How can worldly experience help you in the casual and full-time teaching game?

“Sir, you’ve made a mistake on the board,” said Dylan with his hand raised. Dylan was a troublemaker, which was why I had him sitting in the front row of my year 8 maths class, in north-west London. As I turned back to the board from the student I was helping, I saw that Dylan was correct in pointing out I had incorrectly  written x – 3 = 6 so x = 3. “Sir, x equals nine, not three!” said Dylan, with a cheeky grin on his face. I was confused as to how I made such a silly mistake, and thanked him for pointing it out.

As I roamed around the room attempting to help my thirty-two rowdy year 8’s with their algebra, Dylan proceeded to point out another three errors I had made in my worked examples. Each time I was just as surprised about the error. Dylan was very happy with himself that he was outsmarting the teacher.

I then realised  what was going on. Each time I had my back turned from the front of the class, Dylan left his seat and turned  addition signs into subtraction signs. The whole class was in on the practical joke, and when I finally twigged – all I could do was laugh. He got me.

It was one of many memorable moments during my eighteen months of teaching in London across 2012 and 2013. This contract in particular, arranged by anzuk Education, was both the most challenging and rewarding experience I have ever had in a school.  I am now fortunate enough to work for anzuk Education in our Melbourne office, and now I can play a part in giving educators great opportunities, just as I was given mine in London.

In 2017 teachers have an abundance of options and pathways to pursue once they graduate from university. One such pathway, the one I took and can heartily recommend, is teaching overseas. From finishing up at Federation University in 2010, I used my teaching degree in a range of ways that spanned nearly four years. The invaluable CRT experience I had in London is something I believe every teacher should pursue.

I also worked three Summers in the USA at a sleepaway camp for boys aged nine to fifteen. A lot of Aussies work at camp as a gap year before university. I decided to travel there after completing my course, which meant I was a clear choice for a leadership position. By my third Summer I had progressed to division leader for the eleven year olds (in school terms this would equate to a year level leader). It was another challenging but enjoyable role that involved doing all sorts of tasks you would come across as a year level leader, including: dealing with bullying, parent contact, staff management, and other behavioural issues. I describe it as a little more mayonnaise on my CV.

One advantage of teaching in the UK or the USA at Summer camps is that whilst you are in Australia waiting to head over, anzuk Education will keep you busy working until your departure date. That being said, the biggest advantages from your experiences will become evident when you put your new skills to work back in Australian schools.

For me, nothing beats the excitement of arriving in a new country, getting your passport stamped, and walking through the arrival doors having no idea what adventures are about to unfold. Your teaching degree can allow you to do this in numerous settings around the world.

And yes – I fully expect to come across Dylan soon at the Melbourne Comedy Festival talking about the day he fooled Mr Cahir.