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Experiences of Teaching in the UK

Alison is new to our blogging team. She begins by sharing her experiences of Protocol Education and working in the UK over the past year. 

I first started working as a supply teacher with Protocol Education last April in Newcastle Upon Tyne. I had just come back from a stint of teaching English in Japan, and was finding it very difficult and disheartening whilst trying to secure a position in Ireland, especially given the current job situation. Luckily enough, Protocol Education managed to find me a job before I actually left for the UK, so I felt secure in knowing that I could arrive in the UK with a position already lined up.

So, I organised my accommodation and set off for the UK not really knowing what to expect.

Upon meeting the education team in Newcastle, they pretty much did all of the paperwork for me, helped me find and get in contact with the school before I started and offered me a lot of guidance and support, which I especially needed given that it would be the first time I would teach in the UK. Teaching in Ireland and teaching in the UK are, indeed, two very different experiences, but it is not as daunting as you would first think.

The pedagogical approaches they employ, the expectations and responsibilities of a teacher, the curriculum and lesson lay-out, even the students themselves were something completely new to me. Some will tell you that in the UK, you tend to have quite a bit more to do in terms of paperwork and preparation.

However, if you manage to remain organised throughout the day, plan your lessons and your time for correcting and setting tasks effectively, you will still have time for a personal life, despite what others may warn you! I was very lucky to be able to work with amazing staff who helped me immensely, and really took the time to ascertain I understood everything that needed to be done, making sure that I didn’t become too overwhelmed with the workload.  My time there was well spent, and I definitely feel much more confidant in myself as an educator as a result.

I am now located in London, where I am simultaneously undertaking doctoral research at the University of London, as well as working part-time through Protocol Education.

They have already supplied me with a position in a school one day a week, and I will also take up a few days here and there in order to fund my studies. Working as a supply teacher can be quite challenging, but it can be exciting too. You can see different areas of the city you wouldn’t dream of going to otherwise, meeting new people every day and getting stuck into different situations you wouldn’t normally get to experience. It’s also very interesting to see the different approaches each school takes to teaching and learning, and you can learn quite a lot of good tips for teaching from a variety of sources. It is also very convenient for someone like me, who, day-to-day is unsure of their schedule and plans, as the work of a supply teacher is very flexible and accommodating to your individual needs.

Overall, my advice to any teacher coming from Ireland who has never worked in the UK before is to just do it! You can start out with some day-to-day supply teaching, get your feet wet, see if it’s for you or not, and last case, you’re only a stone’s throw away from home so there really is nothing you need to worry about in that matter. Be organised, take initiative, and be creative. Supply teaching is definitely the best platform to do all of that and more.

Alison is an Irish Secondary teacher who is currently conducting researching at the University of London and filling in the gaps with supply teaching. 


Tags: Alison, Irish, Ireland, Newcastle, teaching, London

Category: Australian Teachers


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