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How to Choose a Teaching Agency

| January 9, 2011 | 2 Comments

Choosing a teaching agency that suits your needs is one of the most important decisions you can make when deciding to teach in the UK. At RMTA, our goal is to help new teachers make an informed agency decision. Below, you will find a list of criteria you should look for when choosing an agency.

Support from Abroad:
If you are traveling to the UK from abroad, the process can be made easier if your agency is willing to help you before you land. Many agencies are willing to help their teachers with visas, CRB police checks, setting up a bank account, finding living arrangements, etc. Make sure you ask agencies if they offer these services. Some will even have representatives in your home country willing to help you prior to your departure.

Footprint:
Especially in London, competition among agencies can be fierce. Some agencies lay “claim” to certain areas while others spread themselves out. If you are interested in living in a particular area, ensure that your agency deals with nearby schools. If you don’t mind where you live, still check with the agency to find out where most of their schools are or what area they recommend.

Another important element to an agency’s footprint is the number of schools they deal with. More schools does not necessarily mean more work or even that it is a better agency; however, it is still beneficial to have an idea of your agency’s breadth. Additionally, if you are looking to teach in secondary schools, make sure your agency works with enough of them to keep you working as some agencies primarily work with primary schools (no pun intended).

Communication:
You will likely be communicating with your agency on a daily basis (especially if you are doing daily supply) so it is very important to choose an agency that you can communicate well with. You should be able to answer “Yes” to the following questions when dealing with a good agency and their staff:

  • Are they friendly?
  • Do they know you by name and do you know them by name?
  • Do you feel you can trust them?
  • Do they provide you with lots of useful information?
  • Are your questions answered confidently and clearly?

Remember, this agency will be finding you work and helping you pay the bills. A good agency is one that you can build a relationship with and one that you feel has your interests at heart. There are agencies out there that will go that extra mile for you so if you feel that an agency is not meeting your expectations, don’t be afraid to search for…

Alternatives:
One thing you do have is choice. There are a number of teaching agencies out there and competition is high so don’t be afraid to search for alternatives. Many agencies recruit their teachers at university career fairs knowing that newly qualified teachers are not always aware of their options. This can be helpful for new teachers and can sometimes match you with a great agency. However, it is important to remember that other options exist. Browse the reviews on this site, talk with other teachers, and search the internet for more information before making your final decision.

Extras:
If you are happy with what you see in a few agencies, then it is time to have a look at some of the extrasthey provide. To try and separate themselves, agencies may offer freebies such as professional development courses, social gatherings, or relocation bonuses. These may not make or break your decision, but can be an added bonus.

In the end, choosing the right agency comes down to personal opinion. Use the above criteria to make an informed decision and remember that your personal and professional needs come first. Whichever agency can meet those is the right one for you!

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Comments (2)

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  1. Thank you for this blog post. We at Classroom Canada (and Classroom Teachers, our office in London) strive to be the best teaching agency we can be, but we also recognize we are not a good fit for everyone out there wishing to teach abroad as our agency works specifically with inner city London schools.

    We do, however, pride ourselves on making the transition for our Canadian teachers moving to London as seamless as possible – through social networking, assistance with visas and bank accounts, recommendations on housing options, etc.

    For any teacher candidates out there, please do your research on all the agencies and make sure you feel comfortable with the one(s) you select and follow the advice listed in this blog.

    All of us at Classroom Canada want your teaching experience in the UK to be the best it can be – whether you are working with us or not.

    London is a fabulous city, the UK is a wonderful country and together, what a great place to begin your career as a teacher!

    Anissa

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  2. Cordelia says:

    I agree with all of these points, and Protocol Education strives to be personal, friendly and helpful in all that we do.

    We have overseas offices in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and we also have a dedicated International Coordinating Team, who, alongside the Teacher Services team, help every step of the way in your move to the UK and teaching here.

    Protocol Education is well-known for its social events, and for the networking you can do here, so check us out today!

    See the reviews on this site for real answers to all your questions.

    Cordelia

    http://www.facebook.com/ProtocolEducation

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