Teaching in the UK
“Once you contact KS the process seems a lot less daunting. A lot of the work is taken out of your hands. You do your online interview, write a few bits and supply them with the correct documentation, and they then take care of the rest. All you have to do is wait for them to ring you with the results of their search. In my case this was a very quick process”
– Rory Quinlan
Although teaching in the UK can be seen as being quite a difficult proposition, what with all of the paperwork, extra responsibilities and workload, it is quite a manageable and rewarding experience. It is also no secret that it will give you the opportunity to live and work in close proximity to London, one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
The idea of moving abroad to teach can be a daunting experience. Where do you begin? Do you just hop on a plane and go school to school in an area that you’d like to live? Do you get scared by the idea of the whole thing and abandon it altogether? I decided the best place to start was online.
As soon as I searched ‘teaching in England’, the horror stories popped up one after the other. From headlines, such as “The paperwork will mean you have no social life” to “How can teachers live on such a small salary?” I was beginning to wonder what I was getting myself into. But I am one of those teachers that wasn’t content with sitting on the dole waiting for the phone to ring with a day’s subbing every other week. The most logical thing to do is to contact a recruitment company. I settled on KS.
Once you contact the company the process seems a lot less daunting. A lot of the work is taken out of your hands. You do your online interview, write a few bits and supply them with the correct documentation, and they then take care of the rest. All you have to do is wait for them to ring you with the results of their search. In my case this was a very quick process. KS contacted me within a week saying that a school were really interested to meet me and that they would love for me to come over and teach for a week on a trial basis, completely commitment free. If things didn’t work out after a week I was able to go home, no questions asked. This made me feel a lot more comfortable. If it wasn’t for me I could just go home. So, one Sunday in February I hopped on a plane to Essex.
Although the reality is that there is quite a bit of admin and paperwork to be done as a teacher over here, once you have organised yourself the routines do begin to click into gear. I was put on the NQT program at my school (The NQT program is the equivalent of the Dip year back home), and this afforded my an additional 10% of non-contact time during school time. Two afternoons a week to plan, gather evidence, and just make sure that I was organised. This really does help with transitioning to a slightly new system to teaching. The school I was located in was in a lovely village in South Essex. Although the workload was quite heavy to begin with, I soon got into the swing of things, and organising myself on a day to day basis became easier with every passing day. Yes, I was expected to mark my books every day (flicking and ticking is NOT marking in the UK), but the idea of building a curriculum from scratch is a myth. The school I was placed in were more than happy to have teachers pool resources together, and planning was not as daunting as I thought it would be.
On the social side of things, I suppose that is totally up to yourself. After a year here I bought a car to make the most of things. This gave me a lot more freedom to get around and find things to do. KS do their best to locate you with, or close to, other Irish teachers so that there is a bit more of a community to fall back on. Depending on where you are, there is usually plenty to keep you occupied with whatever free time you have. And of course, there are the bright lights of London to draw you if you are at a loose end.
If I’m being totally honest, yes, it has been tough at times (the threat of OFSTED did have our SLT dropping into lesson regularly and checking that you were doing everything that is expected of you), but coming over here has given me what I really wanted when I trained to be a teacher……the actual opportunity to teach. I’ve seen and done a lot more that I could not have done back home in Cork (if I ever go home I’ll miss being able to just hop on a train and go to London for the day).
All in all, I would highly recommend KS. They have given me the opportunity to settle in a nice school that is suited to my own skillset. Also, from beginning to end, they have ensured that I am happy where I am, and if not, try to help so that I am. I don’t think a half-term goes by without an email from Maeve checking that everything’s OK. Without them I would not have been able to take this leap.
If you would like to chat to us about teaching options in one of our fantastic schools, drop us a line and we will give you the lowdown!