Monday, April 29, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Long-Term Cover Teacher

A typical London street in spring.

By Dusan Sekulic

The sun’s magnificent rays have just peeked over the horizon. Clouds hang scattered across the sky, intercepting the bright light intermittently. Rain will surely fall by noon. However, spring has arrived and the weather is heating up. Morning has come in London, the streets are growing louder and another exciting day of teaching beckons me.

I usually arrive at school sometime before 8:30. Many teachers choose to come to school much earlier in the mornings in order to complete any last minute marking or tweak a lesson plan here or there. I prefer to do as much as I can the previous night, enabling me to have a more relaxing commute the next morning. It really depends on a teacher’s preference, if anything. Upon arriving at the school, I usually have some time to print out any necessary handouts for the day or just check my school e-mail account. At times it can be flooded in the mornings with new messages and awaiting reports that need looking at. However, that’s all part of running the high school ship. All in all, mornings can be hectic if you’re not prepared. Knowing exactly what you will be doing in all your lessons the previous night, or days before, is essential.


Briefing always follows right before the first bell. During a briefing session, teachers and staff are usually gathered in the staff room to listen to any significant announcements for the day. All teachers go to their home form rooms soon after the bell has rang. Your home form for the entire school year could be a Year 7 class, maybe even Year 10, it really does vary. The home form period can be anywhere from 10 minutes up to 20. Here I take the register for my boisterous group of Year 8s, as well as give them any important messages that their particular year group has to know about for that day.

Keep in mind, some days you could have free periods. Take the time during those periods to do some planning, finish up some marking, or anything else that will set up your day better. Remember though, you can always be assigned cover work on those days, in which case you will have to cover someone else’s lesson because they are away for whatever reason. The best advice I can give about those occurrences is to simply get used to it. I cover from 2 to 3 lessons every week and many other teachers do the same.

On this particular day, I am teaching double English to my lively Year 8 students. Ironically enough, they are usually quite focused in the mornings. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is the topic for today’s lesson as we are learning about the context and background of Caesar’s Rome at the time before his assassination. Eyes follow the PowerPoint presentation keenly, and questions abound of Caesar’s many exploits, his ruthlessness and why he was murdered. We will begin the play soon enough and it’s always nice to explore drama and literature, among other things, during these spring days before exams suddenly creep up on them.
Don't forget to eat a snack.  You need the energy to teach!
During breaks – in this case between first and second period – it’s always best to have a quick, filling snack that picks up your energy. A banana or apple will suffice. In all honesty, though, it is so vital to get a good night’s sleep. There is no time for fatigue when 30+ students are hanging on your every word and waiting to be shown something interesting or given instructions on what to do during a lesson – although dosing off can be common for some of them in the mornings!

Lunch is also very important. Packing your own lunch is advisable because you never know where you will be working. I believe most schools have a cafeteria where you can buy food, but many of them revolve around a card system where you have to upload money – much like an Oyster card for the transport system in London. Also, you might be in a school that is really settled into a suburban neighbourhood, a fair distance away from a convenient store or supermarket. Preparing your own food beforehand ensures that you have your lunch ready to go as soon as the bell strikes for lunch. Key point: Eat some food; you will need it in the afternoon!


The rest of the day runs just as briskly as the morning. Teaching a group of Year 11s the play, An Inspector Calls, can get dull at times, but it is our job to make it stimulating, educational, and also to convey the importance of preparing for exams properly. At the end of the day, students need to achieve good grades to get to where they want to be. A balance of seriousness and good humour is always necessary. Good motivation is vital too. Today’s class is reasonably focused and questions about revision keep sprouting up. I want my students to excel at their exams and answering a vast array of queries, while giving them a chance to work on practice questions and answers is the least I can do.



The one tidbit that new teachers coming to London and finding a long-term placement this late in the school year need to keep in mind is that you will be exploring texts, plays and material that you have never read before. Ever. You need to be flexible. There can be a situation in one of your long-term placements where you will be working from Easter until the end of the school year. In this case, you could be preparing GCSE students (Year 10-11) for their final exams, looking at material that they learned last autumn and are quite familiar with. It seems comical, but you have to prepare yourself first by reading all the works in detail, AND THEN plan how you will teach them to revise it. Our experience reading rapidly and digesting information quickly and in a short amount of time gives us one solid advantage at least. Colleagues and working as a team in your department helps greatly here as well, but that is a topic for another time.

As my day comes to a hectic flourish, I can think of several things that embody a typical long-term school day: It’s incredibly fulfilling, filled with good educational discussions, firm classroom discipline at times, and good cheer and laughter. Once you get used to a school and all the students get to know you, you never feel any dread going to work, or wariness surrounding you. Days go by swiftly and you enjoy the routine. However, it never really feels that way. Variety and diverse situations arise every day. It keeps you on your toes and your energy high.



Leaving school for the day, I can see the sun still firmly placed in the sky, birds singing happily along a line of trees and shrubs. It is a spectacularly pleasant sight. I can only imagine how nice it will be this summer term, and the positive energy that will come with a bright summer afternoon awaiting you after a long day in the classroom.

To join Dusan in teaching in London, whether you teach primary, secondary or SEN, simply submit your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Teaching Jobs in London, England for Canadian Teachers



Primary/Secondary/SEN Teachers are encouraged to apply for teaching positions in London, England that start in September and October 2013. We will be conducting interviews across Canada via skype, phone & in person. Apply as soon as possible so you ensure that we have time to review your resume and offer you an interview time if possible.

 
The majority of Classroom Canada's teaching jobs are in Central London and our accommodations are located right downtown so your travel time to schools will be reduced. All teachers must have a B.Ed or M.Ed and be eligible for either a visa to teach in the UK or have an EU passport that allows them to work in the UK. You can see more about the visa requirements here: http://www.classroomcanada.com/html/VisaWorkPermit.htm

 
Applicants are strongly encouraged to do their research on our blog, and in particular to read more about our teachers experiences in London. The blog is jam-packed with essential information about teaching in London from a Canadian perspective & will really help applicants to know whether London is the right fit for them.
 

Teaching Jobs include:
- Supply Teaching (aka Day to Day Teaching, TOC, Daily Supply, Substitute Teaching),
- Long term positions of a term or more
- Permanent positions.
- Primary, Secondary & SEN Teaching Positions.

 
If selected for an interview, we will discuss all of your options with you so you are well informed and comfortable with the decision to teach in London.
 
 
Successful Classroom Canada Teachers are:
  • Passionate about teaching & travelling the world at the same time.
  • Flexible & easy-going. They "go with the flow."
  • Well researched & prepared for teaching in London (with our help).
  • Well-rounded individuals with interests outside of teaching (Some of our teachers swing dance, some run Tough Mudder Races, some are avid readers & bloggers, some body build & do cross fit, but all have something that keeps them learning for life).
  • Able to see the humour in every day life.
If this sounds like you, please apply right away. Send your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.

A Few Quotes From our Teachers
"I have been very happy with Classroom. I started working my first week in London. I have about four schools that I go to regularly and am usually working five days a week and this is just as daily supply. Classroom is a great agency that is very approachable and personable and truly has my best interest at heart." Laura McDougall, Canadian teacher currently working in London.

"I stayed with Classroom because they truly do try their best to get you the jobs that you want. I haven’t had any trouble at all getting full time work, andhave been given jobs that they know I prefer. I really enjoyed one school in particular, and after letting them know, I am always getting calls for work at that same school. They also often call me just to see how my days are, and to make sure I’m still happy!" Katie Koskinen, Canadian teacher currently working in London.

"Victoria was always checking up on me, making sure I was on the right track and feeling good about my move to London. I've been very happy with the staff in the London office as well, they've been extremely helpful in finding me work and being 100% supportive!" Jeff Saunders, Canadian teacher currently working in 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!" Shannon Griffin, Canadian teacher currently working in London.

Read more from our Canadian teachers.  Apply right away by sending your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Interview with a Canadian Teacher in London: Coffee Time with Katie


We like to ask our Canadian teachers what it's really like to teach in London so the new applicants can be fully prepared.  Read on.


Name: Katie Koskinen
University: University of Alberta
Subjects: Primary Education
Ages You Teach: Primary

How long have you been teaching in London? 
Exactly 3 months.

What do you teach?
I teach both key stage 1 and key stage 2 (K-6) in mainstream schools.

Why did you chose to work with Classroom Canada?  
I liked the fact that they were based in Canada and I wouldn’t have to deal with any significant time differences if I needed to get in contact with them. Also I found their website/blog super helpful in answering any questions or just giving me a good idea about what it’s like to make the move to London. They also seemed the most genuinely interested in making sure my transition went as smoothly as possible.

What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
I know most people say classroom management, but I found that so far it hasn’t been much different than Canada.. kids are kids anywhere you go. For me it was probably getting used to the lesson structures and day plans of every school. In Canada, I found that I had much more freedom to change the plans of the day as I saw fit. Here, in every school I’ve been to, you start with literacy and then go into maths pretty much every morning. And they also have different “sets”, so you’ll have a different group of students for literacy as you will for maths.

Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences. 
Wake up around 6:30 and get ready to leave by 7:15. I almost always get prebooked through Classroom (usually at the same school), so I know where I’ll be going. I usually get home around 4:30, head to the gym, then back home to make dinner or grab take away with another classroom teacher. Then I pack a lunch, get myself ready for the next day, and tuck myself into bed with some good old British reality TV. Weekends are a different story..

What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London? 
Just do it! Be confident in the teacher you are, and don’t over think it. If I can do it, you can do it.

Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far: 
I had to administer a spelling test to a year 5 class. Sounds easy but strange spelling words like “cuckoo” mixed with my Canadian accent made one student actually offer to repeat the words to the class, claiming that he “understood Canadian”. During another spelling test in a year 1 class, I said the word “author” and the students as well as the TAs in the class thought I was saying “Arthur”, as if I was using a British accent!

Describe the worst thing: 
Probably losing control of a class. It only happened once in a challenging year 4 class. I don’t know if there is anything more frustrating!

What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
I stayed with Classroom because they truly do try their best to get you the jobs that you want. I haven’t had any trouble at all getting full time work, and have been given jobs that they know I prefer. I really enjoyed one school in particular, and after letting them know, I am always getting calls for work at that same school. They also often call me just to see how my days are, and to make sure I’m still happy!

What qualities do you have that make your stay more enjoyable? 
It’s important just to be able to go with the flow when teaching in London. I have a pretty laid back personality, and am able to take everything as it comes. Lots of times as a supply teacher, no matter how early you show up to the school, you will get your lesson plans 5 minutes before the kids show up. I don’t over think it and find that a lot of the times I have to just wing it!

To join Katie in teaching in London, just send your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.  You can read more Coffee Time Interviews here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Coffee Time with Classroom Canada: Interview with a Canadian Teacher in London


It's time for another interview with one of our Canadian teachers in London.  

Laura McDougall, Canadian Teacher in London, England

Name: Laura McDougall
University: Nipissing University
Subjects: Primary, Junior, Intermediate Geography, Special Education and English as a Second Language
Ages You Teach: Nursery to Year 6

1. How long have you been teaching in London?
I have been teaching in London since October 2012.

2. What do you teach?
I supply teach in Key Stage 1 and 2 (Nursery to Year 6)

3. Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
It is overwhelming trying to find the right agency to come teach in London with. Fortunately, I knew someone who had come over with Classroom Canada two years earlier, who I was able to talk to. Their experience with Classroom Canada was very positive so I gave the agency a call. Victoria, the Canadian recruiter was great about promptly addressing all my questions and concerns and providing an abundance of information about anything and everything London. That sealed the deal!

4. What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
Coming from a rural town in Canada, it was easy for me to relate to my students and connect with them. We all came from the same town, went to the same grocery store and I usually knew their parents. However, teaching in a different class everyday in inner city London has been my biggest adjustment.  Not only am I in a new class most days, but in my classes I have different nationalities, ethnicities, first languages, and religions making it harder to connect and relate with all my students.  However, the students love coming up to ask me about Canada and I take that time to ask them about themselves. In these short six months I have been here, I have been able to learn so much from the students about their religions, languages and ethnicities that is has definitely enriched not only my teaching but my appreciation of the diversity of my schools.

5. Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
I have decided to stay as daily supply but am usually pre-booked for the entire week at one or two schools. In the mornings I leave around 7:30am, stroll down Tottenham Court Road, with the London Eye in the background, to the tube station and get to any of my schools within 45 minutes. Once at the school, I look at the lessons on the flipcharts (ie. Smartboard slides) and prepare for the day. Then I have a great day with fun children, who love telling me all the facts they know about Canada and asking me what “garbage” is. At the end of the day, I mark up their work and head home.

6. What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
My advice to teachers thinking about coming over to teach in London is: DO IT!  It is very scary when you first start thinking about moving across the pond and leaving your family and friends. And then there is lots of paper work and forms to get through before you even make the move. Once over you are in a very busy, very big, different city, it can feel very overwhelming! But it is definitely worth it. I have gained so much valuable teaching experience these last six months. As well, living in central London I get to experience everything this world class city has to offer and I do my shopping on Oxford Street – no big deal!

The Great London Snow Storm of 2013

7. Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far:
Just like other teacher’s posts, most of the funniest moments, to the students at least, are usually because I get lost in translation and say a silly word like “pants” or something Justin Bieber related. However, the funniest thing that has happened to me is when I was called in to a school during a “snowstorm.” I was told that many teachers couldn't make it to school because of the snow and some had even gone into the ditch. When I arrived in the town, there was a sprinkle of snow on the ground; I could still see the grass. I honestly thought they were joking a bit with me, until they closed school early. Before the students left I had one come up to me and ask if this was like Canada. I had to laugh, if only they knew!

8. Describe the worst thing:
I was covering a teacher’s PPA (Preparation, Planning & Assessment Time) in a new school one day and going through the day’s plan with her when she informed me that: “I will come back and teach Phonics, I don’t trust you teaching it.” I was really surprised when she said it and it made me feel like I was a bad teacher. However she had never seen me teach and didn’t know me so I didn’t take it personally but it was the one and only time in my London teaching career that I felt inept. Having said that, my London colleagues have been so supportive in welcoming me into their system.

9. What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
I have been very happy with Classroom. I started working my first week in London. I have about four schools that I go to regularly and am usually working five days a week and this is just as daily supply. Classroom is a great agency that is very approachable and personable and truly has my best interest at heart.

 10. What qualities do you have that make your stay more enjoyable?
There are a lot of qualities that have helped make my move to London enjoyable. However, the main one that has helped me thrive in London is being able to see each experience as a learning experience regardless of the situation. This mindset has allowed me not only to enjoy what London has to offer, but also helped me be able to deal and stay calm with the unexpected like last minute call-ins, tube delays, or different classroom assignments then expected.

To apply to teach in London with Classroom Canada, simply send in your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.   We are busy interviewing teachers for jobs that start in September and October 2013.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Canadian Music Teacher in London Tells What It's Really Like to Supply Teach


It's Easter Break in London right now, which means teachers are travelling all over Europe and enjoying a solid 2 weeks off.  Some are sailing around Greece, others are backpacking through Paris, Barcelona and Prague. Wherever they are, you can be sure that they are enjoying some sunshine after a pretty miserable spring so far in London.

So we're taking this time off to ask our newer teachers what it's really like to teach in London through our ever-popular Coffee Time Series. 
Jeff Saunders, Canadian Music Teacher in the UK

Name: Jeff Saunders
University: Vancouver Island University
Subjects: Music and Social Studies
Ages You Teach: Primary and Secondary

How long have you been teaching in London?
It's been about 7 weeks now. 

What do you teach?
Back home I taught instrumental music and social studies. However, at this moment those are probably the only two subjects I haven't taught since arriving here!

Why did you choose to work with Classroom Canada?
With the end of my teacher training being a month away I remembered a friend of mine was teaching in London, and that she had applied with Classroom Canada. After Skyping with her I felt that it couldn't hurt to apply!

What was the biggest adjustment for you to make in your teaching in London compared to Canada?
It's just a very different style of teaching in a number of ways. For example, I've had to really work on my classroom management and become more authoritative in my approach. 

Describe a typical London day in 3-4 sentences.
I get myself ready for the day before the 7am phone call (if I don't already know where I'm going). Google Map my way to the school (thank goodness for smart phones!). Have a whirlwind day of teaching different ages and subjects. Go home and relax by playing guitar or watching some football!

What is the one piece of advice you can offer a Canadian teacher considering the move to London?
It's a huge move, but you've got to just do it. The whole process of moving to London took less than a month and a half for me, and I feel it was the best way to do it. 

Describe the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your year so far:
There's a girls' catholic school I've worked at a few times, and every class I've had, after telling them I'm Canadian, asks me if I was friends with Justin Bieber back in Canada! I always have to show them how big Canada actually is on a map...

Describe the worst thing:
The first day of teaching for me was a last minute call, so it would have been right before classes were starting. I was sent to a school out in Hounslow, which takes around 45 minutes on a good day. After getting lost in Waterloo station and jumping the train to Isleworth I had to run to the school about a half mile away. I showed up drenched in sweat, disorientated and late. Talk about starting off on the right foot!

What made you stay with Classroom Canada, rather than any other agency?
Victoria was always checking up on me, making sure I was on the right track and feeling good about my move to London. I've been very happy with the staff in the London office as well, they've been extremely helpful in finding me work and being 100% supportive!

What qualities do you have that make your stay more enjoyable?
A big reason why I moved here was the potential for travel. I've visited family in Liverpool since arriving, and have trips to Scotland and mainland Europe already planned for the spring and summer breaks. Plus, I've been to a few big name concerts so far, with plenty more planned in the future. There are plenty of opportunities here in London!

To join Jeff in teaching in London, simply submit your resume and cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.  We are currently interviewing teachers for teaching jobs that start in September and October 2013.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails