Jamie and I left our lives in Cartersville, Georgia, USA, for Shekou, Shenzhen, China on July 31, 2008. Since then, we have been working as middle school teachers. These last 2 years have been amazing as we have had our first overseas living experience. It has been nothing short of spectacular as we have had the opportunity to work with amazing students, teachers, and administrators, see the world, and experience various cultures. I believe we have both grown as people, and it has also brought us closer together as husband and wife.
While working and traveling, we have been both been writing our dissertations for our PhD’s in Curriculum and Instruction. Our host country of China and city of Shenzhen was a perfect match for us for our first international teaching experience. We lived in Shekou, China, a city within the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. It was also the first time we lived in a large city, so we lived in a high rise apartment, walked everywhere, and took public transportation. We didn’t own a car and didn’t ever need one. Living in Shekou was a great lifestyle as we were able to afford a housekeeper (AYI) and live comfortably on just a small amount each month. This way, we were also able to save some money and traveled extensively in southeast Asia. While the teaching at QSI and living in Shekou was a wonderful experience, we decided to seek other opportunities abroad. We went to a job fair in January 2010 in Bangkok, Thainland and interviewed with 7 schools.
We have accepted new jobs are moving to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in August to take new international teaching positions at International Schools Group. We are both very excited for this opportunity and the many new adventures that we will no doubt experience while living in the Middle East, but also we are also sad to be leaving China, a country that in itself has been a wonderful and enriching experience all to its own.
We have had the opportunity to travel China and southeast Asia with both of our parents, my niece, and even brought my wonderful dog Griffey over here to live with us. Griffey was sent back to the USA in May 2010 and has not circumnavigated the earth.
Eric: I am now teaching 7th grade Math/Science in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Prior to these international school placements, I taught middle and high school social studies in the state of Georgia for 7 years. I’m originally from the small town of Calhoun, Tennessee (Go Vols!) and went to high school at McMinn County High School. After high school, I completed my Bachelor of Arts Degree in history at Middle Tennessee State University minoring in Geography and Secondary Education. I was a brother of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity all four years. Upon completion of student teaching, I took a job in Cartersville, Georgia teaching Georgia history to 8th graders. In 2004, I completed my Master of Science degree in Educational Administration from Jacksonville State University in Alabama. I coached baseball and basketball in Cartersville for 5 years before moving to a high school in Adairsville, Georgia teaching just about every social studies and coaching the Mock Trial team. My hobbies included traveling, reading (Gresham, Baldacci, North Patterson, Connelly, and Dan Brown), golf, tennis, and politics. Recently, I’ve been trying to get back in shape by running and have been proud with my progress. I am hoping to finish my dissertation for my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Capella University sometime before my hair falls out.
Jamie: My husband and I moved to Saudi Arabia in August of 2010 to take teaching positions in Dhahran where I am teaching high school social studies. Prior to this, I have been working in Shekou for 2 years teaching in a middle school. Before this, I worked in Calhoun, Georgia for 4 years teaching every high school social studies subject. After graduating from Rome High School in Georgia, I went to the University of Georgia and earned a Social Science Education degree in 2004. I have since graduated with my master’s degree in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University and working on my PhD dissertation in Curriculum and Instruction from Capella University. I love reading and traveling as well as spending time with the most wonderful husband in the world.
We actually met in 2004 on a blind date set up by one of Eric’s former students’ mother. We started dating and were engaged on New Year’s Eve of 2006 and subsequently were married on June 2, 2007 in Rome, Georgia. We are avid travelers and cultural readers and decided we wanted see the world and began searching for teaching jobs abroad. We figured since we were still young and without any children, now would be the best time. We have had amazing travels through China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Macau, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, and Bali, Indonesia.
We will be teaching in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia starting in August 2010 to teach middle and high school for a 2 year contract. We are excited about this new experience and hope that it opens up new travel opportunities for us.