- Age: 25
- Address: Ilford, Essex
- Work: Teaching Year 5 at Warren Junior School in Chadwell Heath, Essex
- From: Abbotsford, BC
Why teach in the UK?
I was drawn to the UK because it offered the opportunity to travel along with the potential to finance these travels. It’s been great being able to get away for a weekend or school break and explore Europe. Another reason was the chance to begin my career the way I wanted to – that is, teaching my own class for the year. The job market for teachers in BC has not been strong in recent years, so I chose to gain an overseas experience – and I’m glad I did!
What kind of teaching experience were you looking for and are you getting it?
The opportunity to have my own class is one of the main reasons I came to the UK, so yes, I’m definitely getting that experience. I feel like I’ve developed my own teaching style this year and have a lot more confidence in the classroom.
What have you missed most about being away from home?
People. Definitely people. I’ve really missed my friends and family, especially during exciting events or memorable moments. There have been so many experiences I wish I could share with them, but I guess photos will have to do!
What will you miss most when you leave the UK?
Again, people! I’ve met so many people over here who have become really good friends. I’ll miss the little unplanned things you do everyday… something as simple as a pub lunch with a friend on a Sunday afternoon. Also, it’s been great living within a 30 minute Tube ride to some of the world’s most famous attractions. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower Bridge… I’m right on their doorstep. The cheap travel deals don’t hurt either… I once flew to Norway for £2 – return! You just can’t beat that!
What helped you settle in?
TimePlan ran an Induction Day which was really helpful. Simple things like being given a bus map and told exactly where your school is and how you will get there – this was such a relief! We were also given a mobile phone and there were experienced teachers and head teachers there to talk about the classroom environment and the curriculum. It was also the first chance to meet other TimePlan teachers who, like me, had travelled a long way for this experience. Many of us remained in touch and over the course of the year we planned trips together, met for dinner and generally supported one another through the experience. Regular TimePlan social nights also helped us keep in touch.
What are some major differences you’ve encountered?
Tea! Barely anyone takes a coffee break here, it’s always tea. It’s funny, I’ve realised that coffee is almost an institution in Canada! We’re always ‘going for coffee’! People don’t usually go for coffee here. If anything, it’s more of a pub culture. There isn’t a local coffee shop you would go to for a chat or a catch-up, so you go to the pub. The sports are also so different from home – football, rugby, cricket, netball. “Footie” (soccer) is on par with hockey. It’s been fun following these sports and I’ll miss them when I go back to Canada.
What advice would you offer other Canadians thinking of making this move?
Stop worrying and just get on the plane! What have you got to lose? I think it’s important to recognise that there will be hurdles along the way, just like there would be beginning your career in Canada or anywhere else. The funny thing is that the experiences that at the time seem to be so traumatic end up being the ones you look back on and laugh! A positive attitude goes a long way.