Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On the Road Again! Classroom Canada at SFU December 1, 2010

Anissa & I are packing up my car & getting ready to hit the road again - this time, we're off to Vancouver for the Simon Fraser University Teacher Career Fair tomorrow afternoon.  We'll be meeting new teachers and discussing teaching jobs in London, England, with a focus on primary, secondary & special educational needs teaching jobs. 

Often times, these new teachers don't quite know where they want to teach and visit our table to simply discuss their options.  And every once in a while, a reader of this very blog will visit us, and apply to teach in London with us.  I love when that happens!  Check out Joann's coffee time - I met her at UBC a couple of years now and she's already been to teach in London and back again. 

If you're an SFU student teacher, please be sure to pop by and visit us.  I might even be bringing some home made cookies to share, bt I have a feeling Anissa & I will have some for breakfast as we'll be on the ferry at 7am (eeeeh-gah!).  We'll have apples and sweets anyway. 

To see if we're visiting your town in the new year, please see our list of University Fairs and please do let us know if you want us to come to your town. 

Resources for Teaching in London

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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Monday, November 29, 2010

11 Year Old Speaks Out About Our Food System



As teachers, every once in a while, we come across a child that is so incredibly confident, strong-willed, and such a bright spark that we just have to spread the word about them.  Here's one I saw today.  Watch the video. You'll see what I mean.  Know another one?  Send me the link by leaving a comment below.

Resources for Teaching in London

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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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Advice for New Teachers - Work/Life Balance

I often send our readers over to Teachers TV to check out their amazing short documentary style videos for educators and I'm about to do so once again.

This time I'm sending you there to watch a video about Wellbeing at Work - Coping with Excessive Workload.  I know teachers are starting to feel the stress of the pre-holiday season, where they wonder how on earth they'll get it all done in time.  All the planning, teaching, assessing, behaviour managing, IEP writing, teacher-parent conferences, report writing...and then the Christmas concerts disrupt all their plans and how on earth do they manage to get any of it done anyway?  What about their lives outside of school? 

I've given 5 workshops at UVic over the last 2 weeks to teachers about to graduate, and I noticed that I often end up giving out some free "life" advice while I teach resume & cover letter writing and what it's really like to teach in London, England.  

Here are a few bits & pieces of advice that I seem to give again & again to new teachers:
  • Remember who you are & give yourself the time to be you.  So, if you knit - knit! If you're sporty, do your sports (or at least the British equivalents!). If you love independent movies, find your indie-world in London.  Whatever makes you happy - you absolutely have to make that time for yourself.  Not just for your own sanity either.  Your teaching will be better if you take that time, plus you're that much more interesting to your students & colleagues.
  • Going to the pub with your colleagues is an important part of many school cultures in London.  So if you drink, you'll be happy to take a break from being at school to get thee to your "local"!  And if you don't drink, it's important that you still go and just have a soda because a whole lot of staff-team-bonding happens at the pub in London.  Not all schools, but many are this way.  Don't miss out - your colleagues are there to relate to you, laugh with you (and sometimes at you), and share in your joys & struggles.  Tap into that community by being active within it.
  • Open up your mind to all the amazing possibilities available to you.  You get 13 weeks of holidays spread throughout the school year - use them!  Go to Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague, Morocco...but don't get stressed about seeing every place on your travel bucket list.  Go with the flow, be open & flexible and have fun!
  • Seeing the silver lining will help you survive your first year teaching.  In my first year of teaching, my Aussie flatmate and I came up with a rule in our house - at the end of every teaching day, we could vent about 1 thing if we had to (and trust me, we did!) and 2 positives.  It stopped our negative venting stream of thinking and forced us to find the positives.  Now, I can see 100's more positives for every one single negative - but I had to train my brain to work that way.
 Any other tips you'd like to offer to new teachers?  Please share your thoughts below. 

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Enough about us, what about you? Win a Free Ebook: Guide to Teaching in London

We've just posted a poll on the right hand side of this blog to ask our readers what brought them to our blog.

We want to know more about you - what you're interested in, why you came to this particular blog and what you want to get out of  it.  So please tick a box and leave a comment here.  Let us know a bit more about you - what makes you interested in reading about teaching in London?  Or, maybe you're not interested, and just stumbled upon the blog?

Please share your thoughts below! It helps us know what to write about.  Comments make the blogosphere.


PS) One lucky commenter will win a free copy of Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians - worth $29.95! 

Resources for Teaching in London


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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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Teaching Fellow Teachers: Reflections of a Former Teacher Turned Recruitment Manager

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to teach current student-teachers at the University of Victoria in two different classes, with my new colleague Anissa Paulsen.  We chatted about teaching abroad, with a focus on teaching in London, England and the kinds of jobs and experiences that our teachers have.  We also did a short session on cover letter & CV writing, as well as my advice on how to ace the dreaded teacher interview.

The morning class ran from 11 until 12:50 and the afternoon class was from 2:30-3:50.  I thought I'd share my thoughts on how my "classes" went:
  1. First off, I love morning classes that start at 11.  I had plenty of time to drink my coffee, reply to emails, make a few phone calls and get ready for the day.  That was a total score in my mind, and I'm sure the student teachers love it too.  Especially on a Monday morning.
  2. Is it me, or are student teachers really just big kids?  I found the morning class full of energy, enthusiasm and laughter whereas the afternoon class was sluggish and frankly - they seemed a bit bored.  I even had the student-teachers open a couple of windows!  Anissa & I talked to their professor afterwards and discussed the difference in the two classes.  Don't get me wrong - I liked both classes, but I worried that my own teaching was really boring.  What was I doing wrong?  I told funny stories (or at least I think they're funny!) and tried to make the workshop as engaging as possible.  But the professor advised me on what I could have done with the afternoon class.  She explained that she always has them moving around, up out of their seats - just like primary kids.  She was a Primary School Principal so she uses the same tricks with her student teachers as she does elementary aged students.  Well how 'bout that.  I didn't even think of that!
  3. I love the enthusiasm that our teachers have for traveling the world, and love meeting new teachers with that same enthusiasm.  Our conversations are so much more meaningful to me.  In contrast, I find it hard to relate to teachers who don't want to leave the comfort zones of what they know at "home."  Huh?  You don't want to spend your weekends in Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague...?  Really? 
  4. Sometimes I can be a bit too honest.  But I won't change that anytime soon. Whether that be in a teacher's interview or during a presentation at a university - sometimes I shock myself with what I actually say outloud  -- and now you're thinking - "what did she say?!"  I will never tell.
  5. I like giving teachers unexpected freebies.  For every teacher that showed up to class yesterday we gave them a free copy of my ebook, Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians.  It saved each student $29.95 so that felt pretty cool.
  6. It's all about the little things.  Anissa and I gave the workshops at no cost to U. Vic or the student-teachers, partly because we're here in Victoria so it was no big deal for travel and partly because we figure it's good to give back to our local uni.  I knew that would feel good.  But I didn't know that the student-teachers would give us each a little gift and a signed card by everyone in the class.  Good thinking U.Vic!  Really appreciated that simple gesture. 
Tomorrow we're giving two more workshops at U.Vic, this time for 2 hour sessions with more in depth chats about teaching jobs in England, resume and cover letter writing, and how to rock the teacher interview for going abroad.  The first one is at 9:00 am, so I won't have them up and moving around too much (wouldn't want them to spill their coffees!), but the second one isn't til after lunch so...guess I'll plan to move them around a bit.  Maybe I should even bring some of my "supply teacher tips & tricks."  Fireball anyone?

What would you do?  Have you ever taught grown-ups?  If so, please send me your advice on how I can improve my afternoon sessions!  Thanks.

Resources for Teaching in London


Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teaching the Periodic Table with Harry Potter

Here's a different way to teach the periodic table, as demonstrated by Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter Fame.




Resources for Teaching in London
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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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Classroom Canada is Coming to You! Teacher Career Fairs, Workshops, Presentations & Interviews in Your Cities

It's official - jetlag has knocked me on my butt.  I flew to London last Sunday and went straight into the London office for Monday for our intense & amazing PD & Socials week. Then I flew home on Monday, and went straight to our Victoria BC office to catch up on all that I missed while away.  Now it's Wednesday and I must say - I'm swamped! 

So, I've been returning all your phone calls and replying to emails, as well as interviewing teachers for jobs that start in January & May 2011 and a few for September/October 2011.  It's madness over here folks.

Anissa and I had a meeting today about all the universities we're visiting this year, and to discuss our upcoming U.Vic workshops on resume & cover letter writing for overseas teaching jobs, as well as what it's really like to teach in London.  I had the pleasure to speak with a U. Vic student teacher about doing her placement with us in London next year and a Queen's student teacher about her alternate practicum this spring.  It's always so great to see teachers planning ahead.  Doing a placement in London just makes so much sense for their careers and for the adventure of teaching abroad.

Anyway, in case you missed it - here's the list of places we're visiting this year, with some more to be added to the list shortly.  I'm excited to meet all the great teachers across Canada and America who want to teach in the UK with us.  They make it all worthwhile!  Be sure to let us know if you want us to visit your town or city and it's not already on the list.

Resources for Teaching in London
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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Monday, November 8, 2010

Traveling Around the World and a Love Affair with Airports Free WiFi


I'm en route from London, England back to my home of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  This morning, I flew with Air France from London to Paris and I've just arrived in Seattle, in the last leg of my journey home.  Thought I'd write a quick blog post to tell you how much I love free WiFi at airports.  Thanks SeaTac and Vancouver Airports! You rock.

You see, I travel across Canada and the USA doing interviews and presentations with teachers who want jobs in London, England.  I also visit our teachers in London at least once a year.  So I spend an awful lot of time at airports.  And when I can, I hop online to check my email, catch up on teachers' blogs, chat on facebook & twitter and get re-connected with the world.  It's glorious when it's free.  


They're calling my name to board the flight to Victoria. Before I go, do you have any airports you love?  Please leave your comments below!

PS) Laura Buchan is my Flight Centre Agent and she always manages to get me great cheap flights.  She also offers at least $25 off for any of our teachers with Classroom Canada. Call her and say "Classroom Canada" - 1 866 552 4050

Resources for Teaching in London

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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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photos from our Run with Richard and Primary/SEN PD Workshop

Gearing up for the Classroom Canada 5km jogging tour of Central London



On Monday night, we did our 2nd annual "Run with Richard," a 5km jogging tour of Central London starting at our London office near Oxford Circus.  Some of the teachers preferred to just sit & drink a bit of wine with me while I held the bags and ipods for the runners and I was pleased to have their company.  It's always so great for me to get to know the Canadian & American teachers and teaching assistants a bit better in London.  I have the best job in the whole world thanks to them.

Then, on Tuesday night we did our Professional Development Workshop for Primary and Special Educational Needs teachers.  Jennifer Hocking, a fellow Queen's graduate, lead the SEN portion and I lead the primary portion.  We focused on a "round table" approach in the workshop, encouraging teachers to share their experiences and expertise.  I loved it and hope the teachers did too!




I know the photos don't really do the workshop justice, but I wanted to show you how we set up the round tables and discussion groups. 

I had the pleasure of visiting our accommodations today with Richard from Classroom London.  Jim, our contact, is so lovely & such a great support for our Canadian and American teachers.  They've really made a lot of improvements on the buildings, which are located right near Tottenham Court Road, in the very centre of London.  I'm always so impressed!

Tonight we have our Secondary and SEN workshop with another successful teacher, Kelly Gauthier.  Kelly will be leading both sections of the workshop & sharing her experiences in both areas over the past 2 years of teaching in London with us.  I first met Kelly at a presentation I gave at Queen's, where she wanted more information about completing her "alternative practicum" in London.  A few months later Kelly arrived in London with us (after initially registering with another agency that she wasn't too impressed with) and has been with us ever since.  I'm really looking forward to her workshops.

Tomorrow night we have the 3rd annual London Scavenger Hunt, a ridiculously silly & fun event that I look forward to every time I come back to London.  See the prizes for the hunt here .

And then, I fly back home to Vancouver Island on Monday morning.  Crazy.  What a whirlwind trip!

Next week, I'm planning my PD workshops for the student-teachers at the University of Victoria.  Can't wait.

Resources for Teaching in London


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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Monday, November 1, 2010

Ramblings of Gratitude on the London Underground

I arrived in London yesterday and had the pleasure of taking the overland train and the tube into Oxford Circus this morning, to our London office.  While sitting on the train, I started to feel nostalgic for my life in London.  I've been recruiting Canadian teachers to London with Classroom Canada for 3 years, and this past year I've also started to recruit American teachers with Classroom America.  I live in Victoria, British Columbia most of the time and travel across Canada and America to conduct interviews and do presentations about teaching in London and the jobs we have.

So I visit London once or twice a year, see all our teachers, conduct PD workshops, organize & participate in social events and catch up with my London colleagues.  It's a manic week to say the least, but also my favourite week of the year.

On my journey into London this morning, I made a list in my head of all the things I love about my journey to the office:
  • I love how easy it is to navigate London.  Thank you tube & overland maps!
  • I love catching a stranger's eye on the elevators and giving them an unexpected smile.
  • I love the HSBC ads at the airport. I always feel like I'm coming "home" when I see their ads.  Strange, I know.
  • I love listening to my ipod on the tube.  This morning's playlist was Hollerado, from Manotick, Ontario close to my home town of Ottawa.
  • I love getting off at Oxford Circus and being swept amongst the crowds.
  • I love stopping in at Pret to pick up a latte ("not too hot please" - they always burn the milk unless I tell them not to) and a breakfast sandwich.  My colleagues are sick of Pret because our London office is right above one, but since I'm only here for a week I can't get sick of their food yet. Their love bars are delicious!
  • I love reading this week's Time Out Magazine, even though I won't have much time to actually see any other events besides our Classroom Canada ones, I still like to know how much there is to do in London.
  • I love coming into the London office and seeing all my amazing colleagues.  Seriously, I have the best colleagues in the whole world.  How did I get so lucky?
  • I love meeting the new London staff!  They don't feel new themselves, but for me, since I was here a year ago they're new to me.
  • I love seeing our teachers in London.   Absolutely love it.
Resources for Teaching in London
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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