Teaching in Europe – Life here after one year
David Atkinson is a primary teacher from the UK. Last year, he made the move from a state school in Wales to teach at St. George’s International School in Luxembourg. David moved with his wife Katy, and his young daughter Maisie. We caught up with David early on in the academic year, when he had just settled in. He’s now finished his first year and is back to give us an update:
“My life has changed in an exciting way! I have so many more opportunities to explore by experiencing a new culture and teaching in a new environment. The experience has been, and continues to be invaluable, both professionally, personally and as a family.
How teaching should be
“Teaching in St. George’s International School is how I’d hoped teaching in the UK would be, and how I believe it should be. I have much better resources to teach with, including great ICT and digital resources, better staffing for cover, and access to more equipment and musical instruments. My facilities are also markedly improved. We have a great new auditorium for shows and performances – it’s amazing! I also have smaller class sizes with just 17 children in my class this year.
Time to get work done
“I now have a much better work/life balance. There’s space in my daily timetable when specialist teachers come in and take over the class. This means I can mark and plan during the working day, and not at home.
Getting to know people
“It does take time to settle in, especially if one parent is not working. The expat community is, however, very supportive. My wife Katy goes to parent and toddler groups with our daughter Maisie, and we all go to an Anglican church. My work colleagues are also very open and welcoming to us as a family and we often go to one of the many fantastic parks in the city to socialise.
In retrospect, things I should have done
“If I could go back in time and give myself some advice, it would be to do more research regarding renting property, and look at the areas around the school more closely. I would also have taken the contact details of the staff I met during my interview. That way I could have asked them questions before we were due to move.
“My plan is to stay in the international teaching sector for the foreseeable future. We’re eager to explore the opportunities for travel while still being able to develop my career.”
You can read about other teachers and their stories of working overseas here
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