London is just like any major city, it’s a brilliant place to be as long as you are sensible and take precautions with personal protection when you are out and about. You can enjoy living and working in the city as a supply teacher and have a fabulous time by taking basic but sensible precautions.
Embrace life in the city, see the sights and listen to the sounds. Follow this advice and your time as a teacher in London will be memorable for all the right reasons.
Getting Around the Capital
There are many ways to travel around London in safety so don’t be overawed by the scale of the city. Public transport is your best bet. You can take the tube, travel by bus, or use one of the official (and famous!) black cabs you see driving around. A visit to the official Transport For London website can be useful as you slowly find your feet. Here you can plan a journey, discover maps for transport links, learn about Oyster Cards, tube networks, the overground service, and get a general feel for the travel services that are available to you. Cycling around London is another great option to consider. Take the Cycle Superhighway along safe, traffic-free routes. All you have to do is follow the blue bike lanes to get to where you want to go. Be vigilant, be seen and wear a helmet! Make sure that you dock the bike properly when you have finished your journey.
Walking About at Night
It’s important to use common sense whenever you are travelling around any major city and London is no exception. Always plan your route in advance, especially if you are visiting a new borough for the first time and need to use public transport to get there. Stick to well-lit streets if you are travelling solo later on in the evening. Ideally, you should avoid walking home on your own late at night if this is possible after a night out. If you are out with friends, stay in contact with each other until you have arrived home. Let each other know you got back safely and send a quick text to your pals.
Stay Alert and Aware
Take stock of your surroundings and this can be a useful safety measure when you are visiting built-up areas in London. Keep your mind alert and your senses active to everything that is going on around you. A good tip is to avoid wearing headphones with your hood up. You’ll be too cosy and comfortable, become lost in the music, and be unaware or unprepared for things that are happening around you. Not only does this leave you vulnerable to personal attacks, you could be distracted and unaware of approaching traffic as a pedestrian. Speaking of traffic, remember that cars drive on the left in the UK. If you’re an Australian supply teacher looking for work in Britain this shouldn’t be a problem. It’ll be just like being at home!
Dining Out or Going for Drinks
One of the fun things about living in London is the social scene. There’s so much to see and do and so many bars, restaurants and clubs you can visit during your time here. That’s fine as long as you are aware of what is happening when you have had a few tipples. Always keep a close eye on your drink, never leave it unattended, and beware of accepting drinks from people you don’t know. Be wary of getting home too. If you take a cab, make sure it’s booked through a reputable minicab company or you flag down one of the officially licensed hackney taxis in their distinctive black livery.
Keep a Close Eye on Bags, Purses or Wallets
Pickpockets are quick to grab any opportunity they can. Mainly they like to operate in busy, heavily pedestrianised areas, where rich pickings are easy to come by. Be mindful of this when you are walking through central city zones in London. Hide purses and wallets away and never leave your bag unattended for any length of time. Thieves are quick and they’ll snatch and run away with your belongings in the blink of an eye. The same goes for mobiles, tablets and other expensive electronic gadgets. Keep them well out of sight whenever they are not being used.
Cash point crime is something else you should be of wary of no matter what part of the world you are in. London is no different from any other metropolis, as long as you are forewarned you are forearmed. Look for suspicious devices on ATMs that could be used to skim the details from your debit or credit cards and always shield your personal pin number. If the cash machine looks strange or there appear to be any signs of tampering on the hole in the wall, walk away and look for another machine. Be wary of distraction techniques used at ATMs too. If somebody tries to engage you in conversation as you are using the machine, stop what you are doing and walk away. The same goes for anyone acting suspiciously near the cash point. Use your gut instinct. If something feels wrong, steer well clear.
ICE Contact Details
Make your ‘in case of emergency’ contact details clearly visible to any interested parties by storing an ICE number in your mobile phone. This way, if you feel unwell, can’t use your phone, or become involved in an accident, the emergency services will be able to contact your next of kin. Store useful numbers into your mobile phone for the emergency services too. In the UK the numbers to call for the Police, Ambulance or Fire Service are 999 or 112. To contact the police for non-urgent situations, dial 101.
Working and living in London is a rewarding and enjoyable experience for supply teachers. Follow this advice, stay safe and have fun as you experience life in the city. For advice about teaching in London, get in touch with our world class consultants today.