The Private Lives of International School Directors

May 31, 2012

Dear ISR, Teachers at my school are overly concerned and gossipy when it comes to our director’s private life. He may not exemplify how they choose to live, but he is honest, hard working, treats us all equally and fairly and has the students’ and teachers’ best interests at heart. Under his leadership our school has made giant strides in academics and technology. He’s a natural leader and knows what he’s doing. Yet there are teachers here who go out of their way to bad-mouth him and subvert his efforts because they say he leads a far from “Christian” lifestyle.

So, he likes to drink after school, smoke and frequent the local clubs. He dates local women, dresses a bit on the eccentric side and drives a sports car. But like I said, he is the most supportive, concerned leader I have had the privilege to work under. The students love him. He even got the board to approve better health insurance, WiFi in the classrooms and much needed supplies.

My question is this: Why should it be anyone’s concern how the school leader spends his time outside school? Are we educators or etiquette models? I personally think some of these teachers should get off their high horse and drop that holier-than-thou attitude and appreciate the fact they have an outstanding leader.

I’m curious how it is at other schools and would like to hear from other teachers on this topic. Thanks ISR.

How Do I Get Outta Here?

May 17, 2012

ISR is receiving disturbing reports from teachers moving on to new schools at the end of this academic year. The word is, some teachers are receiving little, if any, guidance or support with the processes required to correctly and legally exit their current school and host country.

Teachers are reporting the following:

  • Information on school checkout policies is incomplete or non-existent, making it difficult, if not impossible, to complete the required procedures and receive final pay checks.
  • How to legally exit the country permanently has not been discussed at some schools, leaving teachers afraid they will encounter problems and/or detainment at the airport.
  • Information on how to make final payments to utility companies and/or landlords to assure no residual problems has not been covered.
  • Details on how to receive reimbursement for airfare and shipping of personal goods has not been shared with leaving staff.

What we’re hearing at ISR is some schools “wined and dined” teachers on their way in, but are now giving those same teachers the cold shoulder as they depart for new horizons. Left to one’s own devices in a foreign country, exiting safely and legally can be a daunting experience.

If you’re in this predicament and need advice, you’ll want to post your questions on the ISR,  How Do I Get Outta Here? Blog. Chances are another ISR reader has been at your school or lived in your host country and can offer advice. If you had a memorable experience departing a particular school in the past, you may want to share with colleagues so we can all avoid the same experience in the future.

HookUps & BreakUps – Taking Relationships Overseas

May 10, 2012

Living and teaching overseas can draw you closer as a couple as you share new experiences, make friends and explore cultures together. Yet, consider that while exciting and fulfilling, international living can also be ultra-challenging and may be the ultimate test of the strength of a couple’s relationship.

Here are some examples of comments ISR has received regarding the special circumstances that living internationally can impose on relationships:

My wife and I, with our two elementary age children, moved overseas and it’s been the best thing in the world for our relationship and kids. We’re each other’s support team and the experience of living and sharing the overseas teaching experience has made us ever more close as a couple and a family. After 12 years overseas we’re moving home this year to be with aging parents. I’m nervous how our relationship will do when exposed to the culture of divorce in the United States. I’d really like to hear from anyone who has been through this.”

My boyfriend and I just signed a contract for 2 years in South America. We have been under tremendous stress lately, and our relationship is suffering. He has only taught for 2 years and isn’t even positive he wants to teach. So, we’re currently “taking a break.” Do you think the school will still take me if he backs out? If we do decide (during the course of our contract) to break up, what happens? If you have any experience with this or know someone who does, please share. I’m upset, concerned, and anxious.”

I started overseas as a single man and married after I arrived at my school. My wife is not a US citizen. When it came time to move to my new school I paid all her expenses. She lives with me on campus. My school director and school staff were great in helping to get her visa. I am just really thankful for my director who has been great. I’m sure other international educators have married host country nationals. I’d love to know about their experience.”

In response to these and other queries, ISR created the HookUps & BreakUps – Taking Relationships Overseas Blog. If you have a question or advice to share about taking your relationships overseas, this is the place.

International Teaching Distilled into 6 Words

May 3, 2012

We’d like to introduce you to the internationally acclaimed Six-Word Memoir project and challenge you to create one for your international teaching career.

Literary legend has it, Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Extremely popular on a variety of topics, many of you may already be familiar with Six-Word Memoir classroom lesson plans.

Composed on every imaginable topic, Six-Word Memoirs distill our experiences down to the bare essence. Here are some examples on various topics:

On Love – Psychic girl left me before date.
On Life
– Nobody cared, then they did. Why?
On Family – Almost a victim of my family!
On Joy
– Painful nerd kid, happy nerd adult.
On International Teaching (We created 2 of our own) –
Teach, travel, friends around the globe. / Left home, found my real home.

Now it’s your turn to display your creativity and compose/post a Six-Word Memoir about your international teaching career.  Enjoy!