Tuesday, January 25, 2011

British Humour - My Blackberry's Not Working



Yet another reason to move to teach in London, England: British Humour.  So funny!

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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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Head Teachers (aka School Principals) Look to Social Networking Sites to Check on Staff


We've always suspected that Head Teachers (also known as Principals in North America) look at their staff pictures and posts on sites like facebook and twitter.  Yesterday's Guardian Newspaper confirms the suspicion.

I remember sitting beside an HR staff member of a Canadian school board at one of the university fairs, while she looked up teachers profiles on facebook. I asked her about it, and she explained that she always goes first to facebook, then to the teachers' resume.

Have drunken pictures of yourself on facebook? Or photos of you having a relationship with a school colleague (that no one but your friends know about)? Or maybe you've written less-than-tasteful comments about others online?  Google will bring those comments up.

See this blog post.  I'm actively promoting that teachers use social media but do so with some smarts.  Here's another blog post to check out.

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, January 19, 2011

Updated List of Universities Where You Can Meet Classroom Canada

I've recently returned from visiting universities in Ontario and speaking with student-teachers about what it's like to teach in London, England.  This year, we're doing things a bit differently by having some of our former teachers visit the universities - since I can't be in 2 places at the same time, and they're awesome Canadian teachers just like you.

We've had to reduce some of the fairs unfortunately - I had planned to attend more myself, but have some health stuff I need to sort.  Teachers can still contact me directly (victoria AT classroomcanada DOT com) as I'm happy to help in any way that I can, even if we don't get the chance to visit your university.

Here's the updated list:

January 21st

Thunder Bay, Ontario
Lakehead University
Teacher Career Fair
Lakehead graduate and successful Classroom Canada teacher, Erika Ott, will be in attendance.

January 28th
North Bay, ON
Nipissing
Teacher Career Fair
Successful Classroom Canada teacher, Alex Merrick, will be in attendance.

February 7th, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
McGill
Teacher Career Fair
Classroom Canada consultant and traveling fanatic, Anissa Paulsen, will be in attendance & will give a presentation.  She's also conducting interviews that day.

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, January 13, 2011

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada - Tom from Victoria




Name: Tom
University: University of Victoria
Subjects: Primary/Secondary (English)


How long have you been teaching in London?
I've been in London for 2.5 months.
What do you teach?


I was trained as a generalist middle school teacher (usually grades 6-8) but I also have an English Lit degree, so my experience as a substitute has been all across the board. In Canada I taught anything and everything from primary French to grade 12 physics. Here in London I’ve been teaching supply in primary and secondary schools.
Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?

A friend suggested Classroom Canada to me, and I looked into it because I felt the need to experience a new culture before I got too comfortable living and working in Victoria, BC. I met with Victoria Westcott, and she was exceedingly helpful and informative. She gave me the impression that teaching in London was a rewarding and wonderful thing. And she was right.
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?

The biggest adjustment has been in my classroom management techniques. I had heard “horror stories” about teaching in London, and so I knew I was in for a challenge right off the bat. As it turns out, most of the classes are just fine. A few classes have left me pulling my hair out, but the challenge is just an opportunity to
develop professionally.
Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.

On a typical weekday I wake up at about 6:45 to get to work for 8:00. That usually gives me time to figure out the day’s plan and meet the teachers in the neighbouring classrooms. Because I’m on call, I usually don’t have to mark or prep, so after the students leave I tidy up the room and write a note for the regular teacher. I’m usually
home by about 5:00pm. After dinner it’s off to the gym or the pub!
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?

Definitely give it a try. You won’t regret it. London is an incredible place to live.
Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:

Almost every day I get asked if I know Justin Bieber. Usually I get a kick out of that. Also, young students ask the funniest questions about Canada. For example: “Have you ever been attacked by a bear?” “Are people in Canada big?” “Do they eat mice in Canada?” The list is endless.
Describe the worst thing:

Supply teaching has particular challenges. A few times I have come across classes that cannot be motivated to learn. On these days I spend the majority of time on classroom management. Though it can be discouraging, it’s an opportunity to improve existing management techniques and develop new ones.
What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
I have had VERY consistent work with Classroom. They are friendly, helpful, and personable.

What qualities do you have that make your teaching in London enjoyable?

My knack for focusing on the positive has really helped me in London. As I said above, it can be a tough job. But you have to focus on the successes and learn from the challenges. Also, I think it helps that I am pretty laid back. The hustle and bustle of London and unpredictable nature of supply could get to someone who is more high-strung. Be ready for adventure, and roll with the punches. You might just have the time of your life!


Thanks Tom!

We are currently interviews teachers who would like to work in London starting in April/May or September 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
Sign up for our newsletters
Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada - Patrick from London, ON



Name: Patrick Briscoe
University: OISE
Subjects: I/S Politics, Social Science, Family Studies
Ages You Teach: 11-18 (Years/Grades 7-11, i.e. Secondary School)

How long have you been teaching in London?
I've been teaching since October 2010.
What do you teach?

Coming out of teacher’s college, I was qualified to teach Politics and General Social Science. Before coming to London, I picked up a Family Studies AQ to help my job prospects. Since arriving in London, I have been doing day-to-day supply, teaching mainly Food Technology. However, as a daily supply cover, you can expect to teach a range of other subjects—Math, Science, English, etc—since not all schools can match your subject each period. I have also done some Primary cover (from Year 1 through 6), which is a nice way to mix things up, broaden your teaching experience, and make yourself more available for work. In the New Year, I am hoping to find something long-term.
Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?

I first came across Classroom through a Google search that lead me to Victoria’s blog. The information was fantastic and, at first, I didn’t even realize the blog was part of an agency. The very open and friendly nature of Classroom is what drew me to them.
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?

Without a doubt, behaviour management is number one. You’ve heard it before and I will confirm that, yes, students in London are more challenging than in Canada. Although some days can lead to your doubting yourself as a teacher, there are others where you walk out of the school at the end of the day feeling like you were on top of your game. This is a good time to plug the benefits of being a supply teacher: you are able to start fresh with a new class each day and also get to see a range of schools and behaviours. If you haven’t watched Victoria’s “Why Supply Teach?” video, I highly recommend it. [Note: To see other videos and resources regarding supply teaching in the UK, visit our popular "200 best resources" blog post from May 2009.]
Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.

If I have not already got a booking for the day, I wake up at 6:55am just in time to call Classroom at 7:00am to let them know I am available for work. I check the forecast for any sign of sun then start to get ready as I wait for a return call letting me know which school I will be teaching at and how to get there. Out the door I go; I head to the “Tube” station to join the other commuters on their trek to work, arrive at the school with a quick introduction by the school contact, am delivered to my classroom, given any cover work that has been left, and am wished good luck as the students enter the classroom—let the school day begin! After the bell has rung and my timesheet has been signed, I’m back on the tube, arriving home before most people have ended their workday—I can now enjoy some of the sights and activities that the great city of London has to offer.
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?

Head across the pond open to new adventures and experiences. London has so much to offer and, from the UK, you are able to connect with the rest of the world so easily. Make the most of your time here and be willing to go out on a whim and try something new. One Saturday, my girlfriend and I went to a travel show and came home with an unexpected tour of Egypt that we bid on at an auction. These are the types of things you can easily do once over here. Finding work and expanding your skills as a teacher is an important part of the experience, but I would also recommend taking advantage of what the UK has to offer.
Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:

I think the day-to-day sayings of the students are what make me chuckle the most. I frequently hear the questions: “Are you from Canadia?” “Are you related to Justin Bieber? How about Drake?” “Can you speak Canadian?” “Canadia isn’t part of America?” When they ask where in Canada I’m from and I say “London” they really start to get confused.
Describe the worst thing:

The worst was a supply day for a year 3 class that had been without its teacher for over a week and had lost most of its structure. From a soccer ball being kicked around to one child trying to stand on a chair to turn off the projector while another ran out of the room to flush someone’s playing card down the toilet, this was one of those days you like to forget about!
What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
Classroom is a personable agency. They actually care about you as a person and don't seem to herd teachers together for their own benefit like some of the other agencies do. We came to London with another agency, which quickly put their priorities first once we arrived in the country. After a couple weeks of very little work and poor communication, we decided to contact Classroom. We were promptly asked to come in for an interview, welcomed by the staff, given steady work, and felt like part of the Classroom "family." Since then, we have had great support for the staff and have been able to meet other Classroom teachers. The teaching experience is much better when you have an agency that you feel comfortable with and Classroom has done that for us.


What qualities do you have that make your teaching in London enjoyable?

I would say that adaptability is a key quality. Life moves at a fast pace in London and being flexible makes things much easier and also brings about opportunities that may not have come about otherwise. Enjoy your time here; you only live once!


Thanks Patrick!

We are currently interviews teachers who would like to work in London starting in April/May 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
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.

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