‘Awesome’ welcome for Canadian teachers

New teachers at Sir John Gleed School in Spalding - Melissa McCarthy, Andrew Schneider and Dawn Lunan. ANL-141109-163845001
New teachers at Sir John Gleed School in Spalding - Melissa McCarthy, Andrew Schneider and Dawn Lunan. ANL-141109-163845001
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Coffee is too expensive and there are not enough family trucks on the road – but if Spalding was like Canada it might not have been so attractive to three English teachers who have flown halfway across the world to face new challenges.

Melissa McCarthy, from Newfoundland, Dawn Lunan, from Montreal, and Andrew Schneider, from Hamilton, joined the staff of Sir John Gleed School at the beginning of term after giving the school and town the thumbs-up following a recruitment day earlier in the year.

Amye Wilson, from Ireland, has also crossed the sea to help fill the 12 vacancies at the school, leaving just two positions to be covered by supply staff.

Dawn said: “It was a bit like speed-dating at the interview day in London, but right from the start we were impressed by the honesty about the school.

“When we came for a visit, we thought Spalding was everything we expected from a typical, beautiful British town and our welcome here has been very warm.”

Andrew said: “It’s been awesome. In the corridors I hear the students say ‘there’s my teacher, he’s from Canada’, but in the classroom I’m just like any other teacher. To be part of the changing times at the school will be a great experience for us.”

Melissa said: “Coming to England was never in the plan, but there are no jobs in Canada.

“I had many talks with my family, but having the opportunity to live and work in England seemed too good to miss. As soon as I arrived, it felt like a community here.”

Chris Mallaband, executive principal, said: “Being able to fill the majority of the vacancies means we are starting this year with a massive increase in stability.

“Recruitment from within the UK was proving difficult – I think this is the case in a number of places, but probably felt most in rural locations. It is also particularly the case within the key subjects of English and Maths.

“We were struck with Dawn, Andrew and Melissa and invited them to the school, saw them teach and liked what we saw.

“We thought that ‘selling’ Spalding might be difficult as it doesn’t have the bright lights of London, but in fact it was easy to sell it. They were really attracted by the very safe, attractive environment with just about everything you need on the doorstep.

“Also – in Canadian terms – it isn’t very far from London if you want to visit the city or other really good centres.

“It’s great to have young, enthusiastic colleagues who are just starting out in their careers with us and also great to have staff from around the world working with us. The students love their accents!”