Thursday, February 25, 2010

That Much Closer To Reaching My Goal

Thanks to Colleen Wagner, of London Relocation Services, I am that much closer to reaching my goal of winning an award this year.  Colleen posted this more-than-flattering blog post about my efforts in recruiting & social media.  Thanks so much Colleen!  You are too kind.

If you haven't voted yet, be sure to check out this blog post to see what I'm talking about & get your votes in.

Vote! Vote Every Day! Vote! Yay! (That's my mantra for the next 10 days...)

Resources About Teaching in London
Classroom Canada Website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians
Canadians & Americans in the UK

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Importance of Setting Goals & Asking for Help When You Need it

I've decided to tell you what my New Year's Resolution is.  A bit late I know, but still - I am focused on one goal and I know I will reach it.  Are you ready?

I want to win an award in 2010. 

It doesn't really matter what the award is, but something that fits my work would be amazing.

So, imagine my delight when I opened my inbox to find an invitation to apply for an award honouring recruiters who use social media.  Seriously?  Could this award fit my work any better?

Let's see:
  • Classroom Canada now has a zero advertising budget because of my use of social media.
  • I write this blog.
  • I write this other blog.
  • I wrote this ebook.
  • I use Facebook & Twitter.
  • I participate in online forums discussing life in London as an expat, and teaching in London in general.
  • I encourage and participate in this blogging community & love a good discussion.
  • I ask for testimonials from teachers to tell what it's really like to teach in London through the Coffee Time Series (which I am most proud of by the way - I love their stories!)
This award was meant for me! 

Right?

If you read this blog, or have just stumbled across it and like what you see, please support me in my goal and vote for the "Teacher Recruitment" button on this link.  I want to win an award!

If not this one, well, then I guess I'll go for an Academy Award instead.  That would be pretty cool too. 

If you want me to just shut up already and get back to talking about teaching in London, well...you better vote so I stop harrassing you.  Oh, and vote often.  Every day would be great! 

Please leave me a comment here if you do vote.  And if you don't, well...7 years of bad luck is coming your way! (Just kidding) (Sort of)

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

Monday, February 22, 2010

What are the Differences Between Teaching in the UK and Teaching in Canada?


Sarah Ebner recently asked me to write a guest post for her SchoolGate blog and I enthusiastically agreed. I love her blog.  I am honoured to write a piece, and also very intimidated!  For those of you who don't know it, Sarah's blog is read by thousands.   Eek!

The blog post itself will be about the differences between teaching in the UK and teaching in Canada. It's a question I am often asked and I can spend hours discussing.  But I need to write this piece in less than 500 words and try to make it clear for readers from anywhere in the world, and particularly for British readers who might not know much about our education system in Canada. 

So how do I do it?

Well, I ask you of course! 

What do you think?  What are the biggest differences between teaching in the UK and teaching in Canada?  If you could pick just a few, what would they be?  Thanks in advance for your help!

Resources About Teaching in London, England
Classroom Canada Website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians
Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

For Canadians Abroad - Missing Home & The Olympics

Quite a few of our teachers in London have talked about missing home more with the Olympics being on.  They are staying up late, and getting up early to watch the games and talk to their families about the golds & silvers being won.

They talk about how the BBC just doesn't know how to call a hockey game (to quote Heather, "There were no 'holy MACANAWS!' happening!")  And while they love being in London, and having the opportunities to teach and travel all over Europe, they do miss "home" at times like these.  I completely understand.  When the world's eyes are on Canada, and all you want to do is just be there, but also live abroad & travel the world - well, it's a funny spot to be in.

So, for those teachers & teaching assistants, here are a couple of cool videos from the Opening Ceremonies.   If you have any you'd like to share, please let me know.

Also - if you are in London and want to watch the men's hockey games with other Canadians, check out this post to see where.







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




Monday, February 15, 2010

Canadian & American Teachers in London Watch the Olympic Games - and Where?

It's half-term break for those lucky teachers in London, so they get one full week off to travel, play and watch the games.  Lucky Canucks!

On Friday, I asked our teachers and teaching assistants where they are watching the Olympic games this week.

Here are their replies:

Samantha says,
"At the Maple Leaf in my roots gear!"
For those of you who don't know, the Maple Leaf is the one and only Canadian pub in Covent Garden.

Kaari says,
"I will be watching everywhere I can manage in Victoria...at work, at home, at the gym....anywhere and everywhere...GOOOO CANADA!!!!"
Kaari will be heading to London in May to start teaching with Classroom Canada.

Maggie says,
"Anywhere that sells burger and beer for five pounds! :)"
Karin says,
"Glasgow, Scotland"
Rebecca is in Vancouver, after teaching with us for a year in London and she's watching the games in person. 

Lars is also in Vancouver, taking advantage of this week off from teaching in London to visit his home-town and see the games in person. 

Some of our teachers are watching the games in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Spain, Stockholm, Ireland and of course, all over England.

Here at Classroom Canada, we're watching the games in BC!  Yes, we are very, very lucky.

Thanks to Erika for allowing me to post the picture above - 2 Canadians in Trafalgar Square celebrating the Olympics in style.

I spoke with one of our teachers, Clair, who will be arriving in London in May 2010 and she pointed out that some of our teachers will actually be in London for the Olympics in 2012.  How cool is that?!  It seems so far away, but actually - it's really only 2 years away.  I will be there for sure.

How about you?  Where are you watching the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics?

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"How do you Purell that?" aka Coffee Time With Maggie

This interview with yet another one of our fabulous Canadian teachers in London had me laughing and cringing at the same time.  I'm sure you will too when you reach the Purell part.  Read on my friends, read on...

Name: Maggie Liu

University: University of British Columbia
Subjects: Physical Education and Social Studies
Ages You Teach: I have primarily taught Key Stage 3 and 4 (Secondary) but I have also taught Key Stage 1 and 2 (primary)

1. How long have you been teaching in London?
I've been in London since October 2009.
2. What do you teach?
I have supplied for Key Stage 1-4 (Primary and Secondary Levels), but I am currently teaching a year five Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) class.
3. Why did you chose to work with Classroom Canada?
In Vancouver, I met a few teachers who had already worked for Classroom Canada and their genuine and positive feedback about their entire work and life experience in London reassured me that Classroom would be able to provide me with the support I needed to make the big leap.
4. What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Grasping the numeracy and literacy curriculum, learning how to plan for a Special Needs class and carrying out assessments for pupils in a SEN class. Apart from that, repeating "good sitting" and signing "sad" for when one of my pupils hits another child in the class.
5. Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
The weekends are what London is all about (for me, at least):
  • Wake up between 9-10a.m. and relax with a cup of tea and breakfast.
  • Consult my 1000 Things to Do in London book to plan out my day.
  • Visit the local produce market stalls down the street for an assortment of one pounds bowls of fruits and vegetables.
  • Accomplish Part 1 on the To Do in London List
  • Eat lunch at a food market (option 1: three moroccan curries and couscous; option 2: seafood and chorizo paella; option 3: freshly melted emmental cheese on boiled potatoes)
  • Accomplish Part 2 on the To Do In London List
  • End the day with cooking a recipe from my Jamie Oliver cookbook and relaxing with the flat mate or meet up with fellow Classroom Canada teachers at a pub.
6. What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
Make Goals. Plan to accomplish at least 1-2 things each week. Don't let yourself fall into feeling like you're not taking advantage of living in this great city. Believe me, it can and will happen!
7. Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far:
Refer to the next Q & A...
8. Describe the worst thing:
Having a pupil's saliva flicked from five feet away landing in my mouth. How do you Purell that?
You just have to laugh when things like that happen.
9. What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
I felt comfortable letting Classroom know if I was concerned about the amount of work I was getting and they were very receptive to me being so honest. The staff genuinely care for their employees' best interests. The consultants are dedicated to following up with requests, inquiries, concerns and even just to ask how your first day went at a new school.
10. What qualities do you have that make your stay in London more enjoyable?
Knack for discovery (with the help of my 1000 Things to Do in London book). I'm a child in a new playground, but instead of hours of self-directed entertainment, I have months!
Thanks for sharing Maggie.  Good luck finding a Purell product that will clean a student's saliva from your mouth.

On another note, I am booking interviews with Canadian and American teachers & teaching assistants for jobs that start in April/May 2010 (only a couple of spots left!) and September/October 2010.  Apply now to see if you qualify for an interview.

More Resources About Teaching in London, England:
Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians
Sign up for our newsletters
Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ask Ed Balls Questions About the UK Education System

Sarah Ebner recently sent me an email to ask that I mention this exciting event to you all.  I'm more than happy to do so!

Ed Balls, the UK Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, will be over at Sarah's blog tomorrow at 1pm (GMT).  Don't fret if you can't make the live event as you can ask questions now in the comments section of Sarah's post.  Then, check in later to see if Mr. Balls replied to your query.

There are already a tonne of questions on there, and it's worth a look to see what others feel passionately about in terms of education issues in the UK.  There's no doubt about it - it's going to be a very heated discussion indeed.

As a Canadian, I wasn't quite sure what I could write to Mr. Balls that would be relevant to the readers of School Gate.  So after pondering this very question, I've decided to ask Ed Balls this question:
As a Canadian teacher who taught in London for three years, and now as the owner of a teacher recruitment company, I've seen a lot of foreign teachers being recruited to the UK over the past 5 years in particular.  Now that secondary schools are able to hire non-teaching staff as "cover supervisors", many of these foreign Secondary School Teachers are having to find work in primary and SEN schools instead.   Many of them find full-time employment in their subject areas (particularly in maths and science) but it's the teachers who prefer day-to-day teaching that are struggling. 

I know that schools were short on staff so this was one way to help them fill their staff needs, but it seems that qualified, experienced and more-than-capable teachers are getting the short end of the stick with this new policy.  I am sure that British-trained secondary school teachers are just as affected by this change.  Do you have any plans to change this policy in the future, or would you recommend that foreign secondary school teachers who prefer day-to-day stay home instead?

And on that note, how do you feel about the increase in foreign trained teachers in UK schools? 
For more background on the issue of Cover Supervisors, please read this post & the comments left by our teachers & teaching assistants.

What will you ask Ed Balls? 

More Resources About Teaching in London, England:

Classroom Canada Website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians
Sign up for our newsletters
Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blogs by Fellow Teachers in America and England

It's our busy time at Classroom Canada and Classroom America, so this post will be short but sweet.

Here are 2 blogs that I just have to share with you here:


  1. I've just discovered Look at My Happy Rainbow, the blog of a male kindergarten teacher.  This blog is sweet, funny and actually makes me want to teach kindergarten or at least be a fly on the wall of Mr. Hapley's classroom.  I used to run kicking & screaming from the lil' ones, but somehow, Mr. Hapley's descriptions of life in his classroom just makes it seem like a magical, comical and wonderful place to be.  He's an American teacher, and not working in London, England - so really, not that relevant to this little blog of mine, but I like it.  So I'm sharing.
  2. I've mentioned Miss Snuffy's blog, To Miss With Love, a few times on this blog and feel the need to do so again. She's great. She teaches in London and tells it like it is in inner city schools, rumpling a few feathers along the way.  A true, anonymous blog.
More Resources About Teaching in London, England:
Classroom Canada Website
Sign up for our newsletters

Monday, February 1, 2010

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada - Karin from Ontario

I am pleased to say that we are still accepting applications from teachers & teaching assistants for positions that start in April/May and Sept/Oct 2010. To apply, submit your CV and cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada DOT com.
To help you decide, here's another Coffee Time interview with one of our fabulous teachers currently in London with Classroom Canada.
Grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy!

Coffee Time with Karin
Name: Karin Terluk
University: University of Waterloo/University of Western Ontario
Subjects: Art/English
Ages You Teach: Secondary, but now Primary

How long have you been teaching in London?
I’ve been teaching in London since September 2009.
What do you teach?
I supplied in Key Stage 3 and 4 (aka "Senior/Intermediate" in Canada) in English/Art/Maths/Computers. Currently I am teaching SEN (Special Education) in a Year 2 Class.
Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
Classroom Canada, and specifically Victoria, had a personal approach that genuinely made me feel confident about my success in London. Originally I had started interviewing with another agency but Victoria took the time to get to know my interests/personality and helped me to find the best suited jobs that highlighted the skills that I had to offer.
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Learning British catch phrases like “Easy Peasey Lemon Squeezy” and “Who’s sitting sensibly?” Actually, as a newly qualified teacher everything was an adjustment but I had the support of Classroom agency as well as an excellent group of other Canadian teachers who were all in the same boat as I was. The networking efforts of Classroom Canada helped me to meet other teachers and we all sort of figured things out together.
Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
Nothing is typical about living in London. Everyday is an exciting adventure. Personally, I fall into routines where I wake up, teach, go to the gym, make dinner, go to bed and repeat. Recently, however, I’ve decided to make an effort to take advantage of all this city has to offer. I’ve been loving the art galleries (which are free!) and the commercial art gallery openings (with free drinks/food!). Also, it’s been fun meeting new people at work, on the tube, on the bus etc.
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
Be open-minded and flexible. When I moved here I thought I would be teaching Art/English in Secondary schools, and now I am teaching one-on-one with a 7 year old boy in a year 2 class who is in a wheelchair. He is integrated into a mainstream school (which doesn’t happen too often over here) and it is both a challenging and rewarding role. I’m so grateful that Classroom gave me the opportunity to try different roles and I’m positively thrilled with the outcome!
Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:
I was standing at the bus stop last week and one of the 7 year old students in my class stopped and said “Hi Miss Terluk, what bus are you waiting for?”. I said “The 333”. She said “Does that go to the airport?” She thought I flew home to Canada every night!
Describe the worst thing:
I suppose the worst thing so far has been when I’ve discovered aspects of children’s home lives that seem so unfair. London is an ethnically and economically diverse city. As a teacher I have to try to keep things in perspective. More often than not, the children who are struggling in class have daily struggles at home.
What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
There are tonnes of agencies that offer similar services but Classroom has a good reputation with London schools and has consistently placed me at well suited schools. I shouldn’t forget to mention that the staff at Classroom are friendly and professional as well.
What qualities do you have that make your teaching in London enjoyable?
Is this where I’m supposed to ‘toot my own horn’? Positivity is key! I focus on the good things that happen. I love London. I love going to see Arsenal play football. I love Fridays because it’s the start of my weekend. I love Mondays because I get to see the students that I missed all weekend. I love shopping. J’adore France. I love seeing live music. This list will never end…
Thanks Karin!

Resources About Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians
Sign Up For Our Newsletters
Canadians & Americans in the UK

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