Top Tips for Teaching in the UK

For years and years thousands of antipodean teachers have relocated to the UK and are employed in classrooms across the country on either day to day supply teaching, fixed term or permanent teaching contracts.  This is an amazing experience for teachers that qualified in their home country but are struggling to gain that all important classroom practice due to the oversupply of teachers and so few teaching jobs.

It’s no different to a foreign person coming into your country.  There are of course visa requirements to live and teach abroad.    You will need a work visa, UK ancestry or a British Passport to make it all happen.  Remember you are not going over there to have the same experience as you would in your home country.  Expect things to be different, embrace the change and go in with an open mind, enthusiasm and energy!

  1.  Register with your #1 Teaching Agency to be kept up to date with job opportunities.  The agency will support you with the entire process.  To become registered you can expect to be interviewed and you will need to provide documentation such as your teaching qualifications, references and police checks.  It’s all very easy and straight forward once you a guided in the right direction.
  2. Review online testimonials on your #1 Teaching Agency website and/or Facebook page.  This will give you an insight to the level of service you can expect from your recruitment consultant and give you the confidence to progress your application.
  3. Talk to your recruitment consultant about how the UK Pay Scale works, what you can expect to be paid under various types of teaching contracts and understand how the system works.   Understand what category you will be in based on your experience and the location of your teaching job.
  4. Supply Teaching and your Pay – Teaching agencies use umbrella companies to organise teacher’s day to day payroll which can assist you in claiming back many expenses.    This is different to how casual relief teachers get paid in your home country.  It’s important to talk to us in detail and know the ins and outs before you arrive in England.  Our agency work with a really efficient and dedicated company called Transition2UK.
  5. Prepare for interviews by talking about the teaching job, the school, the location and unpack the schools OFSTED report with your recruitment consultant.   The process of researching a school and preparing for the big interview should be exciting and you will most certainly come across well by having done your background research.  You can also pick your recruitment consultants brain about the school too as our agency visit every school we work with termly.  We can easily paint the picture for you and make the process transparent.
  6. BOOK IN with your recruitment consultant for your interview coaching session and then your mock interview.  By doing the coaching and having a mock interview you can practice your answers, be given direct feedback and tweak your interview strategy to maximise you chance of being offered a teaching job.   You might not realise that you say ‘um’ at the end of every sentence or that you ‘twirl your hair’ when nervous.  It’s important to practice and be fully aware of yourself and how you want to perform.
  7. Easing in to the UK classroom is down to you and the people around you.  You are coming from the other side of the world and are not expected to know it all.    The content, the planning, the assessment tools and resources will take some getting used to.  Take a repertoire of your own teaching materials, games and resources so you can fall back on lessons and strategies you feel comfortable implementing.   You will quickly pick up on the schools expectations through your regular observations and feedback.  As you become familiar with the new methods you can adjust your day to meet the requirements of the school.  As you know children in any school, in any country given a chance to mess about through lack of organisation and planning will jump on it.    You need to have every minute covered and be clear in your delivery, and instructions.
  8. Your conduct as a teacher is always being judged!  Firstly, by the children you spend your days with!  There are a set of minimum requirements for teachers to follow and honour in the UK.  Become familiar with the formal Teachers’ Standards and make it your business to know your school policies and procedures.  In the UK schools are heavily achievement and progress focussed and your intention at all times to ensure you are facilitating engaging lessons, relevant to the content and learning goals for the learners in your care.
  9. Teaching is a passion and a profession therefore it goes without saying that you are an integral member of the school and its community.   The small things you do for children, colleagues and parents do count and will be noticed.   Going the extra mile from time to time will help you to become a valued and respected member of your school community.  Writing a note to a child’s parent with a significant achievement, taking on an extra club or duty to help a colleague out to name a few.
  10. Returning home with excellent references from your teaching experiences in the UK will assist you in becoming more employable upon your return.  By being professional in every school you work in and maintaining high standards you will develop a solid reputation and take these skills and attributes with you into your future jobs.   The best part in all of this is you will not only gain professionally, you will enjoy the 6 term school year and be able to travel all around the UK and Europe.

Carly Liddell-Lum is a New Zealand trained Primary teacher who taught in London for four years during her 15 year teaching career.  She is a now a Director of Point to Point Education Recruitment Agency and assists schools in the UK with the important job of hiring high calibre teaching staff from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.