I’m Rhian, a member of the UK team based here in Melbourne. I’m here to help Aussie and Kiwi teachers make a life changing move over to the other side of the world. Moving abroad can be daunting, but at the same time exciting! It's a life changing experience from which I have never looked back from. I love to talk to Aussies and Kiwis keen to take the plunge and share my own personal experiences of teaching in the UK.
Originally from Wales, UK, I trained as a Secondary Physical Education teacher in Cardiff, graduating in 2014. It was always to be my career, working with children from early on as a ski and surf instructor. I loved my 2 years teaching PE however, living internationally had always been a dream of mine.
Being a teacher in the UK was an experience that I am truly grateful for, which gave me some of the most amazing memories. I treasured my students, laughing every day from the boisterous, loving characters that I taught. The relationships I built with other staff formed some of my closest friendships, bonding not only over work-related issues but every other part of our lives as well.
Being a UK PE teacher came with its own perks, with weekly trips to sporting events and competitions. Summer, this was THE MOST anticipated time of year! Students who were used to running around in the freezing UK winter would turn into totally different students, taking on anything that was thrown at them. Countless hours of football (soccer), cricket, tennis, and baseball with pupils who were truly grateful for the outdoor and fun activities we had install for them over the next 3 months.
School holidays were an absolute dream being a teacher in the UK. The UK have a total of 16 weeks holidays with ‘half term’ weeks breaking up a 10-week term. This is the ideal week getaway to Europe, which is right on your doorstep. Every February half term would consist of joining the school Ski Trip, going with 2 coach loads of Year 9 students and 13 other members of staff. We would have school Easter trips taking the hockey, netball, rugby and choir teams abroad. Then the lengthy 6 weeks Summer Holidays, every teachers’ dream filled with some of the world’s best events, Wimbledon, Glastonbury festival, the Premier league and the Ashes.
It wasn’t all summer holidays and sporting trips; teaching in the UK definitely came with some challenges. Typically, UK class sizes are around 30 pupils in comparison to Australia’s 24. This was definitely a day to day challenge, having to differentiate learning to a class of 30+, usually leading to some behaviour difficulties but the feeling of completing a day at school and coming away with that ‘hero like’ sensation that my pupils gave me overcame all of these challenges and made them worth it.
As much as I love Australia, the place I now call home, growing up and working in the UK is something that I am so grateful for. When people ask me ‘What do you miss about the UK? Other than my family (of course), I answer the beaches and beautiful scenery, believe it or not! Rhosilli, located on the Gower Peninsular in Wales, where I grew up, is among the top 10 most photographed sunsets in the world and is among the top 10 beaches in Europe. Definitely worth a visit.
Teaching in the UK will, for sure, test your skills and abilities as a teacher, as well as allow you to grow both professionally and personally. What have you got to lose? We have one life, make the most of it.
We have a great team of experienced educators and consultants here at Smart that are here to make your move as easy as it should be, assisting with visas, bank accounts, accommodation and so much more. If teaching in the UK is something you would like to pursue, then I would love to help you with the process. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to have a chat and start your adventure in the UK.