For the past two years, London was calling my name (figuratively and literally). I was contacted by several UK teaching agencies trying to recruit me to come over to teach, even before I attended Teacher’s College. So, for the past two years, the possibility of teaching in London was on my mind… and as soon as I graduated, I went for it!
I ended up living and teaching in London for five months. The move to London was not an easy one… I stayed in a hostel for the first few days and that was probably one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had – do not stay in a hostel in London, bloody awful.
I came over with two other girls and I soon became really close with one of them. Fortunately, we ended up finding a nice flat in Ealing Broadway and found two other roommates to share the space and living costs.
I began teaching at a school in the North West part of London in an area named Southall as a permanent Supply Teacher – a position I was hired for the whole school year. This meant I covered classes from Nursery (Preschool) all the way up to Year 6 (Grade 6) for full time class teachers who used that time for planning, assessment, further development, or were off sick. On the days I wasn’t supplying, I was completing administrative work for the Assistant Deputy Teacher. This involved a lot of photocopying, organizing and planning for various meetings, courses, etc.
After two months, the Assistant Deputy Teacher heard others say I wasn’t “a good fit” – basically, there were some rumors going around and it didn’t make either of us look good. It was all very confusing at the time and I felt as though I had made the biggest mistake coming to London… The teaching agency was very encouraging and helped me stay positive. I realized it wasn’t the end of the world, and began feeling excited for what would come next as a regular Supply Teacher in London schools.
I immediately began supplying the week after and began visiting many different schools in the North West area of London. At first, it was very intimidating having to learn my way around London using their extensive Tube and Bus routes and schedules. Luckily, I regularly supplied at a few schools and quickly began learning my way around.
Despite all the negatives I heard about teaching in London, Supply teaching wasn’t all that bad! Of course, you get the kids who don’t listen and refuse to do any work – but you get those kids in every classroom, no matter where you are teaching. Class management was definitely something I knew I needed to work on and being in different classrooms gave me the opportunity to experiment with different strategies and see what worked and what didn’t.
While all of the moving around from school to school, from classroom to classroom was extremely difficult and frustrating, it was honestly the best way to learn. Some days were really tough and I’d come home in tears, but I learned a lot about myself personally and as a teacher – it was an experience I’ll never forget!
Have you ever taught and/or lived abroad? I would love to hear about your experiences!