Emigrating to Australia as a Teacher – my advice
Before I could apply for my skilled migration visa I had to get my teaching qualifications assessed by the appropriate skills assessing authority (AITSL) to ensure my Scottish teaching qualifications were accepted in Australia. I required a positive skills result and references to register with the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) to teach in the state (each state has its own board).
Be aware that the skills assessment process can take up to three months for your paperwork to be completed and processed; it then took 12 weeks for my registration to be approved. You can register from the UK, and in hindsight I should have registered before I arrived in Australia so I could have started teaching straight away.
Another tip worth considering: I had to have my documents certified before I left the UK and had to pay for this service; however, in Queensland you can get a Justice of the Peace (JP) to certify your documents free of charge so this could save a few hundred pounds. Most large organisations will have an employee who is a JP and this was the case for me. If you do not know anyone who is a JP you can go to the court house and get your documents certified there.
Now that I have my Queensland College Teachers Registration I am able to teach in any Queensland state school. As a qualified secondary teacher I am also able to supply as a primary teacher and a teacher of special needs. I have only held my registration for 3 months, and so far I have supplied in both these settings. I have enjoyed the new challenges these placements have provided me with and I am now considering specialising in special needs and moving away from my specialisation as a business education teacher.
The new term is about to start and I am looking forward to supplying in more schools and to immerse myself in the Australian curriculum. I have only dipped my toes in the water in terms of the curriculum, but from what I have read and experienced so far, the curriculum in my subject area is very similar in content to my own background, although the assessment arrangements have slight differences. I am looking forward to the new challenges of teaching in Queensland, and with 12 years teaching experience, I will embrace the Australian curriculum while bringing in ideas and experiences from the Scottish system.
My experience so far in Australia is that the schools are very professional with a relaxed atmosphere. The buildings are light and airy, and the atmosphere tends to be a very positive one, but no matter where you teach in the world, children are children, they just have different accents. As a teacher you will be able to bring the wealth of your experience to bear in a new and exciting environment.