Back to Blogs

An International Teacher's Experience Teaching in the UK

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author: Sarah

​Teaching in a foreign country can be a daunting experience, especially for an international teacher. But for those brave enough to take on the challenge, the rewards can be endless. This blog post will share my experience as an international teacher teaching in the UK, focusing on the unique challenges and advantages of this unique experience. From cultural differences to language barriers, I will explore the highs and lows of teaching in a foreign country.


The Culture Shock

One of the biggest shocks when teaching in the UK as an international teacher can be the culture. After all, not only are you adjusting to a new way of teaching, but also to a new culture and lifestyle. It can be quite a challenge to adjust to the differences between your home culture and the one you now live in.

When I first arrived in the UK, I was surprised by how different the classroom atmosphere was compared to what I was used to back home. For starters, the emphasis on discipline and respect for authority in UK classrooms is much stronger than what I’m used to. In my home country, teachers often take a more relaxed approach to discipline and authority, so it was definitely an adjustment for me to learn the UK approach to classroom management.

Another major shock was getting used to the UK accent. While English is the primary language in both countries, UK English has its own unique dialect which can be very confusing if you’re not used to it. Thankfully, most of my students were patient with me as I adjusted to their accent and understood when I mispronounced words.

I also had to adjust to the more reserved attitude of people in the UK. I come from a culture where people are much more open and expressive, so it took some time to get used to the more reserved nature of British people. This included learning how to read body language, which proved difficult at first.

Overall, adjusting to the culture shock of teaching in the UK was no easy feat. However, with patience and an open-mind, I was able to eventually understand and embrace the cultural differences that came with teaching in the UK.


The Classroom Management

Teaching in the UK as an international teacher is a unique experience that can be both challenging and rewarding. One of the biggest challenges is adjusting to the classroom management style that is typically employed in the UK. The British system of education values students' independence, so teachers are expected to take a more facilitative approach to teaching. This means that the teacher needs to be able to establish clear boundaries, provide appropriate structure, and ensure that the students understand what is expected of them.

The classroom environment should be welcoming and safe, while also providing an atmosphere of academic rigor. Establishing a relationship of mutual respect between the teacher and students is key to successful classroom management. Students should feel comfortable approaching the teacher with questions and concerns and know that their needs will be taken seriously.

To promote a healthy learning environment, teachers should strive to make the lesson content interesting and engaging, create a positive atmosphere in the classroom, use various forms of assessment, and assign meaningful homework. Utilizing visual aids and hands-on activities can help to keep the students interested and motivated. Additionally, using class discussions and allowing for student input can foster collaboration and critical thinking skills.

As an international teacher in the UK, it is important to remember that there will be differences in classroom management styles between cultures. Taking the time to learn about the UK education system and being open-minded about different approaches can help you be successful in managing your classroom.


The Curriculum

As an international teacher teaching in the UK, one of the most interesting and challenging aspects of the job is adapting to the curriculum. The educational systems in the UK and other countries often differ significantly, and as such, teachers may have to adjust to a new style of teaching and learning.

The primary focus of teaching in the UK is often to encourage students to think critically, analyse information and develop problem-solving skills. This can be difficult for teachers coming from other countries, as they may be accustomed to a more traditional approach to teaching, where the focus is on memorisation and recitation. However, this shift in focus can also be exciting and rewarding, as it allows teachers to help foster independent thinking and creativity in their students.

It’s important for international teachers to familiarise themselves with the curriculum in advance of their arrival in the UK. There are a variety of resources available that can provide an overview of the structure of the curriculum and the key topics covered. It’s also beneficial to take some time to familiarise yourself with the assessment system in place in your school and local area, as well as any particular policies or practices that might differ from your home country.

Finally, it’s also important for international teachers to be aware of any potential cultural differences that might affect the way they teach certain topics. Understanding how different cultures might perceive certain topics can help international teachers to better cater to the needs of their students. With careful research, preparation and reflection, international teachers can successfully adjust to the UK curriculum and ensure their students get the most out of their learning experience.


The Students

Teaching in the UK can be a rewarding experience, but also a challenging one. One of the main challenges for any international teacher is getting used to the students in the UK classrooms.

The students in the UK are typically very polite and well-mannered, which makes them easy to work with. However, they can also be quite shy and may take a while to warm up to a new teacher. In addition, they tend to be very aware of their rights and may be quick to question a teacher's decisions.

As an international teacher in the UK, it is important to understand the different needs and expectations of the students. For example, while some may appreciate having creative freedom to express themselves, others may feel more comfortable following a set structure. It is important to recognize these differences and try to accommodate them as best you can.

In addition, it is important to get to know your students on a more personal level. By building relationships with them, you can create an atmosphere of trust and respect that will help foster an enjoyable learning environment.

Overall, teaching in the UK provides an international teacher with an incredibly rewarding experience. It is important to remain patient and understanding of the students’ needs and expectations in order to make the most of this experience.


The Support System

When teaching abroad, the support system of the school and the community is essential for any teacher’s success. Teaching in the UK comes with a range of services and resources for teachers to draw on. The National College for Teaching and Leadership, for example, provides ongoing professional development for teachers to help them keep up to date with best practices.

Additionally, there is a network of local authorities who offer advice and support to international teachers in the UK. These authorities provide advice on adapting to the British way of life, and can also provide assistance with housing and visa requirements. They also offer guidance on dealing with cultural and language barriers when teaching in a foreign country.

Furthermore, there are various networks of teachers and other professionals who have had similar experiences to international teachers. Joining these networks can be a great way to build relationships, ask questions, and share ideas. It’s also a great opportunity to gain insight into the realities of teaching abroad.

The UK education system also provides access to an extensive library of resources, such as books and articles on teaching strategies, lesson plans, and assessment tools. All of these resources are available to international teachers and can be used as a reference point when preparing lessons or dealing with challenging situations in the classroom.

Finally, international teachers in the UK can rely on their colleagues for support. They can turn to them for advice and guidance when facing difficulties or just for a friendly chat. Teaching in the UK can be challenging at times but having a supportive network of people around you can make it much easier.



The experience of an international teacher teaching in the UK is one of immense learning and growth. From dealing with the culture shock to the classroom management, the curriculum, and the students, this experience is one that cannot be forgotten. With the help of iCan Teach Education Recruitment Agency, the perfect role as a teacher in the UK was found. They provided all the necessary resources and support to make the transition seamless. Overall, the journey of being an international teacher has been challenging yet rewarding in many ways. It has been a journey of personal growth and learning that no other experience could offer.