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?
2008/2009
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
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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