Thursday, February 24, 2011

What makes Classroom Canada unique? Our assistance with banking, flights and visas

Another area where Classroom Canada stands out among other recruiting agencies is that all of our recruiters have spent time teaching in London or Europe as well as living in the UK. As a result, we are able to offer first-rate assistance and advice about obtaining bank accounts, flights and visas. And for questions we are unable to answer, we have special arrangement with experts in the field who will be able to help you with what can sometimes be very complicated processes.

See below for more information about visas, banking and travel arrangements to London!

One of the advantages about knowing experts in the field is that they often have special offers for our Classroom Canada teachers. Currently (but for a limited time only), Lloyd's bank is offering to give our Canadian teachers 100 pounds in the bank just for opening a UK bank account!

Details are in our February 7, 2011 blog, but feel free to also contact Michael Gallagher at the Canadian representative office (+1 416 642 5613 or for more information about this offer and setting up accounts in general. He will always be happy to see how he can make the Premier International Account available for you!

We definitely recommend establishing your bank account before arriving in London. It is easier this way, as you will not be able to get into our housing without first having a UK bank account.

Laura Buchan is Classroom Canada's Flight Centre Agent and she always manages to get us great inexpensive flights. She offers at least $25 off for any of our teachers with Classroom Canada. Call her and say "Classroom Canada" - 1 866 552 4050.

That sense of relief when your visa finally arrives in the post and you can officially book your flights & prepare for the journey to the UK is amazing. Currently, there are a few different options for visas to work in the UK. Please be aware, though, that the British High Commission has the final say for visa eligibility and requirements. Please contact them directly for visa applications and any specific questions you may have.

We generally recommend that you apply for your visas between 2-3 months before your intended arrival date and here is an idea of what kind of visa you might be eligible for:
  1. UK Ancestry Visa - If you are a commonwealth citizen and are lucky enough to have a grandparent born in the UK, this is the visa for you. It gives you 5 years in the UK and you have to jump through a few hoops to get the correct paperwork, but it is by far the best visa for Canadians to get. No, it can't be a great-grandparent, and yes, it can be a parent. Although if your parent was born in the UK, you should just go for a UK passport. It takes a few months, mostly just for you to get your paperwork in order.
  2. Youth Mobility Visa aka Tier 5 and formally known as the Working Holiday Maker Visa - Again for commonwealth citizens, but this time with a few restrictions. You have to be under 31 years old when you apply and have 1600 GBP in your bank account. It gives you 2 years in the UK. This visa can take a few months to get, but most of our teachers & teaching assistants find they get their visas in hand within about 2 weeks of applying. This is the visa that most of our teachers end up getting. As a result,
  3. Sponsorship (aka Work Permit) - If you can't get a Visa, then you can try to get sponsored by a school. Be warned though - it's near impossible these days & if you're not in the UK, the schools are highly unlikely to even look at your CV, let alone sponsor you. If they do, I would make the assumption that they can not get any of the thousands of teachers already in the UK to take the job. Read between the lines and then decide if that's the kind of school you want to work in.
If you have an EU passport, you don't need a visa. Lucky you!

Next week, I'll be talking about more about what you might expect when you join the Classroom Canada team in terms of the great schools we work in and the professional development opportunities we offer to our newly recruited teachers!

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website.

Be sure to read the
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What makes Classroom Canada unique? Our housing options!

Moving overseas can be an incredibly stressful time and we here at Classroom Canada hope that we can help facilitate that process. When you are accepted into our program, we send you a detailed acceptance package that includes our award-winning ebook “Guide to Teaching in London” as well as other practical advice and tips on setting up your life in London, UK.

This week and next we are highlighting the many unique aspects of Classroom Canada and today the focus is on our housing options for our teachers.

Our housing complex is located right downtown in the Oxford Circus area so our teachers and TA’s have an instant community and group of friends from Canada as well as from all around the world.

The housing is basically a dormitory for adults. The accommodations are subsidized (currently approximately 500 pounds per month) and the rooms are reserved specifically for key workers such as teachers, nurses and police officers. You get a single room with a single bed, wardrobe, sink and desk. You will share a bathroom and kitchen with other like-minded individuals. In general, the complex is pretty quiet as many of the residents work shift work and therefore, sleep during the day.

The best part about the place is the LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! OK, and having a network of friends upon arrival isn’t so bad either!

Of course, there are occasions when rooms are not available to move into at the time you are arriving in London, or couples may be seeking rooms together.

What does one do in that case? Our resourceful teachers have done the following:

1) post a request on the Classroom Canada Facebook page asking if anyone already in London is seeking a roommate or knows of a room available to let.

2) arrive in London with plans to stay at an inexpensive hostel or hotel for a week or two while you pound the pavement searching for the perfect place to live.

3) check out the services of London Relocation Services. This is an agency in London that will help you view rooms to rent the day you arrive in London. Let them know you are with Classroom Canada and they will arrange for you to see 15 apartments within 24 hours of your arrival and they will guarantee they will find a suitable place for you to live. There is a charge for this service however.

As always, if you have any specific questions about who we are or what we do – or if you are ready to apply – please contact us at: apply [AT] classroomcanada [DOT] com.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
Sign up for our newsletters
Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

Monday, February 21, 2011

What makes Classroom Canada unique?

One of the things that I particularly like about working at Classroom Canada is that we are not just about getting you a teaching job. I like to think that we focus on getting you the “experience beyond the classroom.” By this I mean, we help our teachers out not only with all the nitty-gritty details of making that big move across the Atlantic (visas, housing, bank accounts and networking) but also with establishing a good, solid network of friendships that will make the time outside of the classroom so fantastic.

Teaching with Classroom Canada will be tough - teaching anywhere is tough - but in the words of one of our teachers:
View [your time with Classroom Canada] as a “life” opportunity! Go [to London] seeking exceptional life experience through meeting new people, travel, seeing the London sights and you will really have a phenomenal and worthwhile experience!
Throughout this week and next, I’ll be highlighting and discussing in this blog these and other aspects that make Classroom Canada unique.

1. First and foremost, we are a small agency and we care about you.

We feel that our recruiters are all very personable, approachable and available to help answer your questions. We like to get to know all our applicants not only as teachers, but also as people. We know moving abroad can be incredibly stressful at times, so we want to go that extra mile to make sure you have all the information you need to make a successful transition to life overseas.

2. Second, we are very selective.

Over 100 teachers across Canada have taught in London. Ninety percent of our teachers stay for the entire two years that their visas allow. Some of them stay for three years and a few are staying there for life, getting married and starting families!

We look for candidates who not only are outstanding teachers, but also those who are interesting, have unique personalities, have good senses of humour, love to travel, and are positive, adaptable, resourceful, open-minded and flexible.

The teachers we select become ambassadors for Classroom Canada and Classroom UK. We need to ensure that they are professional, energetic, easy to get along with, and honest.

3. We offer social networking.

All of us at Classroom Canada have had opportunities to live and work abroad, and we understand one of the most important things to making your experience the best it can be is by establishing solid friendships with other Canadians while you are living in London.

We like that process to get started before you arrive in London. Here are the ways we help with that:
Join our Facebook group. Join it now to get a sense of who we are and what we do. Then, after you are accepted into our program we will invite you into our private Facebook group which consists of teachers, past and present. This group of amazing teachers will become an invaluable resource for you while you pack (offering you tips on what to bring, what not), while you teach (offering support, encouragement and advice for those days which may not have been your best), and while you have fun (being there for and with you to explore the awesome sights and sounds of London, Europe and wherever else the adventure may take you!)
We offer Coffee Time Interviews as a chance for you to get to know our teachers and what it is REALLY like to teach in London. See the sidebar for a list of recent Coffee Times.
Sign up for our monthly newsletters to keep up-to-date on our interview schedule, recruiting events across Canada and other opportunities to meet our teachers and staff.
I think that gives you just a taste of what makes Classroom Canada unique.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I’ll be discussing our unique accommodation options for our teachers.

As always, if you have any specific questions about who we are or what we do – or if you are ready to apply – please contact us at: apply [AT] classroomcanada [DOT] com.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada - Bryn Morin (U of Windsor)

Name: Bryn Morin
University: University of Windsor
Subjects: Drama in Education, Child Psychology
Ages You Teach: Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7), Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11)

How long have you been a Teaching Assistant in London?
1.5 years
What do you teach?
Special needs support in a mainstream nursery.
Why did you chose to work with Classroom Canada?
I was looking for an opportunity to work in a different country when a Facebook ad for Classroom Canada popped up on my screen. I kid you not! Classroom Canada didn't advertise there for long, so I guess it must have been fate. At the time, I was just getting back into teaching after a five-year hiatus, and I thought this would be an incredible opportunity. So I did my research and was impressed with what I saw. The rest is history.
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
I think most people say this, but definitely behaviour management. I was used to 95% of my students automatically listening to me. That can happen in London too, but only once you've
developed the right skills and strategies. I'm grateful for it, actually. I think it's made me a much better teacher.
Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
A typical day for me now involves getting up, walking to work, playing with children, walking home, and then either lounging, hitting the gym, or going out swing dancing in the evening. The best part about London, though, is there are so many opportunities for atypical days. There are loads of cool and quirky events happening all around the city all the time, and many of them are free!
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian Teaching Assistant considering the move to London?
Keep an open mind. If you're determined to make the best of this experience, no matter what it throws at you, it will be one of the best and most influential experiences of your life.
Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far:
I work with 3-4 year olds, so every day is a series of hilarious moments. I can't think of anything that stands out above the rest. But when the majority of your work day is spent smiling and laughing, you know you're in the right job.
Describe the worst thing:
Probably winding up in hospital with a bite from the child I work with. But even that wasn't so bad. He bit me out of love, so I just had to laugh it off.
What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
I've always felt loyalty to Classroom. Sometimes when there isn't much work available, it's tempting to sign up with as many agencies as you can. But when Classroom doesn't have work, neither do those other agencies.

What I love about Classroom is they've always been prepared to go the extra mile for me when I really needed it. They've got my back, and they always pull through.

What qualities do you have that make your stay more enjoyable?
I don't think there's anything more important than a positive attitude. Any experience can be as good or as bad as you want to make it.
Thanks Bryn!

We're currently interviewing teachers and teaching assistants who would like to work in London starting in April/May or September/October 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

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Remembering Harriet Ball - one of America's most successful educators

Yesterday, on the National Public Radio, I learned that Harriet Ball, one of America's most beloved educators died earlier this month from a heart attack. The radio program inspired me to learn more about her and her pioneering techniques and I wanted to share a bit of her inspiration.

First of all, Harriet was one of those educators (like many of you that we recruit to work with Classroom Canada) who was passionate not only about teaching, but also about the children she taught. She truly believed that
everyone can learn and succeed if given the chance.

Harriet also believed that
children need to put their whole bodies into the learning process and not be expected to sit behind a desk for long periods of time. Indeed, Harriet advocated what many exceptional teachers already know, you must differentiate your teaching and incorporate a wide variety of activities to accommodate different learning styles - visual, auditory, kinesthetic.

Harriet felt that
teachers must meet children at their levels and bring the kids' interests into the lessons. She embodied this idea through her innovative math lessons where she frequently incorporated lyrics from popular rap and hip hop music that the children knew already in order to teach measurements, multiplication tables, and geometry.

Apparently, Harriet's magnetism and energy, not to mention her height, was often intimidating to fellow teachers. She danced around her classroom, singing and chanting math equations with her students. She remarked that her teaching was often described as "out-of-the box, different, too loud and very effective."

Harriet taught eight hours every day with the freshness and enthusiasm as if it was her first day.
To see Harriet in action, watch this 3:28 CBS News video, which also highlights her impact on KIPP:;photovideo

Thirty-one charter schools in the United States now use Harriet's techniques. These KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) schools have allowed many low-income students around the U.S. a chance to succeed.
She often said "it's never too late for a child to learn. The kids you think can't learn - CAN!"

For a short video on the KIPP schools, see below:

All of you out there teaching, keep up the good work and carry on Harriet's legacy. I'll end this post with another of her quotes, that I think many of you also believe:

"Teaching - it's a JOY!"

So get out there....and ENJOY!

And send us your resume if you are interested in teaching with Classroom Canada in our inner city London schools. We are currently recruiting for positions beginning in September/October 2011.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meet Classroom Canada's newest recruiter - Anissa Paulsen

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day! I hope all of you have a wonderful day planned.

I thought today would be a nice day to finally introduce myself. I'm Anissa Paulsen and I've been with Classroom Canada now for about five months working as their newest Recruitment Manager. Basically, that means I am responsible for interviewing and reviewing files for many of our new teacher and teaching assistant applicants.

I'm already enjoying my time with this wonderful company. It's exciting to meet new teachers and help you prepare for this exciting next step in your teaching careers. Actually, it's one of the reasons I love my job - it gives me an opportunity to share my passion for cross-cultural experiences and to help others achieve their dreams to live and work abroad.

Anyway, if you'd like to know more about myself (since I always get to ask you loads of personal questions in our interviews) read on below.

Name: Anissa Paulsen
Degrees: B.A. English, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA
M.A. Museum Education, San Francisco State University, USA

How long have you been working for Classroom Canada?
5 months now. This is a busy company and the time has gone fast!
Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
I met Victoria about three years ago and was always intrigued by her company because I used to teach abroad (in Bulgaria) and I also once lived in England. I'm very interested in the goals and mission of Classroom Canada and my role of facilitating the process to get Canadian teachers working and experiencing life abroad. I think it is one of the most powerful things you can do in your life. I also know that Classroom Canada is a professional company that takes care of their teachers and teacher assistants and I am proud to be a part of this fine organization.

What is your position with Classroom Canada?
I recruit Teachers and Teaching Assistants from across Canada to work in inner city London schools. This involves everything from advertising, presenting at college career fairs, interviewing applicants, checking references, verifying applicants' past teaching experiences, assisting new recruits with the big task of moving abroad, answering a lot of questions and giving a lot of advice!
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
Go for it! It will be a once in a lifetime experience and you will not regret it. Make sure you have an open mind, a sense of humour, and a hearty sense of adventure. London is a fantastic gateway into the rest of Europe - there is so much to see, do, and experience you will not be bored. Sure, there will be times that will be difficult and days when you feel like you want to cry and go back to the familiar comforts of life in Canada, but...don't do it! When I was in Bulgaria teaching for two years, my fellow teachers and I had a motto: "Every bad day at least makes a great story!"
Questions? Comments? Wanderings? Please share below.

If you would like to become one of our outstanding teachers or teaching assistants in London, just apply through our website. Also, be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians. Sign up for our newsletters and help spread the word to your friends and colleagues.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Get 100 Pounds just for opening up a UK bank account

Now that we’ve entered “teaching season” with a large number of our teachers about to cross the Pond for Spring session, our partners at Lloyds TSB have launched a new program to make this transition even easier for you all!

Below are details on a fantastic (but very limited-time!) offer the Bank has made available to all teaching clients introduced through our team here at Classroom Canada.

- Here are the details:
Premier International Account
International banking made easy.
Introductory offer

For all new International Retail Banking clients introduced through Victoria Westcott and Anissa Paulson through Classroom Canada, a “special bonus” credit of £100 will be deposited to your account on behalf of Lloyds TSB International for a very limited time only.

So, are you eligible…?

You will be eligible for the £100 complimentary deposit if —

• Your account has been opened within the period of February 21st through March 21st, 2011.

• Your account is fully funded with a minimum £2500 deposit at opening.

• You qualify for the Premier International Account (please make reference to Section 1 of the application for further details).
For all of our teachers, you will need to arrange for a partner, family member or other eligible party to guarantee the account as a joint applicant in order to qualify.

You can contact Michael Gallagher at the Canadian representative office (+1 416 642 5613 or and he will always be happy to see how he can make the Premier International Account available for you!

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, February 1, 2011

Classroom Canada is coming to Montreal

This weekend, Classroom Canada recruiters will be on the road headed to Montreal, Quebec for the McGill Teacher Career Fair on Monday, February 7 (10a – 2p).

We will also be conducting interviews while in Montreal, for positions beginning April/May and September/October 2011.

Send your resume and cover letter to: apply[at]
if you’d like to schedule your in-person interview in Montreal on either February 7 or 8.

If you’d like to read about one McGill grad who is currently teaching with Classroom Canada in London, check out the Coffeetime with Meghan.

We hope to see you in Montreal!

February 7, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Teacher Career Fair

February 7 & 8, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Interviews with teachers who want to teach in London, England


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