Michael Dunn is an Australian trained primary teacher who left Brisbane life for London town. Here is an honest rendition from Michael on what it’s like teaching 10,262 miles from home.

Embracing the British classroom

When doing supply, usually you will know which year level you’ll be teaching when you’re booked. Only occasionally will you arrive at the school without knowing which class you’ve been assigned to.

In terms of class sizes, the average UK class holds between 20 and 30 students. What’s great about schools in London is that many are culturally diverse, which offers the opportunity to learn about various backgrounds. You can even learn the odd word or phrase too!

group of kids with teacher and tablet pc at school

At the end of the day, just be yourself, be confident in your ability, and maintain strong assertive behaviour management that’s consistent with the school’s policy.

Dress to impress

As the adage goes, first impressions count. You want to send the right message that you’re professional and serious about your position.  Many UK schools are still quite conservative so it’s best to play it safe and overdress opposed to underdress.

Gentlemen: Jackets and ties do make a difference. Every now and then you will get schools that are more casual, but it’s easier to take a tie off than pull one from thin air.

Ladies: Be professional and smart, but also make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing and can move around.


If you’ve just arrived and need to fill your wardrobe, this can be done on a budget. Check out H&M, Zara, Next, TK Maxx, and ye old faithful Primark.

Clothing aside, present yourself with confidence. Being professional and consistent is worth its weight in gold. You have a marketable quality in being a Smart Teacher, so get out there and sell it.

Stay tuned for Part Two, in which Michael will talk about the types of questions you can ask to help you put your best foot forward at a new school.