After a month off travelling around the UK and Europe, it was time to pack up, sell up, and ship home.
I was lucky enough to score a short contract back at my original school in Brisbane, so I didn’t have to worry about trying to find work as soon as I got back. The contract is a long service leave fill position which started the Monday of the second week after landing. That meant that the first week back was far from relaxing – we had to find a place to live and move in, so that I wouldn’t be driving quite so far every day. Add to this the stress of organising returning the county (so many companies to contact and things to sort out!), and it meant a busy busy week.
The first day back at the school was a bit hectic too, but walking into the grounds was such a nice feeling. As it was my first and only teaching job in Aus before moving to the UK, it really did feel like coming home. I know every school has it’s problems (and I’m sure I’ll be writing about some of those at some point in the future), but I really actually do love this school. The only snag to getting back to work was the fact that the Department had for some reason resigned me from the whole department when I left, instead of just that current contract. I was back in the system and all good by the beginning of my second week teaching though, so it worked out ok in the end.
The staff welcomed me back warmly, the students even more so. Even those students who would always get on my bad side were happy to have me back at the school. Many of them have complained that I’m not their teacher again, and are begging me to be their teacher next year (happiness overload at those words!).
It only took me that first day to realise that there are quite a few immediate differences between the school in the UK and this one, and I’m happy to report that at the moment they’re all for the better!
The first one is the lack of book marking. I already have an extra hour a day to dedicate to planning, or my husband, or housework, or (heaven forbid) a hobby. It’s been very strange coming home that bit earlier with less work to do than I’ve had in the past year. I do have assessments that need marking, but I really don’t mind doing them.
The next is my timetable. I have five unique classes, FIVE! In the UK I had about 17! In the two weeks I’ve been back, I already know more about my students, know more of their names, and understand their educational needs better than I did most of the students I taught in the UK across the whole year. It’s so nice to be able to talk to them about their work and interests, and actually be able to have a meaningful conversation. Seeing each class three times a week means our relationships are already on very good terms (except those few students who will forever be getting themselves into trouble of course, but we at least have a good understanding of each other now).
Speaking of knowing the students, I know enough of them now that I can go around on playground duty and have little chats with various groups. These new students are even going to my old students for opinions of me, and luckily for me the loudest of the old students do like me, so that sharing of information is making my life easier!
The biggest downside of my situation is that I don’t have work lined up after week 2 of next term. I’ve shot myself in the foot a bit with this contract – there are a few contracts available for next term, but the availability needs to be for the whole term, and I’m unavailable for the first two weeks. It looks like my current school may not have room for me after this contract (due to others returning from leave), so I’m in a bit of a pickle in that sense. I may have to do supply for the rest of term 4, something I haven’t done before. It’s starting to stress me out a bit, but I’m sure it will work out in the end.
Even with that stress, I am absolutely loving being back!