Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada - Trisha from Toronto

Name: Trisha Geronimo
University: York University
Subjects: Primary/Junior (K-6)
Ages You Teach: KS2 (Key Stage 2, grades 4-6)

How long have you been teaching in London?
I've been teaching since January 2010.
What do you teach?
I teach Year 4 (ages 8-9) at a junior school in North London. With the exception of P.E., Geography, History, Spanish and Music, I teach all the subjects.
Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
I stumbled across Classroom Canada on Facebook and truthfully, it was Victoria's blog that initially got my attention. It was very informative and I liked that she had prior experience teaching in London. Victoria was very personable and extremely helpful and she responded to my concerns really quickly.
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Using Interactive Whiteboards for most of my lessons (I never used one before) and dealing with behaviour management.
Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
During the weekdays, I get up at 6:00 and leave my flat just after 7:00. I arrive at school between 7:45 - 8:00 and school starts at 8:50. I prefer to arrive pretty early in the morning and get my work done so I can leave soon after the children are dismissed. Since I'm usually knackered by the end of the day, I unwind by watching television or reading a good book. I reserve the weekends for day trips throughout England and sightseeing in the city.
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
Go for it! A year before my arrival, I kept toying with the idea, "Should I? Shouldn't I?" because the thought of leaving all the comforts of home frightened me. I realized that coming to London would be an amazing opportunity for personal and professional growth and I don't regret my decision one bit. I was homesick at first but I quickly connected with other Canadian (and American) teachers who were going through the same thing as me. Despite having only taught in the UK for several months, I know I'll never forget this experience.

Also, like anything new, it will take time to adjust to the curriculum, the children and how to do assessments. You'll have good and bad days, but who doesn't?
Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:
During my first week of teaching, the students asked me where to put their homework folders. I pointed to the large plastic container that you'd typically find at a dollar store back in Canada and said, "Put them in the bin." To that, the children replied, "What?! You want us to put our homework in the bin?!" I quickly learned not to make that mistake again.
Describe the worst thing:
Having arrived in London less than a week before my long-term position was to begin, I hardly had any time to adjust to living in a new country. The first Monday after the Christmas holiday was an INSET day at the school and I was "thrown" into it all. It was incredibly overwhelming at first but it's gotten easier with time.
The worst thing was the feeling that I've lost control of my class (in my case, due to excessive chattiness!) despite all my best efforts and tried, tested and true behaviour management techniques that worked brilliantly back in my Canadian classroom. You'll have good and bad days but consistency is key.
What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
Victoria helped to make my transition to the UK as smooth as possible by answering my questions and getting me in touch with other teachers who've already made the move and who were arriving at the same time as me.
What qualities do you have that make your teaching in London enjoyable?
Patience, understanding, a sense of humour and a love for exploring the beautiful places around me.
Thanks Trisha! 
We're currently interviews teachers who would like to work in London starting in January 2011.  To apply, please submit your resume & 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
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Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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