Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TES Connect - an invaluable teacher resource


We blog a lot about different resources to help teachers plan their move overseas. Over and over again, I find myself recommending to Canadian and American teachers interested in teaching in London to check out TES Connect.

The TES - or Times Educational Supplement - is a newspaper dedicated to teachers & education. Their website is packed with useful information for all teachers. The community is a place where you can discuss issues and post your questions and is the place I recommend for you. You can also see jobs posted by schools across the UK. If you're keen to apply, please read this post first.

You can also sign up to receive e-newsletters which highlight a variety of topics discussed on the site such as:

What do you do when they say NO!
How do you deal with pupils who just refuse to do what they're told?

Tricky TA
Advice on how to deal with a TA who is difficult to manage.

How do you seat your class?
Teachers compare their favoured classroom layouts.

Job application howlers
The daft things applicants do that drive the appointments committee crazy.

Check it out!

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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Free Interactive White Boards (or SMART Board) video tutorials!

Apologies, dear readers, for not blogging for such a long time! We have been quite busy here at Classroom Canada interviewing teacher candidates to teach in London beginning October 2011.


We've been meeting and talking with some incredible people lately - recent teacher college graduates who are inspired to begin their teaching careers overseas in London, UK.

A great choice!

Why? Well, simply put, not only will you be teaching in one of the world's most exciting cities, you will be gaining invaluable skills in classroom management (this is the area that most of our Canadian teachers feel they are challenged in the most), and you will also inevitably hone your "technology-in-the-classroom skills."

Did you know.....??

In London, the vast majority of classrooms from year 1 all the way through to A Levels have Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs), which you may know as SMART Boards. This technology will change your teaching & make it much more interactive for the students. The VAK (Visual, Auditory and Kinestetic) approach is made much easier with the use of the technology.

For any of you out there who may not yet feel totally comfortable with this technology, here is a great online resource for you to check out: Fusion Universal.



Fusion Universal produces short instructional videos about a wide range of technology topics, including videos about using Interactive White Boards (or SMART Boards). Most of the videos are free to use, but some require a subscription for viewing.


As I mentioned above, we've been talking with some great candidates recently and Fusion Universal was brought to my attention by someone I interviewed recently. Thank you, Jason, for directing me to an interesting Education Technology blog that mentioned this very helpful online resource!

Anyway, check out Fusion Universal and let us know what you think about it, interactive whiteboards, teaching in London, or any other topic that's on your mind!

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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Civic Engagement through Social Media webinar for high school students

I just found out about an interesting webinar, "Civic Engagement through Social Media" happening tomorrow morning (Wednesday, May 11, 10 AM PDT (Los Angeles, CA time)) and wanted to spread the word. Not sure if any of you in London will be able to watch, but if my calculations are correct, you can check it out online at 6 pm on Wednesday, May 11 London time.

The goal of the panel is both to show examples of civic engagement through social media, and to issue a call of action for students to become more informed and proactive citizens as they engage in social media, making positive changes in their schools, communities, and potentially in the world.

More information about this interesting webinar is below:

The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Presidential Learning Center at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation cordially invites you to participate in Civic Engagement through Social Media at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Panelists will examine the many positive uses of social media, especially as a tool to promote civic engagement. We will look at the role of social media in politics, social entrepreneurship, voluntarism, and activism.

The goal of the panel is both to show examples of civic engagement through social media, and to issue a call of action for students to become more informed and proactive citizens as they engage in social media, making positive changes in their schools, communities, and potentially in the world.

This panel of innovative leaders who have harnessed social media to help improve society will include:

· Kristen Cambell, the Director of Programs and New Media, National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), reaches out to the millennial generation using social media to promote and highlight civic engagement. NCoC is a congressionally chartered non-profit responsible for the publication of the annual Civic Health Index.

· Akili Lee, Founding Director of the Digital Youth Network, current Director of Digital Strategy and Development, and the creator of the iRemix Platformis focused on innovating new digital learning tools and supporting youth focused organizations develop models for successfully integrating digital media as a way to increase engagement and effectiveness.

· Melissa Helmbrecht, the Chair and CEO of Splashlife, credits transforming her life by serving others. Melissa also founded Champions of Hope, a youth-focused nonprofit organization. In less than one year, she grew the organization from a startup with two volunteers to a global organization with 100+ strategic partners and 650,000 youth participants.

· Andrew Slack, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Harry Potter Alliance, which uses parallels from the Harry Potter series to inspire more than 100,000 Harry Potter fans to act as heroes in our world.

Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. #APLC. Tune in here, tomorrow, to watch it live: http://bitly.com/APLCwebcast


Monday, May 9, 2011

Coffee Time with Classsroom Canada - Theresa Heppler (Nipissing)




Name: Theresa Heppler
University: Nipissing
Subjects: Geography and Accounting
Ages you teach: Nursery-Year 10

How long have you been teaching in London?

I have been teaching in London since January 2010 (nearly 16 months). I supply taught for 6 weeks when I first arrived. I then had a three-month placement doing a maternity cover, and following that I had a trial work week for my current full-time position.

What do you teach?

I have my own Nursery class (which is comparable to Junior Kindergarten).

Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?

I spent a lot of time researching different agencies months before my planned departure. I had it narrowed down to 3 agencies based on different qualities I was looking for when a friend from teachers college told me that she was living in London and working through Classroom and they were fantastic. It was an easy decision once I started emailing back and forth with someone from Classroom Canada.

What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?

I would say the biggest adjustment would be having a teaching assistant in the classroom. It is great having that extra support, but it does mean larger classroom sizes in the primary grades. Another major adjustment is classroom management. I would say the most important thing is having great management skills. If you go into a class as a supply and you are too nice they will walk all over you, the key is starting your day off tough/mean and then lightening up if they prove to be a well-behaved class. Each class in each school has completely different levels of behaviour, you never know what you are going to get.


Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.

Wake up at 6:30, get on the train for 7:30, arrive at school for 8:00. Set up my classroom activities for the day (with TA help), welcome the children in at 9:00, carpet time at 9:15(story/songs/phonics/reminder of rules), focus activity/free play. Children go home at 3:30 (parents must pick them up from the door, no school buses, children in primary must have a parent pick them up). I stay back after school anywhere until 4:30-6:30 for planning, completing display boards, organizing student portfolio folders, etc.

What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?

I know everyone who fills out this survey says " just do it," but seriously DO IT. I had no experience beyond what I got in teachers college and I love teaching in London. It is a jump into the deep end, but you will learn a lot of great skills and live in an amazing city while doing so. Classroom Canada has a great network of Canadians living in London, you will make great friends in no time at all. I moved here during the month of January, and there was full-time supply work right away. From other things I have heard, October is also a good time to come over to ensure work. July and September are slower months for supply work, but if you want time to get settled before teaching 5 days a week those would be great months for you to move.


Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:

By far the funniest thing happened to me on my first day teaching in London. I was teaching a reception (senior kindergarten) class and it was time for P.E. I was told by the TA that if the children did not have their P.E kit (gym clothes) that they could take part in gym by wearing their shirt and then taking their trousers off and just going in their underwear. I thought that was a bit weird, but I went along with the rules. The children were changing (they do so in the classroom, which is also odd to me) and a child told me she didn't have her P.E kit. At this point I thought of the rule and told her to "take off her pants and go to gym without them." Sounds ok right?! WRONG! In England, trousers = pants, and pants=underwear. I didn't notice that this girl had taken off her underwear (pants) until I had the entire class doing the crab walk across the gym floor. Lesson learned.


Describe the worst thing:

I can't think of anything specific, but definitely the foreign germs have gotten the best of me. I lost my voice for over a week and have had more sinus infections than I can count. Take your vitamins!

What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?

They have provided consistent work and listened to my needs throughout the time I have been here.

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

I think you have to be able to separate your work life from your home life. I try really hard not to take my work home with me. If I have had a stressful day I leave it at the door when I get home. It is really easy to focus on the bad parts of your day, but to really enjoy being a teacher you must focus on the great moments.

In addition I just love my job! The moments when you see a child do something that they weren't able to do the previous month is truly an amazing feeling. Lastly, I absolutely love traveling. Every long weekend or break I get off from work, straight to the airport I go exploring Europe. A two hour flight in Canada doesn't get you very far, but here in two hours you can go from London to Germany, Spain, Italy... the choices are endless.

Thanks Theresa!

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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sometimes you just have to laugh! (part 3)





A good sense of humour is one quality that we look for in candidates interested in teaching in the inner city schools of London, UK.


For the past two weeks, we've been highlighting funny moments (part 1) and (part 2) in the lives of our Canadian teachers. Read below for more "only in London" moments!


The stories below were all pulled from our Coffee Time Teacher Interviews that are archived in this blog. Our teachers were responding to the question:



Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:



So far, the funniest thing happened the first or second day supply teaching. I was in a year 4 class for a bit (I was "floating"--covering various teachers as they went to do prep that day), and I told the students, facing them at the front of the room, that when I raised my hand and placed my hand over my mouth I wanted them to copy what I did to be quiet.

Without hesitation a boy got up and faced the class, doing what I did, very seriously (not) and quickly two more boys jumped up and did the same--I had to laugh because I did say to copy me...But had to put a stop to it before the whole class caught on. I learned my lesson. - MARIJKA

I was teaching a yr 6 class, and they were wanting to know things like my age, my first name, etc...And they found out that I sing (when I told them I did not want to yell at them because I didn't want to ruin my vocal chords, as "I am a singer"). So I told them that IF they were working well for a short period of time, that I would answer their questions, as well as sing them a song at the end of the day. So I did just that..and sang them an opera piece in Italian. While singing, one of the head teachers came in and listened as well. When I finished, the students and she applauded, and then came the judging (one of the boys wanted to be "Simon"). He informed me that yes, I would be moving onto the next round! lol....What an excellent way to end the day! :)

And, another story. I was teaching a yr 4 class, and one of the boys asked me if I was an angel. I responded with "Why, do I look like an angel?" Apparently I do. :)

One more. Trying to get the attention of a year 2 class, instead of saying the instructions, I opted to sing them instead. Using a very simple, repetitive melody, I sang some instructions, over and over, in a calm manner. It took a mere few seconds and they were all listening, mesmerized by my voice. THEN....they clapped! lol...it was hilarious! All I wanted was for them to stop talking and to listen to my instructions. I got that, AND an applause. :) - ALISON

The funniest thing happened on my very first day of teaching!

I walked into a year one class and while I was taking the register (attendance) the children were whispering to each other and looking up at me. Finally one of the boys raised his hand and with a very serious look on his face asked me if I was a Spice Girl.

For the rest of the day, I could hear the children arguing about which Spice Girl I was even though I insisted I was not a pop star. One of the boys stayed after school to ask me if I was sure, since he was quite sure he'd seen me on the television. - KELLY

I had a great a laugh from a year 6 student. During an art lesson, I had the chance to chat with students and we found ourselves on the topic of television and television shows. I shared with the students that I don't have a television in my home. One particular student responded to this, in complete seriousness, by saying; "Well Miss, where do you point your furniture?" - DEANNA

This was probably more funny to the students than it was to me, but I'll share anyway. I walked into a Year 6 class in order to pull one of my special needs students out of class for reading recovery work. I was leaning sort of half-in, half-out of the classroom door, and quietly beckoned the kid over so as to avoid disturbing the class. As I straightened up to leave the doorway, the belt loop on my trousers got caught in the doorjamb and ripped REALLY loudly off my pants. All the kids sitting near the door looked around wondering what that sound was, and started giggling when they saw me twisting myself all the way around to check the damage on my trousers. It was so bad that I had to go home at lunchtime to change! - NATHALIE


No doubt there are many, many more funny moments to report!

We'd love to hear from you, so leave your comments below!



And....if you are looking for ways to bring humourous moments (ok, there are challenging moments too...) into your teaching career, think about teaching in London, UK.

We're currently interviewing teachers (primary, secondary and special needs) who would like to work in London beginning 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
Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

Monday, May 2, 2011

Making the most of your teacher's salary through crowd sourcing



There's no denying it....London is an expensive city to live and play in (which big city isn't??) and teacher salaries are not six-figures - ok, they are barely five-figures!

So how does one survive in this incredible city as an inner city school teacher?

First of all, don't panic. Check out a past blog about beginning your teaching career in London and some tips on making it work: Don't Panic! How to Survive September as a Supply Teacher!


Secondly, our teachers make it happen all of the time. If you don't believe me, check out an interview with one of our teachers. She comments specifically on how she makes her teacher salary work in London: Shannon Shares her FAQs About Teaching & Living in London, England.



Finally, we've been hearing a lot lately about these new (or perhaps not-so-new-anymore) "crowd sourcing" discount sites and they seem like pretty good ways to get great deals on a wide variety of activities in and around London (or the city of your choice).

Here are the discount sites that have been recommended to me recently:

Groupon

You can pick the city you're interested in receiving deal emails for. Or, Groupon describes it is as follows:



See your city in a brand new light with Groupon! New and diverse deals every day on restaurants, leisure, spa, beauty and sport guarantee excitement for up to 70% less! Just imagine the joys of an exclusive spa day or a four course meal for half price. Your Groupon experience can only take place when a minimum number of people buy the deal. It’s only possible to enjoy a high-end deal for a knock-down price when enough people buy it.


There is also Crowdity which allows people to get remarkable deals on a variety of activities. Here's how they describe their service:
What we aim to do is get a great deal every day and whack it on the site. If we can convince enough people to buy the deal that day then everyone gets it. If we can't convince enough people then nobody gets it. Get it?

And lastly, I heard on the radio today that Facebook is getting into the business.

Anyway, let me know if you have tried these sites and if so, what did you think?

If you are looking for a way to begin your teaching career in this fabulous city of London we are currently interviewing teachers who would like to work in London starting in 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
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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