Sunday, January 11, 2015

£15,000 for Lessons in 'Grit and Resilience'

New award by The Department for Education will reward schools for excellent character education

It is not a typo: £15, 000. According to a article, the newly created award by The Department for Education will encourage more schools in England to develop the character of their students. The award is also designed to "recognise the nurturing of confidence, optimism, ambition and tolerance within a school environment". It is this kind of education which will apparently give students the chance to leave school as more "fully rounded" and resilient citizens, ready to take on future employment and life itself.

For the schools themselves, the outcome will be cash prizes of up to £15,000 for up to 27 schools across England. Not a bad sum to say the least. It is this money that will hopefully help give schools "the tools and support they need to ensure they develop well-rounded pupils ready to go on to an apprenticeship, university or the world of work". The DfE hopes that character education will eventually be on the same level as academic learning, when it comes to pupils across the country.

It all sounds very progressive and productive. I like the focus on grit, perseverance and character development of students. The announcement only left me with one question to mull over: How will the DfE evaluate the level of each participating school's grit and resilience? The dictionary defines 'grit' as "courage and resolve; strength of character". While 'resilience' is best summed up as "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness". Yet, how do we equate that to a particular school's long-term character-building program and lessons, or even style? Followed by deciding which school or community's bid will get a share of the £3.5m funding to "launch programmes that are designed to build pupils' character"?

A little clarity and more structured outline/parameters from the DfE would be very much appreciated. Especially for those schools and individuals who want to participate.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How to Book the Cheapest Flight to Anywhere

Thrifty Guides: Saving time and money when booking your next flight

Flying on a budget has become a habitual practice for most people in the 21st century. Whether we are travelling anywhere in North America, Europe, Asia and beyond, trying to find the cheapest deals and save as much money as we can for the actual fun things on a trip is an absolute must. That being said, frustration abounds when we examine the plethora of websites and companies that offer varying options, deals and money-saving bargains that can be obtained. It can be overwhelming.

However, there are some websites - namely blogs - that offer a different kind of strategy for everyone to implement. Usually they feature a single person or a couple that have in free-spiritedness chosen the life of a travelling wanderer - a role that many international teachers very much embrace. One such blog is Here is a blog dedicated to the "art of the thrifty nomad." Started by two Canadian high school sweethearts - Jen and Ted - its a classic tale of self-realization, the abandonment of stressful jobs, an exodus of material possessions and the eventual start of a long-term journey of travel and experiences. Music to my ears. 

What I really like about these thrifty nomads is their relatable nature, conveyed through their various trips across the globe, culminating in rich posts of honest opinions, observations and accompanying pictures that fully complement their stories in vivid brightness. What they equally focus on, however, is providing their readers practical advice on how to travel more often without busting the bank.

In their post, "How to book the cheapest fare possible to anywhere," (Nov, 2014) the thrifty nomads outline nine very useful and, it must be said, uncommon tips on saving money when preparing to travel. Among them, the more unique ones focus on "keeping your searches top secret," and "booking long-haul flights yourself for less." All nine of their outlined tips and tricks are sound and quite helpful when you actually try them out online.

Thrifty nomads is fresh, it's new (started in 2014) and very enjoyable to read. As their home page banner reads: Honest. Inspiring. Thrifty. Nomads Jen and Ted provide all three with due gusto.

Vital Links:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Upcoming Job Fairs for Classroom Canada - 2015

From all of us here at Classroom Canada, I would like to wish all our teachers at home and in London - as well as all our readers from around the world - a fantastic New Year's! 2015 is off to a great start. The winter holidays are winding down this weekend and most teachers are returning to their schools to start the next semester of the campaign, hopefully recharged and rejuvenated. Naturally, lesson plans start creeping up at the back of our minds, as well as Monday's first class back, expectations for the new year and so forth.

However, there are also many teachers who have not started their teaching careers just yet. Of course, I am referring to the many pupils who are beginning their final semester at teachers colleges all over Canada. From the west coast to the east, universities are filled with future teachers who will be beginning their practicum placements in schools close to their home cities. Many will be getting their first taste of in-class experience. Afterwards, they will begin their long-awaited job search. Perhaps in Canadian schools in every province. And some might even choose to go international schools right away, relishing the chance to teach abroad.

With the arrival of January also comes the plethora of university job fairs that I very much look forward to going to! Here is a chance for all those teachers in waiting to meet and greet many of the international and London agencies that are looking to recruit the great talent that will be graduating this spring. Classroom Canada is no different. I very much look forward to meeting the countless future teachers who will be attending the fairs. Make sure you drop by our table, say hello, and we'll have a brief chat. I will be there to tell you a little bit more about what we do and offer at Classroom Canada, get to know you a little better and, of course, answer any and all questions you may have!

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend all the fairs, so if your university is not on the list below, please do e-mail us at or me personally at and we can chat more about living and teaching in London, England in 2015.

2015 Education Job Fairs Classroom Canada will be attending:

January 9th - Brock University
January 10th - York University
January 14th - University of Ontario Institute of Technology


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