- Age: 26
- Address: London
- Work: Day-to-day supply teacher on the Guaranteed Work Scheme
- From: South Island - New Zealand
Why did you choose to come to the UK?
I had a years leave from my school in New Zealand and wanted to travel. I had heard stories about teaching in London and wanted to find out if they were true! Working in the UK on an Ancestry or Working Holiday Visa is an easy option for living abroad. At the same time I was using my profession, earning pounds and using England as a base for travelling through the UK and Europe.
What type of work were you looking for in London?
My main focus when leaving New Zealand was to travel and as I was only in England for six months I wanted to do supply teaching instead of working in a long-term position. I had never worked as a supply teacher in New Zealand and felt it would be beneficial for my confidence in addition to my professional experience. It allowed me to experience many different schools and areas of London.
What have been the biggest differences between the Education systems?
Although the curriculum contents in England and New Zealand are similar, planning and delivery tends to be more structured in New Zealand. Schools in London are very diverse; the cultural make up is quite different from New Zealand. One thing I found was the difference in the school calendar. The academic year begins in September as opposed to January in New Zealand, and the summer holidays are in the middle of the year. Because of this, I would encourage teachers to really consider their arrival date to the UK. Kiwi teachers have a very good reputation in English Schools - we are generally thought of as hard working, well planned, organised and willing to go the extra mile!
What helped you settle in?
Registering with TimePlan before I left New Zealand meant that I was able to arrange work straight away and knew what to expect. I was able to ask questions about what living and teaching in the UK was like. I was also working on TimePlan’s Guaranteed Work Scheme - I was guaranteed work five days a weeks, which meant I could budget and save for weekend trips and holidays.
What do you miss most about New Zealand?
In New Zealand I lived in a small city called Invercargill, so I have gone from one extreme to another! I miss driving my car to work, being at school in five minutes, my family and friends and I miss Kiwi roast lamb!
What do you think you will miss about London when you go home?
London is such a lively city, there is always something to do and no time to be bored! The public transport is fantastic, it is so easy to get from A to B and I will definitely miss the travel opportunities. When I first arrived I travelled through out Europe, which was lots of fun.
What advice would you give to other Kiwi teachers thinking of teaching in the UK?
Registering with TimePlan well before leaving New Zealand meant that I was able to begin teaching straight away. I had researched the UK curriculum and asked a lot of questions about costs of living etc – so I knew a little bit about what to expect and was ready for a different teaching experience. I brought a few resources with me such as tried and true worksheets, spare white board pens, note pads and grid paper for maths. In hindsight I wish I had brought my unit plans on disc instead of leaving them in storage at home! It is important to organise a UK bank account before leaving New Zealand, either through your local bank or Thomas Cook. This meant it was set up for me when I arrived. I also found I needed a cell phone to be contactable for day-to-day teaching work. Luckily my phone from home worked in the UK, all I needed to do was to buy a new UK sim card - it was really easy.