Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jobs for Teachers Who Want to Teach in London, England

It's that time of year again.  Teachers without jobs in Canada & the USA are seeking out alternative options and looking overseas for teaching jobs.  With spring comes the spring panic.

Luckily, now that we don't advertise & we don't attend university fairs, most of our applicants know why they specifically want to work in London, and particularly with Classroom Canada & Classroom America so we don't get as many frantic applicants applying to anything & everything with no clue as to what they are signing up for.  I have to admit -  I am so grateful that the days of answering emails from hundreds of frantic teachers who have yet to do their research are over. 

Now, we get teachers who know that teaching in London with Classroom Canada is for them.  They hear about us from their friends, or read this blog and my ebook.  This makes for better interviews & more interesting conversations.

So, what are we looking for you ask?

Teachers & Teaching Assistants that have:

  • a passion for education in all its forms
  • a love of travel & adventure
  • a "can-do" attitude
  • a love for teaching students from around the world
  • some inner city school teaching experience is preferred, but not essential
  • an ability to do research online, to ask those important questions & find out for themselves what teaching in London is all about
  • a love for the city that is London (let's be honest here - if you love rural areas, and hate big cities, then teaching in London probably won't be your best bet)
  • ability to make new friends easily & often
  • a fabulous sense of humour
You also must have an Education degree (PDPP, B.Ed, M.Ed...), a right to work in the UK (see for the visa requirements), and excellent references.

The jobs are:
  • part time & full time teaching contracts
  • Primary, Secondary & SEN teaching
  • Teaching Assistants
  • within Central London, zones 1-3 for the most part, with a few schools in zones 4-6
Most of our teachers start in daily supply teaching (on average, our teachers work 3-5 days/week throughout the school  year) and within 2-3 months secure full time contracts.  Just read the Coffee Time interviews at the right hand side of this blog to see what our teachers do.

The accommodations are:
  • at Oxford Circus, in zone 1, a 10 minute walk from our office
  • filled with other Canadian & American teachers 
  • also for police officers, social workers, nurses, doctors and students
  • 6 month leases with month-to-month after the initial 6 months
  • super fun for creating life-long friendships & a sense of community with our teachers

Interested? Want to know more?  Please send me an email with your cover letter and resume to apply at classroomcanada dot com.

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

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Best Teachers Are Students & Life Long Learners

It's been said before and I'll say it again.  The best teachers love learning.  They absolutely love learning new things, whether they be languages, weight lifting, riding motorbikes, running marathons, how to make millions on ebay - whatever they learn, they love.  Our American & Canadian teachers in London are no exception.  They're traveling the world, learning different teaching strategies while enjoying their weekends and breaks across Europe, Africa & Asia - and they are better teachers for it.

So, what am I learning you ask?

Right now, I am learning:
  • How to drive.  Watch out world! This 33 year old eco-chick is finally learning how to drive & just bought my very first car - an SUV!  What?  It's extremely fuel efficient, and after a car accident where my father had to pick my sister & I up on an old country road in Quebec in his big-*&&% SUV, I just feel safer in an SUV. I know it's illogical. I know they roll. I don't care - I love it! I'm a few weeks away from my N test when I'll be able to drive without an experienced driver-passenger and I can't tell you how excited I am.  ROAD TRIPS!
  • How to speak Spanish.  I did a lot of volunteering & traveling in Central America & studied Spanish in university, so my Spanish is pretty good but I know I have heaps to learn. I'm getting back on the Spanish-track & will be seeking a Spanish tutor here in Victoria for me to practice my vocab and conversation skills with.  Any recommendations? Please send them my way! Thanks.
  • How to speak Italian.  Those of you who have read Eat, Pray, Love will understand this one.  I figure I should just learn Italian for the pure love of learning to speak Italian.  Why not?  Also looking for an Italian tutor in Victoria, or even abroad who can email back & forth with me.  Any suggestions?
  • How to cook.  Sad, but true.  I can cook some basics, but wouldn't it be cool to be a master chef in some sort of cuisine?  Again, suggestions please! 
  • How to kite surf. This is a dream of mine and I admit - probably the least likely to be accomplished in this little list. Which means I should put it at the top of the list right?
What about you?  What are you learning?

Teaching in London Resources

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

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where I try to Bribe Teachers Into Busing, Training, Boating & Swimming to London to "Get Thee to Work!"

Wow.  It's officially nuts for my colleagues, our teachers and teaching assistants, our schools and our students in London.

In case you live under a rock, and haven't heard yet, a volcano erupted in Iceland during the school holidays for our teachers in London.  They had 2 weeks off.  So they went off to Bali, Malaysia, Morocco, Egypt, across Canada, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Greece...and I'm sure I'm missing quite a few more places but you get the idea.  They had all planned to be back in time for this past Monday, when schools re-opened.  They planned to save enough money teaching over 2 weeks to pay for rent, food, more travels etc.  But most of them are still stuck abroad.

So, some of our brave teachers have been taking buses, boats, trains & renting cars to get back to London.  I heard a rumour that 2 of our teachers hitch-hiked all the way from Morocco, but I suspect some train travel was involved there.  In any case, I have now tried to bribe our teachers to just do whatever it takes to get back to London & get back to teaching in our schools.  Some schools have had to close, but most are managing with fewer teachers, but it ain't pretty. 

Here's what I wrote on my facebook page last night & here are our teachers' replies:

Victoria Westcott: For every person that manages to get home by car, bus, boat or train I will personally a) buy you a bottle of fabulous wine or b) write a long blog post proclaiming my undying & unconditional love for you.

B: Does it count if we try really hard to take the train but we can't get a seat?

K:  does it count if the only way out of egypt right now is to wait for a flight to the uk or spain and then boat. Egyptians aren't fans of alcohol in general so i can't indulge here, does that get me a bottle of wine?

Victoria Westcott: Yes and Yes. ;-)

A: Looking forward to it! ;)


R: I'll take an italian red...a nice vintage would great

T: I would like an order of the blog post.

J: white wine, please :)

S: Just got back! Over 30 hours from Madrid using boat, buses and trains! Nice to be home!

E: What about planes? I'm back in London after a 7 day stopover in Toronto - I want fabulous wine!

Looks like I have some wine purchasing to do, and of course, I will have to write a blog post declaring my undying & unconditional love for at least one person.  In fact, Jessica didn't respond, and neither did Sheena, but both are having their birthdays today stuck in airports abroad.  For Jessica, she has spent 7 days in the Kuala Lumpur airport, desperate to return "home" to London. I imagine Sheena is enjoying this time as she's on a beach in Bali, but I also know she'd rather be celebrating her birthday in London with her London family & friends.  Sorry girls - I wish there was something I could do!  Happy birthdays anyway!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Planes, Trains, Buses & Naval Ships - Our Teachers Try to Return to London

75% of our teachers are stranded across the globe, desperate to make it back to London to return to their full-time contracts, as well as daily supply teaching jobs.  The last time anything like this happened in the UK was September 7, 2007 when the bus bombs stopped the city in its tracks.  The city of London got back on track within a day or two, but the Icelandic ash has affected travel for 5 days so far. 

So what does this mean for Classroom Canada?  Well, I asked our teachers & teaching assistants to let me know where they are and when they expect to return through our facebook page: 

Victoria Westcott: Please let me know here what country you're stuck in and when you're expected to fly back to London now - just list them all here. Thanks & good luck!

B: I think you already know, but here it is again... I'm stuck in India. Flying to Madrid on Friday and trying to catch a train home from there. Aiming to be back at school next Monday.

E: In southern Ontario, scheduled to fly out Tuesday night. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

H: At home (Palmerston, Ontario) and scheduled to fly out on the first available flight - April 28th.

J: At home in Acton, Ontario and also scheduled on the first available flight- April 27th.

S: Ubud, Bali. 23rd of April.

G: Athens, Greece. Scheduled for Friday 23rd.

T: Valencia, Spain. Leaving Sat Apr 24

A: Athens, Greece. Original flight was the 16th, new flight was today, newest flight is April 28th. I am spending more time in Athens this month than in London. Does Classroom have any schools in the Athens area?

C: Lots of us came home I see:) Creemore Ontario---April 25th....

S: Toronto, Ontario scheduled to fly home Thursday April 22nd

S:  Madrid. My latest rebooking is for Sunday so far...but I am off to the airport as soon as it opens. I am also trying to get on any train to the port but at the moment it is impossible. Things can change over night. I am waiting for the British Naval Ship that may be sent..and all those sailors lol.

K:  Hi Victoria can you let my school know that I am stuck in egypt? I have a new flight booked for the 26th so hopefully I will be back at work next tuesday. Thanks
I only posted this question on facebook last night and already 13 people have signed on & let me know their wherabouts & scheduled return dates, but I know many, many more are out there & stuck, without facebook at their fingertips to reply to my query.  We have a few teachers in Canada scheduled to fly out to start their teaching careers and they are anxiously checking their flight statuses to see if they will actually fly out this week.
If you're affected by this volcano in Iceland, please let us know here by leaving your comments below.
Teaching in London Resources

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

Friday, April 16, 2010

A First For Everything: Iceland Volcano Disrupts Travel & Leaves Classroom Canada Teachers Stranded Across the Globe

Facebook is buzzing this morning, with Classroom Canada teachers posting where they are stranded in the world.  A volcano in Iceland erupted and flights throughout Europe are cancelled due to the volcanic ash fogging up the airspace.

Since our schools take 2 weeks off for Easter, most of our teachers travel around Europe and some wander as far away as Africa & Asia.  So where are our teachers stranded?

Here are a few of their status updates this morning:
J: stuck in Greece because of volcanic ash cloud...
E: is still stuck in Toronto and may be for the foreseeable future, but it could be worse. This is not helping my mentality of "I just want to stay in Canada".  (She's been in London 2 years now...)
K: So we are in Madrid and may not have a flight home anymore.....
N: Stuck in Toronto? Darn volcanic ash!!!!
T: stranded in Athens, possibly until next Friday...
P: is stuck in Bratislava.
M: is definitely stuck in Germany indefinitely. Thanks Iceland.
J2: Stuck in Greece because of a volcano in Iceland?????
S: is stranded in Bali!
B: Flight's cancelled! (India)
J3: is stranded in Malaysia due to volcanic activity...

Isn't that wild?  

School starts back again on Monday, and I imagine that most of them will make it to London in time, so their holidays have just been extended a bit longer than expected.  That's the silver lining.  Some are stuck at the airports though, which really isn't much fun depending on where they are, and how positive they're feeling!  I know quite  a few of these airports, and must say that the person stuck in Bratislava wins the "Oh Poor You!" award from me.  Everyone else?  Well, you're in warm, wonderful places so I hope you can enjoy this extension to your holiday.

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cake Wrecks: Educational Cakes That Will Make You Cry with Laughter

Every once in a while, when I need a good ol' guffaw, I check out the Cake Wrecks blog.  If you don't know it yet, today's the day to go check it out. 

What's a Cake Wreck you ask?  As the author explains:
A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.
It's ridiculously funny and I promise, you will laugh out loud and if you don't, well...then we can't be friends.

Today's post focuses on cakes for educators or students and I cringed at more than a few myself. Sure, this has nothing to do with teaching in London, England, but I love it and this is my blog so I'm sharing it with you today.  I hope you enjoy it too!  I also have the book and highly recommend it as a gift for someone who likes to laugh at the silly side of life.

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

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is Anyone Speed Stacking in Canada? 4500 Schools in the UK Do It

Last year I wrote about Speed Stacking & its popularity in London schools. Today, the Guardian Newspaper has a story about the popularity in UK schools and call speed stacking "the sport for the unsporty."

It makes me wonder.  Are any schools in Canada using Speed Stacking with their students?  It motivates, improves eye-hand coordination, is accessible to any student with 2 hands, and it's really fun for students & their teachers.  

I interview hundreds of teachers in Canada, and now the USA with Classroom America, and I've never once heard a teacher tell me about Speed Stacking in their schools.  Most of our candidates for teaching in London  tell me about their involvement in extracurricular activities that are fairly typical - soccer, basketball, baseball, floor hockey, rugby, football, track & field.  And then there are the artsy teachers who get involved in drama, theatre, dance and visual arts.  I love them all, but where are the speed stackers?  

If you're out there, please apply to teach in London, England.  I find you fascinating.

Oh, and the teachers who parkour.  I know you're out there.  

Within Classroom Canada, we already have a swing dance teacher, a body builder, a hiphop belly dancer, rugby queens, football fanatics (as in soccer, and in particular Man U), hard-core bloggers, future journalists, and of course, all of the traveling teachers who want to experience teaching abroad while traveling Europe & Africa.   I love diversity!  It sure makes for interesting interviews & discussions.

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

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oprah, the Glee Cast, Chicago and Me

I spent my Easter weekend in Chicago with friends of mine who managed to get me tickets to see the cast of Glee on Oprah.  The actual show is airing today, so I figured it's a good day to tell you all why I'm such a Gleek.  No, it has nothing to do with teaching in London, (although my colleagues in the London office love the show as well) so really - shouldn't be part of this blog of mine, but I just can't help it. I have to tell you how amazing this Oprah & Glee experience was!

First off, I love television shows about teenagers.  I always have & always will.  My favourites are Glee (of course!), Friday Night Lights, and Waterloo Road (which is really about the teachers in an inner city UK school, but the teenagers play a vital role).  I still love Degrassi, but the new 90210 just doesn't float my boat. I'm not sure why.

Anyway, back to Oprah & Glee.  What can I say? I laughed, I cried.  It was Oprah. It was Glee.  It's exactly what you think it will be like & then some more. 

The Oprah Audience Team came out before Oprah to get the crowd pumped, dancing & cheering. The Gleeks were in full Cheerio uniforms, and Sue Silvester's male look-a-like was hilarious.  A mom in the audience talked about how her daughter has Cystic Fybrosis & watched the Glee shows in the hospital for a month as it was the only thing that made her feel better. The daughter then spoke & cried & the cast hugged her. That's when I cried. I mean, who wouldn't?  It was beautiful.

The Glee cast performed a few songs for us, and talked to the audience while the commercials rolled, mostly about how grateful they are to be on Oprah and how they love being on a show that deals with real issues.  Some of the women in the audience shouted out their love & adoration for Cory & Mark.  I almost screamed "Hey Cory! I'm from Victoria BC too! I go to your favourite coffee shop on Cook St!"  But I didn't, because I'm secretly very shy.

I wore the red dress in the very far right hand of the audience, so I won't likely be spotted in the audience at all. I should have dressed up like a real Gleek.  They put all the Gleeks in one area & told them to scream & dance like crazy.  And so they did.  (I was actually relieved that I didn't have to be in that area - that would have been intense!)

So that my friends, was my Oprah & Glee experience.  It's on today if you want to check it out!

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The jitters hit a month before a teacher's departure to London...

In helping teachers relocate to work in London, England, I always find that they start to get the jitters about one month before they depart.  It's that month where they realize that they've done everything they can to make their transition smoother and they worry that there must be more to be panicked about.  Have they really done everything they can?  Let me explain...

About 6 months before they want to go to London, teachers apply to Classroom Canada in the hopes that we will select them to teach with our schools and join our Canadian (and now American!) community.  They are interviewed and reference checked and if selected, they receive an email with a tonne of details to prepare. I go through each step that they have to get done before they depart, including: how to set up accommodations, the bank accounts, visas, police checks and network with our teachers in London or about to depart.

Some of these steps take time, like the visas and bank accounts, and some are just a matter of filling out simple paperwork, like the police checks.  All of them are manageable, and the quicker they get them done, the smoother their transitions will be. 

But once the steps are done, they really are done.  Nothing more to do, but research teaching in London (Hey! Have you seen this blog? ;-)), re-read my ebook, Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians, read blogs by teachers in London, chat with the other teachers in Classroom Canada, watch movies set in London, read travel guides and  hang out with their families & friends.  Packing doesn't really happen until the last week before departure, although some will try to get it done earlier.  They also read my second blog, about living in London for Canadians & Americans.

The main advice I give to my teachers and teaching assistants about to move to London is to relax, watch Teachers TV videos and enjoy this time.  Once you have all of the steps taken care of, it's really time to enjoy your home town and just feel the excitement and sense of adventure you have before the big move across the pond.  Perhaps some of our readers will offer more advice?  Please share your thoughts below.

Resources About Teaching in London, England

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


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