The Journey to Teaching in Australia…

October 2018 by Caitriona Smith

Teaching Around The World

I can’t believe it has been a month since I last wrote a blog! How has that happened? I guess I’m busy having a lot of fun and working lots too! So I apologise, but my blog has never been far from my mind and I have lots of ideas for future blog posts!

I wanted to write about my journey to actually being here, teaching in Australia though. Especially for fellow teachers who are considering the move… I have two words for you: DO IT! Here is how I did…

So, lets rewind back to January 2017 when moving to Australia was no longer a dream, but very much a reality, I had handed my resignation letter in to the school I was working at and the prospect of moving to Australia was more real than ever! However, I didn’t actually have a clue how I was going to go about teaching over there. I just knew I was going: December 2018 had always been my goal, now I was to be jobless, I HAD TO GO!

Many nights were spent reading different blogs and online chats about British teachers living in Australia for many years, but I knew I didn’t want to go forever! So, in a last bid to try and figure out a way to teach in Australia, I simply typed in a Facebook search: Teaching in Australia and a page popped out to me: Leading Out – teaching in Australia and New Zealand. Intrigued, I clicked onto it.

And in that simple click was the beginning of my wonderful journey! Leading Out is a Canadian company that sets teachers up with a Casual Relief Teaching Agency in Melbourne (Tradewind – more about them soon). So, from the Facebook page I got an email address for the guy who runs Leading Out: Steve. I sent him an email, outlining my hopes and dreams for the move to Aus and he replied so quickly I think I actually squealed with excitement when reading his response because it really was possible for me to go and teach in Australia. Within a few weeks, we had set up a Skype interview to ensure I was the right teacher to join the agency…thankfully I was! And the journey began, I paid a small fee to Leading Out (which was worth every penny by the way!) to help me with the process, and in all honesty Steve and his team could not have made the process easier!

Within a few weeks I received this welcome pack and honestly the book in the middle became my bible! I still have it close to my desk here in Australia now! It literally has all of the information you need about taking the steps to living and working in Australia – and if there was anything I couldn’t find/probably missed in the book, Steve was an email away with the most helpful and reassuring of responses! I seriously can’t thank him enough for making the process so smooth! So, the process itself involves a lot of paperwork – mainly applying for you Victorian Institute of Teaching registration. You need to prove that you are qualified etc and it can take a while to gather all of the documents and then for them to actually be processed! So be prepared in that department! Then there was applying for my working holiday Visa, which again Steve was able to guide me through and I was pleasantly surprised that this was processed very quickly and I had that very early on, ready to go! Each step was like crossing bridge taking me one step closer to my dream! The VIT registration was probably the last thing I was waiting on – and that was probably my fault for being slightly slack on applying! Leading Out even put me in touch with a travel agent who gave me excellent prices on my flight to Perth and then onto Sydney for Christmas (as I didn’t start teaching until February, so I traveled a bit first!) Leading Out even helped me to set up my bank account from England, it was all done online and ready and waiting for me once I arrived in Aus!

Once I arrived in Melbourne, Steve put me in touch with the agency I would be working with: Tradewind. Honestly, another company who have made the transition so smooth! I went for a bit of a ‘meet and greet’ with them at the beginning of January and filled out all of the necessary paperwork and that was it, I was to await my phonecall telling me which school I start at! It really was that easy – even I couldn’t believe it! Tradewind are also great because they have an app where you can accept your shifts so it’s all done really quickly and easily on my phone! The people working on the phones at the agency are all so lovely, I have no qualms whatsoever calling them up with a query about work, they’re all so friendly and helpful!

Something else I want to add is about transportation, now obviously it would be easy to have a car, you receive your shift in the morning, get in your car and go. But, I was not in a financial position to buy a car when I first arrived in Melbourne, so I ‘braved’ the public transport! I need to be at the train station each morning by 7am (which means leaving my house at 6.30am) ready to travel up to 1 hour and 30 minutes, which at first sounds a lot, but actually I have read many books on my journeys, caught up with many friends via face-time (since its the evening back in the UK) and just enjoyed the scenery from the train – as more often than not I am travelling out of the city into the ‘Countryside’ and I can’t tell you how hard I look to spot Kangaroos whilst on my journey…I’m still yet to spot one hopping through the fields! So, although it would make life easier having a car, going by public transport is ok! And since my contract officially started, I have had work everyday since February!

It has honestly all worked out so perfectly, sometimes I pinch myself that I’m not dreaming, I am enjoying teaching SO much! Teaching in Australia is a lot like teaching in England – only you rely on the air conditioning as oppose to the heating! But in all seriousness, I have learnt so much about myself as a teacher and mainly rediscovered my love for teaching! Sure there are some tough schools you go into, I remember myself being in school thinking having a supply teacher meant a day off, but if anything that pushes me harder as a teacher to be even more engaging and exciting! I love to chat to the children about different countries as they love to chat to me about England. I still bring Herman my Teddy Bear into schools to ask for tips on where he should visit and the children come alive when talking about their home country! Some schools, I am getting called into regularly and am able to build a good rapport with the students and teachers which is really lovely!

So, for any teacher considering teaching in Australia, as i said before DO IT! Yes there are a few expenses to pay (Visa/flights/VIT registration etc) but the $300 a day you earn as a casual relief teacher is not to be frowned upon – it makes an excellent travel fund (look out for a blog coming soon about my travel plans!) It is in all honesty, the very best thing I have ever done! And I cannot recommend Leading Out and Tradewind enough if you do choose to make the move!

Send me a message if you have any other questions about moving to Australia and teaching here!

I will leave you with this quote which sums up perfectly how I feel (most days) about teaching:
Quote_Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life - Confucius

Peace and love,

Katie x