Teaching Abroad in Australia: Guest Post from Jenny

I’m really excited to share my teaching experiences and classroom with you all! First, a bit about myself. I am originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I have a degree in Child Studies and a degree in Primary Education. I’ve been an educator for 9 years, 5 of which I’ve spent teaching in beautiful Victoria, Australia.

When I first arrived in Australia, I joined a teaching agency and worked as a ‘CRT’ (Casual Relief Teacher-a substitute teacher). This gave me great insight into how schools work and allowed me to meet lots of teachers and principals. It’s a great way to get your ‘name’ out there and leave a positive impression.

I quickly noticed that the curriculum in Australia was very similar to what I was used to, making the transition a smooth one. The core subjects are the same and many programs and structures, such as ‘Guided Reading’/Literacy Groups and ‘Daily 5’ were familiar to me.


Primary schools in Victoria are made up of grade levels from Foundation (kindergarten) to Year 6. I currently teach Year 3/4, which is considered middle primary in Victoria. At the moment I have 22 students and their ages range from 8-10.  The students are required to wear uniforms as you can see in the pictures. School hours vary slightly from school to school. A typical school day for my students starts at 9:00 am and ends at 3:15 pm. There are two 30 minutes breaks each day. Which means learning time is broken into three blocks. 

Each school is individualized, with a specific pedagogy or approach based on its’ core values and code. What makes this so interesting is parents are encouraged to ‘shop’ around and find a school that fits their needs and is in their child’s best interest. The school I teach at is a ‘Walker Learning Approach’ school, which focuses on students’ being active and engaged participants in their learning through a combined day of planned play/project based learning and explicit teaching of literacy and mathematics. Basically I focus on personalizing my students learning. One way to do that is by linking students’ interests to the content I’m currently teaching, to ensure their learning is meaningful. Sounds like common sense doesn’t it? I absolutely love this pedagogy and can’t imagine teaching any other way.

Most schools in Australia are made up of classroom and specialist teachers, an assistant principal and principal. Depending on the individual school’s pedagogy, the Specialist teachers may be responsible for different curriculum content. For example, at my school Specialist teachers are responsible for Music, Science and Physical Education, while the classroom teacher’s core responsibilities are English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Humanities, Technology and Visual Arts. Students also learn a second language in primary school, but it is up to the individual school as to which language is learned. At my school students participate in learning Chinese as their second language.

One of the biggest differences with teaching in Australia is that the school year starts in February and ends in December, which coincides with the very warm Aussie summer. Most public schools are split into two semesters and teachers are responsible for writing reports based on student achievement for each semester. At the moment we’re coming to the end of Semester One in Victoria, so I’ve just finished writing my student reports! *big smile* Finally, each semester is made up of two terms and at the end of every term we have a two week break.

So, it looks like this:
Term 1: February-April, 2 week Term Break
Term 2: April-June, 2 week Term Break

Term 3: July-September, 2 week Term Break

Term 4: October- December, Summer Break (5-6 weeks)

If you ever get the opportunity to move abroad and teach in another country I really encourage you to go for it. It truly is an amazing experience!

Jenny Brennan is a Canadian trained teacher who currently teaches and lives in beautiful Victoria, Australia.
You can follow her store on Teachers Pay Teachers for awesome resources, updates and sales! You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.

Thanks for joining us this week for #WorldwideWednesdays! Come back next week when we move to South America with Allison!

No comments:

Post a Comment