Name: Justin Rawana
University: Lakehead University
Subjects: English and History
Ages you teach: Secondary
How long have you been teaching in London?
Coming up on six months now.
What do you teach?
I'm trained in English and history but in addition to those I also teach maths and science. That's the way it goes at pupil referral units though - you teach whatever the students need and whatever you're comfortable with!
Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
I wasn't impressed with the way larger agencies represented themselves. They recruit teachers by the THOUSANDS and use that as a selling point, where as I see that and think: great. I've never been a nameless bar-code before. Classroom Canada felt much more personable. For example they were highly concerned with making their teacher's transition to London as comfortable as possible. That's not something a corporation does. That's something a friend does!
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Well I work in special needs now which isn't something I did a whole lot of back home. I was glad I made the switch though because SEN is very rewarding. I suppose it took me a while to get familiar with the different issues that face London youth: gangs, ethnic violence, David Cameron (ha!) But, like anything else, you get used to it and do your best to help your students move on.
Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
I work full-time at a pupil referral unit but in the evenings I do any number of things! Lately I've been enjoying the awesome London parks and grabbing a pint with my fellow Canuck teachers! At least one of us usually has a hilarious teaching moment to share...
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
Roll the dice! You'll never know if you're cut out for London unless you come here and try it out. Worst case scenario - you don't like it and go home. Can't say I know anyone who has done that though!
Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:
I taught ballet at a girls school once. That was weird. I don't know a thing about ballet and neither did any of them. We just stared at each other for 45 minutes.
Describe the worst thing:
I had a tutoring position with a young student for a couple months that didn't end well. He had severe behavioral issues so our sessions were pretty taxing. I think he needed a certain kind of teacher and I know now that I wasn't it. It was a learning experience though!
What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
The awesome SEN department, hands down. They've found me some great jobs over the months and still check up on me every now and again to make sure everything's chill. Keep it up girls!
What qualities do you have that make your teaching in London enjoyable?
I think I'm a pretty relaxed guy. I'm not that yell-in-your-face kind of teacher that I think would have turned a lot of my students off. I'm more of a finish-this-worksheet-and-we'll-play-poker-for-ten-minutes kind of teacher. It sounds lazy but my year-ten student just aced his organic-science test! Can't argue with results ;)