the little things.  Anissa and I gave the workshops at no cost to U. Vic or the student-teachers, partly because we're here in Victoria so it was no big deal for travel and partly because we figure it's good to give back to our local uni.  I knew that would feel good.  But I didn't know that the student-teachers would give us each a little gift and a signed card by everyone in the class.  Good thinking U.Vic!  Really appreciated that simple gesture. 
Tomorrow we're giving two more workshops at U.Vic, this time for 2 hour sessions with more in depth chats about teaching jobs in England, resume and cover letter writing, and how to rock the teacher interview for going abroad.  The first one is at 9:00 am, so I won't have them up and moving around too much (wouldn't want them to spill their coffees!), but the second one isn't til after lunch so...guess I'll plan to move them around a bit.  Maybe I should even bring some of my "supply teacher tips & tricks."  Fireball anyone?

What would you do?  Have you ever taught grown-ups?  If so, please send me your advice on how I can improve my afternoon sessions!  Thanks.

Resources for Teaching in London


Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teaching the Periodic Table with Harry Potter

Here's a different way to teach the periodic table, as demonstrated by Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter Fame.




Resources for Teaching in London
Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Classroom Canada is Coming to You! Teacher Career Fairs, Workshops, Presentations & Interviews in Your Cities

It's official - jetlag has knocked me on my butt.  I flew to London last Sunday and went straight into the London office for Monday for our intense & amazing PD & Socials week. Then I flew home on Monday, and went straight to our Victoria BC office to catch up on all that I missed while away.  Now it's Wednesday and I must say - I'm swamped! 

So, I've been returning all your phone calls and replying to emails, as well as interviewing teachers for jobs that start in January & May 2011 and a few for September/October 2011.  It's madness over here folks.

Anissa and I had a meeting today about all the universities we're visiting this year, and to discuss our upcoming U.Vic workshops on resume & cover letter writing for overseas teaching jobs, as well as what it's really like to teach in London.  I had the pleasure to speak with a U. Vic student teacher about doing her placement with us in London next year and a Queen's student teacher about her alternate practicum this spring.  It's always so great to see teachers planning ahead.  Doing a placement in London just makes so much sense for their careers and for the adventure of teaching abroad.

Anyway, in case you missed it - here's the list of places we're visiting this year, with some more to be added to the list shortly.  I'm excited to meet all the great teachers across Canada and America who want to teach in the UK with us.  They make it all worthwhile!  Be sure to let us know if you want us to visit your town or city and it's not already on the list.

Resources for Teaching in London
Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Traveling Around the World and a Love Affair with Airports Free WiFi


I'm en route from London, England back to my home of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  This morning, I flew with Air France from London to Paris and I've just arrived in Seattle, in the last leg of my journey home.  Thought I'd write a quick blog post to tell you how much I love free WiFi at airports.  Thanks SeaTac and Vancouver Airports! You rock.

You see, I travel across Canada and the USA doing interviews and presentations with teachers who want jobs in London, England.  I also visit our teachers in London at least once a year.  So I spend an awful lot of time at airports.  And when I can, I hop online to check my email, catch up on teachers' blogs, chat on facebook & twitter and get re-connected with the world.  It's glorious when it's free.  


They're calling my name to board the flight to Victoria. Before I go, do you have any airports you love?  Please leave your comments below!

PS) Laura Buchan is my Flight Centre Agent and she always manages to get me great cheap flights.  She also offers at least $25 off for any of our teachers with Classroom Canada. Call her and say "Classroom Canada" - 1 866 552 4050

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photos from our Run with Richard and Primary/SEN PD Workshop

Gearing up for the Classroom Canada 5km jogging tour of Central London



On Monday night, we did our 2nd annual "Run with Richard," a 5km jogging tour of Central London starting at our London office near Oxford Circus.  Some of the teachers preferred to just sit & drink a bit of wine with me while I held the bags and ipods for the runners and I was pleased to have their company.  It's always so great for me to get to know the Canadian & American teachers and teaching assistants a bit better in London.  I have the best job in the whole world thanks to them.

Then, on Tuesday night we did our Professional Development Workshop for Primary and Special Educational Needs teachers.  Jennifer Hocking, a fellow Queen's graduate, lead the SEN portion and I lead the primary portion.  We focused on a "round table" approach in the workshop, encouraging teachers to share their experiences and expertise.  I loved it and hope the teachers did too!




I know the photos don't really do the workshop justice, but I wanted to show you how we set up the round tables and discussion groups. 

I had the pleasure of visiting our accommodations today with Richard from Classroom London.  Jim, our contact, is so lovely & such a great support for our Canadian and American teachers.  They've really made a lot of improvements on the buildings, which are located right near Tottenham Court Road, in the very centre of London.  I'm always so impressed!

Tonight we have our Secondary and SEN workshop with another successful teacher, Kelly Gauthier.  Kelly will be leading both sections of the workshop & sharing her experiences in both areas over the past 2 years of teaching in London with us.  I first met Kelly at a presentation I gave at Queen's, where she wanted more information about completing her "alternative practicum" in London.  A few months later Kelly arrived in London with us (after initially registering with another agency that she wasn't too impressed with) and has been with us ever since.  I'm really looking forward to her workshops.

Tomorrow night we have the 3rd annual London Scavenger Hunt, a ridiculously silly & fun event that I look forward to every time I come back to London.  See the prizes for the hunt here .

And then, I fly back home to Vancouver Island on Monday morning.  Crazy.  What a whirlwind trip!

Next week, I'm planning my PD workshops for the student-teachers at the University of Victoria.  Can't wait.

Resources for Teaching in London


Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Ramblings of Gratitude on the London Underground

I arrived in London yesterday and had the pleasure of taking the overland train and the tube into Oxford Circus this morning, to our London office.  While sitting on the train, I started to feel nostalgic for my life in London.  I've been recruiting Canadian teachers to London with Classroom Canada for 3 years, and this past year I've also started to recruit American teachers with Classroom America.  I live in Victoria, British Columbia most of the time and travel across Canada and America to conduct interviews and do presentations about teaching in London and the jobs we have.

So I visit London once or twice a year, see all our teachers, conduct PD workshops, organize & participate in social events and catch up with my London colleagues.  It's a manic week to say the least, but also my favourite week of the year.

On my journey into London this morning, I made a list in my head of all the things I love about my journey to the office:
  • I love how easy it is to navigate London.  Thank you tube & overland maps!
  • I love catching a stranger's eye on the elevators and giving them an unexpected smile.
  • I love the HSBC ads at the airport. I always feel like I'm coming "home" when I see their ads.  Strange, I know.
  • I love listening to my ipod on the tube.  This morning's playlist was Hollerado, from Manotick, Ontario close to my home town of Ottawa.
  • I love getting off at Oxford Circus and being swept amongst the crowds.
  • I love stopping in at Pret to pick up a latte ("not too hot please" - they always burn the milk unless I tell them not to) and a breakfast sandwich.  My colleagues are sick of Pret because our London office is right above one, but since I'm only here for a week I can't get sick of their food yet. Their love bars are delicious!
  • I love reading this week's Time Out Magazine, even though I won't have much time to actually see any other events besides our Classroom Canada ones, I still like to know how much there is to do in London.
  • I love coming into the London office and seeing all my amazing colleagues.  Seriously, I have the best colleagues in the whole world.  How did I get so lucky?
  • I love meeting the new London staff!  They don't feel new themselves, but for me, since I was here a year ago they're new to me.
  • I love seeing our teachers in London.   Absolutely love it.
Resources for Teaching in London
Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life's a Carnival: The Education Buzz #7 is up

This is not a blog carnival, but it is a carnival.
A blog carnival is a great place to check out bloggers' favourite posts with a group focus on one theme.  I often participate in the Education Carnival, which is now called the Education Buzz.  It's a monthly event, and I'm always so proud to be included amongst other amazing education bloggers.  Joanne Jacobs, Sarah Ebner, Mr Teacher, Carol Richtsmeier, Siobhan Curious...there are so many!

Check out Bellringers blog to see this month's carnival, and if you are a teacher blogger, or education blogger in general, then please submit your personal favourite post for next month. 

Please leave your comments and share the love!

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Classroom Canada's London Scavenger Hunt - November 4th 2010

Classroom Canada teachers from the 2008 Scavenger Hunt
Every year, we here at Classroom Canada, organize a social event for our Canadian & American teachers in London, England that's a bit different than the norm.  We start at the Maple Leaf Pub, the only Canadian pub in London, and have a quick drink before sending the teams out to look for the answers to clues in our Scavenger Hunt.  It's ridiculously fun and silly and a great way for our teachers from abroad to make new friends in London.  Last year, three of our teachers actually got full-time teaching jobs simply by chatting with one of our London consultants about their experiences.  Sometimes, a social environment is all a teacher needs to score their first teaching job in London.  But it's also just an all 'round good time.

I'm pleased to announce our sponsors & prizes for the 2010 Classroom Canada Scavenger Hunt.  Without them, we'd have really pathetic prizes to give out.

Prize #1: 250 GBP vouchers from TopDeck Travel  

Once again, the good folks at Topdeck are providing the most sought after prize, vouchers for their amazing tours in Europe and Africa.  They also give a 10% discount to our teachers in Classroom Canada and Classroom America.  Thanks Topdeck!  Be sure to follow them on twitter  and facebook to get deals and competitions.

Prize # 2: $75 off your next flight booked with Laura Buchan of Flight Centre Westshore

Our favourite travel agent is at it again!  One lucky prize winner will receive $75 off their next flight booked with Laura from Flight Centre in the Westshore. Thanks Laura! Not only do you manage to always find me the most amazing deals and free stopovers, but you continue to impress with our teachers flights as well.

Some of the 2009 Scavenger Hunt Winners

Prize #3: Teacher Tools from Conversation Works: Whats Gone Well Today Cards
"The What’s Gone Well Today ™ cards are designed to help people quickly connect and engage in deeper conversation. As there is often a disconnect between people in our communities, and organizations, there is distinct advantage to have people who can quickly connect with others. Folks in many organizations have difficulty in asking the right questions, the questions that develop and strengthen relationships so crucial to business, social enterprise and effective human resource management. WGWT offers powerful tools to help people connect and engage at multiple levels, for multiple purposes."

I've used these cards myself and think they're an excellent tool for new teachers in London.  They aren't just for teachers, but we can use them in our classrooms and at home.  Four decks of these cards (valued at $29.95 each) will be given out as prizes.



Prize #4: Lloyd's TSB Offshore Pens and Cross Pens
Our friends in the Vancouver office of Lloyd's TSB have once again given us 2 Cross Pens and various Lloyds pens as prizes.  The Cross Pens are very fancy writing tools, and as my new friend in Austin just said, "They're the kind of pens that you don't let anyone else use.  This is my pen.  I have a spare for you to use, that isn't mine."   What teacher doesn't need their very own Cross Pen?  Thanks Michael & Tony.  As always, you rock.
Bryn showing us how to be Canadian, eh?
Prize #5: Random Canadiana from Classroom Canada
I love collecting random Canadiana for our teachers in London.  This year, I'm bringing a beach towel that says "EH?" (love it), baseball caps, paper plates, napkins, some postcards from Texas (that's the random Americana for y'all since I'm in Austin Texas as I type this) and whatever else I find in my suitcase that I threw in there when I was packing.
Mike at the 2010 Scavenger Hunt
Prize #6: British Randomness
My colleague, Matt, and I went out last year at the very last minute and bought some weird British prizes and had a ridiculous time shopping for the hunt.  So, I imagine we will do it again this year.  Head on over to the photos from last year's hunt to see some of the prizes in action.
Grant showing off his prize, while still wet from the rainy 2010 Scavenger Hunt
Prize #7: Whatever Else I can Find
We're still looking for more prizes from companies that fit our theme - Canadians and Americans teaching in London.  So if you're reading this and know of a cool company that might want some online exposure, please send them my way!


Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Love to Kibera - the power of teaching and poverty

I'm in Austin, Texas for the Austin Film Festival before my big trip to London, England to see our Canadian & American teachers. The other night I met a documentary director, Lee Rothenflue, who told a story that sent shivers up my arm.  As an educator who focuses on teaching kids from all the world, and a recruiter who selects teachers for jobs in inner city schools in London - this particular story touched me.

I know I can't do it justice here, but I will try to sum it up for 'y'all.'

A secondary school teacher in a poor, mostly black, Austin school noticed that her students needed a reality check on what they actually have compared to other kids around the world.  She wanted them to see kids living in slums, and their experiences so that her students could embrace their own educations & opportunities despite the setbacks presented to them in Austin.  So a video was made.  From Kibera slums to the kids in Austin - and their message was clear: love to Austin and please visit us.

When the teacher showed the video to her class, she was surprised by their response.  They wanted to accept the invitation and go to Kibera to meet the kids.

$30 000 of funds raised later, and a whole lot of planning and preparation brought the Texan kids to Kibera.

Here's a quick video to see the students discussing their upcoming journey.  Keep in mind that the kids at the school in Austin and the kids in Kibera have a Christian background, so you will notice a focus on Jesus Christ, which for us in Canadian public education is uncomfortable.  We don't tend to touch religion like they do here in Texas, so ... just a heads up for those who might not be accustomed to the Christ focus.  The school in Austin is a public school, but this is Texas, so Christianity is the norm folks.



While there, the Texans learned about laughter and love and a documentary was made.  I'm excited to see it complete.

What do you think?  Would you take your students to a slum?  What do you think they'd learn?

Here is the website for Love to Kibera. Go check it out!  Spread the word. Share the love.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Videos Recommended by a Canadian teacher on her way to London, England


I love it when our teachers send me emails with interesting videos or blogs for others teachers to check out. So when "M" sent me the email below I asked her if I could share it with you all here.  She agreed.  Thanks M!

Hi Victoria,


Hope things are well. I am doing good, slowly preparing. I got my visa and will submit all the documents for the bank account this week. I also have to tell my current boss about my decision very soon.

I found these videos, I am not sure if you ever saw them. But I wanted to share them with you. You can put them on your blog! I think teachers would be interested to hear these.

The first video is a presentation by Dan Meyer (a math teacher) - "Math class needs a makeover"

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/dan_meyer_math_curriculum_makeover.html

The second is a presentation by Ken Robinson on how in his opinion schools kill creativity.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html


P.S.Congratulations on the honorable mention (from Writer's Digest) for your book! It's awesome, easy to read and to the point, I found a lot of answers to my questions in it. Thanks for writing it!

Best wishes and I will be in touch soon again,
M...
I've taken out her name as she hasn't told her boss that she's leaving to teach in London, England so I figured she didn't want them to find out here.

I have seen the second video before and enjoyed it, but I'm about to watch the first video now.  Thanks for sharing!

Keep those emails & comments coming folks.  They are why we do what we do.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Wear Purple on October 20th and Twitter

I noticed that the Wear Purple on October 20th campaign didn't have a Twitter hashtag so I've started to use #Oct20WearPurple.

If you tweet, please tweet this:

#Oct20WearPurple - please RT often! http://on.fb.me/bHtvc1 Help teens know that #ItGetsBetter http://on.ted.com/8dxb


It's so exciting to see how many people are participating in this event.  If you don't know what on earth I'm talking about, please click the links.
 
Teachers, this is your call to action to help teenagers know that you're there if they need to talk. 

Teaching Jobs in London and Classroom Canada: University Job Fairs & Presentations for 2010/2011

I just received a comment from a reader who wants to know what universities we'll be visiting this academic year to meet new teachers & discuss our teaching jobs in London. 

So, here it is.  Thanks for asking & leaving your comments. We really appreciate it.

We'll be updating this list with more universities and locations across Canada and the USA as we go along.  If you want us to come to your university or city please leave a comment & let us know.  Also, this year we're doing things a bit differently and bringing teachers who have returned home after teaching with us in London.  They'll be our ambassadors, telling all the new teachers what it's really like to teach in London with Classroom Canada.  I'm so excited to see these teachers again as I travel the country.  They make my job so much more fun!

I've linked to Coffee Time Interviews with our Teachers who have graduated from the universities below where I can.  It's always a great idea to read about teachers who are working in London and graduated from your university.  Please do click on the links & read about their experiences in teaching and traveling.

Here goes:

Oct. 20th-29th 2010
Austin, Texas
Interviews with American teachers who want to work in London, England.

Oct. 29th-30th
Chicago, Illinois
Interviews with American teachers who want to work in London, England.


Oct 31st-Nov 8th
London, England
This is our Professional Development & Socials Week for our new arrivals in London, England. 

Nov 15th & 17th
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
University of Victoria
Workshops: Resume & Cover Letter Writing for Overseas Teacher Jobs,
What's it Really Like to Teach in London, England? 
4 workshops spread throughout primary & secondary teacher classes.  If you go to UVic come & find us to discuss your job prospects!

December 1st
Vancouver, BC, Canada
SFU
Teacher Job Fair & Interviews with new teachers who want to work in London, England.

December 17th
Toronto, ON, Canada
OISE Teacher Career Fair
Interviews on December 18th.

January 7th, 2011
St Catharines, ON, Canada
Brock University
Teacher Career Fair, Presentation & Interviews

January 11th 2011
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Queen's University (my alma mater!)
Teacher Career Fair, Presentation & Interviews (likely will do the interviews on January 12th)

January 13th, 2011
Toronto, ON, Canada
York University
Teacher Career Fair, Interviews will be same day

January 14th, 2011
London, ON, Canada
Western University
Teacher Career Fair

January 15th 2011
Peterborough, ON, Canada
Trent University
Teacher Career Fair

January 17th, 2011
Edmonton, Alberta
University of Alberta
Teacher Career Fair

January 19th
Lethbridge, Alberta
Lethbridge University
Teacher Career Fair

January 21st
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Lakehead University
Teacher Career Fair

January 21st
Vancouver, BC, Canada
UBC
Teacher Career Fair

January 25th
Fredericton, New Brunswick
UNB
Teacher Career Fair

January 28th
North Bay, ON
Nipissing
Teacher Career Fair

February 7th, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
McGill
Teacher Career Fair

February 8th, 2011
Montreal, Quebec Canada
Interviews with teachers who want to teach in London, England

February 9th, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Concordia
Teacher Career Fair

Do you want us to come to your university or city and don't see it above?  Please let us know by leaving your comment below.  That's how we decide where to go!

Resources for Teaching in London
Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Wear Purple on October 20th & Some News

Wow.  What a day!

First off, welcome to all the new readers to this blog that have found us through the "Wear Purple on Oct. 20th" campaign.  It was started on facebook by a high school student who wanted to do something to help other teens to know that it gets better.  Samantha saw that 6 students commited suicide in the last few months as a result of bullying (because they came out as gay, or were perceived as gay by their "peers") and so she put up an event on facebook for her friends to wear purple on Oct 20th.  Purple represents "Spirit" in the pride flag, so it seemed fitting that supporters would wear purple. 

Well, almost 100 000 have RSVP'ed since that first day when Samantha thought just a few kids at her school would sign up.  Such is the power of one.

If you tweet, please copy & paste the words below and tweet them often:
#Oct20WearPurple - please RT often! http://on.fb.me/bHtvc1 Help teens know that #ItGetsBetter

Last week, I saw the event, RSVP'ed and put up a quick blog post about it.  I had no idea I'd see my blog stats jump 1000% as a result.  Wowsers!  There are a whole lotta people swinging by this little blog & it sure is exciting.
 
As teachers, I think wearing purple on October 20th is the very least we can do in our schools.  It's simple & effective. I'm proud of the teachers that have signed up & will be wearing purple to help their students see that if they need someone to talk to, we're here.  Send in your pictures if you want me to post them here. I'll probably put something up next week after the event.
 
So, check out the facebook page and RSVP and be sure to retweet the above.
 
Also, for NEWS - I have some exciting news to share with you all here.  I just received this email from Writer's Digest:
One of my most enjoyable tasks as editor of Writer’s Digest is passing along good news to writers.

This is one of those fun occasions. It is my pleasure to tell you that your book, Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians in the Reference Books category, has been chosen to receive an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest 18th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards. Your book will be promoted in the March/April 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest. In addition, you will receive a Notable Award Certificate and $50 worth of Writer’s Digest Books. Your award package will be sent out towards the end of the year.
Score! Thanks Writers Digest. You made my day! 

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog
 
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Life's a Carnival: The Education Buzz #6 - Hallowe'en Edition


The Latest Education Carnival is now up over at Bellringers' Blog.  An Education Carnival is "an eclectic smattering of things buzzing about in the EduSphere" and includes some of my favourite bloggers.  If you're a blogger and an educator or education-enthusiast, you can submit your favourite posts to the Carnival here. 

Go check it out & read the other fabulous teacher & education blogs out there.  Don't forget to check the guidelines first before you submit.

I'm off to grab a latte, curl up with a blanket and read all the amazing blog posts over at the Carnival. Hope to see you there in the comments.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog 

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Death of a Blogger: Goodbye to Snuffy, of 'To Miss with Love'

If you've been following this blog for a few years, you will know that I often write about other great education bloggers out there, particularly those that write about teaching in London schools.  One of my favourites, was To Miss with Love, written by an anonymous teacher who went by the name of "Snuffy."  Here's her self-description:

I teach in a state school in inner-city London. I'm black. I want to change the world - one kid - one school - one policy at a time. Nowadays, I'm one of the ones at the top of the school who runs things. Let's see if I can make a difference...
Last week, I received her last blog post on my reader, which basically said "Goodbye blog world" - Snuffy would be writing no longer.  I've been blogging for about 6 years now so I'm well used to the "death of a blogger" syndrome.  It's always a sad day when a blogger I've been reading for years decides to call it quits.

In Snuffy's case, I wasn't surprised.  She often wrote about how she was concerned about being caught out for blogging about the issues in education in London, and how difficult it was to speak her mind without getting in trouble as a teacher and eventually as a Senior Management member of her school.  I've often wondered if I ever taught along with Snuffy in any of our London schools.  Her "voice" seemed so familiar to me.  But maybe it's just that what she wrote about really hit home for me. I taught in many schools in London, but the schools I remember most had the same issues that Snuffy wrote about so often.

Well, today Joanne Jacobs posted the most recent story about Snuffy, whose name we now know.  It turns out that Snuffy got in trouble speaking her opinions on British education again, this time using her real name & voice.  She even had to take 2 days off school for it.

Here's my favourite Snuffy quote from Joanne Jacobs blog: “This idea that because you are poor you cannot achieve is ridiculous.”

I'm so pleased to see that Snuffy's voice has not been silenced.  While she often says things that cause people to squirm in their seats, at least she says them.   So, goodbye to Snuffy the blogger, and hello to Katharine Birbalsingh the teacher who speaks her mind.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog 

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wear Purple on October 20, 2010 to Commemorate the Suicides Caused by Homophobia


I've been writing quite a bit lately about homophobia in schools and what teachers can do about it.  I don't intend this to be a political blog by any means, but when it comes to teenagers, and the issues they face, I feel I have a place here to help other teachers around the world to know just a little bit more, and hope that in their knowing, they do just a little bit more.

So, here's something pro-active that teachers can do on October 20, 2010.  Wear purple.  Wear purple socks, or a purple tie, or a purple shirt, or a purple pin.  Whatever you do, on October 20th, wear some purple to show that you care about LGBT youth (and no, wearing purple does not mean that you are gay).  This is a movement started on facebook, and by simply RSVP'ing, you're helping one more teenager see that it's okay.  They're going to be okay.

Here's the event. Please participate. I'll post pictures if any of you send them in.  I love these kinds of events because they're subtle, effective and fun. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Teachers are Reflective: What's Gone Well Today? What Made You Smile?



Following on from my conversations with Christopher of Conversation Works, I asked our teachers on facebook the question, "What's Gone Well Today?"  The idea behind asking this simple question is to help people to notice all the amazing things that happen in a day instead of focusing on the few negatives.  Christopher has also started the "What's Gone Well Today at School?" page for teachers to comment and share.  Please do go check it out & share your thoughts.

Here are some of the answers that our teachers gave to my facebook question yesterday:


Krystal: I was teaching grade 12 French today here in Winnipeg for a class I sub for pretty regularly and one of the boys said "Crikey Ms. K!! You're jumping the pond?? You know they don't speak French there right??" I just laughed..."uh Brad, you know I speak English too, right??"
Ilona: teaching Nursery today and having little little ones mesmerized by singing Wheels on the Bus and doing actions-they're really little here, younger than JK back home. So cute.
Bryn: I work in Nursery too, Ilona. They're lovely, aren't they?? I work 1:1 (well actually 2:1) with a child with severe Autism in the afternoons, and he fell asleep as soon as we went into the sensory room (right when he arrived), and kept on sleeping...ALL afternoon. So adorable. 
Lots of things went well today. I have really good people around me.
Taylor: So many things today it was glorious!! - children talking in my accent - a child with tactile defensivness and anxiety climb up then slide down - another held on tight while riding on the back platform of the bike I was on ! A very anxiouis child go on the spinner on his own!! And then..saw a beautiful sunset while leaving school...
Erika: I went to a fitness class at the gym for the first time and I didn't throw up. Hurray.
Rebecca: Having the incredible honour and priviledge to coach a very dedicated and talented group of grade 6/7 girls volleyball. God I love my job.
What about you?  What's Gone Well Today for you, dear reader?  Please share below.


Christopher was also very generous and gave us 4 packs of his new shift-your-thinking cards to some of our winners of the upcoming London Scavenger Hunt.  The Scavenger Hunt is an annual event where our new teachers wander the streets of London looking for the answers to questions we pose, all along the journey of making new friends with other Canadian & American teachers in London. It's silly, it's fun and I love it.  We give out lots of prizes from organizations & businesses that fit in with what we do and so I'm pleased to give the What's Gone Well Today Cards to 4 lucky winners this year.

So you've read this far.  Now what?  Well, answer the question silly! What's Gone Well for YOU Today?



Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada - Trisha from Toronto

Name: Trisha Geronimo
University: York University
Subjects: Primary/Junior (K-6)
Ages You Teach: KS2 (Key Stage 2, grades 4-6)

How long have you been teaching in London?
I've been teaching since January 2010.
What do you teach?
I teach Year 4 (ages 8-9) at a junior school in North London. With the exception of P.E., Geography, History, Spanish and Music, I teach all the subjects.
Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
I stumbled across Classroom Canada on Facebook and truthfully, it was Victoria's blog that initially got my attention. It was very informative and I liked that she had prior experience teaching in London. Victoria was very personable and extremely helpful and she responded to my concerns really quickly.
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Using Interactive Whiteboards for most of my lessons (I never used one before) and dealing with behaviour management.
Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
During the weekdays, I get up at 6:00 and leave my flat just after 7:00. I arrive at school between 7:45 - 8:00 and school starts at 8:50. I prefer to arrive pretty early in the morning and get my work done so I can leave soon after the children are dismissed. Since I'm usually knackered by the end of the day, I unwind by watching television or reading a good book. I reserve the weekends for day trips throughout England and sightseeing in the city.
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
Go for it! A year before my arrival, I kept toying with the idea, "Should I? Shouldn't I?" because the thought of leaving all the comforts of home frightened me. I realized that coming to London would be an amazing opportunity for personal and professional growth and I don't regret my decision one bit. I was homesick at first but I quickly connected with other Canadian (and American) teachers who were going through the same thing as me. Despite having only taught in the UK for several months, I know I'll never forget this experience.

Also, like anything new, it will take time to adjust to the curriculum, the children and how to do assessments. You'll have good and bad days, but who doesn't?
Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:
During my first week of teaching, the students asked me where to put their homework folders. I pointed to the large plastic container that you'd typically find at a dollar store back in Canada and said, "Put them in the bin." To that, the children replied, "What?! You want us to put our homework in the bin?!" I quickly learned not to make that mistake again.
Describe the worst thing:
Having arrived in London less than a week before my long-term position was to begin, I hardly had any time to adjust to living in a new country. The first Monday after the Christmas holiday was an INSET day at the school and I was "thrown" into it all. It was incredibly overwhelming at first but it's gotten easier with time.
The worst thing was the feeling that I've lost control of my class (in my case, due to excessive chattiness!) despite all my best efforts and tried, tested and true behaviour management techniques that worked brilliantly back in my Canadian classroom. You'll have good and bad days but consistency is key.
What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
Victoria helped to make my transition to the UK as smooth as possible by answering my questions and getting me in touch with other teachers who've already made the move and who were arriving at the same time as me.
What qualities do you have that make your teaching in London enjoyable?
Patience, understanding, a sense of humour and a love for exploring the beautiful places around me.
Thanks Trisha! 
We're currently interviews teachers who would like to work in London starting in January 2011.  To apply, please submit your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada DOT com.

Resources for Teaching in London


Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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