Unsure if Teaching in the UK is for you? Here’s Canadian teacher, Jaimee’s experience of living and teaching in England:
“I chose to be a teacher in part because travelling is in my blood, and it was the most portable profession I could think of. I did one of my practicums in Shanghai, spending six months eating all the hot, fragrant noodles I could get my hands on and exploring the wide streets crammed with people who didn’t look or sound like me. Rather than quench my thirst for exploration, Shanghai whetted it, and when I got the opportunity to move to Southampton, England to work as a supply teacher, I jumped at the chance.
Saying goodbye to my family at the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia was hard, because as excited as I was for the adventure ahead, I had absolutely no idea what to expect once I got there. I needn’t have worried. I was barely in England for a week when I met three other Canadian teachers who quickly became close friends. I travelled to various schools each day either by bus or by train, and I marvelled at the beauty of the countryside that rushed by my window. Every day felt like a new adventure, and I learned myriad valuable skills that first year that would have taken me several years to develop at home. I taught kindergarten to grade six, and over time I developed relationships with certain schools and they would request me over and over again.
At one such school I met Martin, who was a lead teacher and seemed to me to be very wise and experienced. As I got to know him I quickly realized that he was also hilarious and incredibly kind, and we became good friends. It was so helpful to have someone local to take me under his wing and show me the ropes, and I valued his opinion on everything from the best way to deliver a lesson to the best Indian take out in town. By April I was offered and accepted a long-term supply contract at a school for children with special needs, and it was there, eight months into my career as a teacher, that I fell in love with the profession. The other teachers were so welcoming, and the students amazed me every single day with their strength and resilience. At the end of the school year, I was offered a contract to teach English the next year to Grades Seven through Eleven, and I was so excited. English is my favourite subject, and I was given the freedom to adapt the curriculum to fit the needs of my students. My students were so much fun, and I was so grateful to have the chance to have my own classroom—a luxury I knew would have taken me years to gain if I had stayed at home in Nova Scotia.
At the end of my second year, I was offered a permanent job at another school for children with special needs. They were willing to sponsor me to move to the UK permanently, and I seriously considered it, to the point that I applied for and received a long-term working Visa. I ended up deciding that moving back to Canada was the best decision for me; however, I still wonder what would have happened if I had accepted the permanent position and made England my home for good.
One of my favourite things about teaching in the UK was the abundant opportunity for further travel. The UK school calendar offers an unprecedented one week off every six-seven weeks during the school year, and my friends and I took full advantage of this. During the two years I spent in the UK I travelled to Barcelona, Paris, Wales, Scotland, several cities in Italy, Cyprus, and Amsterdam twice. I also explored Britain, taking long weekends to tour Nottingham, Bath, London, and the stunningly picturesque Isle of Wight. In addition to giving me invaluable professional experience, teaching in the UK afforded me the opportunity to see parts of the world I might never have gotten to otherwise.
Now, eight years later, the people I met in the UK remain some of my closest friends, and the time I spent working and travelling there has left me with some of my very best memories. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to teach in the UK, as it is guaranteed to provide you with rich and varied experiences, both personal and professional, that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.”
To begin your teaching journey in the UK with Supply Desk, register your interest here.
Contact us: teachintheUK@supplydesk.co.uk
Call: 1 855 284 4900 (Canada), 1300 306 536 (Australia), 0800 336 523 (New Zealand)