It is cold. Very cold. OK maybe not as cold as it gets in the UK but still pretty chilly. We have had frosts, hail, bright sunshine and rainbows in the last week. Currently I am watching the rain slowly flood the valley below us and the girls are cycling and scooting round and round in the garage in an effort to expend some energy.
This week has been a somewhat frustrating one. I have been trying to get back to work. In my previous life, pre relocation down under and pre child number two, I was a Geography teacher and Head of Department. That all seems a world away now. I previously, rather naively thought that it would be fairly easy to go back into teaching in New Zealand. It is not, and as with everything else there are a huge number of hoops to jump through.
Firstly I had to obtain a work permit. This was relatively easy but I did not realise that in converting my visitors visa to a work permit I would no longer be able to leave the country without it expiring. Never mind we hopefully will get residency soon!
Then you have to get your qualifications assessed by the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) who will assess whether or not your qualifications are valid in this country. If they are they then issue you with a certificate. Once this is done you have to register with the Teachers Council of New Zealand. These nice people once again assess you qualifications and check your police record in all the countries in which you have lived. Eventually they will hopefully issue you with your registration which will be provisional to start with. Once you have been teaching in New Zealand for a year (under supervision) you will be granted full registration.
I have completed all the steps in order to begin teaching but I just need to find a job. Being a Mum I was under the delusion that I might be able to return to work part time. Clearly this is not going to happen as unfortunately Geography Teachers are surprisingly not that in demand! There are not even any full time positions advertised at the moment. Supply teaching is an option but do you pay for childcare in advance and hope that you have some work that week? It is a very frustrating position to be in. It was also rather depressing to be informed by the chap at the teaching agency that there was not a lot of supply work about as a lot of the civil servants had been made redundant recently and they were now flooding the supply teaching posts. Short of knocking off a few existing Geography Teachers or encouraging some into early retirement I am not sure what to do!
I am not unique in being frustrated at the difficulties people face when trying to return to work post children. I have been chatting to a lot of my friends over here who are in similar positions. Sitting around my dining room table we had a teacher, IT proffessional, accountant and HR specialist. All of them having taken a break from their careers for a few years to raise children and now facing the difficulties of returning to work. I believe that businesses and organisations should be crying out to employ Mums (and Dads!). The skills you gain as a parent are unique and valuable. The ability to juggle so many needs and wants, the ability to diffuse difficult situations and arguments and the ability to remain calm when faced with a toddler tantrum and nappy explosions in public places are so valuable!