Teachers’ checklist:

  • New Class timetable sussed (non-contact hour period 1 on Monday and period 6 on Friday – winning!)
  • Class lists sorted (Best students ever! Easy!)
  • First Topic Unit Plans ready to go (modified and checked from last year)
  • Form Class Welcome Day Schedule organised (Year 13s – easy – Head Girl is my class – hand over responsibility).
  • Drama Trip Funding Application completed
  • Displays in order (ONLY one classroom – double winning! Must get new colours)
  • Pile of photocopying ready to go (should probably organise my year group folders)
  • Whiteboard Markers!!! Raid the Supply cupboard for a brand new set (maybe more than one)

The puzzle: It’s February 2015, the beginning of my third year as a Drama Teacher in an amazing school in Wellington, NZ. I’m comfortable. I have been for a while. I get great assessment results, I have great students, I have a reputation in the school and have fantastic relationships with the tri-factor (students, staff, and parents). So what’s the issue? I’m 25 years old and I’ve been teaching for three years. This could be my life. I could stay here forever. Where’s the excitement? Where’s the challenge?

The solution – I pull up a Google search: “teaching agencies UK”. As you probably know, you have done a similar search and the results are endless. You scroll through, browsing through websites – getting inundated with information and application forms, and the taglines “Considering Teaching in the UK?” appears more than once. You might put some feelers out with a few agencies, but you haven’t solidly set your mind on one. It’s common and I was that person.

And then I clicked on Impact and I was sold there and then. All I had to read was the purpose to engage and inspire globally. In other words, these guys are doing something worthwhile (reminding me of exactly the reason as to why I decided to teach in the first place). My phone came to life at 9pm that night with a strangely long number popping up so I tentatively answered it and was greeted by a friendly voice responding to my online application from. 45 minutes later (longer than usual), I got off the phone buzzing. In that conversation, a purpose had been put to me and I had made a decision. The only way I was going to find my new challenge, and still make a difference at the same time, was to make that giant leap.

And it was a giant leap. The next part of this journey was a complete whirlwind. I was asked by my consultant to let my school know what I was doing and find out how long I needed before I could hop over. By the end of that week, I had been sent a list of numerous vacancies that had what I needed and I was set up with Skype interviews. The process felt seamless, and it was.  And the end of my second week, after some anticipation, I had my job.

Now I had six weeks in total to pack up my whole life and move over; no easy feat. For the next few weeks at work, I found myself doubting my decision; so many rewarding moments appeared and I was constantly surrounded by the people who made my job great and fun.

What was I doing? I was leaving my comfort: my home, family, friends and a stable job to step into the complete unknown. Not to mention I was swapping extremes: All girls to all boys and small town New Zealand to over populated London. But one factor nudged me forward and stays with me to this day…

…The Koru

Alex Koru Known by its circular shape of the unfurling fern frond, it conveys the idea of perpetual movement and is a symbol of new life, growth, strength, and peace.

Final thoughts…

The world is always changing and it never stops. It’s how we choose to move with it. As it’s a cycle, there will always be familiarity (which is, in fact, my comfort and my constant reminder). To this day, I know I’ve made the right decision with my life, and Impact Teachers got me there. They helped me take the plunge, supported me like a family through the rough moments, acknowledged my successes, and inspired me. I am here today because people believed in me. I can’t tell you where or what I will be in a year’s time, but right now I can tell you that I believe in making a difference and supporting the growth of every individual and this is my familiarity, whether it’s in my role as a teacher or in my role supporting other teachers. I want to be that person on the other end of the phone line who changes a life, the way my life was changed.

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