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When London Calls

Fiona discusses her move to teach in England the reasons behind that decision.

Thirteen days from now, I will be zipping up my suitcase and heading to the airport with a one-way ticket to London. A few months ago I thought about making the move that has become something of a rite of passage for many young Australians, and started looking into what it would take for me to live and work in the UK. Before long I had registered with Protocol Education, booked an airfare, and applied for the two-year “Youth Mobility” visa.

With offices in Australia and New Zealand as well as the UK, Protocol Education have helped me every step of the way with advice on everything from the visa application process to how to go about finding a place to live. They also did all the ground work in searching for jobs and setting up Skype interviews with schools, so that this week, in what is almost the final piece of the puzzle, I have secured a job teaching year one at a primary school in Sutton, starting at the beginning of the summer term on 13th April 2015.

Now all that’s left is to see out my final two weeks of work here in Melbourne (which are already looking very full in the life of a Casual Relief Teacher), pack my bags, and find a new place to call home! Initially I will be staying with some wonderful friends in Wimbledon who have kindly agreed to put me up while I look for something more permanent. I am hoping to find a share house situation in a similar area. Upon my arrival in London I will also need to set up a bank account and apply for a National Insurance Number, but the lovely people at Protocol Education will arrange all this for me, so I can spend my time house hunting and preparing for what will be my first “real” teaching job.

Over the past couple of months as I’ve made decisions and told friends and family of my plans I invariably am met with at least a hint of surprise, and some variation of the question, “Why?” or “What inspired the move?” The answer to this is far from straightforward. A number of factors came together to ultimately lead me to this particular path. To be honest, I’ve asked myself the same question, “why?”, on more than one occasion, as what started as the seed of an idea quickly became reality. But I will endeavour to unpack some of the reasons for you now.

1. Independence and Adventure

Last year I had a taste of living and working away from home at summer camp in the USA. This was an incredible experience in so many ways and really deserves a few hundred words on its own – perhaps I will elaborate on this at another time. What I will say, is that I have experienced first hand the rewards that come from stepping outside of my comfort zone. When we challenge ourselves we grow and can experience the joys of overcoming fears, accomplishing goals and making new friends. Moving to the opposite side of the globe, jumping into a full time teaching job within an unfamiliar school system, living with strangers and being away from family and friends all fall well outside my comfort zone. But I know that the benefits of this experience will far outweigh the initial discomfort, and I will come out at the other end confident to pursue new opportunities and better prepared for anything life throws at me.

2. Teaching Experience

The main thing that drew me to England was the opportunities for work within the teaching profession. There is a huge demand for teachers, both in and out of London. I knew that I would not have difficulty finding work, and the help of the agency made this a really smooth process. It is my hope that this international teaching experience will open me up to new ways of doing things and help me to become the best teacher I can be. Being away from commitments at home also allows me to put all my energy and focus into the job and become fully involved in the life and community of the school. All of this without having to “settle” into a long term job at home, and with the bonus of meeting new people, experiencing a different culture, and travel on weekends and school holidays!

3. Travel Opportunities

Those who know me well will know that I have always had the travel bug. Growing up, I never missed an opportunity to join my parents on a holiday or tag along on a business trip. I have been fortunate to visit a number of international destinations over the years, and far from ticking places off a list, each new trip seems to reignite my desire to do and see even more. Living in London will allow me to see more of Europe, the UK, and even London itself. I may have visited London on as many as five previous occasions, but in a city so large and diverse, I certainly haven’t seen it all. Besides, in the enduring words of Samuel Johnson, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” There is certainly something about it that keeps me coming back. Of course it helps that I have a few friends nearby.

When London calls, what else is there to do but pack up and go?

Want to share your experience of teaching in England? Email for more information on how to become a Protocol Education blogger.

Tags: Fiona, London, teacher, Australia

Category: Australian Teachers

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