In June I will be embarking on a well thought-out adventure to London, England. Though the thought of just gallivanting around Europe seems like best idea ever, I’ll probably need to earn some money for things like
shopping and traveling food and shelter and given that I have a degree that travels well and that I’m going to an English-speaking country, teaching is a no brainer.
I will give myself absolutely no credit for this idea though. The job landscape for teachers in Ontario has been dire since I graduated with my BEd in 2011 and many British teacher placement agencies have sniffed out the abundance on this side of the pond, recruiting Canadian educated teachers for their understaffed schools. I was getting emails for guaranteed supply teaching with the promise of long-term and even permanent jobs before I even graduated.
Many companies will even send over scouts to hire teachers en masse and are usually present at job fairs with the message usually being “come travel Europe and actually use your degree” They are well aware of the fact that many Canadian teachers go on to get jobs that have nothing to do with teaching until a job comes along (hello, two years of retail. I don’t miss you at all). So, they encourage you to spend those years gaining experience elsewhere and I mean, it’s England so it’s not exactly a hard sell. Clever. Veeery clever.
Here are the steps I took in looking for a job once I knew my trip was a done deal.
1. Finding an agency. I researched a number of agencies at Rate my Teaching Agency and I spoke to some friends that are currently teaching in London. The supply jobs are interesting in the UK as they go through agencies, so you can get called to whichever school that agency works with– private, public, primary, the whole lot. She would get last-minute calls from her agency at say, 7:30 and would have to be at the school for 8am. However the school would be across the city and she would inevitably arrive late which would reflect poorly on her. Needless to say, it wasn’t right for her but with the large number of agencies, she was able to find a better one. You don’t have to go through an agency but it makes it everything much easier and it’s free!! The schools pay for it:)
2. Picking an agency. I met with an agency called Prospero Teaching that has an office here in Toronto. It isn’t the highest rated agency but there was someone I could talk to in person and I liked that she would help me set stuff up on this end. By ‘stuff’ I mean a free Oyster travel card which is where you put your money to travel around London on the Tube, phone SIM card (apparently getting a phone plan will be hard. Credit history doesn’t transfer over. Sad trombone), a UK bank account and National Insurance number. The less bureaucratic red tape I have deal with, the better. I’ll fill you in on how it goes with the agency when I get there:)
3. Deciding when to go. The woman I met with said that some UK schools don’t finish until the second week of July and school here in Toronto finishes on the 26th of June. She said it was worth it to go over for those two weeks because schools will often offer to pay you for the month of August if you are willing to come back in September. They’re that desperate. Once I knew when my leaving date was, I applied for my visa.
4. Applying for a visa. Because I’m Canadian, the visa was super easy to get. I’m going under a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa and the requirements are listed in the link. It’s pretty easy to follow the online application system and costs about $500 cdn.
5. Getting a police check. Prospero organized a back check for me through a website called mybackcheck.com It was easy and cheap but some organizations want a police check from the country in which you live so look into one asap– they take forever.
6. Applying for QTS. National College for Teaching and Leadership is the governing body for teachers in the UK so you need to be recognized by them before you can actually teach. If you’re from Canada you need to fill out a QTS (Qualified teacher Status) form– it’s an easy online application.
7. Sit pretty until you have to leave. Also, try not to freak out over the fact that London is the most expensive place in the world to live. Cat food for dinner err day.