Congratulations! You went through a rigorous training programme overseas and are now a qualified teacher. But how do you transfer your training and experience to teaching roles in the UK?
Let’s face it; you are needed. Teachers have to take time out of the school day for lesson planning. They sometimes fall sick (it’s a fulfilling, yet stressful job). They go on leave. There will be planned and unplanned absences. Fortunately for you, children have to go to school. We are yet to invent a technology that can enhance children’s learning and supervise them at the same time. Real human beings with the passion, skills and experience are needed to raise the next generation.
That’s where you come in. As an overseas trained teacher, you already have many skills that can be transferred to schools in the United Kingdom. There is good demand for people like you, especially if you have relevant experience. Read on.
We often think learning is for the students. Teachers do the teaching and students do the learning. That is far from the truth. A great teacher should have a culture of lifelong learning. As an overseas trained teacher, you will need to learn the culture in UK schools. Every school is different. You need to know what works in each school. You need to have a good understanding of the curriculum you are required to deliver. What the schools require is competence. Nobody wants a supply teacher that is unable to closely match the competencies of the usual teacher. Even the children make the comparison between the supply teacher and their usual teacher. When they (students, colleagues, agencies etc) make that comparison, what do you want them to think?
There are some skills that are valued in the United Kingdom. One is the ability to manage the behaviour of students in your classroom from the first period. Another is the ability to pay attention to the needs of the different individuals in the classroom. In addition, safeguarding and the protection of children is incredibly important in the UK. Furthermore, an overseas trained teacher who wants to find fulfilment in their supply teaching roles must have a very positive attitude to work – arrive on time, quickly form good working relationships with the strangers you meet every day, and let your passion for education come alive in the classroom.
One trick is to try to get a list of tasks and lesson objectives that should be accomplished by the end of the day. The list should also include deliverables, such as documents that must be completed at various intervals. It is often difficult to have a formal meeting where the list can be drawn up, so don’t go into schools demanding for a detailed list. A list of required tasks in your notepad is fine. The list gives you a sense of direction and something that can be used to report back to the school at the end of day.
Be assured that there will be plenty of opportunities for overseas trained teachers who have a culture of lifelong learning, and bring their passion, skills and experience to UK schools. Good luck!