For the last four years, Helen Thorogood has been working at Priestley House Junior School in West Yorkshire, where she taught Year 5 and was a KS2 Coordinator. But this month she’ll be flying off to America to take up a post she landed through Eteach at the British School of Washington. Here she tells us why she wants to work overseas, how her preparations are going, and how she’s feeling in the run up to starting her new post.
Firstly, could you tell us what made you decide to look abroad to work?
To seek out the new challenges and experiences of living and working abroad! I want to travel, sight see, and sample new cultures and customs.
What made you choose America?
Having worked in Europe before, I thought I’d travel further afield. I’ve visited USA and was pretty bowled over by New York.
And the school in Washington specifically?
I chose DC based on the criteria in their advert; I felt that my skills, knowledge and experience were just what they were looking for!
Can you tell us a bit about your new job, the school, and the area where you’ll be living?
I’ll be joining the British School of Washington which is on Wisconsin Avenue near George Town in Washington DC. It’s a school which caters for children from the age of 3-18. They follow the National Curriculum and use an International Primary Curriculum. I’ll be teaching Year 5 for two years, and I’ll be living in Maryland.
This will be my first visit to Washington DC and Maryland so I’m afraid I can’t really tell you much about the area yet. I can tell you that the school organised the accommodation, which is an area in Maryland called Silver Springs. The apartments are called Lenox Apartments which is where the school puts new staff and it is where some existing staff live. It has a pool and a gym, and there are shops, bars and restaurants nearby. I might even have a walk in wardrobe – I’ll confirm that in my next update! I will be able to get the metro or a bus to school, and I think there may be a school bus.
What do you think the major plus points will be?
I think the key pluses of working in the US are that it will enable me to broaden my horizons, gain new experiences, travel, see the sights and sample culture in another country.
And the minus points?
I think the minus points will be being away from my family and friends!
When do you start, how is the preparation going – and how are you feeling about ‘upping sticks’?
I fly to Washington DC on Saturday August 14th 2010. Once there, I have a two-week itinerary of events, including sight-seeing (getting to know the area), a session on how to use the metro, shopping, a baseball match, barbeque, time in school for preparation, meeting colleagues, induction for new families and sorting out paper work, opening bank account, etc. School officially starts on Monday August 30th.
Preparations have been going well, although there has been lots of paperwork – for example my visa application, and appointments and courses in London.
I’m well on with my packing – I just hope I can fit everything in my case! The good news though is that I can ship more goods out.
Overall I’m feeling excited about my move – it’s just what I was looking for!
Why did you use Eteach?
I had already registered with Eteach online, and I just sent an initial email enquiring about overseas appointments, which is how I got in touch with the international team at Eteach.
Tell us about the process you went through to find your job?
Well after browsing through the ads on Eteach, I came across one for the British Schools of America. I had to complete quite a lengthy application form. Two weeks after sending it off, I was invited for an interview at a hotel in Heathrow, London.
What was it like, using Eteach International to find your placement?
It’s a good website, which is easy to use. I had the option to contact schools directly, or to go through Eteach, which was extremely useful as the Team know the heads/schools. I’d definitely use Eteach again, as the help and support I received throughout was extremely valuable.
We hope to catch up with Helen over the following months to find out how she gets on in her new post, so stay tuned to your weekly Eteach Newsletter