This afternoon I walked off one of the most anticipated flights of my entire life. From
the time I first entered college I dreamed of what this exact moment would feel like
and there is no doubt it exceeded all expectations.
The days leading up to my journey to the Philippines to begin my first job after
college, were filled with excitement and massive preparation. There were travel
documents that had to be updated, banking and tax documents that had to be
completed, along with medical records and a host of other formalities that had to be
submitted to the school before departing for my new job. Not to mention packing
which is always a challenge especially when you’re packing for a year!
Despite all these preparations and the excitement leading up to my departure,
nothing could have prepared me for the anxiousness I felt as the plane touched
ground in Manila, and a new chapter of my life was about to begin. Knowing my
flight had been delayed by more than 24 hours, I worried about figuring out my
transportation from the airport to the school. Walking off the plane, and heading
into baggage claim, my heart pounded faster, as I wondered what I should do if no
one from the school was there to greet me.
My fears were completely unfounded, as soon as I turned the corner to the baggage
claim area, the first face I saw in this unfamiliar airport, was a familiar one. It was
none other than David Toze, the superintendent of the International School of
Manila. Mr. Toze, the Head of School who interviewed me on a snowy February day
in Boston — the one who offered me the job, was the very same person who was
there to greet me at the airport, on a steamy hot day in July, in this tropical island
nation on the other side of the world.
What a relief! Right then and there I knew I had landed at the right place. As an
intern, I know I am the low man on the totem pole, so to speak, but to be personally
greeted by the head of the school, sent a very strong message to me on my arrival. It
told me, without words, that I am an important part of the team and I am a valued
member of the ISM community.
The International Educator
Teaching in international schools is an adventure. From landing that first job and getting off the plane in your new home to discovering new ways of life and new educational opportunities, there is excitement around every corner.
Meet our bloggers who each shed light on different aspects of the international school environment:
FORREST BROMAN has been in international education for 30 years. He has interviewed thousands of candidates, written a guide for international recruiters, and is the founder and President of The International Educator (TIE). He shares thoughts and tips on getting and securing a job in an international school.
BAMBI BETTS is the Director of the Principals’ Training Center for International School Leadership and co-trainer for the PTC’s Essential Skills courses. Bambi is also the CEO of the Academy for International School Heads (AISH). Having worked at international schools across the globe and a consultant to many more, she shares thoughts and insights on a wide range of topics in education.
STEPHEN DEXTER, a native of New England, has been a teacher and administrator since 1994. He finally discovered that the Swiss stay thin on a diet of chocolate, cheese and wine by walking a lot and not eating or drinking to excess. He is currently taking a gap year in the Swiss Alps to rediscover his passion for education and to understand what chief innovation officers really do.
DANIEL KERR is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby.
KASSI COWLES is an IB English and TOK teacher currently based in Shanghai. She has worked in international education for the last 8 years in Canada, Togo and China. Her writing explores issues of educational reform and how to create authentic and creative learning communities.
MATTHEW GOOD & NIAMH CONWAY are international school teachers who met while working at the British School of Lome, in Togo, West Africa. They later moved to Uzbekistan, where they spent four years at Tashkent International School, each summer exploring another slice of the world by bike. Their Pedalgogy website allows users to follow the touring teachers on their two-year bike trip around the world.
BARRY DEQUANNE is currently working as the Head of School at the American School of Brasilia. His blog explores topics in K-12 education and school leadership within the framework of five focus areas: Academics, Activities, Arts, Leadership, and Service. The blog also explores professional articles and highlights recently read books.
EMILY MEADOWS Emily Meadows is an alumni of international schools and has worked as a professional educator and counselor across the world, serving children and families in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. She holds master’s degrees in the fields of Counseling and Sexual Health, and is a current Doctor of Philosophy student in Comparative and International Education, researching LGBTQ+ inclusive policy and practice.
DAVID PENBERG is an urban and international educational leader/consultant with a deep commitment to progressive education, understanding global mindedness, and new school creation. He abides by the dictum of E.E. Cummings who said: “ I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing, than teach ten thousand stars not to dance.” He is presently the Head of School of Innovate Manhattan Charter School in New York City.
SHANNON FEHSE Shannon Fehse has spent her entire teaching career overseas, having lived and worked in China, Mexico, Colombia, Taiwan, and presently, the UAE. As a textbook definition extrovert, she talks to anyone, and enjoys listening to stories and different perspectives on life. Shannon has a somewhat faulty filter and often says what other people are thinking, but this typically works out favorably. She offers opinions and insight into the benefits and challenges of job hunting, dating overseas, and general issues that affect international educators.
MIKE SIMPSON is the Principal of the American International School of Lesotho. Originally a lawyer from New Zealand, Mike has also worked in schools in Qatar and Venezuela. Mike has a particular interest in the development of collaborative and innovative learning communities. He hopes that his blog might be of interest to other teachers and school leaders as they nurture these communities in their own schools.
GREGORY HEDGER Dr. Gregory Hedger has recently been appointed to be the head of the International School Yangon, in Myanmar, beginning in fall 2016. A native of Minnesota, Greg has served in education for over 25 years, including 13 years in the role of School Director at Cayman International School, Qatar Academy, and most recently as Superintendent at Escuela Campo Alegre in Venezuela. Greg promotes international education through his service on the boards of AAIE, AASSA, and his work with the International Task Force for Child Protection, his contributions to various periodicals, and his work to promote the next generation of leaders through workshops and teaching.
LINDSAY LYON is a seasoned English and Theory of Knowledge teacher currently working at JIS. She and her husband have taught abroad as a teaching team for fifteen years in Venezuela, Thailand, China, Saudi Arabia, and now Indonesia. They write about expat life with a focus on money and savings in their blog The Haggard Lyon. Here you will find some of the same, and other musings from Lindsay on life overseas with kids, teaching, technology, and staying balanced in a busy world.
NICHOLAS ALCHIN is High School Principal at the United World College of SE Asia, East Campus. A sino-celtic Brit who has lived and taught in the UK, Switzerland, Kenya, and Singapore, he has also held a number of roles with the IB and writes and speaks widely on educational matters. He enjoys traveling with wife Ellie, and kids Tom (10), Millie (13) and Ruth (16).
TONY DEPRATO Tony DePrato has a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University and has been working as a Director of Educational Technology since 2009. He has worked in the United Arab Emirates and China where he has consulted with schools in both regions on various technology topics. In 2013, Tony DePrato released The BYOD Playbook a free guide for schools looking to discuss or plan a Bring Your Own Device program. Tony is originally from the US, and worked in multimedia, website development, and freelance video production. Tony is married to Kendra Perkins, who is a librarian.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAE HOLLAND is the Director of Academia Cotopaxi’s The ONE Institute, has been a leader in both the non-profit and business sectors, and has 19 years experience teaching both in the US and in international schools, with a specialization in learning differentiation. You can reach his website at www.traeholland.com.
JOHN MIKTON currently is the Head of Education and Media Technology/ Assistant Principal at the International School of Luxembourg . Previously he was the Director of eLearning at the Inter Community School Zurich, Switzerland and the Director of Information Technology at the International School of Prague, Czech Republic. John is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Trainer, Principal Training Center facilitator, Appsevents summit speaker and Learning 2.0 Community Coach. John blogs @ https://beyonddigital.org
FREDERIC BORDAGUIBEL-LABAYLE is the High School Associate Principal and IB Diploma Coordinator at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador. Fred was born and raised in the South West of France; he finished his studies and started teaching in the UK, then went on to Istanbul and he is currently in Quito. Fred likes to pause, reflect and share his experience as an international educator and administrator.
SUE EASTON is the Director of the Teacher Training Center. She has worked with international schools for the past eleven years, on four continents, in roles focused on enhancing teaching and learning practices. This experience has made her passionate about the topic of change and how to best make change to support students and student learning. Her blog will explore this topic through the lens of PTC, TTC and CTC trainers’ words of wisdom.
ERIC & JAMIE are long time international school teachers and have had countless adventures around the globe working at different schools. Hear stories on travel, lifestyle, moving, and life in general as an international school teacher. They are a great resource for finding out what it is like to go from culture to culture, learning, and of course… teaching!
ALLI POIROT is currently teaching IB History, Modern World History, and Psychology at Asociación Escuelas Lincoln in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She taught previously at King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan, and at public and charter schools in and around Boston, Massachusetts. She has a deep interest in progressive pedagogy and believes in fostering student autonomy and empowerment.
The International Educator (TIE) is a non-profit organization committed to matching the best educators with the best international schools around the world.