Aussie Teacher Blog – Teaching in the UK
April’s Aussie Teacher Blog comes to you from Lucy, another one of our fabulous Australian teachers working in the UK. Lucy was based in Chatham in Kent, UK, teaching Science in a Secondary School for boys. Read on for Lucy’s interesting and honest take on her experience of teaching in the UK.
“Hi, guys, I’m Lucy! I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia and I wanted to share with you my teaching in the UK story to, hopefully, inspire you a little! Since being home, I have had time to reflect on my experience and the benefits I gained from stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something really new. I have a Science degree and I’m training to be a Science teacher.
Living internationally has always been a dream of mine. As lucky as I am to call Australia home, experiencing more than just the suburban bubble I’ve grown up in, was important to me. England seemed the obvious choice. I have family who have moved from Australia to the UK, the culture is not too different and, having been before as a tourist, the thought made me feel slightly more at ease.
Arriving in the UK
When I came to the UK, I was based in a little town called Chatham (Medway, Kent) which is about 45 minutes outside of London by train. Not the most cosmopolitan of places to live, however, the school environment more than made up for that. I also was lucky enough to be around when it snowed (twice!) which was something I’d never seen before!
After touring a few of the local primary schools, I was welcomed into a Secondary school for boys. This was the sole time in the whole trip that I feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed. After visiting some lovely little Primary schools; with young students who would go out of their way to help and sit with me at lunchtime, I was suddenly in a setting filled with adolescent boys, who seemed tough customers and, initially, terrifying!
At first, I was concerned about not having a lot of teaching experience. However, I was quickly set at ease, as the Science teaching group were the most helpful, welcoming and accommodating individuals I have ever met. Not only were they passionate about ensuring that their students were able to improve and achieve their goals; but they were passionate about my endeavours and watching me succeed. After the first few days of settling in, I felt completely comfortable and in control of my presence in the classroom. Even more so than I have ever felt in schools in Melbourne, which was a welcome change. I was appreciated and included in all discussions, meetings and professional development. This made my time in England go extremely fast, due to the enjoyment I felt whilst I was there.
Personally, I have always found it easy to be able to chat to students and build a rapport with them. I haven’t had so much practise, however, in dealing with bad behaviour. The school I was at had a lot of students coming from low socio-economic backgrounds, and, at times, difficult home lives. As a result of this, a number of students acted out in class and were disrespectful to their teachers. Being able to have the time to hone my skills in managing 25 raucous and (at times) uncooperative boys, has really helped me to become a professional.
If you’re an aspiring teacher, or even if you already are one, having the opportunity to live and work overseas is incredible. The importance of stepping out of your comfort zone, both personally and professionally, can do nothing but good. Being able to do this in a way that is going to be beneficial for your own personal development, but also for students, who are still finding their way, is extremely rewarding. My time teaching in the UK was made possible by Teach In”.
If you’re interested in following in Lucy’s footsteps, you can realise your overseas teaching dreams with Teach In. Click here to register with us today.