“EdKids” in the international school community: Who cares?

For your holiday reading pleasure…

How cool to be the author of a new moniker, describing a unique group in our international school community – “EdKids.” An “EdKid” is a child of an educator who works in the same school as their child attends. While there are similarities with kids who are educated in their parents’ schools ‘back home,’ there are many paradigms which are unique to families which are ‘overseas.’   In many of my published articles, I refer to international schools, international school educators, EdKids, Cross-Cultural Kids and Third Culture Kids. I so enjoyed listening to and reading narratives from EdKids, their parent-educators, colleagues of the parent-educators, administrators and counselors during my research, writing and publications.

But, why are we even talking (writing) about EdKids? Typically, they might not even add up to 5% of the student population. As my dissertation advisor kept demanding: “Who cares?  Why is this worth talking about – or researching?”  Well, perhaps many of you, my readers and colleagues,  should care. Whether you thought about it before this blog – or not, whether, you are single or partnered, whether you have children of your own, contemplating having children, or are teaching EdKids – or any other permutation or degree of separation, maybe you should care.  I hope reading this blog will help clarify a number of issues,  answer your questions and develop a greater sense of understanding.

So where do YOU fit in?  Maybe you are:

  • A current or adult EdKid
  • A friend/classmate of EdKids
  • A current or former international educator-parent
  • An educator in the international school,  interfacing with the children of their colleagues
  • A counselor who works with EdKids and all the others who interact with them
  • A non-educator parent in the international school community
  • An administrator, who recruits, hires, orients and supervises these parent-educators and their children
  • An administrator who may have EdKids of your own
  • A board member who may have children enrolled in the school
  • A recruiting agent who promotes careers in international schools and wishes to augment your pool of qualified educators
  • A potential educators/candidates who is considering a job overseas AND/OR…
  • A current international educator who is considering starting a family (as mentioned in my previous blog post)Did I leave anyone out?  In which category/ies do YOU belong? Please write and tell me your insights.

    So now that the point has been hammered in – we probably should all ‘care’ about the EdKid experience. And, now, you may be thinking impatiently, “Ok, ok, Ettie…. Tell me something I don’t already know. Stop teasing me and start telling me more about this unique family paradigm and school experience.”

    Stay tuned, folks.  There’s lots more to come. My research has identified many absolutely positive aspects of this experience, yet also a number of, shall we say, ‘challenging’ aspects of this paradigm.  And, once I begin to describe some of the scenarios, you will probably say “sure, I knew that” or “of course, I observed/experienced that” or “really?  I can’t believe that actually happens.”

    In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy your holidays, with time away from the intense demands of your jobs, time to visit and celebrate with your friends and family who may live far away, … and have time to read, reflect and respond.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Happy Holidays.
    Ettie Zilber
    Ettie.zilber@gmail.com
    ZedEd Consultancy

About Ettie Zilber

Ettie Zilber is a consultant to International School Communities and Families in Transition and a veteran international school educator and school leader. She has served in independent international schools in Israel, Singapore, Spain, Guatemala, China, and most recently in the USA. Her expertise extends to such topics as international school models, second/foreign language acquisition, communicating between diverse groups, the impact of international mobility and relocation on children, parents and staff, the special family experience of the educators' children, the orientation of newcomers, multi-cultural communities, catalysts for teaching internationally, and marketing of international schools. She is the author of Third Culture Kids: The Children of International School Educators. She can be contacted at ettie.zilber@gmail.com.
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4 Responses to “EdKids” in the international school community: Who cares?

  1. Diane Sonam says:

    Well this is a bit of a tease! I clicked on this because I care, naturally, and would like to know more. How will readers know when actual research is published here?

    • Ettie Zilber says:

      Hi Diane,
      Yes, I am teasing in my own way, but I hope you will find it helpful in the final analysis. I hope you will keep reading. I just posted another, what you would call, tease. I hope you will find the exercise useful. I promise to post some of my past research articles. Otherwise, if you don’t want to wait (please don’t take this the wrong way) you could check out my book on amazon.com “Third Culture Kids: The Children of International School Educators.” But, I do hope you will continue reading and responding to the blog. Sincerely, Ettie Zilber

  2. Hello Ettie,
    Thank you for this article and recognizing the 5%. We are in a boarding school environment and it really makes for some interesting twists. My son, age 13, grade 7 and daughter, age 8, grade 3 attend the school where I am the ES principal and my husband a middle school humanities teacher. We have had some real struggles with our middle school age son who finds having his father as his teacher ( for grade 6) and a member of the MS faculty a challenge for him. My daughter, on the other hand, seems to enjoy the “perks” that come with having mom and dad on campus. This usually entails asking for money to enjoy an after school snack!

    All the best,
    Theresa

    • Ettie Zilber says:

      Hi Teresa,
      Thanks for responding. Typically, Boarding schools may have more than the 5% of enrollment, but from a survey I did a few years ago, approximately 5% is the average for day schools. You have described a few interesting scenarios, which I will definitely address in future posts. Firstly, you are a Principal. From my research, this is considered a “high profile” position. This means, you are in a position to make decisions which impact students, parents and staff. In the hierarchy, it is not as high profile as, say, Head of School, MS or HS Principal (or Board member, or Athletic Director), but it does have visibility and sometimes criticism for unpopular decisions (even if they are the RIGHT decisions). You are the Principal of your daughter’s friends and teachers – but she is still young, so there is not as much ‘criticism’ as if you were of a higher profile. Second scenario: having your child as a student in your class. This particular scenario is typically not popular, but I have heard students from my research saying that they LOVED having mom/dad as their teacher. This is more common in smaller schools where there is no other section to schedule for the student. I have no research proof, but my gut tells me that it is a parent/child gender issue. Same gender more issues; opposite gender fewer issues. At the MS/HS levels, it also has to do with popularity of the parent as a teacher or administrator. I hope you will keep reading my posts, as I will address these issues. Another reader felt i was ‘teasing’ by keeping you in suspense. If you wish to know more information, get more questions answered, I can certainly direct you to my book Third Culture Kids: Children of International School Educators on amazon.com But, I am not trying to sell books, I am trying to encourage readership. I hope this helps. Love to hear from you again. Ettie Zilber

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