A Pedestrian’s Tale from Kuwait

March 31, 2011

Although the author of this adventure has changed some facts to achieve what he calls “fictional accuracy,” he reports that the “hallucinations are real” in this fanciful narration of walking to work through the streets of Hawally, Kuwait. A tale by international teacher, Marty Rempel:

“…Moses had it easy with the Red Sea. Having the ability to part a sea is not actually a level playing field. Knowing full well I could not part the traffic and realizing the force is not with me, nor seldom is, I tentatively walked on the sidewalk parallel to the constant flow of TATA buses, scooters, trucks, taxis and foul smelling diesel engines…
…I was about to go for it, cross Tunis Street that is, when to my utter surprise, and partial satisfaction, my pants started to vibrate…”  Continue

Our Family Is Not So Happy!

March 23, 2011

After years of working toward our goal, we’ve finally accepted a job at a small IB school in China. Both my husband and I are so very excited! We’ve talked to a lot of staff at the school–we think it’ll be a great experience and a substantial foot in the door toward international teaching careers.

Our family is, well….not so happy! Not so happy to the point we are constantly told we’re making a huge mistake, that we’re tearing apart our families, wrong and childish for not settling down and popping out grandchildren. They’re mystified as to why we’d leave our country at all, “the greatest country in the world!”

So, experienced overseas teachers, how do you deal with everyone telling you what you’re doing is a horrible, life-destroying mistake? Do your families come visit to cheer you on, or do they continue to insist you’re ruining your and their lives? How do you deal or cope? It’s becoming increasingly hard to feel excited and happy about our decision when every family member around is telling us we’re doing it all wrong.

I’m the original author of  this blog post, and I just wanted to thank everyone so much for sharing their own stories and their thoughts and support. My husband and I read over each post together. It’s so heartening to hear from so many people.
That doesn’t change our families opinions, of course. They’re still going to dislike what we’re doing, but in the end, we’re the ones who have to get up every morning and live with the choices we’ve made, not them.

Thank you all so much. We’ll keep reading anything anyone has to add, because it’s just wonderful to hear so many encouraging stories. Thank you, thank you.

What Defines Us as International Educators?

March 9, 2011

My interest in what constitutes an “International School Teacher” was sparked by a  discussion with colleagues in my international school staff room. We couldn’t agree if there was something “special” or “different” about us. We had all left our home country for some reason, and some of us did not want to, or could not return home. In one respect some of us were trapped in international teaching, moving from one school to another.

Some teachers thought that just teaching in an International School was enough to be an international educator. I have worked with colleagues who clearly were, and some who were clearly not “international educators”.

But what is it that makes us “international?” Why do we leave the security of our home country and move to a similar job in a different country, sometimes half-a-world away? Is it a chance to live and work in another environment, a chance to learn another language, better pay and conditions, smaller class sizes, easier discipline, or something else? Why are we not content to stay at home, and why are we often treated with suspicion by colleagues back home?

After 10 years overseas, I returned home for an interview in a UK school, and was asked why, if conditions were so good, did I want to return? Also, I was seen as out of touch with recent developments and advised to retrain!

I would welcome any comments from international teachers, especially if you have a definition of an international educator or, like me, have found it difficult to adapt back home, and have left to go abroad again.