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My First Day Teaching in the UK

Here is a debut ProtoBlog from Renata, an Australian teacher now teaching in the UK through Protocol Education.

Teaching in the UK

I qualified as a primary teacher in Victoria, Australia, and did a year as a supply teacher there in 2010. While I knew some things would be different, I felt confident that the basic routines of the day would be similar, and that I was experienced enough to plan a day’s work either from a planner or out of nothing as necessary.

My first day was not horrible, but it was a shock to the system. Firstly, I had an hour’s bus ride, which meant I had to get up at 5am! Secondly, the class was much bigger than I was used to – in Victoria, the average class size is 25, and this class had 30. Thirdly, Victorian classrooms have a space on the floor where students can gather together as a group, and this classroom was so tiny that there was room for desks and almost nothing else. Fourthly, I was warned about one student with behavioural issues but not the other four that I very quickly found out I also needed to watch out for. Fifthly, the morning recess was only 15 minutes, whereas it is generally a half-hour break in Victoria, and I needed all of that time to get ready for the next lesson. Sixthly, TAs in Victoria are dependent on individual students having severe enough needs that the government provides funding for an aide, whereas I had two TAs in this class, which was amazing.

From school dinners to online registers to heavy winter clothing, everything seemed so very different. The history body was different (Roman settlement instead of English settlement; WWII rationing, blackouts and Blitz instead of Japanese invasion), certain words were different (don’t tell a student to put their pants back on after PE, or you’ll lose your class to gales of laughter), maths was different (pounds/pence instead of dollars/cents; inches/feet/miles instead of centimetres/metres/kilometres), and even the COMPUTERS were different (I still have to look for where the £ or “” symbol is).

Despite the weight of nerves from all of these new things bearing down on me, from the first moment of facing the class, I realised that kids were kids regardless of their Pom or Aussie status. Even though so many things were different, they were still asking the same questions, showing the same behaviours, and trying to get away with the same things. And I survived!

~by Renata, an Australian teacher in Cambridge currently teaching in the UK through Protocol Education.

If you're looking to teach in the UK please click here to register for work.

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Tags: Teach in Cambridge, Teach in the UK, Supply Teaching, Teach in London

Category: Teach in the UK

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