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A French Canadian in London

Amelie moved to the UK a little over 3 months ago. She shares with us decision to come and the experiences she has had so far. 

I have been living and teaching in London for 3 months now, but my relationship with Protocol Education started 5 years ago, when I visited their booth at the McGill University Career Fair. Back then, I was more than halfway through my B. Ed. in Teaching English as a Second Language, and I had a dream to teach abroad. I had always wanted to visit London, so Protocol Education seemed to be the best way to cross two things off my bucket list at once. However, my dreams were quickly stopped by being told that there was not really any demand for an ESL teacher in the UK. I forgot all about it, finished my degree, and started teaching in Quebec.

Fast forward 4 roller coaster years, with a lot more downs than ups, and you end up with a very fed up teacher in need of a change. On a whim, I decided to drop everything, pack up my life in a suitcase, and move to London. I wasn’t even planning on being a teacher here because I still thought that they didn’t need me here. A couple of months before leaving, I came across Protocol Education again, and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to ask if there was any way that I could work at a school in London. I was thinking that maybe I could teach French, or be a teaching assistant, or maybe just be a tutor.

A month later, after a phone interview and the obligatory paperwork exchange, I was a registered teacher with Protocol Education, and I was being offered long term positions while I was still in Quebec. However, none of them were for an ESL teacher, but rather for a regular homeroom teacher. That is when I started wondering what mess I got myself into. Sure, I am a qualified teacher and I’ve had my own class before, but I don’t know the UK curriculum, and I don’t know how to teach science! I was stressing out ten times more about doing the job that I had been doing for the past 4 years than about moving to another country. Fortunately, the staff at Protocol Education convinced me that I was more than able to do this, and wow am I glad they did!

I started my adventure as a teacher in London by doing day to day supply work in primary schools. I didn’t want any long term contract because I was still a bit unsure about teaching Maths and Topics, and all the planning and marking that it involved. By doing day to day supply work in different schools, regions and years, I quickly gained knowledge of the curriculum and how schools worked here. I got used to the subjects and the marking system, and within a week or two, I was already confident enough to take on a long term job, but I enjoyed doing supply work.

At first, I stayed on the Guaranteed Weekly Pay Agreement, which is great because it guarantees that I will be paid, even if there is no work for me, as long as I am available. However, there is such a high demand for teachers here that there is absolutely no need to worry about not having work, although it is always nice to know that there is a backup plan. In fact, there is so much work (I had three offers for long term jobs in one week), that you can afford to be picky about which jobs you accept. Even though I loved doing day to day supply, I was offered an amazing long term contract (better than I could have ever dreamed of) that I started last week. It pays to be picky and stick to supply work until you find the perfect contract for you. So if you are worried about not being able to do this; be it because of the language, or not having the “right” Bachelor’s degree, stop worrying and do it. Honestly, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

If you would like to discuss how we can help your move to teach in the UK contact our International team


Tags: Amelie, Canada, supply

Category: Australian Teachers


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