Wondering what came before the looming prodigal-return?
Probably not, but you’ve already clicked the link, so maybe you’ll indulge me.
I left home, a suburb north of Toronto, in 2013.
I had just qualified as a teacher, and job prospects for new teachers in Canada aren’t great.
My specialization is in French, and my placements in teacher training were all for the subject, not a class. After graduating, I worried that I wouldn’t be considered for ‘classroom teacher’ roles – destined to be pigeon-holed into teaching French language.
Knowing this, and that I wanted proper classroom experience, I planned from early-on to go abroad. I looked into a few international schools, but (as feared) heard that language positions were filled, and to try again another time.
So instead I chose a country where I could teach my own class, in English.
Europe was also appealing because it was close to the friends made in past travels.
London was calling – it just felt right.
I worked supply shifts to start, jumping around schools and getting a feel for the city’s massively diverse neighbourhoods (‘boroughs’) and learning the ins and outs of the English school system.
I found myself a flatshare, met amazing people, and eventually landed myself a full-time position teaching Year 6 (Grade 5) at **** School.
**One of the things that seems to have stopped me from writing over the years is the expectation that teachers keep pretty quiet over social media. It’s strongly advised that you avoid speaking about your personal life in the public eye (and to be fair, I’ve definitely had students seek me out online). So my last name will not come anywhere near this blog, and I’ve decided I’ll be censoring myself. Sometimes literally. Asterisks ahoy!
I’ve worked at this school ever since; nearing 5 years now.
As a low socio-economic area, with students of all backgrounds, it’s been demanding, and sometimes disheartening, but especially rewarding. I couldn’t learn what I’ve learned here, anywhere else. I grew at the school. I gained a lot.
‘Leaving and Learning’ is the title I’ve given this blog.
It feels like it has the potential to be read as a negative, but that isn’t my intention.
I left home, and I’ve learned.
I made a new home – I’ve got my favourite faces and places in the city; I understand and can identify (some) regional accents; learned to avoid tube stations at rush hour; walk to the ‘high road’ or ‘pop to the shops’ to grab drinks – alcoholic or otherwise – from a ‘newsagent’s’ or ‘off-license’; commute to work on a big red double-decker bus; and I’ve come to appreciate mushy peas, clotted cream and yorkshire pudding.
It’s been an amazing chapter for me, and I hate to turn the page. It just feels like the time to start a new one.
So once again, I’ll leave.
In the future, I don’t plan on leaving Country X every time I get the urge for change.
Maybe I’ll come up with a better blog name once I know what I’m actually going to be writing about long-term, but for now I’ll settle on explaining myself.
Leaving can mean bad habits.
It might mean unflattering outfits and it definitely means my early twenties.
I can leave a good impression, leave a tip or leave you hanging.
Right now it just so happens to mean leaving a continent, and crossing an ocean.
And it’s very bitter-sweet.
I’m returning to the land of maple and snow.
Of bagged-milk and Trudeau.
Of ‘eh’s and ‘zed’s,
Toonies, Timmie’s and toques,
Hockey – not ‘ice hockey’ – and the dearly missed caesar.
London will always be a home to me.
But Canada is calling me (back).
And it just feels right.