American student Meredith spent 7 weeks as an intern in the Smart Teachers London office learning about the world of teacher recruitment. Find out how she found the pace of a London recruitment office during one of its’ busiest seasons.

Recruitment.  Education recruitment? As an American expat living abroad for the first time these are two words I had never seen or heard together. Needless to say when I received my work experience placement with Smart Teachers I was intrigued as to how a company like this was run and the role it played in the recruitment industry in the UK.

I spent hours researching Smart Teachers and teacher recruitment; contacting two of my cousins who are both recent University graduates working at their first teaching jobs in the states. I questioned them incessantly as to how they found their jobs, what they thought about using an agency and the difficulties of finding a job when you are one candidate in a pool of many.

When I arrived at my first day at Smart, located in the ever-active Covent Garden, I had no idea what to expect. My first week was the end of October when the UK is on half-term break which gave me time to settle in. Once schools started back I quickly picked it up; educational recruitment is extremely important in this country and is growing rapidly. Once the pace picked up for the January 2014 “Push” season, the office was constantly busy. The admin team was busy clearing potential teachers by the minute, the consultants were busy seeking job placements and availabilities, and the marketing team were constantly posting job adverts, maintaining current client satisfaction, and networking with teachers in the UK and overseas.

When I entered the office on any given day the consultants were already abuzz filling daily roles with excellent teachers and teaching assistants. If you’re an overseas trained teacher looking to come to the UK to teach and reading this, rest assured that Smart Teachers will find you work and you will enjoy it. They truly are the complete package and strive to go the extra mile by offering things like short-term housing options upon arrival, help recruits make connections with other on-the-ground teachers, and support each individual’s progress and goals throughout the way.

Now, as I am in my final days at the office, I find myself appreciating the quirkiness and hard work-ethic of this company.  The office is young and vivacious and is constantly seeking more people of similar character. They thrive off each other’s successes and accomplishments, pushing one another to be the best educational recruiters in the city of London. The open floor plan of the office allows for consultants to easily work together and places an emphasis on team work.

After spending the last four months living as the Londoners do and working with the team at Smart, I am leaving this experience with a better feel for the ‘British’ office culture, a newfound love for Covent Garden, and true admiration of the work ethic of the entire office. Smart Teachers is truly the complete package, no matter which side of the contract you’re on.

Meredith Leyden
Smart Teachers Intern
October – December 2013