Hayley McDonald

Teacher in Melbourne, Australia School District
BEd Elementary Option (Social and Emotional Learning, 2015)

I graduated from the Social and Emotional Learning cohort in August 2015 and started my first teaching position in England that September through the recruitment agency Uteach Ltd.

During the final week of my community field experience at a primary school in England, the head teacher asked if I would consider interviewing at a nearby school; she knew the head teacher there and would recommend me if I was interested. Although my field experience was positive and living in the UK was high on my bucket list, I was hesitant – I’d heard many cautionary tales about the difficulties of teaching in England. I decided to attend the interview and was offered a position as the year 1 teacher. After weighing the pros and cons on the return flight home, I contacted the head teacher to accept.

Adapting to the British education system was challenging, but the experience I gained was invaluable. In addition to my class of 30 children, I was also responsible for monitoring and developing the teaching of Physical Education across the school as well as leading several after school clubs for both Key Stage 1 and 2. The school staff quickly became a supportive second family and thanks to the agency, I met a tight-knit circle of other teachers from abroad. As I only lived a half-hour from central London, I travelled often throughout the UK and Ireland, across continental Europe and even all the way to Australia. When the head teacher offered to hire me directly to work at the school for a second year, I accepted right away.

Two years later, my UK visa has expired and I am now on another adventure: living and teaching in Melbourne, Australia with anzuk Education. Looking back on my time in England, I can see how much I have grown both as a teacher and a person. I am incredibly grateful that the career I love provides opportunities to continually learn and explore new countries and cultures.