We continue our Teach Abroad series with Andrea. Andrea is a Special Education Needs trained teacher from Canada who has taught in Melbourne and the UK. Hear what she has learned on her journey here!
Why did you decide to teach in the Australia?
Australia was a place I always wanted to travel to. When I had initially moved away from home, I chose England because it was closer to home (Canada). After spending two incredible years there, I knew Australia would be the next adventure. One of the best parts of being a teacher is that it is a profession recognized in every country. Additionally, as a Special Education teacher, I really wanted to experience what Special Education means to Australia, and experience first hand the programming they have in place.
What made you choose anzuk as your preferred agency
When I was in Teachers College at Queen’s University, there was a ANZUK booth at a jobs fair. I was very interested in what they had to say, and also attended an information session they ran. Though I chose to go to England first, ANZUK was still available to me when it was time for me to arrange my trip to Australia. I liked how they were prompt in responding to emails, provided a clean and concise timeline and “to do” list in obtaining my visa, and the how welcoming and friendly the staff have always been.
How did you find the transition and registration process with anzuk?
Registering with ANZUK was very easy and seamless. The staff walk you through each stage of the planning process, they are easy to talk to and are constantly reassuring. Upon arrival, they provide induction meetings and take all the time you need to feel prepared to enter into the working environment. Additionally, they have organized a few social evenings, where employees can meet and mingle with other CRT’s in their area.
How did you find the support from anzuk?
ANZUK have been prompt, efficient and understanding. This is particularly important as it can be very intimidating moving across the world for a job. I feel like their employees listen to me, and do try their best to accommodate the experiences I want to have while I’m in Australia. With the new online job posting system, CRT’s are able to quickly and efficiently find out which schools they are placed in for the day/week. This frees up the phone lines for any questions or discussions that are needed. It’s as simple as signing in, indicating that you are available for work that day, and ANZUK sending a text message to confirm a placement. However, it is always great to know to know that the team is just a phone call away.
What are the biggest differences you have found between teaching in Australia and Canada?
I love that the UK and Australia have publicly funding Special Education Schools. Though Spec Ed. departments in Canada are very helpful and necessary, the types of students I enjoy working with are very high needs, and thus are often not fully accommodated for within the schooling system. In Australia, students with complex and high needs are catered for as schools are designed and developed to fit the specific needs of this kind of demographic. This includes having Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, nurses, art and dance therapists all fully available at the school. Many facilities also have multisensory rooms, or even a hydrotherapy pool. For a unique experience in Special Education, I would highly recommend traveling to England and/or Australia to experience it first hand.
What did you enjoy most about teaching and living overseas?
I love getting to work and travel at the same time. Working as a SEN teacher abroad is a perfect combination of my passion as an educator and my passion for travel. Through teaching in different countries, I have been able to live, and soak up different cultures in the truest form- as a local. It’s a perfect combination of the two. I am constantly improving as an educator, while being fully immersed in a new community. Having the ability to explore local pubs, cafes, restaurants, markets, beaches, and everything else Melbourne residents do.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of making the move overseas from Canada?
It is an experience worth taking. Though it can be scary to make that first leap, get in contact with ANZUK, even just to generate the conversation. You’d be surprised with how easy plans fall into place. It’s not a decision you will regret!