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Making My Way Across the Pond

We welcome Fiona to our blogging team. She has recently made the move from Ireland to teach in the UK. Find out how she got on from the beginning. 

So I’m sitting here thinking of all the ways I can procrastinate the weekend away and avoid writing weekly plans till the last minute, then I receive an email from Protocol Education asking me to write about my experience so far. Perfect!

The beginning... 

I should begin with why I decided to come to England, it was less of a decision and more of a necessity, after doing an undergraduate and a postgrad, facing the never ending subbing life until I begged my way into a role which would allow me to complete the ever looming ‘H.dip’, just didn’t feel like an option for me. I was sick of waiting to be a full-fledged teacher. So after spending June and most of July trawling through EducationPost, I decided to answer one of the many emails from my college promising prosperity across the pond.

It was nothing but a panicked decision at the time and thinking back on the moment now it’s surreal to think that I’ve actually set up home on the other side of said pond. From sending off the initial emails by the light of the moon and in the middle of a ‘Game of Thrones’ catch up marathon to the point of accepting a job was like a whirlwind. The next day I awoke to calls and emails from a few different agencies, I barely remembered sending the emails but went along with it all. Within two days I had interviews and within exactly a week I had a job.

I was in contact with two agencies in particular but very soon into the process I decided to work with Protocol Education, if I was going to go through with this panicked idea at all, from the first call I felt they understood what I was looking for. I wanted to get my induction year done, that was it, I was not moving across to set up my life, make millions (wouldn’t have gone into teaching if that was ever on the cards) or to change the lives of English children and hence the course of history in real Educating Essex style.

In the role... 

When I accepted the job I actually loled, not a lol, rofl, xoxo type girl but that is the best explanation for my reaction. I had told very few friends about the whole thing because in all honesty I didn’t think it was going to actually happen. It was the summer, I was bored, it was giving me options. But once I had my interview with my school and spoke to Clodagh in Protocol Education about the area I was suddenly really excited and thought YOLO. So I started packing up and making plans.

Now I’ve just finished my fourth week in work and I couldn’t love it anymore than I do. Yes the hours are long, there is a lot of paperwork and the language barrier sometimes gets in the way. They call copies, books; the yard, the playground and the children found the three times tables hilarious this week, they could not understand why their teacher kept talking about ‘trees’. My mother would curse me for knowing I allowed my flat Kildare accent to break through years of reciting ‘this, that, these and those’. But from talking to my few friends at home that managed to begin the dip this year, the work load is no different and I think I might even be better off.

Over here you get PPA time which is time during the school day when you get to do some paper work, someone disappears with your kids and you launch into marking, photocopying, drinking tay whatever takes your fancy, it’s a really helpful time to catch up on yourself. You also have teaching assistants, which are different to SNA’s, they are there to assist you not the children. I would be lost without my teaching assistant who reminds me to take the register (An Rolla) and many of the other admin things that take up so much of your day but were never touched upon during the post-grad. Active learning goes out the window when you have 31 swimming slips and money to collect.

Other aspects..

Then there are the after school activities, obviously a worry coming over here was that I’d be lonely or minus a social life but that is far from the truth, I landed myself with two amazing housemates and by putting myself out there, I’ve managed to make a number of friends already. Of course being Irish is a great help and whenever you arrive in a new place the Irish sniff you out and come running to the rescue. I’m lucky that where I am there is a strong Irish community and they have welcomed me with open arms, I’ve even joined a GAA team even though I’m terrible and have previously soloed the ball into my nose on numerous occasions. 

All in all I’ve had nothing but a positive experience, so far. Protocol Education were helpful from the offset even after securing me the position, Clodagh supported me through finding a house, travelling over and setting up a bank account and a mobile phone over here. They don’t just leave you at it then when you start work, my agent has been in constant contact with me making sure I’m happy and getting as much support as possible. Protocol Education as acted as my safety net since arriving, so much so I think me Mammy might be slightly jealous!

We look forward to Fiona's next blog. If you would like to share your experiences get in touch with Megan ( 

Tags: Fiona, Ireland, teaching, Watford

Category: Australian Teachers

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