Wednesday, August 14, 2013

9 Great Back to School Teaching Blogs

If you're like me, you see the Back to School advertisements and think "No! It can't be Back to School time already!"  It's like advertising for Christmas in September!  But we are just a couple of weeks from the new academic year and it's time to start looking forward to seeing all your new students.

Here is a list of 9 Great Back to School Teaching Blogs to help you plan your new classrooms.  Have fun with it & remember, it's still summer! So enjoy your vacation teachers. You'll be swamped in no time.

Steve Spangler's Blog
Steve Spangler has some great Back to School resources collected over on his blog today. Steve's blog is normally filled with science-related teaching tips & tricks, but he occassionally includes general teaching resources. Well worth a visit or two.

The Guardian
The Guardian posted a Top 10 Back to School Teaching Resources article last year but it's still useful this year. They also have an active online teacher network for sharing resources.  Very helpful for those of you who are off to teach in the UK.

Educators Technology
For those teachers who are more technologically inclined and looking for great apps, Educators Technology has created a list of essential back to school resources for teachers.

The First Book Blog
Here's a way for teachers to get free books. I haven't tried it myself, but from the sounds of it, this is an awesome way for teachers to access free books!

2nd Annual Back to School Guide
A Modern Teachers links to a free guide to teachers & educators that looks pretty awesome. "This guide is a compilation of different products and teaching resources for Back-to-School.  Fabulous teacher bloggers have contributed to the emagazine to make it an incredible resource.  One you don't want to miss."

The Autism Helper
The Autism Helper just posted a set of great classroom-setup tools for teachers. These aren't quite free though. They cost $5.50 for the set over on the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace.  For those of you teaching in the UK, you will find the labels are American so you would have to edit them for the UK (ie - mathematics instead of arithmetic...).

Education World
Education World has a full archive of back to school resources for teachers, including icebreakers for the first day of school, how to cope with parent (over) involvement, back to school supply lists and plenty more. Lots jam-packed in here.

Teaching Heart
This is a cute blog filled with back to school ideas, blackline masters (printables), bulletin board supplies and everything you could possibly want to include in your classroom for the first week of school

Don't let the name fool you. This blog includes everything for the kindergarten classroom (aka Reception in the UK) up to Grade 6 (aka year 6 in the UK).

Do you know of any other great back to school teaching blogs that I should share here? Please share below. 

If you're still looking for a teaching job, please send your resume & cover letter to and we can discuss teaching in London, England.  Good luck!

Monday, August 5, 2013

At Term's End

Rapeseed fields in England are a common summer sight.

Guest Post by Dusan Sekulic

They say the summers in London are not as ferocious as most hot or extreme climates in the world. I rather think it is a matter of opinion or personal tolerance. I’m not quite sure who said that original weather commentary about this great capital of England, I only know that it does not apply to English classrooms in English schools.

The summer (and final) term in school can be exciting, everlasting, tedious and fun, all in one. Not to mention…long. They go all the way to the end of July. On the one hand, teachers are scrambling to mark final tests, finishing Year End reports, lesson planning for next year, and dealing with said heat issues in beautiful old buildings from the 1800s. On the other hand, the day to day lessons can be more relaxed, the students slightly more fidgety – in anticipation of the summer vacation – yet more cheery at times. And of course, there is a more realistic, tangible countdown occurring in your head, awaiting that final bell and long exhalation of ‘teacher freedom’.

Having now spent a full year in London’s school system, I can certainly say that the experience has been absolutely invaluable and one I will surely always remember.

Having emerged from the stagnant heat of my classroom in London, it is hard to believe that not long ago I was bogged down in a congested teaching system back home. Options limited, prognosis grim, the leap to the majestic land that is the United Kingdom was a gamble in itself. Here in the inner city that is London, I had my first taste of a school system that was more challenging, yet richly rewarding. Burdened by new terms and systems to learn, but at the same time, feeling welcomed as a sought after, young teacher with a sliver of experience.

At the start, each day felt like a monumental climb in itself. Cover days after cover days. Wearing you down. Different schools, different staff, more curious systems. Endured, surpassed, knowledge and experience accumulated. The opposite of idle stagnation and struggle in Canada, here the challenge was to be thrown right into the fire, to fend and learn for yourself in schools that were different, yet similar in many ways. Classroom management became a skill in itself. Subjects had to be taught in a stimulating fashion. Learning objectives had to be met. Meeting new teachers, hearing their stories, understanding and immersing yourself in the education of different students in another system of education. Yet, students and teenagers nevertheless. Wanting to learn, fascinated by your accent, being challenged every day to reach and exceed their individual targets. And you, an educator learning to embrace your craft. Tune it, adjust, discovering its frequencies and uses. Strengths and weaknesses. This was the adventure.

And when a full-time long term position eventually came after a few months, it was excitement anew. The dream was right around the corner. Your own classroom, students, staff room. Extra-curricular activities, after school events, grasping the small, yet vital, intricacies of an English school, filled with unique staff from all corners of the world. Memories made, truly never to be forgotten.

As the Sun sets on this first adventure, I can confidently say that the hurried, busy pace of London’s schools and the city itself is the ultimate learning quest for any teacher. Especially at the onset of a career at the beginning stages. Somewhere between stepping off the plane and exiting a school after your first day of cover, you remember why you became a teacher. You forget all the worries you had before coming to a new country, face the reality of this challenging profession and just do the job you love. It is not for the meek and you need to learn to push yourself, be patient and adapt. But the rewards are boundless. Confidence and assured preparedness.

You are ready for anything.

Hopping on the newly arrived double decker bus, on the way to the tube and back to the city and my welcoming flat, I smile and pull out a book to read. No more deadlines, reports or schedules for the time being. Free time to relax, contemplate and reflect on a successful year.

And of course, where should I go to this summer vacation?


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