Enriching Opportunities in International Education

Being an international educator yields tremendous professional opportunities that can enrich your teaching.  Living and working in the U.S., professional development opportunities were limited to whatever the school sponsored at the school.  Many teachers received additional professional development by working on advanced degrees or paying out of pocket to go to a training or conference at a nearby university.  In the 7 years I taught in Georgia, I received only a handful of professional development opportunities outside working on my master’s and doctorate degrees. One of these was AP Government training, which was a wonderful experience.

Since Jamie and I have taught internationally, we have had the pleasure of working at schools who have provided us with meaningful professional development opportunities.  Our school systems have both hosted conferences and brought in educational specialist like Virginia Rojas, Martin Skelton, and John Almarode.  We have also had the opportunities to attend regional professional development opportunities in Bahrain, Kathmandu, Nepal, Dubai, UAE, Muscat, Oman, and Bangkok, Thailand for various conferences. Large names like Tom Guskey, Ken O’Connor, Jay McTighe, Leanne Jung, and Lucy Calkins have all been speakers and presenters at these conferences.  Just recently, I served on a Middle States Association accreditation team, which was the best professional development I have ever had.  I play on attending an accreditation team chair training on Philadelphia this summer.  Jamie has traveled to Denver and Tampa for AP training in Psychology and Economics, respectively. She will also attend a conference training in Houston this summer for training in the Schaffer writing method.

Most of this is paid for by the school.  We receive professional development funds each year that we can apply to conferences or post graduate work. On several occasions, we have received these trips for no cost because we are leaders on committees.

In addition to professional development opportunities, we also have travel opportunities with the students.  Jamie has attended the TIMUN conference in Istanbul, Turkey two times in three years with her high school students as well as sponsored student study trips to Kenya and Bali.  I have taken my middle school students on study trips to South Korea and Prague and Budapest.

Additionally, we travel in Kingdom to places like Riyadh and Jeddah for various school events like honor band/choir, MUN, and sports teams.  These opportunities just don’t happen back home where many school systems won’t allow student field trip to leave the county.

We are already planning next year where we will sponsor study trips as well as travel for various staff development trainings. Of course, these trainings and conferences are in addition to our normal vacation times.  This year for vacation, we have traveled to France, USA, and Thailand.  Next year, we plan on visiting Spain, Germany, Jordan, and some other destination to be determined.

Granted, this is all due because of money.  These are private schools that offer their students and teachers amazing opportunities, but one would be remiss if they didn’t take advantage of these opportunities.

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6 Responses to Enriching Opportunities in International Education

  1. Betina P says:

    What a life! I’m looking to begin an international teaching career and wondered your point of view regarding being specifically qualified or experience in IB (I am neither). I assume every school may be a little different but what do you think is the common feel?

  2. DB says:

    Hi,

    I am moving to Khobar to teach in August from the UK. Are there any things that you wished you had bought or bought more of to help with life in SA?

    How easy did you find it to pick up tuition jobs?

    Thanks,

    Dan

    • Eric says:

      You can find pretty much anything here in Khobar, except banned items. It various widely and personal tastes as to what to bring. Most things are just more expensive here, but moving from the UK, you may not find that true. I would bring all clothing as the clothing here is both more expensive and less quality. Same for shoes! You will need to check on your compound’s electrical wiring to see if it is 110 or 220 and bring the appropriate appliances if you are picky about something. Like a favorite toaster or alarm clock or something. We brought over something we didn’t need and then found out we needed other things. Just let me know something specific and I’ll let you know!

  3. Kristie says:

    I am interested in teaching overseas. I have been an educator for 11 years. What is the first step I should take?

  4. Nayyar Azam says:

    Hello. I have finished my graduation recently majoring in Computer Science. And now I have taken admission in Bedfordshire University for the Masters course. I want to know from that is it possible for me to get a teaching job with these qualifications. Even if it be a job in some private school.

    Hope to get some good advice.

    • Eric says:

      It all depends on the school or school system as far as international schools are concerned. Generally, most schools will require a teaching certificate of some sort. This could be from your home country. However, I do know of some schools that will hire people without a teaching certificate. If you are interested, research some schools, fill out their application, be honest about your creditials, and see what happens. It never hurts to try. Some schools might hire you on a contigency of you getting a teaching certificate in the near future. Larger international schools will have courses available in cohorts where you can possible gain your creditials there. Online schools are also a possible option. Either way, most international schools are wanting people who are adventurous enough to leave their home country, will be flexible in what they will be teaching, and have a desire to teach children. Hope this helps!

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