England V The World.

It was a windy and cold December when my friend of 5 years arrived in The Crown. He looked bronzed and beautifully happy, a far cry from the days we spent in there,  crying into our beermats bemoaning the SLT and poor behaviour of the pupils forced into our classrooms for educating.

He asked me how I was and how was work- the usual followed. A tirade of Ofsted inspections, Acadamisation, pay freezes,  work load and no time for my fledgling family.
He frowned and shoved his i-phone under my nose.
The TES advert was celestial, it beckoned towards a new life across the ocean and distant lands and for a split second, I wondered what if.
Nope, I couldn’t, what about my GCSE pupils, the flat, the cats, the husband, the baby? We couldn’t, could we?
And soon the roller-coaster of job applications and interviews began. By March I had secured my first teaching job abroad and by August we were packed and gone.
Teaching abroad has reignited the passion and creative fizz lacking in UK schools. I have been given a job and trusted to do it with carte blanch and flair. I have the most precious resource at my disposal- time. Time has allowed me to be a ‘real’ reflective practitioner, to research, plan and prepare lessons. Time has given me the opportunity to mark books with detailed comments and feedback, not just lip-service to an enforced marking cycle and work load.
More time means, I am constantly able to learn new and innovative ways to reach my pupils- using online tools and VLEs which the UK’s endless and bureaucratic edits and dictates suffocate and dismiss. As an international school teacher I feel respected and trusted by students, staff and parents. The students and school have the very best teacher I can be.
The corporate world of International Schools  is similar to the UK’s academisation of it comprehensive schools; autonomy to a faceless (and sometimes little or no background in education)  CEO and accountability to shareholders. Employment is contractual and upon merit, have no illusions education (both in the UK and abroad) can be ruthless. It is a business. There are no teaching unions for international teachers to call upon but then again the Academies are no longer bound to the Teachers’ Pay and Conditions either. However, the majority of international schools recognise a good teacher requires time and timetables are often smaller with more non-contact time.
As I sit in my sun-lounger at 6pm, with a glass of relaxation and sense of worth, I do not regret the decision to leave the UK.
I have gained the single and most precious commodity of all. Time.
International teaching
Teach abroad


About milkwithtwo

A blog about my experience as a Head of Year, looking at some of the issues faced by young people and teachers in the UK. Offering straight-talking child-centred advice.
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