From One Ontarian Teacher to Another

Before I moved from Canada to the UK to teach I already had 5 years of experience. You’d assume my advice for new teachers would be to do the same, but it’s quite the opposite, especially for Ontarians. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the schools in Canada, my colleagues, the kids (can give or take the ones that gave me grey hairs) and, let’s be honest, living in Canada is a pretty sweet deal but I wish I had have started my career in England. Here’s why:

Doug Ford, for starters. You can’t log on to Facebook or tune into CBC without coming across some very scary headlines warning teachers of the tough times to come. Just this morning I woke up to my friend’s text about the layoffs at her school and a link to an article announcing 121 layoffs in the province, and that’s just secondary teachers alone!  360 in total will be needing to look for a new job.

Students are at risk.  The remaining teachers will be stretched to their work limit and among those anticipating redundancy letters work with Special Needs students and students at risk. These large classes will mean the programs designed to support these vulnerable students may change or disappear completely.

Every May meant a pink slip. Yes, I was a permanent teacher but as the newest hire I was also the first layoff if enrolment went down or if class sizes increased and not all schools I was reassigned to were nearby so it meant very long commutes. I did this dance for five years.

Consider the UK first! Why? Here are 5 reasons.

  • You can escape Doug Ford. Why not? At least until his mess is cleaned up.
  • It’s more collaborative. Again, I love Canada and Canadian teachers but I’m also an over thinker and felt quite isolated turning expectations into a lesson plan. It wasn’t until I came to the UK that I experienced what it was like to plan with a department. This let me focus more on the delivery and the students.
  • Travel while you have nothing! If you don’t have a British Passport you need a work visa but the longer you stay home the more roots you’ll plant. Learn from my mistake and travel when you have a suitcase of belongings, not a car, a dog, and a two-bedroom home.
  • It’s just as expensive to move to another province, weirdly.
  • You’ll have more experience than the others who decided to stay and hold out for a job so when you go back home you’ll be more hirable.

Experienced or not, teaching in England has become a rite of passage for a lot of Canadians who want to travel and gain adventures and new experiences either just for a time or as a stepping stone to other adventures and, If Canada is your forever home then above applies to you even more!

Happy adventures in education!

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