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A Canadian Living in London

JP has recently moved to London and he has spotted some differences! You might have spotted a few of these yourself! 

Yesterday officially marked my first 2 weeks here in London. All I can say so far is “Wow, that was quick!”. I figured I am settled in enough to take a look back and reflect on my teaching experience here so far with Protocol Education who have helped me immensely and set me up to teach in some amazing schools in London. I am an English Literature enthusiast so understandably I have a love for words.

The following is a list of UK English words, which are related to education, followed by their Canadian counterparts. For fun I will sprinkle in my thoughts and some anecdotes related to these words. Hope you enjoy!


UK ---------- Canada

1. Anti-Clockwise ---------- Counter-clockwise

The look on the faces of a year 4 class when I told them to pass their notebooks counter-clockwise for marking was priceless.

2. Bin ---------- Garbage

Yet again, I managed to make myself look quite silly when I suggested a student throw something in the garbage. Not that they didn’t understand, but they certainly love to giggle.

3. Head Teacher ---------- Principal 

This one I rather like because it does give a sense of administration being part of the team of teachers more so than Principal does.

4. Jumper ---------- Sweater

Here’s a funny one. To a Canadian a “jumper” sounds like someone who is ready to jump off a bridge or building. I knew of this one long before moving here, but it’s taking some getting used to.

5. Maths ---------- Math

I may just be splitting hairs here but this one is just different enough to put a smile on my face. I guess I can appreciate the UK’s recognition that there are many divisions of mathematics!

6. Pence ---------- Cents

This one still gets me every time. I have most certainly gotten in the habit of speaking in Pounds when I talk about money, but because these two words rhyme I always let Cents slip out when I meant Pence. Again, the students love to giggle.

7. Register ---------- Attendance Sheet

Is it a wall heater or a form of keeping record of attendance? Terrible joke I know.

8. Toilette ---------- Bathroom

This one is funny because in Canada if a 16 year old asked, out loud and in front of the whole class, if they could “go to the toilette”, they would receive quite a bit of jeering and laughter for it.


Of course there are many differences between how words are used in the UK and Canada, however, there are so many great things about each country that are exactly the same like our amazing multicultural populations, friendliness, commitment to socialized health care, and the pronunciation of the letter “Zed”.

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Tags: JP, Canada, London

Category: Australian Teachers

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