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  We are currently interviewing teachers for teaching jobs that start in September and October 2013.

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Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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