Melissa looks back on her decision to teach in England and discusses how our Guaranteed Work Agreement worked for her.
Crossing the Pond Part 1: Guaranteed Work Agreement
Where do I start?
Making the decision to move abroad and teach in London was one of the most exciting but nerve-racking decisions I have ever made in my 24 years. Where will I live? Will it be easy to make friends? Will I make enough money to survive, let alone travel and experience all of the wonderful and unique things London has to offer? Will I get enough work to at least come home with a little savings? (or spend all of my money on travelling...it's tough not to when Europe is right at your doorstep!).
These were only some of the concerns weighing on me when I signed my Guaranteed Work Agreement (GWA), but choosing Protocol Education as my teaching agency and GWA was the best decision I could have made and here is why!
I arrived in London from Canada in October 2013 after having graduated from teacher's college in June of that year. After having my induction meeting, I began teaching three days later on GWA. It is now December 2014 and I am STILL a daily supply teacher with GWA and I assure you, this is not because I have not been offered a long term role (I have been, many times). This is purely by choice.
Getting to Know England
First off, GWA and daily supply help you become more familiar with the British education system, which I have found is different from the Canadian system in a few ways. I think back to my first day teaching in a school in London and being asked to "take the register". I had absolutely no idea what the classroom teacher was talking about until she handed me a folder that resembled what we call the "attendance" in Canada. A small difference, for sure, but this is an example of the kind of language and routines that you have to get used to when taking on a teaching job in London.
Also, keep in mind you are moving to a new place. There is so much to see and do and so many places just a flight or a train or a bus ride away. Being a daily supply teacher allows you to have the freedom to take a few days off here and there so that you can explore your new home and all of the amazing countries that are so close by. I was able to take off a few days during the week to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland - something that might be more difficult to do if you take on a long term role. Moreover, I do not have to do any planning on weeknights or over the weekend, so I have lots of free time to travel or relax if I want to!
Job Security, Guaranteed
It’s name is pretty self-explanatory - you are guaranteed to get paid weekly if you are available for work everyday. It gives you the best of both worlds: the flexibility of daily supply, with the security of guaranteed weekly income.
I have had the experience (though it is very rare) where Protocol Education could not find me work when I was ready to work, and I received a full day's pay for that day, no questions asked!
Whilst living abroad, I have worked in Southwest London whilst living abroad and I can count on one hand how many days Protocol Education has not had work for me. You will most likely work every day, depending on where you live of course and other circumstances.
I know it seems like a scary task, being a supply teacher in a new city and (sometimes) walking into a new classroom every morning, but this most definitely made me a stronger, more experienced teacher. I have had the chance to see how different classes are set up, whether that is behaviour systems, classroom management techniques, or teaching strategies. I have built up enough confidence to now walk into any class and know that I have the ability to control the students' behaviour and teach whatever lesson might be left for me. This is not to say that you will not have days that test you, but I can tell you that I have had way more positive experiences in London classrooms than negative ones.
Look out for Melissa's next blog where she gives her tips on choosing your agency... you may be able to guess her choice! If you would like to discuss our Guaranteed Work Agreements contact Lindsay (firstname.lastname@example.org).