International Blog: Colleen Conway
Colleen Conway, a SEN Teacher from Northern Ireland, has been working with Tradewind Recruitment in London for just under a year! She’s been in touch to talk about her journey and her experiences in her first term of teaching in England!
First interview with a UK school?
My first interview with a UK school also turned out to be my first successful placement! I had booked my flight just two days before and landed at the school fresh off the plane from Belfast. The school staff who greeted me were more than welcoming and very down-to-earth, quickly putting me at ease. They offered me a cup of tea and gave me time to read through my notes before the interview took place.
Fortunately, I was well prepared, having researched potential questions and writing up answers that referred to my past experience and how this equipped me for the role. I left feeling over the moon as I was offered the job right away. I visited 2 other schools before accepting the job offer, however, this reassured me that the first school was definitely the job for me.
First placement with a UK school?
My first placement was at a Special School in Ealing. At the beginning of the placement, I was very excited as I really had found my dream job. I felt supported by the school in that all the staff were very approachable. I was assigned an informal 'buddy', as well as a cluster lead, to advise me professionally. They agreed to support me through achieving my NQT status, and as a 'Teaching School' I was given regular opportunities for additional training and development.
Within 4 weeks, they encouraged me to apply for a permanent position, and I was delighted to be successful. I have now been here for 6 months and I continue to look forward to coming to work every day. I am so grateful to Tradewind for finding me a school that I love that has enabled me to flourish as a teacher.
First few months in the UK socially?
I was fortunate to have friends and family come to visit at weekends, especially in the run-up to Christmas! However, I found that I hadn't given myself much opportunity to meet new people. Therefore, when I returned to London in January, I made a specific effort to spend time with my work colleagues out of school. I reconnected with people that I went to school and uni with who were also based in London.
Finally, I joined the local GAA club and met lots of girls who came from a similar background (I'm not any good but it’s a good laugh and definitely good exercise). My advice to anyone moving on their own, as I did, is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. London is an amazing city with so much to offer, and you are only going to miss out on all the fun if all you do is work!
For more information on teaching in the UK with Tradewind Recruitment, click here.
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