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Protocol Testimonial: Jacqueline (Australia)

31/10/17

Jacqueline moved from Australia to London with her husband to take advantage of the two-year working visa.

• What made you decide to teach in England?

I chose to teach in England because they have a two-year working visa available for people under thirty. I wished to have more time to explore Europe than a limited tour could give and I only speak one language so limited my ability to teach in other European countries.

• Why did you choose Protocol Education as your agency?

I chose Protocol Education as my agency for a number of reasons. Firstly, Protocol Education was always up front and transparent in regards to pay and expectations of staff. Secondly, all Protocol Education staff members that I spoke to were friendly, professional and knowledgeable. Finally, during my studies (when I first expressed my interest with them to teach in London), they took my personal information but didn’t send excessive amounts of spam emails to me, nor did they continuously call me like other agencies. All in all, Protocol Education was a professional agency that presented themselves in a way that resonated with me. The consistency of information during my degree helped build my confidence with them.

• How did you find the process of registering in Australia?

I found registering with Protocol Education and planning my move to London exceptionally easy. Mitch (my Australian contact at Protocol Education) was patient and was always willing to answer my numerous emails and phone calls usually just asking a single question at a time. His information session in Sydney was extremely useful and allowed me to gather more information without having to use my email. My husband and I moved to London together. Mitch supported us both during the move and even acquired us matching mobile numbers for London!

• What are the biggest differences you have found between teaching in England and teaching in Australia?

The main difference is the pay. As a teacher you will earn comparatively less in England than you would in Australia. Once you get past the hurdle of comparing expenses in the two countries it will be a lot easier to adjust. The positive thing is that when you get past the cost of rent (which is expensive), general living costs are substantially cheaper than in Australia.

In Sydney, as a casual teacher, you need to be prepared with your own lessons on the day, going in prepared with your own supplies and resources. In London, as a casual teacher all work is provided for you. The buddy teacher will provide you with the slides and resources to teach according to the day’s plan. This plan can be more difficult depending on the topic for the day and your experience, but the only lesson I couldn’t teach was one on British parliament, as I didn’t know how it worked.

On the amount of work available: In my two years working in London there were less than five days when I did not get work (of the days that I was available to work). To contrast, before I left Sydney sometimes I would go a week, or even a month, with no casual work at all.

On the relationship and trust you can build with your consultant: Your main consultant works with a team of teachers and you can build amazing relationships with them even though they are on the other end of a phone call. You can be honest with them about your day, where you did well and with what you struggled. You are able to refuse to return to a school that doesn’t work well with you, or your beliefs and you are not penalised. Kate and Becs, in the North-West London office, were my main contacts and I already miss our after-school chats. Anthony and Greg were part of their team and were extremely helpful and supportive.

Winter! Oh, winter. Winter in England is hard to go through. No matter how prepared you think you are living in England, during the winter, is hard. The sun will rise at 8am and set at 4pm, so you will effectively be spending almost your entire day in the dark; you’ll travel to work in the dark and travel home in the dark. My husband and I arrived in London at the start of winter when the days were getting shorter, and it was tough. But once we got through the winter, the summer days lasted much longer – from 6am until 10pm the sun was out! Our second winter was much easier, now we knew what to expect.

• Tell us 3 things you enjoy most about living in England.

1) The Tower of London. In two years I went at least five times!
2) The people that you will meet. I have been home for two months now and I still talk with my London friends.
3) London itself. There is so much to see and do. Waking up in the morning and realising that I am in London is the best feeling in the world. When you are having an off day, just realising where you are and what you are doing is simply amazing!

• Any travel tips or advice to teachers planning to make the move?

1) Do your research and be aware of scam artists; be it looking for accommodation or even walking through the street, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. When looking for a room to rent, be sure to see the accommodation before proving that you have the funds.
2) Protocol Education is there to help you whether that is at work or deciding where to go on holidays. They are friendly and amazing people. Go to their travel evenings, training and boat cruises on the Thames River. You will make some great friends.
3) When you go to a new school don’t be afraid to ask questions. While the staff are incredibly busy, they will help you as much as they can.
4) Llyods bank is a great bank to use.

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