When I first graduated from university, my plan was to skip the long supply teaching line and head overseas where finding full-time work wouldn’t be a struggle. Oddly enough, I secured a permanent position the day after I graduated so my plans were put on hold, but even the security of a permanent teaching position couldn’t squash the increasingly nagging dream of an overseas experience. After several late-night Google searches and speaking with friends who have taught overseas, I registered with Impact Teachers. I trusted a company with a cause, the promise of personal and professional support, and the opportunity to travel during my stay.
After committing to my decision and sharing the news with everyone, my family and friends were kind enough to bombard me with questions which were, admittedly, a welcome distraction from my own hesitations. “What if you hate it?” “What if teaching in the UK is horrible?” “…but, you haven’t been trained in England!”
My biggest hesitation? What if I loved it?
Carefully weighing every fear against the need for adventure, I decided my only regret would be a wasted opportunity and I can now say, whole-heartedly, that teaching in the UK was the best decision I ever made on both a personal and professional level.
Personally, the friendships I’ve made (with colleagues and during travel) are nothing short of life-long. It must be said that meeting and sharing highs and lows with others going through similar intense experiences creates the strongest and most unforgettable bonds, rivalled only by reality show and middle school friendships. Also, during the half term breaks I travelled to countries on my bucket list including Morocco, Scotland, and Belgium. This brings to mind another surprise bonus – collecting colloquialisms and cultural practices and bringing them back to the classroom. Everyone loves a travel tale and it was a great way to build rapport.
Let’s not forget the teaching part.
Professionally, I was met with the most supportive English department; their dedication, along with the students’ natural precociousness and curiosity, brought out my passion for literature and pride for teaching. The new methods I’ve learned help me to focus more on the kids and less on ever-changing initiatives and paperwork. Not easy!
Ultimately, as a teacher and big sister, I’ve always stood by the importance of leading by example, so my limited global experience was keeping me from genuinely encouraging students to realise their dreams. Impact has given me the authenticity I was after to stand in front of those same students next year and share, first-hand, the benefits of travel and taking chances. In the end, if I take anything away from my UK experience, it’s knowing that I can contribute a lot more to a classroom now and a year of supply teaching is no match to a year in the UK when the time comes for me to go home and get back in line.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding teaching in the UK by leaving a comment below!