Living and working abroad and teaching in international schools has been amazing. We have had some great experiences and opportunities in the schools we have worked in. Our children have had a great education and even more so in our current school where they have had an opportunity to go abroad on field and sporting excursions. We have travelled and had some great holidays. We have lived a good life and saved money. I know one day we will do this again but I know it is also important for us to live in the UK now for a while.
I have now been teaching abroad for a total of 16 years. My wife and I have worked in five different countries. This is my 22nd year as a teacher and I am still embracing change into my life. We decided this year to move back to Europe and in particular set our sites on the UK. My son has a desire to live in the country of his birth and we decided it might be a good idea for him to see out his last few years of school in the UK, before he heads out to University.
My wife has managed to secure a teaching position in a school she desired. It will be a good development for her as it is slightly different from the one she currently has. The school will also be a good fit for both my son and daughter, as they will be able to continue the kind of education and curriculum they are used to.
I have not managed to secure a job yet. I have found it frustrating at times, interesting and also educational. The process has been a much longer one than I am used to. We have been used to having help when going for new jobs. When we have decided to 'Move on' we usually go to a job fair and join their database. This allows schools to find all the information they need on us as educators. It allows them to contact us ahead of time and possibly skype interview instead of or before the job fair. We have secured our jobs without having to fly out to that country for one interview. Unfortunately, the expectation is quite the opposite for me this time.
I forgot what it was like to apply for jobs in the UK. I suppose I thought the process had moved on with the technology we have currently. I have been used to having an online presence and being able to use skype or other forms to connect with people. It seems though, changes are hard to make when traditions prevail. I find it hard to believe that I am still being asked for my secondary school exam result and the actual dates when I took them. I even had an application ask for the examining board for each subject. I took these exams nearly 30 years ago!
There seem to be many changes in the UK which I did not realize. There are many more background checks, which I totally agree with. There are so many more abbreviations such as QTS, TRN, NQT, DBS, OTT...I need to spend time researching what these mean and how they affect me.
I think, I have spent my time keeping up with the changes in the international teaching world and not what has gone on back in the UK. Maybe it is time to do this. I often think about how I am going to to fit back into the 'system' and how I can bring what I have learned globally back to teaching PE in the UK. I wonder if my experiences are relevant but hope that they are. Will the concept and inquiry based curriculum I am used to have a place in the educational system in my home country? Can a Brit from abroad bring back something they have learned and make an impact? Is there a need for this and if so, why?
I wonder about other teachers returning to their home countries and the experiences they have had. Are there similar difficulties experienced, big changes seen and expectations they have for themselves?
I have been writing for nearly five years on and off in the world of twitter, facebook groups, blogging and sharing ideas thoughts with the wider physical education world.