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Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by miketribe, Mar 13, 2016.
I'm so glad we left. Every bit of education news makes me more and more certain that leaving was the right thing to do.
A friend of mine, who teaches Science in the UK, was recently staying with me over the Chinese New Year holiday. I was sickened and appalled by what he told me. Meaningless meetings, endless disruptions to his Science lessons, useless SLTs, yet another blooming OFSTED, rude and shonky students, unreasonable parents, more and more paperwork... Yes, you too can have all of these (and more!) if you are a teacher in the UK. (And please do not get me started on the subject of Council Tax.)
Another friend of mine has recently left Qatar and now he is teaching again in the UK. He is now regretting his decision. It is much the same story.
There must be a real crisis in teacher recruitement (and retention) in the UK because the government says that there isn't one.
We had friends who went back to the UK last year and did supply work. They are utterly miserable. They are overjoyed at having just secured new jobs on the international circuit for August.
A lot of people think that moving to an school abroad means escaping the hellish UK system. This may be true in a lot of cases, but there are many international schools, especially those following the UK curriculum, that are just the same. Nicer kids, yes, smaller class sizes, yes, more money, yes (in most cases) but the workload is the same old, same old.
At the school I'm in (Qatar) we have observations every two weeks, full-on inspections, mocksteds, full-on marking (you know - the triple marking thing), assessment tracking, performance management, endless meetings, three full reports to parents... the list goes on.
I work longer hours than I ever did in the UK.
Having said that, I still prefer here to there. But I've written this to make people realise that sometimes the workload is the same. Unless you go to a low-tier school
I've never really understood this tier business, but I THINK we're pretty top tier and we don't do any of that stuff. Sounds awful. Instead we spend our time thinking about how to teach our classes, coming up with new activities, etc, etc. Oh, and meeting with the kids to discuss their work... The sort of thing we USED to do in England back when I was young during the last century...
I agree. I think the best schools who know they are good schools don't need to resort to the other nonsense. Just get on with the teaching and allow teachers and students to enjoy the whole process.
So I'm contemplating moving to Qatar. Is the workload going to be hellish? Can anyone breakdown what it's like for me?
Qatar? Lots of money, lots of sand, not wildly friendly locals, some great international teaching colleagues, some great international students. Do NOT teach in a locals-only school...you will wake up each morning wanting to hammer a nine inch nail into your cranium, slowly.
And yet ANOTHER...
It's scary I only taught in the UK for 2.5 years and I was feeling burned out. Being in a school in special measures having my best friend and mum diagnosed with terminal cancer and being told that I had to come in because ofsted was in and then bursting into tears when they arrived in my room. I went from being outstanding to dreading going to school.
I love teaching and the only way I could see to stay in teaching was to leave the country. 8 weeks into teaching in NZ I know I did the right thing especially with the news coming out of the U.K. And from my friends who are teachers there still who are stressed beyond belief. Yes NZ education has problems I can see that but I have so much more autonomy to choose how to teach my class, yes I have targets but how I get to them is up to me as I am a professional.
I don't think the NCEA as a qualification is that good but ICAN work around it and give them real knowledge and experience instead of ticking boxes for ofsted and school progress 8. It might be the school I am working at is an odd one out as it is my only NZ school, but as long as the kids are learning and progressing they are happy, some of my classes are flying and we are covering ideas and topics well in advance of their level, some will struggle to get to their level, but I am given the freedom to plan around their ability which I never was in the UK.
Will I ever return to the UK maybe will I return to teach in the UK NEVER whilst education is seen as an easy political target and devalued the way it is. So kinda seals the fate for me returning to e UK Know very many amazing teachers working in dreadful conditions shackled into box ticking so no I won't return to the UK as I would be afraid for my child's educational future.
I am considering a move to Qatar, please could you private message me which school you are talking about, and are most school in Qatar like this?
Maybe you should also contact an overweight and smelly animal that wanders round this forum.
I teach in a school which follows the England and Wales system very closely including the marking policies, Mocksteads etc. However, because we have smaller class sizes, less stressful behaviour issues, slightly more non-contact time, and are well-resourced, I don't feel half as stressed as my UK counterparts...I actually have the time to do all these things! It has been discussed on this forum many times, but going overseas doesn't mean you won't work hard; what it does mean is that you can spend your time doing what works for you and your students, rather than grid-highlighting and box ticking ad infinitum (I can't escape it in my current school, but I can make it work for me and my classes).
If you are looking for work abroad, avoid 'fresh' SLT from the UK who will be touting their magic bullets of deep/triple marking, book looks (the new work scrutiny), learning walks etc. To use a massive over-generalisation and a Finland reference (as they are seen to have a gold-standard education system): their education system doesn't do any of these things and look how successful they are. There is a meme doing the rounds on social media of Orwell saying 'I wrote 1984 as a warning, not a manual': I feel the same about UK education and Dicken's Hard TImes....