Monday, March 22, 2010

London in the Spring & Teachers' Holidays


Every year at around this time, when the magnolias are in full bloom, I reflect on my life in London and wonder if I should move back.  Since I run Classroom Canada, and recruit Canadian and American teachers to work in London, England, I have the privilege of returning to London at least once a year, leaving my life in Victoria, BC for just a couple of weeks.

While in London, I run professional development workshops, visit our teachers & teaching assistants, organize socials and events, visit and catch up with my colleagues in the London office, and of course, see my friends and family.  It's always hectic, but also a really great time.  2 full weeks of west end theatre, pubs, galleries, cafes, walking along the Thames and in the countryside where my family is...I am the luckiest person on earth.

Teachers in London work 195 days of the year, just like we do here in Canada.  But they have their holidays spread throughout the year and enjoy travelling around Europe and Africa as a result.  There are 3 terms in the year, broken up by "half term breaks" which are one week long mid-term.  At the end of every term, the teachers get 2 weeks off (at Christmas and Easter) and then a 6 week break in the summer.  These breaks, along with long weekends, mean that teachers can literally travel to another country at least once every month or two.  Travel is affordable in Europe and teachers that plan their budgets well are able to enjoy a very comfortable and exciting traveling life.

This April, some of our teachers are backpacking around Europe like Mike, and others are off to France and Belgium like Amie & Morgan, or India like Bryn.  Most will spend at least one of the two weeks enjoying Europe, and some will stay in London, exploring the free museums & art galleries and just all 'round enjoying London life.  I always found that it was better to leave London for the April break, because I would end up spending the same amount in London that I would spend in a far-off destination.  I love Vienna myself so I found myself there 5 times during my 3 years of living in London, visiting a good friend from Teachers College.

So, will I return to living in London?  Maybe.  It's tempting!  I can run Classroom Canada from anywhere in the world, as I just need a phone line and an internet connection to do what I do.  I like having the time zones here on my side though.  The idea of doing phone interviews from London isn't really that appealing just because of the time difference.  But Hyde Park is calling my name, as are Notting Hill and Portobello!  Ah, the life of a Canadian expat - once an expat always an expat right?

Resources About Teaching in London, England
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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