Coffee Time with LaurenEvery 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|
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!