Any teacher doing their research about teaching in London, UK will soon discover there are many different agencies that place teachers in the UK. Classroom Canada stands out for all of the reasons I’ve discussed over the past few days, and also because we place teachers solely in a inner city London schools.
If you are looking for a true city experience, in classrooms filled with students from culturally and socio-economically diverse backgrounds, then Classroom Canada is for you.
Most of our schools are located with zones 1 & 2 (out of 6 when consulting the London tube map) with a handful scattered throughout zone 3. The schools can be anywhere from a 10 minute walk, 20 minute bus ride or 1.5 hour commute from our accommodations (also in zone 1 @ Tottenham Court Road).
There are 32 different school boards in London and we work with schools from all of them. We are central, downtown, urban and inner city.
Walking into one of our classrooms, you may face 22 students – each from a different part of the world and each of whom may speak a language other than English in their home environments. This cultural diversity is an AMAZING environment from which to teach, as well as learn.
Almost all of the classrooms in our schools are equipped with smartboards and most classrooms will also have at least one teaching assistant.
But what are our schools really like? They are awesome, really. The students are curious, smart, interested and unique. That said, they are kids and many of them have lots of energy so you can probably expect an environment (especially at the primary level) of low-level disruptive behaviour. By this I mean students who may talk while you are talking or tap their pencil on their desk while you are trying to give instructions. Nothing you can’t handle, without patience, a sense of humour, and emergency learning activities to get the kids back on track!
Classroom Canada offers a wide variety of jobs in primary, secondary and special needs for our teachers as well as our teaching assistants. Currently our needs are greater in primary and special needs, so all you secondary humanities teachers out there should stay adaptable, openminded and be willing to take jobs in primary as well as special needs. Who knows? You may find a different area where you love to work!
With regard to special needs, most of our teachers interested in this area work with students with emotional behavioural disabilities. Sometimes this means working one-on-one or in small classes of 10 students. In the UK you do not need special certification to work in this area. It’s more about who you are (open-minded, flexible, adaptable), less about your qualifications.
We also offer day-to-day supply and longterm positions.
Day-to-day supply can be a great way to teach in a variety of schools and gain invaluable and wide-ranging experience. Daily supply requires a great deal of flexibility and quick thinking but brings its own rewards and is an excellent way to gain a great deal of London experience in a short period of time. We find that teachers are requested back after initial day-to-day assignments often taking a longer-term position in a school with which they have built a relationship. Also, gaining experience in UK schools before you take on your own class will only improve your teaching.
Long-term positions are usually a term or more and are for those wanting to take on the whole role and responsibilities of a full-time teacher with the planning and commitment that it requires. Working in one school for an extended length of time often sees teachers becoming intrinsically involved in the school community, attending Parents' Evenings and events and taking on other roles, e.g. as a Form Tutor in Secondary schools.
To get an idea of life as a supply teacher, check out the "Day in the Life of a Supply Teacher" video on Teachers.tv, which is, by the way, an amazing resource for you whether you teach in the UK or any other country around the world.
Stay tuned – tomorrow I’ll be discussing our professional development opportunities and some differences between the UK and Canadian curricula.
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.