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Teaching Abroad

21/03/17

Stephanie, one of our bubbly Canadian Primary Teachers, arrived from Toronto in September 2016 and settled into East London. This is her story about exploring the UK and Europe while supply teaching.

Congratulations, you have made the first step into the unknown territory of teaching abroad, research. No matter what moving away and stepping out of your comfort zone will always be difficult and there will be times at the beginning when you’re really unsure of why you did this, but I can honestly tell you that I don’t regret a single moment of my time here in London. Don’t get me wrong, I come from a large loving group of family and friends and I miss them like crazy, but phone plans over here are so cheap I can’t miss them too much because we talk everyday. What I would miss the most is this experience and opportunity to explore and live in the U.K.

No matter what there’s always somewhere in the world that needs teachers; you just have to decide which kind of teaching you want to do once you graduate. After teachers college there were some really great opportunities at home in Canada, but all of those opportunities included settling down, at least semi-permanently, with a 1-2 year contract in a place I had never been before. I’m a traveller by nature and I wasn’t done seeing the world yet so I decided to head to the UK to teach. I’m a big believer in being immersed in the culture of a country or city and where better than one of the most historical, cultural, and sleepless cities in the world? London.

I chose London specifically because of its bustling busy streets and a desire to become more acquainted with them. I’m a supply teacher, and contrary to some beliefs, I can and do usually work every single day, Monday to Friday and am usually booked in advance. I decided on a Guaranteed Work Agreement to get my toes wet and then take a full-time if I wanted to later. *Spoiler, I’ve been here for 6 months and I haven’t taken a full-time position but I have taken short term permanent contracts and I loved every second. I haven’t taken a full-time because I tend to just get up and leave, exploring a new country or city every few weeks which I wouldn’t be able to do in any other place. The system is actually fairly different here in the sense that they base all their evaluating on book work. There is a lot of book work, and although it can be less fun, you as the supply teacher can change it up include other things that the students will enjoy. I frequently come in see what the plan is and fly by the seat of my pants looking for a video or game that will help reinforce the lesson. It’s almost more satisfying to be a supply teacher here because once you’ve done something different, something fun, they’re so excited when you come back.

Settling in the UK, specifically here in London, was not overly difficult until you need an address for everything and you’re currently homeless. Thankfully Protocol, like an older sibling, was there to help with everything, from getting you that sought after bank account appointment to letting you use their address to receive mail. The transition overall was made really very smooth thanks to Protocol. I ended up settling in East London, it has the best markets, the best food, the best culture, and great nightlife, what’s not to love? And Protocol said there was a need for teachers up and around East London; more work = more travel.

My favourite things about London are really very simple things and if you decide to make the journey over, I know at least two of the three will be your favourite things too. I actually adore the ladies and gentlemen who talk over the speakers and remind me to ‘Mind the Gap’ every time I use the tube. Easy access to transportation is something that I'm going to miss when I return to the land of snow and a lack of easily accessible transportation. I’m also really thankful that I can still pursue my passion of teaching and not have it conflict with my passion for traveling and exploring new places. And finally, I love that I can try and do everything once here in London and yet, even if I lived here my whole life, I probably wouldn’t run out of things to do. Did you know they have a Gin festival? Or that you can attend a Yoga class at the top of The Shard? Or that The Breakfast Club is not just a place to eat but you can also walk through an old coke machine that’s actually a door to an underground speakeasy? Like I said what’s not to love?

If you decide to take this leap, my biggest tip would be: BE SOCIAL. Teaching doesn’t leave you a lot of time for day activities but you can do things at night or the weekend. Join a group, do a class, and if you want to be really crazy join Tinder, because being in a wonderful city like London is fun by yourself but it’s a lot more fun when you have a few friends. I’ve joined more groups and taken more classes than I can count to connect with fellow Londoners. Following my own advice, my most current ‘BE SOCIAL’ event is a ‘Speed Friends’ night, wish me luck!

To further persuade you to join us here in London, here are some pictures!

 


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