From the South Wales Valleys to busy Hong Kong.
After completing my PGCE in Swansea University, I managed to get a job teaching History in Bryntirion Comprehensive School, Bridgend in South Wales. I had never lived outside of Wales despite always wanting to travel. After four years of teaching I felt the time was right for a change, but positions in Wales were few and far between. I took a look at my life and at the age of 25 I was still living with my parents and the only possession I owned was a car. I quickly began to look at the International Section of the TES and literally the advert for jobs in Hong Kong fell onto the floor. I decided that it was fate.
I applied for a position teaching History in King George V School which was part of the English Schools Foundation, teaching the British curriculum and exams. I really did not think I stood a chance. I was later interviewed in London, which went well, but still believing I had no chance. When I was told I had the job, it was only then I realised I was going to live and work the other side of the world. It was scary.
The ESF organisation were fantastic at keeping me up-to-date and I had letters almost every day asking me to fill in this form or another. By the time it was due to leave I wasn't worried at all and could not wait. Meeting the other 40 new teachers for the various schools at the airport relaxed me further. Little did I know that I would be forming life long friends with many of these people.
Teaching in Hong Kong for the last 4 years has been immensly satisfying as a teacher. The students (1,600) are well behaved and usually eager to learn. The expectations are much higher. Working hours are generally longer, as you are required to get involved in the life of the school. With over 40 nationalities of students, there is always someone in my class who can share experiences about the countries I teach. Exam classes are challenging, but last year 20 out of 20 students achieved a grade A in their A Level History exam. Working with these students has given me increased confidence and a renewed enthusiasm for my subject. Since working here, I have been promoted to Second-in-Department and have gone on courses abroad to report back to staff in meetings. I have felt valued and motivated as a result.
Hong Kong itself is amazing. The skyline is impressive and the shopping, 24 hours a day is a dream. The living costs are much higher than the UK, but the salary compensates. What I didnt expect was to be able to travel so extensively around Asia. I have visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Korea, Thailand, Bali, Australia, New Zealand. Hong Kong is a perfect base to see this part of the world.
Unfortunately, after 4 years, I feel the time is right to make another move. I am currently looking for a Head of Department/ Second in Department History job in the UK. I hope to return to spend some time with my family and to buy a house to have a base to return to. I don't know whether this will be permanent but I hope to work abroad again in the future. I will just see how it goes. However, I have really enjoyed my time here. I have increased in maturity, confidence and actually love teaching. I know that my experiences will stay with me forever. The friends I have met will always keep in touch too.
Now does anyone have a job???