Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Interview With a Canadian Teacher in London: Coffee Time with Shannon

Time for another Coffee Time Interview, where we ask a Canadian teacher in London all the questions that you wanted answered.  This time it's with Shannon Griffin, a BC teacher who worked in the government for 8 years after graduating teacher's college and then decided to follow her first love - teaching.
Name: Shannon Griffin
University: University of Victoria
Subjects: Elementary
Ages You Teach: Mostly Key Stage One (K-3)

How long have you been teaching in London?
6 months already

What do you teach? 
I teach primary and mostly stick to Key Stage One classes.

Why did you chose to work with Classroom Canada?
A friend from university had worked for Classroom Canada a few years back and had really good experiences with them. I also liked the fact that they are a smaller agency, thus a more personal connection.

What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Really, it's the same that most others say and that is classroom management. The classroom dynamics and children are very different compared to Canada so that was definitely a big adjustment.

Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
Well, I am lucky enough to work regularly for a school 3 days a week doing PPAcoverage and am extra lucky that the school is about a 20 minute (brisk) walk from my flat. I am guaranteed three days a week there and manage to usually pick up at least another day at the same school so I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to call in for work or brave the morning crush on the tubes. I get up at a decent hour, have my breakfast, grab my things and head out the door for my walk. On days when I am not working, I try to get out and explore all the amazing sites London has to offer (although it has been bitterly cold here all winter which makes it a challenge to want to leave your warm flat to go exploring). Fingers crossed spring will arrive one of these days. London is an amazing city and tons of fun.

What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
Just do it! I was so nervous about the move, the change, the unknown...but honestly, it has been the best decision I have made. It is a big change teaching over here, but take it one day at a time and with a grain of salt when you have those crazy days because it does get easier. I promise!

Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far:
The differences in the language have resulted in some "amusing" moments for sure. Of course pants here mean underwear and I am still catching myself saying things like "what's on your pants?" to a 6 year old. They think it's hilarious. They also say rubbers instead of erasers so I have found it quite funny to have a class of 26 little kids saying "Miss, I need a rubber."

Describe the worst thing:
There was one particular day where I was in a more challenging school in a year four class (which isn't my comfort zone anyway) and the kids were totally wild and uncontrollable (no exaggeration). I remember at one point, just stepping back and looking around at the mayhem thinking "Well, I give up today. I don't think I want to do this anymore." That was probably my toughest day yet, but I am glad I didn't quit and stuck with it, because my days now are tons of fun and I have lots of laughs. The kids really are pretty sweet. I actually got the most adorable card from one of my little year one girls I regularly teach that is the cutest and sweetest thing I have ever received. She made it the night before she knew I was going to be in her classroom and honestly, it's things like that, that make it all worthwhile.

What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
Krystian and Tee and the rest of the primary team have worked so hard at securing me this permanent PPA position which is awesome and are always able to get me work on the days I am not scheduled at my regular school. They are there to answer any questions and have been so incredibly helpful. I haven't felt the need to go to another agency.

What qualities do you have that make your stay more enjoyable?
I try very hard not to get myself stressed out in difficult situations which has helped tremendously. I also think you have to be very flexible and adaptable as supply work is ever changing and you have to just go with the flow so to speak :)

To apply for a teaching job in London with Classroom Canada, simply submit your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.

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