Laura Danieli, a teacher and Service spouse, spoke to Army&You about gaining qualifications whilst living overseas…

HAVING qualified as a teacher through the Italian education system, Laura has always found work whilst being an Army wife.

She said: “In Germany I taught Italian through the Army Education Centre, in Surrey I was registered as a private tutor and taught in the evenings, and I also ran a few courses at the local community centre.

“This suited me very well because my children were still young at that time.”

A family move to Cyprus saw the children start school and Laura used this time to work as an early years practitioner.

“This was a good opportunity to continue to gain experience of the British school system,” explained Laura.

Gaining qualifications

It was when the family moved to Brunei that Laura made the decision to invest further in her career and gain a British teaching qualification.

“So far, my Italian qualifications have been sufficient but I knew that back in the UK, if I wanted to be able to teach, I would need to top up my qualifications – so I enrolled on the PGCE International run by Nottingham University.”

The course lasts a year and is run online but with a requirement for completion of practical teaching hours.

Fortunately, Laura got a job in the local international school.

“The course is very well structured and I am really enjoying it,” she explained. “My husband is really supportive and tries to help as much as he can with the children and family life.”

Short toured

However, it wasn’t long before Laura discovered the posting was going to be shorter than expected.

“When I enrolled, I thought our posting in Brunei was going to be 27 months.

“In the end, because we all know how unpredictable Army life can sometimes be, it turns out we are now moving back to England nine months early.”

This could have been a problem, but with a bit of extra organisation and a few months teaching as many hours as possible, Laura has been able to finish the practical requirements, leaving the final essay writing part of the course for after the move.

“When we move, I will still need to gain my QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) because this type of PGCE doesn’t offer it automatically.

“It is a step-by-step process but, as an Army wife, I feel privileged not to have the pressure of having to find a full-time job. On the contrary, because of the security of my husband’s job I can take small steps at convenient moments towards achieving my career goals.”

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