I worked as a supply teacher at four schools – Harefield Academy, Rutlish (Wimbledon, all boys), Warwick (Surrey), and St. Joseph’s (Croydon, all boys). Some mornings and afternoons travel time got close to ninety minutes, but this provided valuable time to plan, think, and see the sights of inner London. Here is a list of my thoughts about teaching in London and maybe some useful tips to consider if you are thinking about teaching in London:
- The secondary school structure and system is different in London to what I was used to in Australia. Generally speaking the school day is set up differently, and the most noticeable difference that I recall was that students had more influence and say with what happens at school (more perceived power).
- The students that I worked with were highly attuned to supply teachers, and consequently being a supply teacher had a real stigma attached to it. Due to this there were times when it was difficult to get students interested, involved, and learning.
- It would be worthwhile to develop some background knowledge of the education system in London, and also doing some homework on the different regions of London (East, West, North, South). The schools that I taught in were highly multicultural, and often this observed students who had difficulty with the English language.
- I am a trained Health and Physical Education teacher, but I taught a whole range of subjects. In PE students hold 99 percent of their interest in football (soccer), so teaching any alternative can be challenging.
- Some days are good, other days not so good – just like any job. I was presented with the opportunity to teach longer term at two of the schools I worked at, and if I was staying longer I would have considered this. My recommendation, if possible is to make a longer commitment to one or a couple of schools and work to develop a relationship with staff and students. Over time this will have benefits. Unfortunately due to my short time commitment I as unable to do this.
Casey, Tasmania, Australia