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Protocol Testimonial: Elizabeth (New Zealand)


What made you decide to teach in England?

- My husband and I knew we wanted to travel, and decided London would be a great place to base ourselves for a few reasons; it was easy to get the Youth Mobility Visa, and London is so close to Europe for great travel opportunities. I had already been teaching for eight years back in NZ, so it made sense to carry on over here (plus the holidays are great for travel).

Why did you choose Protocol Education as your agency?

- A mass email from Protocol Education went around the staff of the school I was teaching at. It was perfect timing because my husband and I had already started talking about travelling. I looked at the website and compared it to other teaching agencies. I then decided to go along to an information evening with Claire, and she was awesome - so I decided to go with Protocol!

How did you find the process of registering in New Zealand?

- The registration process was really easy - Claire was really helpful in explaining what was required, and it was very straight-forward. 

What are the biggest differences you have found between teaching in England and teaching in New Zealand

- Behaviour. I remember watching a series of comedy sketches by Catherine Tate years ago when I was a student teacher. She was playing Lauren Cooper - a British teenager with a serious attitude. I remember thinking 'I never want to teach in England if that's what all the students are like.' Well... some of them are a lot like that...
- Don't get me wrong - many of the students are lovely and I've formed some great relationships with students at schools I have covered at frequently. But classroom management is a whole different story in London (compared to the schools I've taught at in NZ). I think Kiwi and Australian teachers should be briefed about the style of behaviour management used at many schools over here. Some schools have a good system of utilising restorative methods for behaviour, but many schools I have been to have staff who are very confrontational in their approach to students. This means there are  a lot of students who only really respond to yelling and being given detentions or being sent to senior management. 
Many schools never brief cover teachers about classroom routines or how they manage behaviour in that particular school, so cover teachers are expected to just figure it out as they go. Students see a cover teacher coming, and they see that as an opportunity to go crazy. So when a school doesn't give proper behaviour guidelines, cover teachers have a tough time. 
Having come from long term positions in three different schools who use restorative practices back in NZ, I felt completely out of depth, and felt like I had been transported back to the 1980's. 

On another note: Having Year 7 and Year 8 students in Secondary Schools is a big difference. It's amazing to see how much more support Year 7s need and how much more structure they require in lessons (compared to Year 9s). 

Tell us 3 things you enjoy most about living in England? 

1. The Architecture - all the historical buildings and the modern landmarks. It's mind-blowing just going for a wander and coming across so many iconic structures (sorry, but the Sky Tower just does't cut it).

2. The Travel Possibilities - I just bought return flights to Normandy, France for 20 quid!

3. The Weather - I know, that's not a common thing to rave about for England. On 1st Feb we left 35 degree heat in NZ and flew into 3 degree fog in London. That was expected. But honestly, the weather has been so much more reliable and pleasant than Auckland for the last 4 months (I've been comparing the Instagram stories!). We've just had a whole week of 25+ degrees and glorious sun, and it's only May. We've only had 2 full days of rain in the whole time we've been here. Maybe London will live up to its drizzly reputation later in the year, but it's been amazing so far. 



Any travel tips or advice for teachers planning on making the move?

- Save as much money as possible before you come. Putting a deposit down on a flat (once you finally find one) and setting up furniture if its unfurnished can be financially crippling. Everything in London is so expensive (except IKEA).

- We signed up with a global house sitting agency ( before we left NZ, and already had a 3 week house-sit set up just outside of London before we flew over. We managed to avoid paying for accommodation for the first 6 weeks (with the occasional stay with family between house-sits) because we were house sitting. And because we love animals so much, it was a bonus to have a dog or a cat to look after. Even though we have a flat now, we still house-sit most weekends just to spend time with animals, see different parts of the country, and get some time on our own (there's 6 of us in our flat). We're off to Brighton this weekend to stay in a gorgeous house by the sea. 

Would you recommend Protocol Education to your friends and family? 

Absolutely - they give a lot of support and really work to get you into the type of position you're looking for. Just be aware that British schools seem to have more holidays than NZ schools and if you are a cover teacher, holidays = no income. That's just the nature of being a cover teacher though - no matter what agency you are with. 


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