Rachel Lucas and Derbiled Boyle, Northern IrelandRachel Lucas and Derbiled Boyle from Northern Ireland, relocated to the Island in 2020. They did not know each other before relocating, but have since developed a firm friendship in the new place they call home.
Joining forces in the Isle of Man
Although Derbiled and I had lived in the same province of Ulster, we’d never met each other until university when we were brought together by a tutor, and latterly again when we moved to the Isle of Man – the rest they say is history! Now we share a home and a passion to help educate youngsters in the Isle of Man.
After completing my undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in Belfast, I decided to move to Liverpool to complete my PGDE (Professional Graduate Diploma in Education). However, after living in the countryside all my life, I wasn’t too keen on city life as it felt a bit claustrophobic, so I had no long-term plans to stay in Liverpool. I was planning to go back to Northern Ireland - although there was no guarantee of jobs for geography teachers, so when the Head of Ballakermeen High School visited to give a talk about the Isle of Man and the secondary school opportunities there, while showing some amazing footage of the Island, I was instantly hooked! By the August of 2020, I had accepted a role at Ballakermeen and so my journey to the Island began!
Only a few weeks earlier, I’d relocated from Saintfield, County Down, to take up a post as a Religious Education teacher at Ramsey Grammar School. It was through our university tutor that I found out Rachel was moving to the Island and was looking for somewhere to live. She suggested we could live together which has worked out well and we’ve both settled at a place in Crosby. My Head Teacher Adrienne even arranged viewings of properties for us and had furniture delivered. She has gone out of her way to help, and the Island already feels a very natural fit.
Embracing the great Manx outdoors
Derbiled and I are both really outdoorsy people and we’ve already discovered that the Island has so many outdoor activities and clubs worth joining. I’m a big hockey fan and have already joined Valkyrs. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the standard of Manx hockey and before the move only thought there was a handful of clubs here – how wrong I was!
I’m a keen rider and have already signed up to a local riding school and also joined a running club. It’s been great to meet new friends and I am on target to run a half marathon which I would never have thought possible. I didn’t even run before I came here! I now spend my weekends going for long walks and hiking and love the relaxed lifestyle. It is a nice pace of life and provides many opportunities to explore.
Laid-back Island-living is certainly a thing here; Derbiled and I have a great work-life balance and it’s wonderful to be near the sea – a favourite trip of ours is to head to the seaside town of Peel for an ice-cream!
A rewarding career in education in the Isle of Man
Even in the short time we have been here, the career prospects and progression provided within the education sector are apparent. The rate you can progress here is very clear, with opportunities to gain experience in all areas of school life and the chance to apply for extra roles within the school.
The atmosphere here is also very laid back. All the schools work together, and you get an opportunity to meet teachers from other schools too, which is great for networking, and making new friends.
One of the first things that struck me was how welcoming everyone was within the school and the sense of community both in and out of work. My now not-so-new colleagues are really friendly, and I have a great set of students who have helped me settle into school life. There are lots of benefits for teachers too such as monthly housing payments, so it all helps.
A warm and welcoming community
Naturally, I was a little apprehensive because I had not been to the Isle of Man before, had little idea of what it was like and was moving in the middle of a pandemic.
My first experience of the Isle of Man was arriving by boat at half past four in morning - it was dark, and we had to then spend two weeks in quarantine in a new house. The welcome was warm though and you remember that. Even at that time of the morning my new Head was there to meet the boat and show me to our new home. After the two-week isolation period, I literally had a few days to look around, explore and find my bearings and then school started so it took a while to get to know what the Island was like.
I didn’t really have any pre-conceived ideas or worries about coming here, so I take every day as it comes. What I can tell you now is that it provides a safe, relaxed way of life and the countryside and views are second to none.
To anyone considering a career in teaching in the Isle of Man, I’d say give it a shot! For me, it has been the best thing I’ve ever done. The community, the job and the experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Although it can be hard to spend time away from family, everyone here is so welcoming and you can make a whole new family on the Island. The Isle of Man is simply beautiful!