For those of you who are already experienced international school educators, you probably have mental lists of your observations. Maybe your observations focus on your own children, and maybe they focus on the children of your colleagues and friends inside your schools.
For those readers who might be wondering, might be concerned, might be titillated, might be afraid or might be dreaming of such a family venture … keep reading. I think all of you will enjoy the results of some research.
A number of years ago, I was in a premier position to receive numerous narratives from educators about the advantages of raising children inside the international school where the parent/s work. Conducting presentations at various international school conferences, such as ECIS, TRI-Association, Earcos, MAIS and AAIE, I had captive audiences, who were more than happy to share their observations, opinions and perspectives. I also presented to my own staff members in schools in China, Spain, Guatemala and the USA, thus, gleaning additional data.
Mind you, I did not only survey educators who had THEIR OWN kids in the school. Many of the respondents did not have their own children in the school; rather, they were responding to their experiences working with the children of their colleagues, who are the parents/colleagues of their own students. If this sounds circuitous – it is!! This is one of the characteristics of this paradigm – it is complicated!! But, nevertheless, there are huge benefits to all members of the family, when children are enrolled in the school in which their parents are employed.
I was able to divide the narrative responses into 6 themes:
(a) practical benefits,
(b) social integration,
(c) facility of communication and contact,
(d) awareness, familiarity, and understanding of school and students,
(e) strong family bonds and interrelatedness, and
(f) educators as parent role models.
Well, now that you have the 6-point infrastructure, I would love to hear your observations that correspond to these categories. Let loose and tell your personal or professional stories. Perhaps you have an observation that does not fit ‘neatly’ into one of the 6 above. I would love to hear about it.
Stay tuned to hear more in the next blog post. I hope I can use some of your narratives to embellish the benefits of this extraordinary family odyssey.