I never thought after completing my NQT, I would be writing a blog for the world to read. If this is not a prime example of the opportunities many teachers have to develop skills as professionals and most importantly find independence after university, then I just do not know!
Bloom where you are planted
Truth be told, I never imagined moving to England. Throughout my PGCE year, I was convinced I would sub in Northern Ireland or continue working as a waitress until I found the job of my dreams at home. I studied Liberal Arts with Religious Studies at St Mary’s University, Belfast and then continued my dream of becoming a teacher at Queen’s University, Belfast. During my PGCE was when I found what I was naturally good at as university before was always just a gate away to eventually completing a teaching qualification and starting my dream job, my vocation…teaching.
During my PGCE, we had a talk from ICAN Teach UK. There were about 300 trainee teachers in a hall exploring the possibility of moving to the mainland to teach. Everyone seemed quite content to sub and wait for a maternity or potential post to become available, which we all know is few and far between.
It all came together…
My sister at this time had been living in England for a few years teaching, but I was much like everyone else in the hall that day, I did not see the possibilities and opportunities to grow as a teacher outside of Northern Ireland. However, for some strange obscured reason I was very intrigued to what ICAN Teach UK had to say and I decided to write down their email – I knew I had nothing to lose. The process began quite quickly as Matt at ICAN Teach UK was very efficient at communicating with me and was diligent at ensuring that the first priority was ensuring my needs were being met, for example, what area and school best suited. For me it was a win-win situation, I would gain experience of an interview and I knew I had nothing to lose. ICAN Teach UK paid and booked my fight to which I was going to be flying over to England for two teaching interviews in Kent. With no strings attached.
“Home will always be home, that will never change, but your opportunities in life might”
Did someone say no more waitressing?
Once I knew I had accepted my first teaching post, I was very excited to make the move, mainly to see what the year would have in store for me. I was quite lucky at the beginning as I was able to stay at my sister’s for the first few weeks of my induction in July. When I accepted the post I was able to begin in July 2018, this allowed me to get a feel for the school before starting the new academic year in September and of course, I was paid over the summer break without having to waitress – first summer ever!
Home sicknesses is REAL
“I needed to be happy at both work and home”
I would be lying if I said I was not homesick at times. Missing home-cooked meals and just general catch up with close friends is something I still do miss the most. However, for me, the best thing I did was move into a shared house (opportunities to meet new people) and join a local rugby team. This allowed me not to just solely be here for work…because to me that is not sustainable- I needed to be happy at both work and home.
How long did it take you to settle in?
It honestly feels like a blink of an eye that I made the move to England. However, even though it was around a year and a half ago I truly have developed so much as an individual. Seventeen months later and I cannot imagine moving back to Northern Ireland to teach anytime soon. England to me has so much to offer for career development, with so many amazing opportunities. I truly feel settled.
“Let’s just say I still fly home to get my hair cut”
Living in the South of England has truly made me appreciate the cheap cost of living in Northern Ireland. EVERYTHING seems much more expensive: rent, food, transport…let us just say I still fly home to get my haircut LOL.
I want to ensure my blogs are honest and truthfully, during my NQT I felt I was still living like a student, living from paycheque to paycheque. However, 5 months into my second year of teaching I have finally been able to save. My promotion within my job as Head of House, and moving up the pay scale has made a big difference to my way of living. It really is true that hard work does pay off. I guess this is another benefit of teaching in England – promotion is much more accessible.
Before I bore you anymore, that is a wrap for my FIRST ever-teaching blog! I hope it has allowed you to begin to think about the possibilities of teaching in the UK, and that it was an insightful, true read. In moving to teach in England, I have truly found new confidence in my purpose and a very handsome English man!
Thank you for reading, I would love to hear your thoughts on the blog, and if you have any questions or areas you would like me to talk about in my next blog with iCAN Teach UK please get in touch @thelifeofteaching_.