Karan McCarthy

English Teacher (Secondary), Isle of Sheppey Academy

Degree subject BA Education, Religion and English
Job title English Teacher (Secondary)
Employer Isle of Sheppey Academy

My first three jobs in teaching all lasted less than a year, as I was covering people’s maternity leave. I decided to move to the UK in search of a permanent position, which I really needed to support myself and my son.

One of my friends recommended finding a job through UTeach recruitment, as they had helped her to find a job in the UK, and had been friendly. They set up an interview for me in Dublin, which was followed by an assessment lesson at the Isle of Sheppey Academy in Kent. I was offered a job there soon after.

I have been working here for a year and a half now, as an English teacher with 11 to 16 year olds. Lessons are 75 minutes long which means I have to work hard to keep students engaged. I also run extra lessons to help students with their literacy, as many students have problems with reading. My favourite thing about teaching is the appreciation that I get from my students, as I put a lot of effort into my classes. The worst part is the long hours and meetings after school.

Teaching in the UK is quite different from in Ireland. There is a lot more paperwork to do in UK schools because we monitor children’s behaviour and grades continuously. There is also more pressure on teachers to make sure students achieve their target grades. However, now that I am used to the UK system, I like it and can appreciate its advantages. I have become much more confident meeting parents, as I deal with them more regularly than I would in Ireland. Working in the UK has without a doubt benefitted me in the long run. I hope to return to Ireland with my new skills, when there are more job opportunities.

Although I am living in the UK, there are many Irish teachers working at the school. We support each other because we all know what it's like living and working away from home and family.

Karan was interviewed for gradireland Teaching & Education 2013