When I was in my 3rd year of University (1997), studying to be a teacher, job offerings here in my home city Adelaide were scant to say the least. I had one more year to go, and the Lecturers made no secret of the fact that our best chances for employment after graduation were in remote country locations or overseas. At that time, I had also been dating Simon for about two years. I am extremely lucky to hold dual passports for Australia and the United Kingdom (thanks Mum!) so plans to travel to England went from “Considering travel one day” to “I’m going!” and I asked Simon to come with me. Much to my delight (I really liked him!) he said yes, and to an even bigger delight, not long after, he proposed to me. So, 1998 turned into a whirlwind of a year, finishing Uni, planning a wedding and moving to London.
I am a ridiculous over-planner and I dived head first into researching all there was to know about moving to, and teaching in England, and remember this was in 1998, so internet searches were not widely used! I did find a book however, called “Living and Working in the UK” which became very dog-eared and underlined as I devoured it for useful information. There was just one page devoted to Teaching in the UK, (at the time there was a shortage of teachers in England) and the contact details for an agency with recruitment offices here in Australia. After a call to Perth, and a phone interview I was given the details for my contact in London once we arrived.
I can highly recommend using an agency like I did. (I used Protocol Education) Not only did they find me work, both day to day supply and contracts, but through their organised social events Simon and I also made many friends, some of whom we are still in contact with today. I thoroughly enjoyed the time that I spent teaching in England and later working as a Liaison Officer for Protocol, and I feel that this time really shaped me as a teacher.
Thankfully teachers have lots of holidays, and Simon had work that allowed for frequent breaks so we were able to travel about the UK to explore places like Brighton, York, Chester, Oxford, our favourite Edinburgh, and many more picture postcard locations. The UK will always have a special place in our hearts as Simon and I were totally taken in by the beautiful architecture, stunning scenery and the history that radiates from this tiny isle.
All photographs are our own, taken a long time ago!