Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teaching in London 101: New Workshop Announced

A PD workshop in London with Classroom Canada.

We're pleased to announce that we're hosting a one hour live workshop on Thursday February 7th 2013 at 5pm PST, 8pm EST. You can attend from anywhere in the world from your computer with internet.

Meeting Topic: Teaching in London 101

A one hour live workshop all about Teaching in London, England from a Canadian perspective. Perfect for new teachers, experienced teachers & teachers in training who want to teach abroad, but aren't quite sure about how to go about it.

Brief Description:

Learn the basics about teaching in London, England:
- Who teaches in London?
- What teaching jobs are available?
- When do the teaching jobs start?
- What visas are you eligible for?
- What are the accommodations like?
- Why do schools hire foreign teachers?
- What is the cost of living like?

All participants who attend & complete a brief survey will receive the award winning ebook, Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians, normally sold for $29.95.

The workshop costs $9.95 to attend, and we give 50% of the proceeds to Pocket Change Heroes to help build schools in Africa.

*This workshop is interactive, so be sure to bring your questions and we'll try to answer them all.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Friendly Reminder #1: Teachers, Be Honest With Your Students

The teaching dream.

 A Friendly Reminder #1


Another Guest Post by Blogger & Canadian Teacher in London, Dusan Sekulic 


Remember Teacher's College? A period of hectic induced chaos for many teacher apprentices. The hours were long, the student teaching memorable, and the lesson plans carefully thought out and executed, for the most part. We were assessed, scrutinized, commented on. Most importantly, however, we learned and improved as teachers and individuals.

I broach the topic for two reasons: One, it is inspiring and a revelation to see so many NQT (newly qualified) teachers in the London schools I have taught so far. They have fresh energy, are innovative and really want to teach and help their students, even when they do have more harrowing, challenging days at the "office". They worked hard in Teacher's College, and it is so gratifyingly obvious.

Two, I came across a great post by a teacher writing about his freshly appointed student teacher's first day and the initial, first impression he should make with his new students. It's an honest, humble message to all new student teachers and graduates out there:


I thought, why not be honest with your students?
A lot of teachers like to put on a show in the classroom. The act of being serious, overbearing and in control. Yes, there has to be respect and discipline, but I believe that being honest with your students is another way of connecting with them on a more personal, truthful level. They can appreciate that, believe me. It's a fine balance that is never perfect...but what a challenge it is.

In a way, it is a performance. We not only thoroughly construct carefully thought out lesson plans that have outcomes and assessments, but we have to deliver it in front of 30+ students in an effective, engaging manner that stimulates them and their critical thinking skills. Students learn in so many different ways. The gears that their minds function on respond to so many subtleties and techniques of teaching. They want an influx of knowledge, good marks and smiley stickers, yet they also want careful, honest guidance from the teachers they look up to and want to impress.

There are so many ways to achieve this inside the classroom and around the school itself. Have one-on-one sit downs to review their work from time to time so that they feel comfortable and you can really focus on what they can improve on. They will soon discover that you are not just the booming voice of detention. You care for their success and well being.

Talk to your students outside your home form. Greet them in the hallways, ask how they are doing when you pass the lunch room. And for goodness sake, smile. Even though your pupils seem like they are scheming all the time, disrupting class with incessant chatter, loud noise, and rowdy behaviour, they are still kids. At the end of the day, your students spend most of their early lives in the classroom with YOU.

A careful, precise equilibrium of honesty and respect, engaging lessons and proactive encouragement, among many other things, can be achieved in the classroom. For when you one day reach that proper attunement where your lesson is being digested with wide-eyed interest by a group of 12 year olds, and their hands are flying up with each question, pens drying out with all their writing, and test scores making you nod with pride, you will know: I did it. Followed by: I love my job.

To apply to teach in London with Classroom Canada, simply send your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com & one of us will get back to you within a few days.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teaching Jobs in London: What Types of Jobs Are There?

*This is an excerpt from the award-winning ebook, Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians
Most students in London wear school uniforms.

Job Possibilities for Teachers in London

So, what type of teaching do you want to do in London? There are plenty of options, so let’s break them down one by one.


Day-to-day supply can be a great way to teach in a variety of schools and gain invaluable and wide-ranging experience. Many schools require supply cover (you may know it as relief, substitute or emergency teaching) at the last minute for absences and illness. Cover for courses are usually booked in advance, but sickness cover is often only reported that morning, requiring both the agencies and you to react instantly!

Daily supply requires a great deal of flexibility and quick thinking but brings its own rewards and is an excellent way to gain a great deal of London experience in a short period of time. Agencies also often find that teachers are requested back after initial day-to-day assignments, sometimes taking a longer-term position in a school with which they have built a relationship.


Long-term positions are usually a term or more and are for those wanting to take on the whole role and responsibilities of being a full-time teacher with the planning and commitment that requires. Working in one school for an extended length of time often sees teachers becoming intrinsically involved in the school community, attending Parents’ Evenings and events and taking on other roles, e.g. as a Form Tutor in Secondary schools.


For those teachers interested in permanent placements, agencies typically work with schools looking to recruit permanent staff who have years of experience in the UK.

Special Needs

Some teaching agencies have Special Needs divisions as well. SEN offers the exciting opportunity to work with students with different kinds of Special Needs in both Special Schools and Mainstream.
Their needs may include:

Severe or Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.

These children may require individual support and even help with feeding or toileting. They will follow an IEP (Individual Education Plan).


Autistic children find it difficult to relate to others. Severity varies.

Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Students with these needs may find it difficult to cope in the mainstream and may be referred to Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) where they can receive the support they need.

HI or VI

Hearing or Visually Impaired children may be educated in either mainstream or separate centres.

Learning Support in Mainstream

Pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs, or at Levels 1-4, will be allocated extra support for a set number of hours a week.

You may have worked with young people with Special Needs during your teaching career or as part of your studies. You may have worked with adults or even have personal experience. Even if you do not have a specific qualification, this area of teaching may be open to you. Many teachers in fact find a niche within SEN and if you have an interest, usually your agency’s specialist Consultant will spend some time with you at interview.

To apply for any of the jobs, simply submit your CV/Resume and cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.  *Please note: January and February are the busiest months for interviews for teaching in London. It may take us longer to contact you, but we do make an effort to connect with every applicant.  

If you're still not sure, check out the testimonials to see what other Canadian teachers have to say about their experiences teaching in London.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Can Students Learn Without School?

Here's another guest post by Canadian teacher in London, Dusan Sekulic.  Enjoy...

Canadian teachers in London know what to do during a snowfall.

The Quest to Improve the Conveyance of Knowledge

Sitting in my classroom just after school, I am looking out the window and admiring the plethora of snow that had been descending on London since early morning. Not just any snow, rather, the United Kingdom's version of a snow storm. School had closed early today and I had just dismissed my overjoyed Year 8s barely past the stroke of noon. I could already see them hurling snow balls in the distance. Apparently there would even be snow on Monday, threatening more closures. Now most Canadian teachers here know, and I know, the kind of snow storms that cross London's skies are not exactly of the menacing kind, Canadiana style.

However, a second thought suddenly crossed my mind: What of their education? They were going to miss out on a whole afternoon of enriched and fruitful learning. Macbeth, poetry, the greenhouse effect, Churchill.. And what of Monday's classes? Hours wasted. How will our students learn outside of the classroom?

This train of thought eventually drifted to the question: Can students learn without the complex and traditional surroundings of a school? Or teachers?

I had only recently read a fascinating article by Chris Wilson, titled, "How to survive the teacher apocalypse". Although it refers specifically to ELT (English Language Teaching), I think it has great relevance in regards to teaching Primary and Secondary school subjects today. In it, he writes about a teacherless future with autonomous learning.

He asks the simple question: "If you had the option of learning on your own or learning with a teacher, which would you choose?" Seems like a simple enough question. Why, and even how, can someone possibly replace the face to face interaction of a living, breathing, thinking person filled with knowledge and experience, who is willing and able to teach a multitude of students all day. Technology cannot teach critical thinking, can it?

But then Chris makes a great point about the quality of teachers out there. He comments on the standards and drive, creativity and effort of a successful teacher who would survive this "coming apocalypse". There is certainly no room for "half hearted" teachers, dictating solely from a book. The teachers that will survive in the future are the ones who will go beyond the 'duties' thrust upon them. They give a reason why face to face, in person learning is still the best avenue to a proper education. Those teachers dispel the notion that cheaper, online education or any form of technological or alternative learning is better.

The main idea is that teaching is not just a job. There is no room for autopilot mode, corner cutting, subpar lessons and laziness. Chris speaks of conscious diligence and the continual need for teachers to improve ther lessons, their positive interactions with students and focus on professional development - because in the end, students need to have the desire to welcome that knowledge which educators bring them, and they shape and mold themselves, unlocking their true potential. Not to mention, we as teachers are also the ones learning and growing with each day and every semester.

Teaching is a learning process in itself that doesn't end with getting a job at a school, creating habits and routines and not challenging your students or yourself. Stagnation is terrible in this profession. Take pride in what you do, respect it, and make yourself and those around you better. As teachers, we have that responsibility at the very least.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Interview with a Canadian Teacher Working in London, England

It's time for another Coffee Time with one of the Canadian teachers in London, working through Classroom Canada. Over to Kaitlin...

Name: Kaitlin Anderson
University: University of Victoria
Subjects: Primary Education
Ages You Teach: Primary

1. How long have you been teaching in London?
For almost four months now

2. What do you teach?
Well I started off doing supply work for both keystage one and keystage two in mainstream schools, but have just started working at an SEN school in a keystage two class.

3. Why did you chose to work with Classroom Canada?
I liked that it was a smaller agency, and that it was based in Canada; which allowed my pre-London questions and queries to be answered more promptly than if it was an agency based somewhere else.

4. What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Classroom management was definitely an adjustment as mentioned in prior coffee time surveys; however I found one of my biggest adjustments being getting comfortable with the high use of technology. During my practicums in Canada I never had an opportunity to use or interact with Smartboards and really that’s all they use here. One day in the middle of teaching a lesson I thought I was turning off the lights to help the students see the picture better but instead turned off the entire electricity in the room ..oops.

5. Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
Well now that I have a long-term position…

I wake up about 6am, get ready and am out the door by 6:45. I usually arrive at my school around 7:45 and start to prepare for the day. My students arrive at 9:15 and keep me on my toes all day until they are picked up at 3:30. I usually spend sometime sorting through resources and tidying the classroom until about 5pm then head home and hit the gym (I LOVE their spin classes at my gym; black lights and great 90s pump up music). And once I’ve showered and ate dinner I usually just catch up with family/friends at home or have a good chat with the people who live in my hall. And before I know it…it’s bedtime.

6. What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?Do it! London is an amazing city that has a ton to offer. Also I feel I have learnt more about teaching in the last four months than I did throughout my entire teaching degree.

7. Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far:
There has been a ton of funny days, it’s hard to really capture one particular moment. I think just the general differences in terminology has made for some good laughs. The look of horror that went across one of the student’s face, after I asked him to“ quickly put [his] jumper in the bin (well changing for PE)”, definitely stands out.

8. Describe the worst thing:
Definitely, the feeling of losing complete control of a class. In one year three class I had two fights break out during a lesson.

9. What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
The staff was really friendly, and didn’t mind me popping into the office with questions on a regular basis. Also I worked pretty consistently while on supply and now have a long-term; so a working Kaitlin is a happy Kaitlin.

10. What qualities do you have that make your stay more enjoyable?
I adjust really easily to new situations and have been living away from home on and off for the last six years, so I don’t find that I feel homesick very often. Also I love being able to just walk around and explore, and London has an endless amount of neighbourhoods to do that in.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Inspirational Doesn't Begin to Cut it! Sports Illustrated Kid of The Yea...

This is our 600th blog post and I'm so happy to share this incredibly inspiring story here with you all.

Get out the tissues, teachers!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Teaching Abroad: A Leap Worth Daring?

This is a guest post by Dusan Sekulic, who you met last week when we interviewed him about teaching in London with Classroom Canada.

Teaching Abroad: A Leap Worth Daring?

It may come to you on the way home from your part-time job, or in the middle of a leisurely stroll through campus on the way to your next class. Perhaps a friend suggested it countless times? Or you've known it since you were in Grade 9, sifting eagerly through the pages of Julius Caesar. The decision to become a teacher is something most of us make for one reason or another and at very specific times. Like a sudden revelation.

Once decided, we propel ourselves to panicked, at times, fulfilment of volunteering hours with students of various ages, we polish our Philosophies of Education and ultimately send our applications to a number of 'Teacher Colleges.' Learning the art of teaching itself within the walls of these Colleges/Universities, from Nipissing to D'Youville, is another topic altogether. However, the final diploma and subsequent Certification to teach in whatever province you reside in is the lasting achievement of all your hard work. But where to go from there? 

There is no need to repeat or even mention the difficulties in securing a long-term teaching job in most places in Canada. It is a topic and issue trodden upon far too many times. Explained, reiterated, complained about. The point is that teaching is a changed profession, in more ways than one.

Yes, we know that the days are gone of being offered an immediate full-time position in a school in your city of choice and preferred school board straight out of Teacher's College. The point is that many teachers, potentially great teachers, see this as a solely negative situation. It's frustrating, especially since many Canadian teachers, particularly, want to be close to home and family or just love the city they live in back home. Many new teachers start despising the profession or, worse yet, quitting it altogether. There are many ways to overcome this and stay in Canada, involving patience, perseverance and a lot of luck. Nevertheless, teaching doesn't need to be viewed in such a limited way.

Teaching is such a versatile, challenging and rewarding career. There are so many other ways to approach it and grow professionally and personally. The truly hard part is the beginning of the journey. How do I earn those precious first years of experience that will unlock my future long-term goals? Many choose to wait at home and spend several years re-applying to school boards, even just to supply teach, working part time jobs, getting by, while time passes and, with it, all the enriching experiences, knowledge and skills you learned in Teacher's College and during your memorable practicums. I know, I did it for almost two years.

Your teaching skills start to dull and rust, and by the time you do get an interview, your confidence and comfort in the classroom may be lost. Memories of your practicum won't help you then. The question, "What have you been doing since you graduated from school and finished your student teaching?", will surely come up.

Why not start doing what you spent your whole undergrad and Teacher's College preparing for now? Think outside the boundaries and restricted box at home. Be strong, take that leap worth daring and think globally.

It doesn't have to be teaching ESL, even though that is a fantastic way to start as well. Personally, when I made the decision to teach in London, there was no hesitancy. I wanted to teach, whether that was Grade 7 English, Grade 10 Math or Grade 12 History. I wanted to start my life now. London provides that vital experience without the handcuffs that public schools thrust upon you back home. Your resumes/CVs can be sent to individual schools directly. You don't need to be on "the list" just to be able to supply teach.

You arrive in a great city and can be in the classroom in no time at all, teaching bright, challenging, and wonderful students of all ages and levels.

The first day I supply taught, I remember sitting in the classroom, watching the students work and thinking: "How many years would it have taken for me to be in this position, standing here and discussing the impact of Star Wars on tourism in Tunisia with 30 students back in Canada?" But it doesn't have to be just London either. Afterwards, you can always go back home and give it another go when you feel ready. Simply don't limit yourself.

The key is to start somewhere. When someone tells you, "Oh, you have time, don't rush or worry about it," why waste that time when you can start doing what you love right now?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Interview with a Canadian Teacher Working in London, England

Time for Another Coffee Time Interview!  Thanks to Dusan for telling us what it's really like to teach in London from a Canadian perspective.

Dusan Sekulic, Canadian Teacher in London, UK

Name: Dusan Sekulic
University: University of Toronto and Medaille
Subjects: English, History and ESL
Ages You Teach: 11-18

1. How long have you been teaching in London?
I have been teaching in London since October 2012 and loving every minute of it.

2.What do you teach?
I teach predominantly English, History and ESL. However, when I first started supply work in London, I was teaching a who's who collection of different subjects. From Geography to P.E., Science, Chemistry, even Music and French. It's been interesting, to say the least.

3.Why did you chose to work with Classroom Canada?
Several reasons. First, it was Canadian based, unlike a lot of the other agencies that are centred here in the UK. They understand a Canadian teacher's needs, background of education and are easily able to accommodate your transition from the Canadian classroom to the UK one (ie. curriculum, certain terminology, what to expect classroom management wise).

Classroom Canada was also incredibly easy-going, encouraging and positive throughout the whole interview process and the preparations for London that followed. At the same time, they are thorough with all the paperwork and documents that are required for you to teach. Classroom Canada are incredibly professional and hold high standards, as every agency should when it comes to teaching.

4. What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
There was no real big adjustment per se, just a collection of new challenges. Obviously classroom management can be tricky at times, but that rests solely on the individual teacher's attitude, confidence and decisions. Every situation can be dealt with in the classroom. The curriculum is certianly similar, however, there were some terms that you have to get used to here in the UK. For example, key words, learning objectives, assessment for learning, etc. Nothing that can't be learned very quickly.

Also, the one thing you really need to keep in mind is that you may not be teaching your 'favourite' or 'specialized' subject any particular day. I once supply taught music all day. Another day you could be covering Year 11 Science in the morning, then spend the rest of the afternoon teaching English to a rowdy bunch of Year 7's. You just never know. You have to be versatile and welcome any challenge.

5. Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
 Wake up at 6:30, lunch packed, dress promptly, ready for the new day and waiting for a call for cover work that may not always come! If I get called in, I'm off to the nearest tube station, reading my book on the way to the particlar school that day. I check in at reception, am handed my schedule of classes to cover (always a wide variety) and I proceed to have an eventful, enriching day, that is always unique because of all the different levels that you may teach.

At the end of the day, I always make sure I tidy up the classroom(s) I have been in, taking care to write a short note to the teacher(s) you covered for that day, explaining how the students were and if there were any difficulties with the lessons. The long (or short) journey home follows, after which you have late afternoon and the entire evening to yourself to explore the city or just relax at home!

6. What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
I have already mentioned the need for flexibility and versatiliy and the willingness to be open. That includes in the classroom and outside. London can be tricky at times, whether that's securing a flat, getting used to new surroundings or navigating the tube (which is easier than you think!). Don't be scared or too apprehensive. It all works itself out eventually. We can all adapt.

The one piece of advice I strongly recommend is to be positive and never take any issues you may have had at a school back home with you. Yes, you could have challenging students in your classroom. Sometimes it could be just one, sometimes 6. You could have a disastrous morning, but a fabulous afternoon with fantastic students that will make your lessons go smoothly. That's all part of the package and experience when you teach here.

Be patient with the students. They're kids at the end of the day. They can give you a hard time but you have to approach those situations positively and confidently. Don't take it personally and go home dejected and upset. Tomorrow is another day. You made it this far, have faith in your knowledge and abilities.

7. Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far:
 So many funny things happen on a daily basis. The students here are so diverse and unique. They can be quite the characters with great personalities and they offer up a plethora of comical incidents. For example, last semester I supply taught regularly at a particular Girls Academy. Great students, many educational and hilarious days.

One such day, I was covering a large class of 30 excitable Year 7's. The one thing about UK students is that they are on to you so quick once they hear your Canadian accent, for two reasons mainly, I found. One, you come from a country that is close to America (which they are fascinated with) and two, you come from Justin Bieber land.

On this particular day, I had to settle the class down rather quickly as they were getting very excitable once they found out I was from Canada. The first thing I told them was, one, yes I'm from Toronto, Canada (excited murmurs and lit up faces, smiles), and two: no, I have never meant Justin Beiber. The resulting collective exhalation of disappointment and chatter from every student I will never forget!

8. Describe the worst thing:
One day I was covering a Year 7 Science class at a particularly rowdy school. This class had not 1, but about 8 difficult students that I had dealt with before. I set the tone early, and things seemed to be going well. Unfortunately for me, this particular lesson involved colouring pencils (pencil crayons). A whole tray of them that they all had to use to work on their individual projects. On top of that, the classroom was not compact, rather spread out, so even more difficult to keep under control.

Needless to say, an assortment of colouring pencils started to fly through the air within minutes and the day became very memorable for all the wrong reasons! But I got through it. Always remember that when you have your own 'memorable' day. And you will have one. :) Colouring pencils, my worst nightmare...

9. What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
You're part of a team here and, as such, every teacher is treated like a unique member and is highly valued, each with their own individual needs. It's not just an agency, you work for each other, whether that's filling in the various cover positions each day or securing a golden interview for a permanent position.

Here in London, the Classroom team will always go the extra mile to help you. Whether that's answering your questions in the middle of the weekend, being available by phone and e-mail at all times, guiding you when you are lost in the middle of Brixton or Battersea, or sending you links to helpful lesson plans to assist you in your preparations for an interview next day.

 Also, one other note: be patient about getting work. Don't get angry or upset if you don't get work right away (it took me almost a month to get consistent work). It takes time sometimes, especially for schools to get used to you. In no time they will be requesting you personally and frequently and then you will be all smiles.

10.  What qualities do you have that make your stay more enjoyable?
I'm very open to exploring new things and I love living in a multicultural city. So many different, unique people, flavours and foods. Also, I'm patient (which you will need if you have to travel to a far away school then back) and I love to walk and explore, see the city. Get used to that, trust me. Finally, I like rain and milder weather. London, I couldn't ask for anything more ideal. Enjoy the adventure!

To join Dusan in teaching in London, send your resume & cover to apply AT classroomcanada.com  We are currently interviewing Primary, Secondary & SEN teachers for teaching jobs that start in April & September 2013.

Monday, January 7, 2013

How To Get A Teaching Job in the UK: Understanding the Quality Mark

Before you apply for teaching jobs abroad, know the terms they use.

How to Get a Teaching Job in the UK: Understanding the Quality Mark

It can be very confusing when you first start looking for a teaching job abroad.  You might focus just on the teaching jobs themselves, but as you start to do more research you'll hear terms thrown about that you just don't understand.  So, to land that dream teaching job in the UK, you should first know what the Quality Mark is.

This is an exerpt from the award winning ebook, Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians. 

There are literally hundreds of agencies in the UK that have been established in the past 10 years. When the UK government realized they needed to monitor these agencies and make sure that they were sending qualified teachers into schools, they came up with the Quality Mark. The Quality Mark is given by the DFES (Department for Education and Skills, http:// www.dcsf.gov.uk) to agencies that meet their criteria for approval.

The Quality Mark is the government’s way of assessing agencies and their practices and then giving their “stamp of approval” to schools to use these particular agencies. If you’re trying to find the right agency for you, then the Quality Mark is the bare minimum that you would look for in an agency. This means that the agency checks their teachers’ documentation and verifies that they complete all the requirements to be a teacher in the UK. They check their B.Ed, references, police check and visa. They see the original
documents and stamp each document.

I’ve heard some recruiters brag to teachers that their agency has the Quality Mark so they should go with them. It’s not exactly something to brag about! Just expect it, look for the Quality Mark logo on the agency web site and if they don’t have it, move on.

The vast majority of agencies you will encounter will already have the Quality Mark, so it’s not really something you should worry about. But I do know of one agency that does not have the Quality Mark that was featured on the front page of all the major UK newspapers in 2007. They had sent a “teacher”
into a school to do a day of supply teaching.  When he arrived at the school and was advised to collect the class, he then revealed he was a journalist doing a story about how easy it is to pretend to be a teacher and get access into schools! It was a major story.

So, look for an agency with the Quality Mark and register with them.

Does Classroom Canada have the Quality Mark? No. It doesn't make sense right?

Well, the reason is that Classroom Canada is the Canadian version of Classroom Ltd. Classroom Ltd is in the UK, whereas we are here in Canada. I'd love it if the DFES would come to Canada to assess our records, but that will never happen. Since Classroom Ltd. has the Quality Mark, we in essence have it as well.

All teachers must fulfil certain requirements in order to teach with us, and we check their files here in Canada, then again in the UK. We are diligent about this process as it would be awful for a teacher to arrive in the UK and then learn that they don't have the proper documents in order to teach there. Instead, we get everything ready here in Canada so our teachers can "hit the ground running," and this works for all of us involved.

In fact, one teacher arrived just a few weeks ago on a Friday, started supply teaching on the next Monday then had a full week of daily supply work. By the next Friday she had 2 interviews at schools and scored a great job that started the next Monday. Now that's what we like to see!

To learn more about the Quality Mark, QTS, and UK Curriculum, check out the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians by yours truly.

To apply for a teaching job in London with Classroom Canada, simply submit your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada dot com.  We are currently interviewing primary, secondary & SEN teachers for teaching jobs that start in April & Sept 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Interview with a Canadian Teacher in London, England

Coffee Time with Lauren

Every once in a while, we like to interview Canadian teachers in London through our much-loved Coffee Time Series.  That's not just bragging - these interviews really do become the reason that so many Canadian teachers choose to teach with us in London.  Read on & you'll see what I mean.

For more interviews with Canadian teachers in the UK, be sure to check out the testimonials page.  Over to Lauren...
Lauren Bush enjoying High Tea
Name: Lauren Bush
University: Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia
Subjects: Elementary/Primary School with a specialty in music but I don't teach music in London very often.
Ages You Teach: 4-11, but mostly year 6 (ages 10-11) so far.

1.    How long have you been teaching in London? 

Only since September 2012.

2.    What do you teach?

I've been given a temporary long term position in year 6 that started out full time and turned into 2 days a week.  Other than that I do daily supply, often at the same school as my temp. position but other schools around London as well.

3.    Why did you chose to work with Classroom Canada?  

My technology professor, Mary O'Neill, recommended Classroom Canada as an option to me.  I was intrigued because the office is located  in Victoria and it seemed like a smaller operation that would have my best interest in mind rather than a huge company that sends out blanket emails begging you to sign up with them.

Also, the whole process just started happening really quickly, which is what I wanted.  I had made the decision to come over here and Classroom Canada sorted everything out before I even knew what hit me, really.

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

There were some curricular things that confused me at first.  It was partially my own fault for not realizing that there would be major differences, but I wish I had checked out the way lessons work here.  There are key things that they do differently in a daily lesson and it's taken me some time getting used to the routines.  Buzzwords like "framework" and "strategies" got me googling the National Curriculum and looking up British standards and teaching styles.

5.    Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences. 

I wake up at 6:30 and get ready and if I don't have a placement, I call Classroom at 7:00am and let them know I'm available to teach.  The agency gives me directions to the school and they often give me a route to work (my closest tube station or fastest way there--they're really knowledgeable).  Usually there's someone to show you around and take you to the classroom and another teacher or a TA to explain what the students have been doing or will be doing.  We just go through the day as normally as possible and I try to throw in some fun supply teacher-y things to try and compensate for routine changes that students sometimes don't adjust well to.  At lunch or after school, I mark the notebooks of the lessons we've done that day so when the teacher returns everything is up to date then I head home for the day.  Sometimes the school will invite you back if the teacher is off for a long time or sometimes its just a one-off.  (This is more than 3-4 sentences, sorry!  I am not a concise person!)

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

Have a positive, firm grasp on classroom management with lots of different ideas and tricks up your sleeve.  Sometimes there's a discipline system in plan at the school but sometimes there isn't and you may need to have one that you can use.

7.    Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far: 

Often the students we teach are immigrants from other countries and at one of the schools I visit quite often, the large population of Jamaican kids in my year 6 class taught me a Jamaican greeting to use.  So when we read the attendance instead of saying Good morning, we say "Wagwan!" which means "What's going on?" in their culture.

8.    Describe the worst thing: 

One time, I got wrong directions to a school and had to walk in the rain for almost an hour--I was almost late but the school didn't seem mind too much.  It seems to be a common thing to have London transport mess with your day.

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

The employees seem to be very helpful and understanding as well as organized and efficient.  I never feel afraid to contact them and ask questions or even just tell them about a school experience, good or bad.

10. What qualities do you have that make your stay more enjoyable?  

Having a go-with-the-flow attitude is really important here.  The number of things that could go "wrong" are endless but if you just change your mind-set and accept that things are always going to be different and constantly changing it makes it a lot less stressful.

That and on days that I don't get called to teach, or weekends, take advantage of this AMAZING city!!  England schools have lots of term breaks that are perfect for relaxing, shopping and tons of sightseeing.  I am definitely taking advantage of them.  I love it here!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top 10 New Years Resolutions Read by Bob Dylan

I know I've made many of these resolutions in the past myself. How many have you made?

Here are the typical teacher New Years Resolutions:

  1. Get more exercise. Be healthy. Lose weight. 
  2. Leave school work at school.  Don't take marking home!
  3. Be more organized.  Do those weekly & daily lesson plans well ahead of time.
  4. Hand in reports early so the Head Teacher doesn't have to nag me for them.
  5. Stop yelling at the students. Breathe through the frustration. Use positive behaviour management techniques.
  6. Do yoga.
What am I missing?


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