I met my husband at a house party near Swansea. Turned out he wasn't from around there but lived in the heart of Hampshire, which caused great fun for our developing romance as every weekend we took it in turns to travel to see each other. I was in the second year of university at the time and halfway through my final year, we had to start thinking about what would happen when I graduated.
Where would we live and work?
We decided on a halfway point, meeting in the middle metaphorically and literally right from the word go. Reading was a good place for him because of the proximity to London and the dotcom boom, and it was only just under two hours back home again for me to see my family who I'd lived with for the previous 23 years.
And so in the March before I finished my degree, I started looking for jobs in Reading. The very first job I applied for I received an invitation to interview for, and consequently got the job. I was the first person on my degree course to get a job and I happily started in the following September.
Right, now for the ridiculousness of the situation. Prior to having the interview, my (then) boyfriend had been living in Reading for three months and during that time I had visited it half a dozen times. Before he moved there, I'd never been to Reading. I applied for the job not knowing where the school was. In fact, I called a taxi to take me to the school and it drove across the main road, turned left and left again and we were there. The fare cost £2.70. That's how close it was to his flat and I had no idea. I moved to a city I didn't know, to work in a school I didn't know, and completely changed everything in my life.
For the three years we lived there I was beyond homesick and couldn't wait to come home. I hadn't done my research you see? And despite loving the school I worked in, I knew nothing of the town or the area, it was as far removed from my home town as it could be. I should have visited it properly first and researched the way of life there, and the schools in the area. I did like living there, the proximity to London and easy access to most major cities was a bonus, but it lacked the seaside and lush landscapes that I was used to, the hustle and bustle was extreme.
I do recommend that teachers branch out and explore working in different areas of the country; it gave me the best experience and working in areas closer to London really opened up a range of cultural experiences. The key is to researching the area first though.
Kent County Council Schools have realised that before teachers make life-altering decisions like I did, that it's wise to test out the area first and see which lifestyle opportunity suits. They have launched a competition on Facebook to provide teachers with the opportunity to see what it would be like living and teaching in Kent.
Kent is often referred to as Garden of England with beautiful countryside and coastline, but at the same time provides easy access to London and the Continent. That close to the capital city of the U.K. provides a wealth of career opportunities to choose from one of the largest local authorities in the country. Kent County Council Schools are committed to attracting new, experienced and talented teachers and the competition on Facebook allows for teachers interested in living and working there to find out about the county by potentially experiencing an all expenses weekend away in the county.
Entrants are invited to submit a story on My Perfect Kent Day, for a chance to win a weekend with all expenses paid in Kent. The stories will be shortlisted and introduced to a public to vote for the favourite one. The story that receives the most votes will win.
I wish I'd had that opportunity before I moved to another county!