January brings the start of a new school year for Australian students and you’ve taken the leap and decided to teach down under… great choice! The amazing weather, people and lifestyle makes Oz a highly attractive relocation destination. However, going into a new school in another country can be daunting, regardless of whether you’re an experienced teacher with several years under their belt or just starting out. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 questions to ask when you enter a new school, ensuring you you feel less out of your comfort zone and more able to do your job with ease.
What is the behavioural system?
This will differ between schools, but is important to know so you are aware of how to respond if a student misbehaves. Whilst some schools favour a traffic lights system, which aims to reinforce positive ‘green light’ behaviour, others may use ‘bronze, silver and gold’ rankings – learn which one your school uses to help maintain good behaviour in the classroom.
What is the marking policy?
Like the behavioural system, this will vary between schools. Some will use colour coding, some custom stickers, and some may require you to outline the positives and potential areas for improvement for a piece of work. Find out how this system works early on so you can master giving helpful feedback. Also find out how the school likes to track students progress, and whether this will be part of your role or another member of staff.
Packing essentials for teachers
What are the daytime routines?
Ask when break and lunchtime are so you’re not left with an empty classroom halfway through a lesson. Also check the end of school routines, as this is important for safety – do the children stay in the classroom to be picked up, or should you take them to the playground?
What is the assessment structure for teachers?
Ofsted doesn’t operate in Australia, nor is there an equivalent, but there are still procedures in place to ensure teachers are doing their jobs. There are non-government bodies, some of which are non-profit, which assess the quality of schools based on different factors.
Are there afterschool clubs and groups for teachers to run?
Extra-curricular activities are a great way to get involved in school life, particularly when first starting out and wanting to make a good impression. If you have any particular skills, ask if you can offer your services to teach or help out in an after-school club – you may see the rewards in the classroom too.
Need advice or help finding a teaching job in Australia? Check out www.smartteachers.co.uk for helpful information and loads of excellent opportunities.