Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Classroom Canada!

Happy 4th Birthday Classroom Canada!

Thanks to all the teachers past and present who have worked with us and made a difference in the lives of children in London, UK.

All the best,

Victoria and Anissa

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada - Cheryl (University of Victoria)

We turn 4 years old tomorrow, July 19, 2011. It's pretty exciting stuff!

We've sent hundreds of teachers to London, UK over these past 4 years and I feel like my colleague and I have the best jobs in the world - meeting and recruiting fabulous, dedicated, energetic teachers like Cheryl who is interviewed below for our "Coffee Time" series.

So sit back, grab a latte and enjoy reading about
life as a Canadian teacher in London, UK:

Name: Cheryl

University: University of Victoria

Subjects: English, Primary Education PDPP

Ages you teach: Mainly primary

How long have you been teaching in London?
Just over seven months.

What do you teach?
Since moving to London I have taught everything from Nursery to Secondary SEN. In January I began a tutoring position with a Primary SEN student.

Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
I knew going into my education degree that I wanted to travel, and England was definitely somewhere I was interested in moving to. When I found out about Classroom Canada I was very impressed by how informative and helpful they were. After meeting with them I felt so excited about the prospect of moving to London, and comfortable planning my move knowing that Classroom Canada was there if I had any questions.

What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Everything about teaching in London was an adjustment, but I expected it. I was a brand new teacher coming over here and being a new teacher starting off with supply work in London is not an easy feat! But, after a few days, you realize you really can do it. Yes, there are challenging behaviours and classroom management situations, but there are also days where you can't believe you're getting paid to be there because you're having so much fun. You can only take each day as it comes and try to learn from your experiences, good and bad.

Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.

Well... I get up, make coffee, get ready, and give myself about an hour to get to work by train. The one to one tuition that I am currently doing runs from 10:00-3:00 and I get back to my neighbourhood around 4:30. The hours are pretty great! In the evening I usually do some planning, hang out with friends, play soccer, or just relax. Now that it's summer there's more time to get outside in the evenings and go for a walk or lounge in the park, or even head to the pub to have a pint on the patio.

What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
That if you are patient, easy-going, love to travel, and are open to various teaching placements, you should definitely consider moving here. There is so much to do, so many opportunities to travel, and so much fun to be had. And your teaching experiences will be many things but mainly.. unforgettable!

Describe the funniest thing that's happened to you in your year so far:
One of the best things about working with kids is that you're pretty much guaranteed to have something hilarious happen every day. But one story sticks out as being the funniest - and I like it because I remember at the time being a tad stressed about the situation. Sure enough, soon after it just became very humourous! So, here it is:

I was supply teaching in a year 2 class right before the Christmas break, and was told I had two afternoons to teach the class to sing some obscure Christmas song I had never heard of. The song wasn't even on Youtube! The only way I could figure out the tune (the kids had no clue how the song went either) was to ask for a keyboard and try to play the basic tune on it. Well, I hadn't touched a keyboard in over ten years, so that was laughable in itself. It was even more laughable when I tried to play it for the kids, as well as sing along, and they looked at me like I was a crazy person. Some of them even offered to play the tune on the keyboard for me (I'm sure they could have done much better... but that would have just invited more chaos!)

So, I kept at it and, after a couple crazy but hilarious afternoons, actually managed to teach them the song. Needless to say I lost my voice at the end of the second day.... (Months later I taught at that same school and some of the kids from that class came up to say "hi" at playtime. I asked them how their performance of the song went and they just laughed and said, "It was... umm, good, Miss." Well, I tried! Haha.)

Describe the worst thing:
One of the worst days that I've had actually, by the end, turned out to be one of the best. It was near the beginning of my time in London and I was working as a T.A. for the day. When I arrived, I was given 6 students and told to take them into a separate room and give them a math test.

Well... the math test didn't exactly happen as planned. Within 10 minutes there was about to be a fight breaking out between two pint-sized boys and all I could think as I tried to intercept was, "you two are so adorable, what are you DOING?!?" Well, one of the boys ran out of the room and ran, literally, right into a head teacher. I was left with the rest of the group, who had taken a liking to throwing/karate chopping pencils.

Eventually the chaos died down and we got the tests done (but not without many pencil casualties.) This was the first hour of a very interesting day! But, by the end of the day, I had worked with one of these children quite a lot, and was starting to make some progress. When they were lined-up for home time, he looked up at me and said sincerely, "Thank you for teaching me, Miss." His teacher looked at him in surprise, as if he had never uttered a polite word before. And that's what it's all about; it's those extremely difficult days that often turn out to be the most rewarding. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment. I went back to the school the next two days as well, and each day got better!

What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
Classroom Canada was so helpful in getting me over to London successfully - helping to find a place to live, work, and a great network of other Canadian teachers. When I met with Classroom UK, they were really friendly and helpful as well. It took a little while to get full-time supply, but it started to pick up after a month or so. Now I have a long-term job that I really love.

There is a chance that work may be slow for the first little while (it may not be, I have friends who haven't missed a day of work since they arrived, it just depends when you arrive and what is available.) Be patient, be open to different opportunities, and it will all work out.

What qualities do you have that make your teaching in London enjoyable?
As I said before, copious amounts of patience is key (but we're teachers, so we're all the patient sort anyway!) Also, I'm pretty easy-going and flexible which has helped me deal with the ups and downs of teaching in London. Most of all, I just love an adventure - and that's exactly what this experience has been!

Thanks, Cheryl!

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

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada alumna - Kayla Gilbart

In the past, we have highlighted through our regular Coffee Time interviews our wonderful Classroom teachers as they are experiencing life and teaching in London, UK.

Today I'd like to introduce you to a Classroom Canada alumna, Kayla Gilbart. Kayla was a teacher in London in 2008. She has since returned to Canada, but is now off on another adventure and moving to Australia in a few months. But she will tell her own story below.

So it back, relax, grab a latte and enjoy the chat as Kayla tells you about life after London.

Name: Kayla Gilbart

University: UBC

Your current job:
Substitute / Moving to Melbourne, Australia in 3 months to teach
When did you teach in London with Classroom Canada?
What subjects and age groups did you teach?
I did a little supply in elementary before doing PPA Cover which was in 1 school. I had a biweekly rota to cover each year group from nursery to year 6.

So, what are you doing now that you’re back in Canada?
I was in Whistler for 3 months while I was waiting for my teaching certificate to transfer to Manitoba. Now I'm substitute teaching in Manitoba to save up to move to Australia.

What was the biggest adjustment for you to make when you returned to Canada from your time in London?
It was quite an easy adjustment as I've lived away from home for a long time, but getting used to the much slower pace was difficult. I really enjoyed the busy atmosphere and liveliness of the city.
How do you think your experience teaching in London influenced your job hunt in Canada?
Honestly I have not been hunting for positions as I am moving again [to Australia], but it definitely has made me more confident in my ability to adapt and deal with classroom management. I think a lot of employers also expect that as well due to London's, particularly East London's, notorious reputation.

What skills did you gain from your experience teaching in London?
In regards to teaching, I have definitely learned to be more adaptable and flexible. Before London, I needed to know my lesson plans inside and out the day before. In London, I was in a lot of situations where that was not a possibilty which was scary at first but soon I got the hang of it. Besides teaching, I gained even more in general life skills, having met people from all walks of like and getting to learn their culture and history.

What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
DO IT. I already recruited two girls from my town who are loving it. It can be overwhelming but the pros by far out weigh the cons. Travelling every 5 weeks to anywhere you want to go in Europe is one of the most liberating aspects of the job, and was definitely the selling point for myself.

Describe your best memory from teaching and living in London.
One of the best memories from teaching actually had to do with the tube strike. I had to walk from London Bridge to Liverpool Street and there was a sea of people in their suits and running shoes going to work and it was one of the funniest sights I've seen in London. I loved being a part of the hustle and bustle into the city!

Would you do it again and why (or why not)?
Yes I would. It was by far the best 2 years of my life and if I could get another visa tomorrow I would be on the first flight over there. I got to visit loads of places in Europe and North Africa (27 countries in all) and also have a blast in London, the perfect combination.

What piece of advice do you have for our Canadian teachers who will be returning to Canada from London soon?
Reverse culture shock can be depressing but keep busy to keep your mind off of it.

Thanks, Kalya!

If you are interested in teaching in London, UK, send your cover letter and resume to: apply [AT] classroomcanada [DOT] com.

We are currently recruiting for teaching positions beginning October 2011.

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, July 12, 2011

LiveBinder - organize your resources online!

It seems like I'm on a roll, here, with discovering interesting online education resources. Last week I shared an online newsletter from the NPCA's Global Education News.

Yesterday, I told you about a terrific place to meet online and interact with students and educators interested in environmental issues.

And today, I'm here to tell you about a fantastic website that gives you a place online to organize, present and share your resources quickly and simply:
LiveBinders (www.livebinders.com).

You can search the site for binders on just about any topic - tips on how to become a better speller, handouts for multiplication practice, art activities for kids, video lectures...

...and you can compile your own binder on a topic that interests you - such as, your favourite recipes, travel ideas, favourite websites...the options are endless!

The best part is, this site is a great way to share your resources with your students as well as other educators.

So how did I find out about this amazing resource? It was highlighted in "Artspiration," a blog highlighting the arts initiatives of the Santa Clara County's (of California) public schools.

Take a look at the site and leave a comment below telling us about your favourite binder!

For resources on 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, July 11, 2011

Environmental Education - connecting with others around the world

Are you looking for a way for your students to collaborate with others around the world? Need advice on science or environmental education activities for your classroom? Want to connect with other like-minded educators from around the world?

Then, check out Shout Learning!

I found out recently about this interesting online global education forum where students and educators from around the world can connect and discuss important environmental issues.

Here's how they explain it on their website:

Shout invites educators and students to take an active role in global environmental issues.
Connect online to interact with experts in the field, share ideas, and collaborate with people around the world who, like you, are committed to solving environmental challenges. Shout gives participants a framework for success, with resources and tools for exercising social responsibility while building the 21st-century skills of collaboration, innovation, and critical thinking. When students are connected through technology and empowered to build activities in their own way the learning experience extends far beyond the four walls of a classroom. Check out the participants on the map and take your own stand in making the world a better place. Now that’s something to Shout about!
In addition to offering a place for you to share ideas and interact with others, there are also free online events that are available for registration, like the following:

Smithsonian Live Online Event: Value the Land

Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm EDT

Connect online with Smithsonian experts, share ideas, and collaborate with people around the world, who, like you, are committed to solving environmental challenges.

Free registration is now open. If you can't attend the live sessions, beginning July 14, they will be available "on demand" any time.

UPDATE on Smithsonian Tree Banding
9:00 to 9:50 am, EDT
Hear about the schools around the world joining Smithsonian researchers in this citizen science project and sign up your classroom. If you are already in the project, touch base with educator Josh Falk.

American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges: Working for a Sustainable Future
12:00 to 12:50 pm, EDT
What does "value the land" mean to American Indian peoples today? Throughout their long histories—and extending to today—American Indian peoples have thrived on, respected, and protected the environments that make up their homelands. In this session, you'll learn about how four Native communities are combining traditional knowledge with 21st-century scientific expertise to find solutions to environmental problems that challenge their cultural and economic sustainability.
Presenters: Genevieve Simermeyer, School Programs Manager, and Ed Schupman, Education Product Developer, National Museum of the American Indian Community

Narratives: Citizens Recording History
2:00 to 2:50 pm, EDT
The availability of low-cost recording equipment—from computers and digital cameras to mobile devices—has made it possible to gather the stories and personal points of view from a wider range of people than ever before. We invite the Shout community to seek out people who "value the land" and record their stories. Today's three presenters will share their expertise and perspectives on the protocols and strategies for conducting an oral history project. They'll show you how to identify a great interview subject, how to prepare for the interview, and what to do during the interview to make sure you capture great material. Join this session to experience the importance of looking for narratives and cultural histories close to home.
Presenters: James I. Deutsch, Curator, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage; Alex Griswold, Executive Producer, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; and Joshua Bell, Curator of Globalization, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History

Stories of the Forest: Human Impacts of Deforestation
3:00 pm to 3:50 pm, EDT
How can we understand the impact of deforestation if we don't experience it ourselves? Joshua Bell has witnessed deforestation first-hand and collected stories of forest loss from the people who live with it. Oral histories of the people of the coastal forests of Papua New Guinea reveal the human consequences when cultural traditions collide with the desire for economic development and resources. Bell will discuss his research methods, what he learned, and its implications for all of us. Presenter: Joshua Bell, Curator of Globalization, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History

All events are free of charge. Register Now.

This event is part of Shout, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution, Microsoft Partners in Learning, and TakingITGlobal. More at www.shoutlearning.org.

For resources on 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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Funny Friday: Funny things that teachers do

A couple months ago, my colleague, Victoria, decided to try something new on this little blog of ours: Funny Friday! Funny things that teachers do and are they actually funny?

Here is our second Funny Friday video from youtube - another teacher rapping, but one that is rapping about demonstrative pronouns. The first video was also about a teacher rapping, but about math.

So, now it's up to you to decide: Are these antics actually keys to learning in today's classrooms? Or are we as teachers just putting on a performance to try to get the students to like us?

We're curious....What do you think? Have you ever rapped in front of your primary or secondary class? Did it work? What did the students learn?

Leave your comments / stories below!

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

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Global education resources

Last month I wrote about the National Peace Corps Association's (NPCA) great educational newsletter, Global Education News. It's a terrific little newsletter filled with lesson plans and ideas for encouraging a global perspective in your classroom. This idea should not be difficult to implement considering many of you in your London classrooms will have students from all corners of the globe.

Anyway, one of the goals of the NPCA is to "promote students’ knowledge of, understanding of and respect for the people, cultures and nations of the world."

I just received their
Summer 2011 newsletter and thought I would share this invaluable resource. This issue is filled with:

* Lesson plans for K-8 classrooms on a wide variety of topics
* A lesson plan for secondary grades using the Pulaku Documentary project where two young journalists, one American, one Fulani, explore West Africa by motorcycle sharing the stories of a culture threatened by desertification and development
* A resource on promoting school gardens, nutritious eating and sustainable farming practices
* Summer reading recommendations (for students AND teachers)
* A list of recommended books on Africa for children of all ages

Take a look and let us know what you think!

For any Canadian teachers out there who would love to be living and teaching in London next year, go ahead and send your cover letter and resume to: apply[at]classroomcanada.com.

Classroom Canada is still accepting applications for teaching positions beginning October 2011.

For resources on 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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