Teaching in London draws all types of characters and none more so than country Victorians! Recently some Vibe Teachers from Ballarat and surrounding areas gave us some insights into their London Teaching experiences. Check out Chris ‘Wello’ Welham, Taylor ‘TK’ Mackenzie, Sophie ‘Soph’ Wright and Kieran ‘Hodgey’ Hodge giving the run down on what to expect from a move to London and some advice to make it a top-notch experience!
Read their thoughts and enjoy some laughs in the blog and video below!
Another Victorian teacher who made the London move, Jacob, is an Albury boy, a Vibe stalwart & our Red team leader. Check out his story here!
How would you compare London to home?
Gee, this could take a lifetime! You just have to get here and see London for yourself! Ballarat and London are similar in that they are both, in my opinion, pretty historic places. Sovereign hill and the history associated with places like the Eureka stockade, I feel, have similarities to London.
In saying that, the culture is so different! Growing up at home (admittedly a little while ago) the most diverse food we would eat was Chinese takeaway. Because of the mix of cultures in London the food is next level!
The biggest comparisons for me are the weather and the transport. Ballarat winters definitely prepared me well for London but there are heaps of positives too. The London public transport system is crazy! Most central tube stations will have a train every one to three minutess and I think the most I’ve waited is between five or six. It makes getting home after a night out much easier than home 😊
For me it’s the diverse culture within London. My mind has also been blown by the multiculturalism and how warmly it is embraced. I thought Melbourne was as multicultural a city as you could get, but London takes the cake on that one. It’s an amazing place. Also, the tube means having a car isn’t necessary which is pretty cool (RIP 1999 Honda CRV).Hodgey:
Transport is ace and call me a man of simple pleasures but the chicken shops here are next level. There’s one on every corner! From a Ballarat Uni boy who was quite fond of ‘Gravy Spot’ (give me a shout out if you’ve been there!) it’s heaven. I also love the trains. The V-Line just doesn’t compare to the underground. Unfortunately this has ruined my train standards; at home I was always happy when trains ran every 30 mins to an hour – now I get annoyed when there is a ‘good service’ and I have to wait on a platform for four minutes!
What are your favourite things about London?
The city itself. It’s big, it’s inspiring, it’s dynamic. Just being in and around it makes me feel good. I’m a self-proclaimed bogan so that might seem funny to some who know me but I think it shows how cool the place is. That’s why I’ve chosen London as my home!
I love that you can be half-way across the world and still feel at home. There’s a great Aussie community here and it makes such a difference having that support. I mentioned previously that winter was cold, but it’s all worth it for the summers. Getting out in the parks with some mates, a few beers and enjoying the sun is one of my favourite things to do!
Also as a teacher you are never more than six or seven weeks away from a week (or more) off! The term structure is different here so most of us use term time to save for our next Europe trip. I’ve been to ten different countries and I’m only just scratching the surface of what Europe has to offer.Soph:
It’s inspiring to be in a place that has so much recorded history that has had such an impact on the western world. I also love getting out to the country and visiting pubs that are from the 1400’s! It’s kind of profound to be in a place like this.
The travel is just the best! I used to get a flight from Melbourne and be in Sydney in two hours. In London I could do the same and be in fifteen different countries! The flights are so cheap that flying to Germany for a weekend getaway isn’t out of the question!
Being a mad AFL fan (go Tigers) I was also stoked to find an AFL competition over here! TK and I play at the West London Wildcats -- check them out here and come down for a kick! The community we’ve found there and amongst the Vibe team has been awesome.
What is it like teaching in London?
There’s such a diverse range of schools. I trained as a PE teacher but have been exposed to Nursery, Primary and even schools that work specifically with students who have behaviour issues. It’s a great CV boost for anyone wanting to head home to teach afterwards.
It’s been a great experience. I started on supply/relief and worked in different schools to find out what suited me. After checking a few out, one of the schools offered me a term contract in a Primary school. The next year I took a full-time role teaching Humanities in a secondary school for students with special needs. The kids at the school were really good to teach so I had a great time. As a Primary School Teacher, it’s been a job that has added so much to my CV for when I return home.
It’s helped me become a better teacher. I’ve felt comfortable teaching a similar curriculum but have been challenged in my thinking too. I’ve taught in such diverse schools; from those that deal with behaviour, to schools so elite that politicians, Wimbledon winning tennis players & huge rock artists send their kids there (can give more details when you get to London 😉). It’s been one of those situations where I ‘didn’t know what I didn’t know’ until I was out of my comfort zone and had to grow as a professional. The experience will undoubtedly help my career in the future.Hodgey:
I’ve been amazed by the types of roles that are available here. In my experience in Australia we generally have fairly standard classroom teaching roles. In London I’ve spent most of my time doing supply so have seen some jobs that are common in London but a world away from what I’d experienced back home.
Roles like ‘Booster Teachers’, ‘PPA Teachers’ and ‘Intervention Teachers’ offer versatility and flexibility to work across whole schools or year levels to focus on improving student results. This aspect as well as the breadth of work available in special education has definitely given me experiences that have made me grow as a teacher.
Advice to anyone thinking about moving to London to teach?
Don’t overthink it! Be open to a new adventure and challenge. I guarantee you’ll have a great experience!
Just do it! I’ve the most awesome time and I’m so grateful that I took the opportunity. It’s surprisingly easy to do, so don’t put up any barriers. You’ll be well supported and you’ll meet some great people.
So many Teachers have done it before you so you know you’ll be well supported. Get on the plane, come meet us, have a drink and join the community. Our team will make sure you’re looked after and set for success. I love it so much I’m heading home to extend my Visa, so I recommend you look into an Ancestry Visa if possible, just in case you want to stay longer than two years!
Just say yes! It’s one of the best experiences you’ll have.
Meet another of our Country Victorians, and Vibe Alumni, Rhiannon here!
Interested in Teaching in London? Check out some jobs here!