Experiencing the Overseas Classroom

A photo of the London, England skyline at night.

Danielle Brown (B.Ed/B.A/E.C.E 2013) – Year 3 teacher (London, England)

Danielle Brown graduated from the Concurrent B.Ed/B.A./E.C.E program in 2013. Wanting to start teaching in a classroom right away and gain more experience and also take the opportunity to see the world, Danielle looked into teaching abroad. Danielle and five other classmates from her cohort applied to several agencies in the UK and had Skype interviews. After applying for a work visa in the UK she looked into the Newly Qualified Teacher Year and discovered that her Canadian B.Ed degree would bring her to a Qualified Teacher Status in the UK right away. Danielle began as a substitute teacher in England, learning the curriculum and the education system and developing her teaching philosophy, before taking on a full time position. Danielle was introduced to her current school through the agency she works for and went for an interview with the head teacher. Since September of 2014 she has been working full time as the year 3 teacher.

Danielle, what has your experience been like thus far? Is it what you expected?

It has been a positive experience so far –it has been better than I expected. There are high expectations for teachers in England and your students’ achievement is a direct reflection of your teaching. I am constantly worried about my students’ progress but I think it has made me a better teacher. During ever lesson I plan and teach I am always thinking about the learning outcomes and how it will help my students’ progress and reach their set targets.  As my head teacher says, “You get what you put into it!” I truly believe that if you put the work into it you will get the results you desire.

What are the similarities or differences between the Windsor/Ontario/Canada context and where you teach now?

There is a great deal of difference between the education systems in Ontario compared to England. The government has just come out with a new national curriculum and has changed the way we assess and the expectations. Student progress is measured using a scale from beginning to mastery, so unlike in Ontario you will not be given an A, B, C, or D on your report card. The content is much different. Each term we have a new topic of study and all areas of the curriculum need to reflect that in some way. As well, in a subject like Math, or here they call it Maths, there is a progression as to how you teach concepts such as addition, subtraction and mental maths that is extremely important. Some similarities include behaviour management teaching styles as well as the foundation subjects such as music, art, and PE.

In the early stages of your job, what did you learn at the Faculty of Education and Academic Development that helped you to succeed? Was there any specific experience you relied on from your time in the B.Ed program?

 All my placement experience has helped me to succeed in this job. Having that practical experience such as knowing how to deal with behaviour management situation or having the opportunity to plan lessons has been really useful. I had some great associate teachers that taught me so much about things that may not come up in the classroom setting at the faculty. My placement supervisors, especially in my last year when we had classes with them, were also very helpful. I think having those opportunities in the classroom really allow teacher candidates to put the skills they learn at the faculty into practice.

What types of opportunities have you had outside of work as a result of your current position?        

I have been to over 10 countries since I have started here. I have seen some of the most historic places that I had only an opportunity to read about in history books before. I feel truly blessed to have been able to see the world and do the job that I love.

Do you have any advice for students entering the Faculty of Education and Academic Development

I would say soak up everything you are taught, it may not seem important at that exact moment, but one day when you are in front of 30 children it will be. If you work hard and take in what the professionals around you are saying, you will be successful and ready for any teaching opportunity that comes your way.