Monday, August 22, 2011

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada alumna - Nicole Trotter (UVic)

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 another Classroom Canada alumna, Nicole Trotter. Nicole was a teacher in London in 2008/9. She has since returned to Canada, worked as a Kindergarten teacher and is now working on a cruise ship as a youth counsellor!

But she will tell her own story below.

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

Name: Nicole Trotter

University: University of Victoria

Your current job:

I just finished a contract teaching kindergarten at the University of Victoria. On the holidays I tend to do short contracts working as a youth counsellor for a cruise line.

When did you teach in London with Classroom Canada?

I was in London during 2008/2009.

What subjects and age groups did you teach?
Elementary Nursery-Year 6.
So, what are you doing now that you’re back in Canada?
At the moment I am finishing a kindergarten contract at the University of Victoria. I am looking into masters’ programs that will help me gain knowledge in more specific areas and in turn add to my resume making me more employable.
What was the biggest adjustment for you to make when you returned to Canada from your time in London?
When I returned home I was faced with the reality that I would be living at home due to the lack of teaching jobs available on [Vancouver] Island.

How do you think your experience teaching in London influenced your job hunt in Canada?

Sadly it didn't influence my job hunt at all. Regardless of your experience jobs are hard to come by. I have come to admire how different countries structure their education system and aid new teachers in getting into the field of teaching.
What skills did you gain from your experience teaching in London?

This might sound strange but I learned how to view myself as a teacher. Once you are in London your experience or lack of is irrelevant. It is up to you to fake it until you make it. I learned how to have a dozen activities on standby. Most of my skills were learned from observing the teacher aids; they were a great source of information - as well as popular songs - and provided guidance for management strategies in the classroom.
What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?

My advice would be to go with a friend. Living in another country can be lonely. It is nice to have at least one person who you can hang out with and discuss your teaching experiences. Plan to stay for at least a year, that way you will maximize your visa and gain as much experience as possible.
Teaching in London was a great experience, it helps you grow both as an individual as well as a teacher. If you are fortunate you will have the opportunity to observe some amazing teaching assistants who help break you into the educational system. Working in London gives you the chance to gain real experience as a teacher right away.
Describe your best memory from teaching and living in London.

I remember being in one school in particular, it was one of my regular schools. I was called late, therefore classes had already started by the time I arrived. I had a quick look at the days outline and jumped right in. I remember being really nervous, but in the end I was proud of myself for not only surviving the day, but I left feeling like I did a good job. I was most proud of the days where I overcame what I thought were my limitations. For instance on this particular day there was no plan, so I located one of the great UK websites and developed a very quick lesson plan and hoped for the best.
Would you do it again and why (or why not)?

Yes I would, however I would recommend going with a friend. I wish that I stayed in London longer than I did. If you stick it out for 1-2 years it is more than likely that you will have the opportunity to get a contract and be responsible for a class of your own.

What piece of advice do you have for our Canadian teachers who will be returning to Canada from London soon?

Don't expect this experience to help you in the local job market. Have a back up plan.

Thanks, Nicole!

We are currently interviews teachers who would like to work in London starting in October 2011 & January 2012. 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
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Canadians & Americans in the UK blog

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Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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