Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 Posts of 2011

It's been an amazing year for Classroom Canada and we're happy to celebrate with you, dear readers, in sharing our favourite 10 blog posts from 2011.

  1. Coffee Time with Patrick - We love all the Coffee Time interviews that we do with our teachers in London, but since Patrick was the first of 2011 we've chosen his as #1.  I also just like the way he describes his experiences, with honesty & clarity and a bit of advice thrown in.  Thanks Patrick!
  2. Guide to Teaching in London Wins an Award - It feels like this was two years ago and not just in March 2011.  I was very, very proud of this little achievement. 
  3. Communicating with Friends & Family Back Home - Anissa wrote this reflective piece on what it's like to live abroad & how we communicate with our friends & family.  Read the comments & add your own.  It's a good post for discussion.
  4. "This is better than recess!"  - Another great post written by Anissa.  What's the best compliment you've received in one of your lessons?
  5. Update on Teachers TV - 2011 saw the death of Teachers.TV thanks to the loss of funding from the British government and a mad panic to get the videos you wanted before they were removed from the internet for good.  But then we got this awesome update & were able to continue watching our favourites.  Great teaching material for anywhere in the world in there!
  6. Live Binder - Organize your Teaching Materials Online - I love finding cool resources to make our lives easier as teachers, and Anissa's find is another one of those tools.  Check it out & share your resources too.
  7. Coffee Time With Alumna - Kayla - We regularly interview our teachers in London, but Anissa came up with the idea of interviewing teachers after they'd returned from London.  This was the first one in the series, and Kayla was getting ready to teach in Australia.  She visited 27 countries while teaching in London and I can only imagine she's visited all of South East Asia since teaching in Oz.  Fabulous read.
  8. Mobile Phones in the Classroom - To Ban or To Embrace?  This post made me feel very old-school. Share your opinion in the debate - it's a heated one!
  9. Riots in London - Where's the Positive in All This?  - Hard to believe the riots even happened this year.  Here's a different take on the after-affects.
  10. Teaching in London - 11 Tips to Survive Your First Year Abroad - Every once in a while I ask our teachers a question on facebook & they share their best advice & tips for you.  This one generated lots of great tips.
Any others you really enjoyed?  Any bloggers out there you want us to know about too?  Please share your thoughts below.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Free trials for Kiva for our readers

Have you heard about Kiva yet? 

I'm a proud supporter of Kiva and have lent $25 to a number of entrepreneurs (usually with a focus on education and kids as much as I can).  They use the money to start up their companies & then repay it when they can.  I then recycle that same $25 back into kiva to be used for another entrepreneur.  It's the whole "Give a man a fish & he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish & he eats for a lifetime" idea.

So Kiva just sent me an email to invite my friends & family (which I interpret to mean "blog readers" too):

We've got good news for you. You might not know it, but you've brought at least one new lender to Kiva this year- and that has helped us reach even more borrowers around the world. Thank you!

Now your friends and family can try Kiva for free!

All you need to do is share the link below with your friends, family, colleagues, classmates, or anyone else you can think of. Just post it on Facebook or Twitter, send it in an email, paint it on your house... you get the picture. If they're quick, they'll be able to make a loan for free. The link is:

The free trials will get snatched up quickly, so don’t wait. Nothing says “Happy New Year” like a few new Kiva lenders!

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Teaching in London 101: Register for January's Webinar Now


We're really excited about 2012 and hope you are too. 

We're offering one webinar every month for teachers who are just looking into what it's like to teach in England from a Canadian perspective.  We originally offered the webinars for free, but realize that you're actually more likely to show up after you RSVP if you've paid something for it.  But don't fret - we're doing really cool stuff with the money.

The webinars cost only $5.00 to attend, and we're donating all the money we get (which works out to $3.10 after the fees from paypal and are removed) to Pocket Change Heroes which will help us build a school in Sierra Leone, West Africa. 

Pretty cool right?  I know I show up when I've spent a bit of money to do something, and I suspect we'll have more people who want to help build schools while learning about teaching abroad.  The added bonus is that anymeeting removes their advertisements when we charge something too.

Teaching in London 101 Webinar
January 26 2012
One hour webinar about teaching in London.
$5 to attend or receive the recording to watch whenever you like.
Sign up here.  
Build a school in Africa. Learn about teaching in London, England.

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada
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, December 22, 2011

Teachers Asking for Parent Volunteers - Dads or Moms or both?

Teachers are encouraged to involve parents in the school community as much as possible. Field trips and special occassions are often where parents come in really handy.  Sometimes, teachers ask for specific parents, Dads or Moms, and can stir up quite a bit of controversy.  They might be very well meaning, but the idea that only male volunteers can do certain things, or that only female volunteers can assist is antiquated and certainly not common amongst our schools in London anyway.

So I was surprised to find this blog post making the rounds on facebook & twitter yesterday, called "The Penis Mom."  It's a post about a mom who responds when the teachers at her children's school ask for Dads to volunteer at the "pumpkin chunkin" in which kids launch pumpkins with a trebuchet (all in the name of physics of course). 

This mom was angry that the school only asked for Dads and responded with this email to all the parents & teachers who received the query:
Dear teachers and parents,

Are you guys seriously only asking for Dads?
Is lifting done with a penis?
Thoughtfully yours,
The principal of the school responded with an email to remind everyone to keep the emails "disney rated" and since the author of the email shared the same first name as the principal she clarified that it wasn't her that sent the message, and that she's not actually a fan of lifting things or mud.  

This situation raises a number of great questions for teachers today:
  1. Does gender matter when asking for parent volunteers? 
  2. When is it okay to ask for men over women or vice versa? Or is it ever okay?
  3. What would you do if you were a teacher in this school and saw this email come through from one of the parents? 
Personally, I think the only time gender matters is in teaching Sex Education.  Otherwise, I'd always keep my requests gender-neutral, especially knowing that many students are now raised by extended members of their family or have same-sex parents.  It seems ridiculous to exclude anyone. But that's just me.  I know what I think.  I'm curious about what you think.  Please share your thoughts below!

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada
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.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Teaching Teachers How to Get Teaching Jobs Abroad

I'm hitting the road in the new year, this time to McGill's education department to teach their student-teachers how to apply for teaching jobs overseas.  I'll be doing a four hour workshop, drawing on my own experience (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Bangladesh & London, England) as well as the experiences of the teachers that I've recruited and worked with in the last 7 years of my experience.

I'm really looking forward to this workshop, as I've done workshops at University of Victoria as well as Queen's, McGill and Nipissing, but none have been as long as 4 full hours.  With so much time, I'll be able to cover:
  • How to research teaching agencies, recruiters & schools that are hiring teachers overseas
  • CV/Resume Writing for teaching jobs abroad
  • Cover Letter writing for teaching jobs abroad, with samples of the best cover letter I've ever received and the worst (identities hidden of course)
  • Interviewing skills for specific teaching jobs overseas, with mock interviews & sample questions that every recruiter will ask.
  • What it's really like to teach in a foreign country.  Culture shock, keeping in touch with friends & family "back home", visas etc.
  • Where can you teach abroad? Who's hiring and where? 
I'll include time for breaks, and will be sure to bring my laptop with videos & slides so the crowd doesn't have to listen to me talking the whole time.  We expect about 40 student-teachers to come, and I have to say - I'm really looking forward to meeting them all.  I love this part of my job!  As a teacher, there's nothing better than getting into a new classroom & sharing what I know, and of course, learning from the class myself.

What else do you think I should focus on?  If you're in teachers college & want me to come to your school, please leave me a comment 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

Like this blog? Be sure to flick "follow" on the right hand side so you're the first to get our blog posts.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Website Changes & The Blog

We're back!

We made a change with our website & blog, but decided to go back to the way things were before - with our website at & our blog hosted here on  It's simple, it works, and while we don't mind change - the new site just wasn't what we wanted it to be.

So, I'm making a commitment to you, dear readers.  Right here, right now, I'm committing to writing at least 3 blog posts a week on topics around education & teaching in London with a focus on Canadians who make the move abroad.  If you want me to cover any particular subjects, please let me know by leaving your comment below.  We'll also continue with our Coffee Time Series, in which we interview the teachers who have already made the move to London and ask for their honest advice & guidance for all of you that are considering the move.

Anything you think we should improve?  Please share your feedback below.  We've missed you here on blogger & it feels dang good to be back. Thanks for your patience!


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