I recently realised that 2016 will mark 10 years since I was in teacher’s college at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. My journey to where I am now has been all around the world.
I started teaching in the Limestone District School Board in the Kingston area at rural schools North of the city (my favourite on my rotation was, of course, my placement school from my teaching practicums). I really loved this but I found that I actually made more money and had less stress while serving tables by night than being on-call for teaching during the day. After 2.5 years of this annoyance I was ready to move on.
I went to South Korea on a whim, following the advice of an acquaintance who was there teaching ESL at a rural public school already. I applied to the English Program in Korea (EPIK) and was placed in Chuncheon city in the central northern area. It was a great beginning for me at my first 9-5 gig. I had no idea what to do with all of my free weekends! I hadn’t had a free weekend since high school… The one setback was that I was placed at a middle school instead of a primary school – my preference. I might still be there if I were teaching primary school! After a year I moved to teach at Chuncheon National University of Education (CNUE), teaching all levels of future Korean primary school teachers, how to teach English, in English, using games and songs. After 3 semesters of that, I really felt that I was losing my roots and yearning for a solid foundation in elementary education, what I went to school for!
I found a job as an ESL teacher at Guangzhou Nanfang (Nanhu) International School (GNIS) in Guangzhou, Guangdong China but to my utmost delight was promoted to Year 3 Classroom Teacher three days before the school year started. I had an absolutely spectacular teaching partner in the adjoining Year 3 classroom and I had an amazing collaborative teaching experience from day one. The first year I taught the British National Curriculum, and then the second and third years our school transitioned over to PYP. I had the great benefit of going through the introduction and transition to the PYP system, and am a better teacher because of it.
Now I’m back in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with my newborn son. I’m taking time off but hopefully I can find a way to be innovative with some of my spare moments and gracefully transition back into my home country’s tight teaching realm. My goal is to find a small school that is privately owned, and a perfect fit for me!
I would like to challenge myself to continue to find amazing articles, resources and ideas that push teaching forward with innovative methods and practice, and reflect on how they might apply to my future ideal classroom.