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How to approach the demo lesson during a teaching job interview

GENERALLY when you first make your way into teaching - most notably as a cover teacher - one does not cross paths with the observers of lessons. Understandably, you are at the school covering for the day, just passing by while delivering a small collection of lessons to kids in various subjects. This changes once you make the decision to go into more long-term teaching.
In the UK, for example, when you are asked to come in for an interview for a long-term cover position - or hopefully, permanent post - yes, there is an interview stage, filled with questions about your past experience, your specific schooling and the intricacies of getting to know you as an educator and a person. However, there is every so often the prospect of a demo lesson and observation to go through as a direct part of your interview process. Here, the lead teacher of the particular department you are applying for, will quite literally toss you into a classroom to teach a very short lesson - usually 20-30 minutes…
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Recreating a post-war eating alley in the heart of Tokyo

AUTHENTIC, original and historic structures and buildings are hard to come by in the modern magnificence that is Tokyo. A typical shrine may look old, sprouting images of its long history sitting in a grassy field along a muddy path for centuries, long before the first concrete building ever arose. However, the effects of a war long over are not lost upon those who delve a little deeper into each building's history. Most were rebuilt and are only over seventy years old.Still, you cannot help but admire the country's decades long efforts to rebuild a sense of that beautiful and storied history of Edo in today's crowded streets and subtle alleyways.
And so wandering along the jungle that is Shinjuku, whether it is to exchange some money - or especially after stopping by the KFC or the fabled Uniqlo on the west side of the station - one does eventually and inevitably come across the tight alley that is Omoide Yokocho. The name itself means "Memory Lane" and that is…

Remembering those busy London days as a teacher

THE SUN's magnificent rays have just peeked over the horizon. Clouds hang scattered across the sky, intercepting the bright light intermittently. Rain will surely fall by noon. However, spring has arrived and the weather is heating up. Morning has come in London, the streets are growing louder and another exciting day of teaching beckons me.
I usually arrive at school sometime before 8:30. Many teachers choose to come to school much earlier in the mornings in order to complete any last minute marking or tweak a lesson plan here or there. I prefer to do as much as I can the previous night, enabling me to have a more relaxing commute the next morning. It really depends on the teacher's preference. Upon arriving at the school, I usually have some time to print out any necessary handouts for the day or just check my school e-mail account. At times it can be flooded in the mornings with new messages and awaiting reports that need looking at. However, that's all part of running…

Sinful Shinjuku

ESCAPING FROM the maze that is Shinjuku station, one always finds the senses confounded, distracted, and very much overstimulated. At any time of the day. I originally intended to write about exploring Shinjuku, Tokyo while the sun is up. Alas, I couldn't resist the allure of describing its incredible night life first instead. In all its glorious energy, sensations stimulations, cuisine, beverages and vice. A brief overview at first. The lights and chaos of this particular part of Tokyo cannot be encapsulated in just a single piece.
Working during the day in the concrete spread that is Shinjuku is an experience in itself. Buildings surround you at every turn, seeing as Shinjuku-ku (literally meaning "New Lodge") is one of the biggest commercial and administrative centres in Japan. The station has the honour (or not) of being the northern half of the busiest railway station in the world - It took me a few months to generally get the hang of the layout of the station. Fin…

The life of a full-time teacher in the UK

TEACHING in London offers educators the opportunity to earn some invaluable experience working in challenging, rewarding schools, while also having the wonders of Europe close at hand. It is also a chance to change your surroundings, exploring a new country - not unlike your own - but a place that nevertheless brings a new perspective and way of life. And there are many others who truly look to London as a place to grow their careers, blossoming under cloudy skies and establishing themselves in a profession they have spent some time preparing for. As a full-time teacher, this goal can surely be achieved.
Being a full-time teacher brings consistency in your morning routine, as well as the obvious advantages of of being able to go to the same school on a daily basis throughout an entire school year. Unexpected issues and concerns rarely disturbed my morning preparations as I calmly had my cereal and prepared for work daily. Your mind is at ease during the walk to the local tube station…

The magic of autumn in Japan

I REMEMBER vividly the first time I went to Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan. I was living in Sendagaya at the time, a neighbourhood just beside Harajuku and only a fifteen minute walk from Shinjuku, one of the central hubs of the city. It was at the beginning of the autumn season and the hot summer temperatures had slowly drifted into the cool, comfortable atmosphere of the fall. It was one of the first times I had actually experienced proper autumn weather in my life - that slow gradual change of temperature and overall nature in an entire city. And I loved it right from the start.
Up until that point, I had already been in Japan for over a month or so. I was incredibly immersed in my work as a teacher and hadn't found the time yet to wander down the long lanes of Meiji-Dori Avenue towards the direction of Yoyogi Park proper. I had been to Meiji Jingu shrine, wandered the streets of Shibuya several times and even took a peek of Harajuku proper. But Yoyogi itself, that I was saving f…

Long-term cover teaching in the UK: A unique, rewarding experience

PICTURE this: You have just arrived in London after months of planning, preparation and effort. You are seeking a new adventure, something different from the lifestyle and routine you had back home. First and foremost, however, you are hungry for an opportunity simply to be a teacher. To be given a chance to do what you feel is the best career for you. You know it will be hard, tricky at the very least. Still, you revel in the challenge; you are excited and look forward to to this new journey in your life. Having arrived, you immerse yourself in a rich culture and style of life in old, majestic and eclectic London. Routines emerge, comfort levels are reached, and you discover new and interesting things about yourself and who you are. Life is good.
Day-to-day cover teaching is usually the avenue of choice for most new teachers. It offers the prospect of learning about the British school system, standard routines you must follow and the overall feel of working in inner-city schools. You…