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.