Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Professional Development & Socials for Teachers in London, England

We have exciting plans for our teachers in London, England.  This year we are offering 4 fabulous events listed below.  To sign up, you must be a member of our private facebook group (which means that you were selected to teach with us in London).  If you have been selected, but aren't yet a part of the facebook group please contact me asap.

Monday, November 1st, 2010
Classroom Canada's 2nd Annual 5km Run With Richard
We did it last year and it rocked! So, get your running shoes (and possibly raincoats depending on the weather!) and meet us at the London office to Run With Richard.

Richard Gilbey, one of the founders of Classroom Ltd, will be taking us on a 5km tour of his favourite jogging route near our London office (Oxford Circus). He's an avid runner, and often jokes that he wants to take the Canadians on a little tour, so I took him up on the offer and invite you all to join us! Slow or fast, all are welcome!

If you're not a regular jogger and are worried about completing 5km, don't worry! I'll be at the back, jogging/walking the way with you. 5km goes really quickly with good company!

Tuesday November 2nd, 2010
Primary & SEN Round Table Workshop
* See description below.

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
Secondary & SEN Round Table Workshop
This year, our workshops are being led by Canadian teachers who have been teaching in London with us for a year or more. They're fabulous teachers, and just like you. They know what you need to know, and have the experiences to share with you.

We're calling it a "round table workshop" as we will be focus on teachers helping other teachers.

The workshops will be focused on issues like behaviour management (tips, strategies that work in London, successes & failures) and adjusting from Canadian teaching to British teaching.

Whether you've been in London a while or are fresh off the boat, be sure to sign up asap.

Thursday, November 4th 2010
Classroom Canada's 3rd Annual London Scavenger Hunt & Teacher Social

Take over the streets of London England with other Canadian teachers & win fabulous prizes (like Canadian food, Top Deck Travel Vouchers, Flight Centre Vouchers, PC Organic White Cheddar KD...), meet other great teachers & have fun!

It's an amazing event, even if you're not a fan of scavenger hunts.

If you did the hunt last year, and want to come & have a couple of pints with me while the others take to the streets of London then please RSVP yes and leave a note to let me know you'll be hanging out with me. I need to find a pub that can accommodate us all and the more people that sit with me while the others leave for 2 hours, the better!

But if you've never done the hunt, DO IT! We'll keep your seats cozy & warm and you will probably win something awesome.
 
Friday November 5th, 2010
Guy Fawkes Night
 
We aren't actually planning anything particularly organized but wanted to give you a heads-up that Friday, November 5th is known as "bonfire night"  and "fireworks night" and "Guy Fawkes Night" - all this means that London explodes in fireworks and there are a million different ways to see them.  At the Scavenger Hunt, make some new friends & decide where you want to see the fireworks together!  Also, since most of our teachers live in our accommodations downtown, you will probably be able to walk to the big events that night.  Lucky ducks!
 
What a full week! We'll be giving away prizes to the people who attend the most Classroom Canada events in one week, so be sure to sign up for as many as you can.
 
Watch this space for more news & events as we prepare for our Cross-Canada University Tour, where we visit universities and talk to new teachers about teaching in London, England.  This year, we're inviting our past teachers to help us out at the universities they graduated from.  This means that new teachers will be able to chat with teachers who have "been there & done that" and get a really good idea of what it's really like to teach in London with us.  If you want us to visit your university, please let us know by leaving a comment below. 
 
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

Like this blog? Be sure to flick "follow" on the right hand side so you're the first to get our blog posts.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What Television Shows do Canadian & American Teachers Watch in London, England?

My colleagues in the Classroom London office have been posting on their blog & facebook about the BBC's new program called "The Classroom Experiment" - a new tv show in which an education expert takes over a Year 8 classroom (aka "grade 8" in North America) and tests out his theories on what could improve the quality of education.  Apparently, this show is amazing because all my colleagues are raving about it.  Some of our Canadian teachers in London have also been glued to the "tele" for this one, which prompted me to ask on facebook:

"Hey Teachers in London! What tv shows do you watch most there?"

Here are their replies: 

Kayla: The Inbetweeners, Skins, X Factor/Britain's Got Talent, Being Human 

Bryn: I watch BBC iPlayer and Channel 4's 4oD like they're going out of style. Anything I can get my hands on. I especially love the BBC documentaries, plus the UK version of SYTYCD (is it coming back??), Material Girl, The Inbetweeners, Waterloo Road, How to Look Good Naked... oh there are so many! Not to mention the American shows... Glee, Big Bang Theory, Ugly Betty... Watched that Excluded show recommended on the Classroom blog and that was really good too. Not bad for someone who hasn't had a TV since 2005, huh?

Trisha: Who Do You Think You Are? (genealogy documentary series), Vexed, Grandma's House, How To Look Good Naked, some cookery programs like Come Dine With Me (although that may not technically count as most people on the program don't really know what they're doing). That being said, I don't watch much TV as I'm currently addicted to Brothers & Sisters and Matthew Rhys. :)

Bryn: Oh I forgot The IT Crowd and Sugar Rush. I love how candid the shows are over here. What I tend to do is watch a whole season (or two) at a time on a rainy day.

Matt: Shameless, Spooks, Grand Designs, Doctor Who!, Cutting Edge (V good channel 4 documentary series) and lots of trashy docusoaps such as BBC3's Dont tell the bride!

Alex:  While I don't live there any more, there was one show that met all of my tv needs: Peep Show. Oh, that and Embarrassing Bodies (the Brits truly are shameless!). K and one more add-on... I got hooked on Eastenders. God, I miss the UK.

Amie: come dine with me and the inbetweeners are my favorite. and victorian farm!! and the IT crowd. my parents loved misfits but i havent seen it yet

Amie: and embarrassing bodies!! i miss british tv so much!
I tried to link to all the British television shows above, so if you're like me and haven't heard of most of them, click on the links to see more.  What I found most interesting is that two channels came up most in our teachers picks: BBC and Channel 4.

Head over to youtube to watch clips of the shows that you probably won't know in Canada or the USA, but will become hooked on when you move to teach in London, England. WARNING: there will be swearing, sex-talk and all round subjects that you wouldn't expect on an education blog - but this isn't a post about education - it's a post about British Television!  And we all know the British humour is a bit more raunchy than our own.

Any more to add to the list?  Please share your thoughts below.

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

Like this blog? Be sure to flick "follow" on the right hand side so you're the first to get our blog posts.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's Gone Well Today? How Asking the Right Questions Can Bring About Great Discussions

When I was teaching in London, my flatmates and I decided to shift our conversations from venting about all the things going wrong in our classrooms to what went well each day.  We had to say 2 positives for every negative.  At first it was really challenging, but eventually I started to see more amazing things happening around me than miserable. 

Last week I posted my video discussions with Christopher of Conversation Works. Talking with Christopher got me thinking about the idea of asking the right questions to generate great discussions.  Christopher is also an educator and positive-thinker and creator of WhatsGoneWellToday.com.   I asked him to explain a little bit more about the idea of asking "What's Gone Well Today?" 
Have you ever noticed that asking the right questions is more important than having the right answers? In fact, quality of your day, your life is shaped by the quality of questions we ask ourselves and others. New challenges demand new questions and fresh conversations. 
Here's a question that's designed and proved to help shift our thought and attitude. Just ask yourself, or someone else , "What's Gone Well Today?"
We'd love to get your responses on this blog. If you need a lift, take a look at what other teachers are posting.

Thanks for helping 'shift thought'
Christopher would also like the option of posting some of your experiences on WhatsGoneWellToday.com to widen the shift. 

So, I'll start by saying that already I've had an amazing morning and it's only 9:16am.  I asked our teachers a question on facebook to generate a discussion for a blog post I will be writing soon (all about what television shows they watch in London) and three teachers responded within about 5 minutes.  I love that!  They apparently watch a lot of British tv that I've never even heard of, so I'm pretty excited to do the "research" and pass on their two cents to you.  I've already started my laundry so I can have clean clothes to wear to yoga today.  And I had a good laugh with a Canadian teacher in London who mistakenly called me here in Canada at 7:30am when she was actually meaning to call our London office.  That made me giggle.  I'm listening to an internet radio jazz station that's making me think that I should start listening to more jazz music.  My internet is back up & working, which means that I can put away the blackberry & respond to all the emails in my inbox, a task that actually makes me happy. 

But enough about me.  What's Gone Well for YOU today?  Please share your thoughts below.

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
Like this blog? Be sure to flick "follow" on the right hand side so you're the first to get our blog posts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Professional Development for Teachers & Teaching Assistants in London, England

The TES has just announced their 2 day event, filled with Professional Development Workshops & Seminars for teachers and TA's in London, England.  This year it takes place on Oct. 1st and 2nd.  They have included 10 free workshops, so everyone can participate.

Check it out here: TES Education 2010

If I were in London I'd sign up for the SF3R: A Formula for Behaviour, Learning & Life, and Pupil Involvement in Assessment for Learning - An Inclusive Approach.  There are 56 workshops to choose from, so it's pretty hard to just choose a few.


If you decide to attend, please let me know how it goes so I can spread the word with our teachers & teaching assistants in London & back home in 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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Should Children Call Teachers By Their First Names?

Sarah Ebner asked the question, "Should Students Call Teachers by their First Names?" on her SchoolGate blog the other day, so I decided to ask some of the Classroom Canada and Classroom America teachers on facebook what they thought.  Here are their replies:

Tom:  I was 100% FOR students calling teachers by their first name, but after teaching for awhile I now think it's important that students address teachers in a formal way. It's significant in the context of the student/teacher relationship. It helps solidify the teacher's position of authority.
Krystal: Depends what you're teaching. In a formal classroom setting I definitely want my students to address me formally but I also teach private music lessons and to my piano kids I'm just "Krystal", it's a more casual relationship & I don't have to be as authoritative. 
 Corie: I think it depends on the teacher, and on the class.
Taylor: Interesting... I am 50/50 - definitely depending on the situation - school... students etc.
Gina:  I was just thinking about that today...I am not a fan...my friends call me 'Daniela'...they (the students) are not your friends...too personal ...
Tom: Definitely, in a classroom setting, a first-name basis is a bit too "buddy-buddy" for me. I also give private music lessons and in those situations I am definitely "Tom." But no in the classroom...
Bryn:  No one can pronounce my last name, but do I think a certain degree of formality is important. I like it best when I get to go by Miss Bryn.
I love a good debate on teaching issues.  Here's what I replied on Sarah Ebner's blog:
Great Post Ms Ebner, wooops, I mean Sarah! ;-)
Seriously though, I do agree. I loved it when students would call me by my first name. It only happened occassionally while teaching across London schools, but whenever I found a school with such a policy I found the students to be more respectful and well behaved. It was a surprise, and a real treat!

I'm all for it. Especially this quote: "Respect isn't about what you're called; it's not about a title," he said. "It's about behaviour. If a teacher can't form a meaningful relationship with a child then that child won't behave. It's nothing to do with what they're called." Well said!
So what do you think?  Should children always call teachers by their first names, or are you "50/50" like Taylor above?  Or should they always use our last names?  And why?  Please share your two cents below.

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Interviews with Victoria Westcott, on helping teachers move to London, England

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Green Drinks, here in Victoria BC.  It's a gathering that happens once a month and encourages people to mix, mingle and chat with other like-minded folks.  It was a really great night.  I'm a bit embarassed, but also a little bit proud, to show you the videos that Christopher Bowers, of Conversation Works, did with me.  He asked me a few questions with his iphone video and I responded and used my hands far too much.  It's funny to watch yourself on video.  You realize how others see you.  And in my case, I need to use my hands less!  Anyway, here they are.  Please let me know what you think.







Questions? Comments? Please share your thoughts below.

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Will.i.am & Sesame Street; London 2012 & Volunteering


Will.i.am rocks on Sesame Street.  I don't think this song could be any more fun.  Love it.

If you want to volunteer for London's 2012 Olympics, then get up nice & early tomorrow morning & get online to this site to apply. I've already registered, but still need to go online starting from 8am GMT (which will be midnight tonight for me in Victoria, BC).  I'm signing up for sure!

Good news for teachers & teaching assistants who want to work in London this year & next: your visa will allow you to be in London for the Olympic Games (since most of you will get the Youth Mobility 2 year visa).  So, even if you don't volunteer you will experience the games in your schools & classrooms as the students will be very excited.  Some of our schools are being transformed for the Olympics, with new gymnasiums, Olympic sized pools, and the like.  They've been preparing for a couple of years now.  I'm ridiculously excited for how this will change the London I know.

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, September 13, 2010

Yet Another Reason to Teach in London, England: Boris Bikes

Transportation in London can be amazing & at the same time a total nightmare.  Last week, the London Underground (aka "the tube") was on strike, so teachers and teaching assistants had to take buses, ride their bikes or mopeds and walk to schools throughout the city. 

 The great news is that some teachers start to look to alternative transportation and buy bikes to get around.  It's not easy to bike around London for non-Londoners, but they get the hang of it eventually.  Sure, you have to bike on the "wrong side" of the road, which means you also have to shoulder-check on the other side & be more careful as you ride, but eventually you do get used to it. 

The biggest issue is navigating the city as the streets don't fall into a neat grid like we're so accustomed to in North America.  So get a GPS, attach it to your handlebars using whatever creative ways you can find (or find a handy-dandy little attachment to clip your GPS to your bike) and ride to school.

If you don't want to fork over the cash to buy a bike, just find yourself one of Boris Bikes.  Easy-peasy!  Bet you'll feel like a proper Londoner when you're riding a bike to teach.

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hey Americans & Canadians Moving to the UK: Here's How to SHOP!

I am so pleased to share some exciting news with you.  My second blog, "Canadians & Americans in the UK" has just expanded to include a co-author, Kristin Duffy from New York City.  A couple of weeks ago I announced on facebook that I wanted to invite someone into my 2nd blog, to write all about moving to the UK from a Canadian or American point of view, and through a friend, I ended up "meeting" Kristin.

You see, I write this blog "Classroom Canada" for American & Canadian teachers & teaching assistants who are moving to teach in London, England. And I started "Canadians & Americans in the UK" to answer all those questions from non-teachers who are also moving across the pond.  We all have the same questions - how to get a flat, a visa, a UK bank account, how to make friends, to network, to bring electricals overseas...you see where I'm going I'm sure.  But over time, I started to neglect my 2nd blog.  Classroom Canada & Classroom America are my priorities and I found myself feeling a bit "blah" about the 2nd blog.  I knew I needed new energy & enthusiasm over there.

So, I spread the word and after receiving quite a few emails from interested bloggers, I decided to invite Kristin into the blog. She's fun, fabulous, and moving to London in just a few weeks.  She's already done quite a bit of shopping in her visits to London, so please go check out her first post "How to Shop in London."  While you're there, please check out my other posts all about moving to the UK.  And be sure to leave your comments & questions! That's how we know what to write about.


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, September 6, 2010

Back to School September 2010: What are your goals for this school year?



I love this day. 

It's a day off for those of us in Canada and America, while our teachers in London are officially back to school.  The long term teachers have already organized their classrooms and met their new students.  The supply (aka daily cover, TOC, substitute) teachers are waiting for their first phone calls to cover other teachers classes due to illness or course cover.  The leaves on the trees will soon change colours.  It's time to buy clothes for autumn (or "fall" as we say in Canada and the States), and back-to-school supplies.  I love this day!

I'm not keen on New Years Resolutions, simply because I don't really feel like January 1st is a new start.  Labour Day for me is the real start to a new year. 

So, here are my resolutions and goals for this academic year:

  1. Start and follow through with the Couch to 5km Jogging program (again, and my 4th time).  I did it last year and managed to complete an 8km run which was amazing & really fun, but then had an injury that forced me to slow down in a big way.  I couldn't participate in the Classroom Canada Run With Richard, which is a 5km jog through Central London near our office with Richard Gilbey, the Managing Director of Classroom London.  I was gutted! I met the group of jogging teachers and took pre and post-jog photos, but this year I am determined to actually run with them.  Who's with me?
  2. Last year, I learned to drive & bought my first car.  So this year, I want to go on more road trips.  Shouldn't be hard, since I absolutely love driving & hit the road to interview teachers across Canada and the USA quite often.  I'll make more mixed CDs for the trips as well as pick up a few Books on CD.  Any suggestions?
  3. I officially hired another Recruitment Consultant who will start in November.  I'm really excited to spend more time focusing on Classroom America, while Anissa focuses on Classroom Canada Our American teachers are a real inspiration for me to recruit even more amazing, dynamic, enthusiastic teachers to work in London, England.  I'll tell you more about Anissa in October, but for now, just know that I'm super stoked to be expanding this little teaching agency.
  4. Go to a yoga class at least once a week.  
  5. Continue to work out and do yoga while I travel.  This is a BIG goal for me and probably the one that requires the most focus to actually do.  With all my travels, I tend to eat out a lot and leave my jogging, weight training & yoga aside - which means that I am always starting fresh every time I return home. 
  6. Attend the Austin Film Festival during the October half-term break, because I just love Austin and can't watch enough good movies.  It's a holiday for our teachers in London so I can also take off somewhere just for fun.  I don't really know anyone in Austin and will literally watch movies from 9am til midnight! I hope I meet some cool people to hang out with as well.  This is my first really adventurous trip since I moved to teach in London, England.  How exciting!
How about you?  Any "new year's" plans for this academic year?  Please share your thoughts below.

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How to Get a UK Bank Account from Canada or America

As many teachers and teaching assistants are well aware, banking in the UK can be quite a challenge for Canadians & Americans when they make the move “across the pond.” They need to have bank accounts set-up right away to deal with rental payments, deposits for teachers' salaries, etc.

I highly recommend doing your very best to arrange banking before you plan to transfer to the UK. It just makes your life easier when you arrive and is one less thing to worry about. You want to focus your energies on learning how to be the best dang teacher in London right?

Luckily for all of our teachers, Classroom Canada & Classroom America have long partnered with Lloyds TSB International (part of the UK’s largest retail Bank) to help our teachers set-up bank accounts while still abroad.

Here are the details:
Premier International Account
International banking made easy
Key benefits
  • 4% (1% AER) introductory interest rate* – for up to 3 months only.
  • No monthly fee* – on balances over £2500 / €2500 / US$3500. If your balance falls below these minimum levels, for that month a fee of £20 will apply.
  • Worldwide family travel insurance* – for travel together or alone.
  • Concierge Service* – 24/7 phone-based assistance worldwide.
  • Choice of Sterling, Euro & US dollar accounts – save on foreign exchange and currency fluctuation.
  • Visa debit cards to use worldwide – save on cash withdrawal fees.
  • 24/7 Internet Banking and Phonebank.
  • Discounts and offers * — 35% off Priority Pass airport lounge access membership, 50% off International Mortgage Service arrangement fees when you hold over £100,000 with Lloyds TSB International.
  • Sterling cheque book, extra flexibility if you have a sterling account.
* Speak to Lloyd's in Los Angeles for further details and conditions on these special offers. Call them directly on (+1) 213 443 4094  and be sure to tell them that Classroom Canada sent you. 

So, are you eligible…?

The Premier International Account could be for you if you're eligible to apply —
All existing customers of Lloyds Banking Group can apply for this account. If you're a new customer, you need a gross annual income of £50,000 or currency equivalent, or over £25,000 or currency equivalent to invest with Lloyds TSB International within 3 months of opening your account.
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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