Wednesday, June 30, 2010

10 Differences Between Teaching in Canada & Teaching in England

Squeeeeel!

Sarah Ebner, of Times School Gate fame asked me ages ago to write a blog piece about the differences between teaching in Canada and teaching in England.  I am excited to announce that she will be publishing the piece on her blog tomorrow to celebrate our very own Canada Day.  Brilliant!

So, whatever you do tomorrow, and wherever you are in the world, please check out Sarah's blog & let us know what you think.  It was a collaborative effort, with opinions from our teachers in London & I'm sure you will have something to add to the discussion.

One tiny little though - the Times Online has opted for a "you must register before you can read our paper online" approach (why Times? Why?  Such a shame! At least make the blogs available to all to read without registering, no?).  So, you'll need to get over to Sarah's blog by first registering.  Then on Canada Day, come check out my post.  Please do leave comments & let us know what your thoughts are.  I'm so excited!

Resources for Teaching in London

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

Mark your calendar: July 19th 2010 is our 3rd birthday & we're throwing a HUGE party right here on the blog. Come! Leave a comment! Win a prize!  

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Morning Teaching Inspiration



Resources for Teaching in London

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

Mark your calendar: July 19th 2010 is our 3rd birthday & we're throwing a HUGE party right here on the blog. Come! Leave a comment! Win a prize!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Canada Day in London's Trafalgar Square: July 1st 2010


Canada Day in London is going to rock this year. 

I'll be in Seattle.  How did I plan that you ask?  No idea! 

Strangely enough, I will actually be interviewing teachers in Seattle for jobs in London with Classroom America.  It will be my first 4th of July in America.  How exciting!

But I can also tell you that I will be very, very jealous of all of our amazing teachers and teaching assistants in London with Classroom Canada this year.  Those lucky ducks will have the party of the year in Trafalgar Square and at the Maple Leaf Pub in Covent Garden.  I sent them Canada Day tattoos and balloons to celebrate with & hope to post heaps of photos for you here next week.  Watch this space!

Resources for Teaching in London


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

Mark your calendar: July 19th 2010 is our 3rd birthday & we're throwing a HUGE party right here on the blog. Come! Leave a comment! Win a prize!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Teaching in London, England & my Love Affair with Spring & Summer in London

Its the first day of summer and for those of us on the West Coast of Canada you'd think it was the first day of spring.  Or maybe winter even. It's cold people!  Where is the sun?

It's in London my friends!  Teaching in London is tough through the winter months simply because the sun doesn't shine all that often - much like the west coast of Canada.  But then when spring comes, it really lightens everyone's moods.  And now with summer...oh boy! Bring on the fun!

Here are my Top 10 Reasons I Love Spring in London:

1. The clouds shift & the sun breaks through.  After months of dreary grey weather, everyone becomes so ridiculously happy!

2. The streets come alive with energy.  Little European outfits & shopping galore - Oxford Street, Regent Street, Picadilly Circus (all right around our London office & accommodations for our teachers - lucky us!).

3.  Festivals, festivals and more festivals - like music? Like art? Like dancing? London's the place to be in spring & summer for all the festivals no matter what your tastes are.  Have one to recommend? Please share below!

4.  Free! There are an enormous amount of free things to do in London - check out the Time Out magazine & website every week and you'll see what I mean.

5.  Pull out your bike & ride!  Because biking around London rocks when the sun is shining.

6.  The roller blade tricksters come out to play.  Watch them in Hyde Park & join in if you are so daring.

7.  Brighton Beach is only an hour train ride from London so if you like the ocean & need some fresh ocean air - just grab a train & off you go.

8.  The teaching gets just a little bit easier. The end of the year is close, the reports are being written and the SATs (national tests) are done.  The students love the sun just as much as the teachers do, and somehow I always find that the behaviour management part of the teaching job in London is just a wee bit less annoying.  You can always bribe the students with game-time outside if they're really good!

9.  World Cup. 'Nuff said.

10.  Wimbledon.  I love taking off straight from the office or from school to head down to Wimbledon and catch a live match - Serena Williams is awesome.  Love her.

And that's all folks!  Although there are probably a hundred more reasons to love London in the spring & summer, I'll leave you with these for now.

What do you think?  What would your list include?


Resources for Teaching in London
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 

Mark your calendar: July 19th 2010 is our 3rd birthday & we're throwing a HUGE party right here on the blog. Come! Leave a comment! Win a prize!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Should We Be Teaching Kids to be Entrepeneurs?

I have something to admit.  It's huge.

I have a massive crush on TED.  I really do.

So when I watched this video I knew I'd probably love it, and I wasn't wrong at all.  Ideas worth spreading?  You betcha. 

Please watch the video first.



What do you think?  Were you a child-entrepeneur like Cameron Herold? 

I definitely was. I used to sell my artwork to my next door neighbours until my mom found out and told me that they would think we were poor and that as lovely as my "art" was, it really wasn't appropriate to peddle it door to door. 

I then sold lilacs that my friend Amy & I cut from a tree we found in a nearby forest.  We wrapped the flowers in pretty paper & sold it to business men on their way home from work.  Best job ever!  The "ooooh's" and "aaaahhhh's" from the men picking their flowers was just music to my little ears.

I've always had a knack for seeing ways to do things a bit differently, and certainly my job with Classroom Canada is no different.  I never really knew that I was being an entrepeneur.  I just thought that it meant that I "danced to the beat of a different drummer" as my mom is fond of saying.  It's true, I do.  I see nothing wrong with that. 

But now that I've seen this video, I have to admit - I think I agree with Cameron.  Why don't we teach these skills in school?  We focus on math, science & literacy - which are all very important skills, but they tie into entrepeneurship as well.  So why not make that link?

My niece, Sophie, is seven and I'm learning a lot about the world from her eyes.  Lately, I've noticed how much she thinks that being rich means being greedy.  Success = evil.  When I question why she thinks this, she relates her thinking back to movies and how the bad guys are usually rich & greedy and she never wants to be like that. It breaks my heart to hear her think this way.  Can't we raise our children to feel positively about money and success and that in actual fact, earning money doing something you absolutely love (which is exactly what entrepeneurs do after all) is a very good thing?  Where is the logic in teaching children that being wealthy is bad?  I don't blame educators for this, nor do I blame the media, but I think as a general rule we all need to start to question what messages we're sending our kids about money, success, entrepeneurial work and the like. 

Okay that's my rant for today.  None of this has anything to do with teaching in London, England but I just had to tell you what I was thinking about this issue. I can't wait to hear what you have to say.  Please share your thoughts below.  I'm sitting by the computer waiting for the discussion to blossom.

Resources for Teaching in London


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

Mark your calendar: July 19th 2010 is our 3rd birthday & we're throwing a HUGE party right here on the blog. Come! Leave a comment! Win a prize!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Best Teachers Are Students & Life Long Learners - Part Deux

A little while ago I told you what I'm learning & doing in my free time and talked about why the best teachers are also lifelong students, passionate about their own learning as well as their students.

So I thought I'd give you a little update on my progress.

I said I was learning: how to drive, how to speak Spanish & Italian, how to cook & how to kite surf.

Here we go.  My status report to keep me honest:

Driving: 
AWESOME. I have my road test tomorrow and once I pass that I will be able to drive all by myself in my brand spanking new car.  The back of my car was scratched the other day by an old person who didn't look before they started backing up, but I survived and really it was just a scratch.  It's just the way it goes in Victoria, BC - the land of the retired folks, many of whom shouldn't be driving anymore.  Risks are everywhere!  But I love driving and can't wait for my first road trip in a few weeks to Tofino, BC.  Awesome.

How to Speak Spanish:
I hired a Spanish teacher for a month and we did two 2 hour sessions every week, which was incredibly helpful for my review & practice. My Spanish is pretty good, but this teacher helped me advance quite a bit in a short time frame. I had planned to carry on for another month, but I just can't spare 4 hours a week right now in our busy season.  I hope to practice on my own, but...well, I need more Spanish friends in Victoria.  If you know any cool Spanish-speaking folks in this neck of the woods, please do send them my way!

How to Speak Italian:
That was just silly. I'm not learning Italian and I doubt I will anytime soon.  I was a bit over-ambitious when I said that one.

How to Cook:
Well, I've discovered a few fabulous restaurants in Victoria with patios and half price wine on Tuesdays.  So, no.  In all honesty I don't think I've actually cooked anything since I wrote that goal.  Woops. Better get on that.

How to Kitesurf:
I do still plan to learn how to kitesurf at some point this summer.  My excuse for why I haven't yet is that temperatures in Victoria have not reached above 20 yet this season.  Seriously.  It's 13 degrees daily, sometimes we get highs of 17 degrees.  I'm seriously thinking about moving to the Southern USA because I need some heat and I need it now.  'Nuff said.  I will kitesurf my friends. I will.

How about you?  What are you learning now & how's it going?  Please share your thoughts below.

I'm still interviewing teachers for positions in London, England that start in Sept/October of 2010.  Submit your CV asap as I'm already booked up for all of next week and July is jam-packed with travel & interviewing across Canada and the USA.

Resources for Teaching in London

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

Mark your calendar: July 19th 2010 is our 3rd birthday & we're throwing a HUGE party right here on the blog. Come! Leave a comment! Win a prize!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Morning Teaching Inspiration

Teachers feel a wide range of emotions at this time of year, ranging from excitement for summer (No kids! No teaching! No paperwork!), to sadness at saying goodbye to their students.  It's an up and down rollercoaster of emotions.

So, to help remind all the teachers out there why they went into teaching, here's a great video about a man with no arms & no legs who loves life & has found his purpose despite his setbacks:



Resources for Teaching in London

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

Mark your calendar: July 19th 2010 is our 3rd birthday & we're throwing a HUGE party right here on the blog.  Come! Leave a comment! Win a prize!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Classroom Canada Turns 3 & Holds a Virtual Party

Mark the date: July 19th 2010!



We're having a birthday party to celebrate all the fabulous teachers and teaching assistants who are working with or have ever worked with Classroom Canada and Classroom America.

It's a virtual party because we're scattered all across the globe with most of our teachers in London and some in places as far off as China, Korea, Japan, Honduras, and of course, all across Canada.  So it's impossible for us to throw an actual party in person with everyone in attendance, but we don't let that stop us!

So how does it work?  All you do is swing by this blog on July 19th and wish us a Happy Birthday! That's it, that's all.  It's the easiest party you'll ever get dressed for ... or not...I will likely be in my pajamas for part of it anyway. But then I'll eventually put on a cocktail dress, because it is a party afterall.  Virtual or not, I like to get dressed up for a party.

We did the same thing last year and had people from all around the world swing by to wish us a Happy Birthday.  I stayed by the computer from the moment I woke up until I finally went to bed.  I got to hang out with our "guests", participate in discussions on the blog & celebrate. It's ridiculously fun & easy to participate. 



We also give out prizes just for popping by & leaving a comment that says "Happy Birthday!" along with a bit of information about who you are.  Check out the prizes from last year here.  This year, Flight Centre, Lloyd's and Peeps on the Go Communications have already thrown in a few goodies (to be announced officially in the next few weeks). 

Mark your calendar & come by the blog at any point on July 19th to party with us.  I can't wait to see you there!  What are you going to wear?

Resources for Teaching in London
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, June 7, 2010

Twitter, Teaching, Traveling and Being Me

Since it was a holiday in the UK last week, I decided to take a last minute vacation to Austin, Texas.  Why?  Because I love the television show, Friday Night Lights, all about a Texas high school football team & family & I just had to check out the city it's located in.  I love it!  Plus, it's been raining & 13 degrees here on the West Coast of Canada and ridiculously hot in Austin. It was the perfect holiday.

I'm back, swamped and going through all my emails of excited & interesting teachers who want to teach in London, England.  It's amazing! So many great people to meet and interview for teaching jobs in London.  Love my life & my job!

I've also decided to start using Twitter a bit better.  See, I was one of the first twitter bandwagon hoppers & set up a ClassroomCanada twitter account, but I was a bit too eager to make it easy. I set up auto-follow and followed people based on their interests (teaching, education, traveling) and now I have almost 2000 followers, most of whom are simply spammers.  I loathe going onto twitter & seeing all this junk, while trying to wade through and actually find interesting teachers that I do want to speak with.

So, I've set up a brand spanking new twitter account with my own name which you can find here.  Please follow me! But if you spam me, I promise to "unfollow" ;-)

I will tweet my interests, which usually revolve around teaching in London, the UK, Canada and America, but also include travel, great television & movies, food and anything else that strikes my fancy.  Can't wait to see you over there.

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada - Sam from Vancouver

Name: Samantha Ghoukassian
University: Simon Fraser University
Subjects: English, Learning Disabilities
Ages You Teach: Key Stage 1 (Elementary trained teacher)

How long have you been teaching in London?
I have been teaching in London for 9 months.
What do you teach?
I teach a year 1 class (which is grade 1 in Canada).
Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
A friend who graduated from the teaching program with me had been teaching in England and loved it. She had nothing but good things to say about her experience with Classroom Canada and she gave me Victoria’s name and number and forwarded the website to me. I figured if she had a good experience, then I would too.
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
The biggest adjustment for me was the amount of paperwork that is required in London. I meet with the year group at least once a week, after school for 2 hours. I also meet for professional development trainings with the rest of the school, once a week for two hours. We have ongoing pupil assessments to write and currently, I am working on end of year reports. Hey, I don’t complain though, since I signed up for teaching after all. I figure you have to take the good with the bad. Luckily, it is mostly good!
Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
Get up and run out the door, with cereal bar in hand, and catch the central line and then, district line all the way to Becontree Station. Start the morning with Reading and Spelling Workshop and Maths. The afternoons are filled with the ‘other’ subjects’ which are called the ‘creative curriculum’ here. After school is done, there are meetings till 5:30, at least twice a week. Off home, pop in Tesco to pick up some groceries. Then, rest and relax for an hour…ending the evening with my PUSH to get myself to go to the gym. The weekends are full of fun trips to the colourful markets of Portobello, Camden, Brick lane and Spitalfields, as well as enjoying the fabulous parks and pubs. There is always something to do.
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
Get ready to push and squeeze on the underground and try not to get too uptight about it. With 61 million inhabitants on such a small island, people congestion comes with the territory. Make the most of your time here; see places, both local and “on the continent” as they say here. Just this year, I have been to Berlin, Stockholm, Madrid and Paris as well as various U.K sights. So, put some money aside for travelling because this is the time to do it. Finally, find the balance between work and life. Work is important, but to be good at your job, you need to be healthy and balanced, socially and culturally.
Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far:
A funny experience happened recently when a kid in class, whose name is Allagie (pronounced Allergy), finally decided after 2 years of school that he didn’t want to be called that anymore. “Miss”, he said. “My mum calls me Al- lag-ie. So after two years at school, all the children had to change the way they said his name. This was funny for quite a while, especially when a kid named Jamie asked me if he could change his name as well. So I called him Jammy. The rest of the kids thought this was hilarious!
Describe the worst thing:
I think the worst thing that happened was whilst I was supply teaching. After a day with year 5 students, I was fed up. The behaviour was abysmal and the work produced was not much better. I was so exhausted my head felt like it was going to explode. After school, the regular classroom teacher asked me to stay and mark a ton of work. Far more than was reasonable. I stayed 2 more hours. There were so many crosses, I thought I was playing Tic Tac Toe. This kind of scenario happens to everyone at least once. I like to think of it as character building.
What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
Classroom Canada found me a full-time job within three months of being in the U.K. I am currently in this position till the end of the year. Also, they are the only Canadian agency so they enabled me to stay in touch with other Canadians. I especially enjoyed the annual scavenger hunt (I was on the winning team! Yea!)
What qualities do you have that make your stay in London more enjoyable?

I like to make new friends, visit new places and learn something new every day. So, at the moment I am having a great career enhancing adventure and I am happy that I came.
Thanks so much Sam!  I especially liked your point about having a work-life balance and that the best teachers have a balanced life. 

To apply for a teaching position this autumn, just email your CV and 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
Sign up for our newsletters
Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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