Sydney Catholic Schools’ (SCS) Teacher Sponsorship Program helps connect eligible and passionate international teachers with schools right across our system.
SCS, as an approved Standard Business Sponsor, is able to sponsor teachers who are on visas under the government’s subclass 482 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa program and to lodge nominations and visa applications on behalf of our schools.
Anna Kelly, St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Primary School Randwick North, is one such teacher who has benefited from the program.
Ms Kelly, who is from Waterford in Ireland, was approved for sponsorship last November last year, having first joined the school as a casual teacher in March that year.
Here, she talks about the process of gaining sponsorship and what her experience has been like at St Margaret Mary’s.
Tell us a bit about your background, and how and why you got into teaching in the first place?
Anna: From a very young age I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I used to teach my (unwilling) brother and sister with our blackboard at home, and I was in awe of many of my primary teachers. I studied at St. Patrick’s College, DCU in Drumcondra. I taught in an all boys Catholic school in Dublin for 4 years before I made the move to Australia.
What appealed to you about the idea of moving to Australia to teach?
Anna: I really wanted to travel and to see more of the world, and Australia had always been top of the list. Teaching in Australia meant that I could live in and explore a new country, a new culture and a new education system. The weather was a big pull too of course!
How did you first find out about the opportunity to work with Sydney Catholic Schools?
Anna: When we arrived and began the process of getting registered to teach, we spoke with friends who had already set themselves up here and many of them recommended Sydney Catholic Schools as having a great teaching and learning culture.
How have you found the transition to a new country and to an Australian classroom? How have you been supported along the journey?
Anna: Moving to Australia has been an easier process than I had imagined. I was apprehensive about moving so far from home, but there are many similarities between Ireland and Australia, which made it easier to settle here.
I was lucky to have done a lot of casual work in Australian classrooms before taking up my position at St. Margaret Mary’s. I was familiar with the format of the school day, with the structure of lessons. However, when I took up the contract, I needed support with the planning process and navigating the NSW curriculum. The teachers and leadership in my school were fantastic in assisting and encouraging me, as I began my teaching journey in Australia. I collaboratively plan and co-teach with my stage partner teacher regularly, and I have in class support from the leadership team which has been invaluable in grasping the content and the programs that I am learning to use.
What are some of the things you’ve enjoyed most about teaching at St Margaret Mary’s?
Anna: From the first day I worked in St. Margaret Mary’s I loved the atmosphere and the character of the school. The children are wonderful to work with, so enthusiastic and energetic. The small size of the school makes it a very close knit, inclusive community, which is a pleasure to work in.
I have really enjoyed experiencing my first ever Athletics and Swimming Carnivals – the cheers were a big culture shock but I am very much on board!
What advice would you give to teachers who are thinking about undertaking a similar journey?
Anna: Go for it! The process of moving and registering can be overwhelming, but it is a great quality of life and a fantastic experience to immerse yourself in another education system. It is a great opportunity to expose yourself to different programs, teaching methods and curriculums. It has also encouraged me to think critically about what I have always known in education, as I continue to compare and contrast the two systems.
If you would like to find out more about the Teacher Sponsorship Program, please contact the Recruitment team at firstname.lastname@example.org