Back to writing in English as it’s time to start a new chapter in EduExploring. I returned to Melbourne after a short trip to Vietnam. Some might also call that as “doing a visa run” as I came back with the working holiday visa (WHV) in my pocket. I got to change the backpacking mode to job-seeking mode and once again, migrate to a new country. This time to Australia, making a long-term dream to come true. Let’s restart the “mamu” (immigrant in Finnish) and dive into a new education system, shall we?
After all, applying for the 12 months’ WHV and settling in Australia wasn’t a difficult decision to make. I had already thought about working here several times before but always ended up moving to Sweden instead. My WHV was granted in less than an hour once I sent the application from Vietnam. Next step was to figure out, what i could do as a qualified teacher in Australia.
Before returning to Melbourne, I had contacted an agency who connects teachers and schools in order to arrange casual relief teaching and short-term substitutions. With their guidance, I learned that if I wanted to work as a teacher in Australia, the way to get there wouldn’t be the easiest. Firstly, I need to take care of all the basic immigration documents such as the tax file number (TFN) and medicare. Secondly, I need to registrate with the Victorian institute of teaching (VIT) in order to be qualify for any teacher positions.
Starting with easy ones, I managed to get both TFN and medicare during the first week. Also, the working with children check (WWCC), which is needed for the teacher registration, was pretty easy to apply. The only thing you have to do, is to pay the bill and go to a post office to get your picture taken for the WWCC card. The WWCC authorities will scan through your criminal history and provide the necessary authorisation. After getting the TFN, I was finally able to apply for an Australian bank account. See, how smoothly the way takes me step by step through the Australian red tape jungle? No, still not done here. After filling in the application for the bank account, I need to go back to the post office to show my face again and prove that I’m a real person.
And what about the teaching registration then? What I can tell you so far, is that we are going to get even deeper to the jungle. As a qualified primary school teacher with a Master’s degree in Education from Finland you would proudly think that it’s easy to get a teaching job wherever. Nope, doesn’t guarantee that! After filling in, once again, another application, I received an email with a long list of required documents that should first, be translated and then, certified by the Victorian authorities. Additionally, I was asked to complete a language test with good marks to show that I am able to teach in English. And finally, they needed to receive my criminal history from both Finland and Sweden. But wait, didn’t WWCC already do that for me? Yes, but that’s not enough. Why not to do the same thing twice and make people pay extra for that…
When I was looking for the VIT documents through my files, I started counting the total bill of the migration process for a non-native English speaking teacher. Luckily, when I went to the VIT office in Melbourne to ask about translation and certification, they accepted my Master’s and Bachelor’s transcripts and identification documents straight away. Therefore, neither translating nor certifying is needed so far which cut down the bill a little bit. This is how it looks at the moment:
- Working Holiday Visa 485 AUD
- Medicare (we shall see)
- Tax File Number 0 AUD (at least paying taxes is something you can do for free…)
- Working With Children Check 126.50 AUD
- Language test 395 AUD (I chose a test called ISLPR “International Second Language Proficiency Rating)
- Nationally coordinated Criminal History (NCCH) form Finland 12€
- Nationally coordinated Criminal History from Sweden 225kr
- International Driving Licence 42€
So yeah, you might consider moving to Australia to be more like an expense rather than a way to become rich.
While I’m still waiting for the criminal history checks from both Finland and Sweden to reach Victorian authorities, I’m looking for an education-related job where you don’t need the VIT registration, like for instance, teaching assistant or school administration officer jobs. Unfortunately, almost every open position I’ve found so far seems to require a specified degree (well, just like in Finland…). Nevertheless, the teaching agency offered me a job that didn’t require the VIT registration. The job title was called “School Crossing Supervisor”, aka meaning someone who walks school kids across a street before and after school. Mmm… Yeah… That’s exactly what I thought I could do with my Master’s degree in Education in Australia. Cheers mate!
Above all, when moving to another country, prepare yourself to explain who you are and what you are qualified for. The fact that you’ve got a degree in higher education doesn’t mean that it’ll automatically be recognized and accredited in the new country. I do understand, however, that it’s important to make sure that the teachers trained overseas can do the same as their local colleagues. But then again, all the teachers in Finland are required to have a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.) whereas in Australia, most of the teachers only have a Bachelor’s degree. To become a teacher in Australia, you can either do a four years’ B.Ed. or a three years B.Ed. and one year M.Ed. That is to say, Finnish teachers are generally over-qualified here. Fingers crossed that it’ll help me to get a job soon!