Are You a Teacher or a Traveler First?

teacher55905287or-travelerNot everyone goes into teaching because they simply love children. Many of our colleagues entered the profession for the express purpose to live overseas & travel extensively. Interestingly, these individuals often discover they have an innate ability to teach & a passion for the profession. Had it not been for the lure of travel their talents may have remained undiscovered, to the detriment of International schools & students. Let’s consider these educators to be “Travelers first.”

On the other end of the spectrum are educators who, after years of grinding it out in the trenches of public schools, decide to take a chance on a different perspective & enter the world of International Education. Many have very limited, if any, travel experience. We’ll consider these individuals “Educators first.”

How do you fit into the picture? Are you a Teacher or a Traveler first? Or maybe you’re equally both? We invite you to ¬†take our brief survey. Survey results display in real-time so be sure to check back from time-to-time.


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14 thoughts on “Are You a Teacher or a Traveler First?

  1. I am not opposed to working professionals who love to travel. I love to travel myself. But I must admit that it’s very difficult to work with folks who are obsessed with traveling and all they think about and talk about is traveling 24/7, even while at school. They give work (school) very little and do the bare minimum because most of their time at school is taken up with their travel plans, booking tickets etc. I think balance is important – work should be given priority since your work funds your travels.


  2. I’m the same as Carol.
    I spent 22 years between the Air Force and industry before coming into teaching. Again, like Carol, I took a massive drop in pay (50%+) to become a teacher. I then spent 12 years teaching in the UK, mostly inner city schools, before moving to the middle east to teach.
    My first two years teaching abroad were the best two years teaching so far. Fantastic students, supportive parents, small class sizes and a great place to work. I love teaching (Secondary) and becoming a teacher is the best move I ever made. Returning to the UK after 5 years teaching abroad could have been my biggest error. But I’m definitely a teacher first and foremost.


  3. I grew up overseas and became a teacher because I love teaching. It only seems natural to me to teach overseas since i am the product of overseas education myself. I remember how important having good teachers was for me as a kid. It was wonderful to go to school and be taught by teachers from different countries and to have friends who had lived all over just as I did.

    Maybe people that become teachers just for the purpose of travel are mostly the people who teach ESL/EAL in after-school institutes? They seem to not have the full teaching credentials that would be needed in their home countries to teach at an elementary or secondary school.

    I would hope that everyone who is a teacher does it because they have a genuine desire to teach children and NOT because it is a way to live overseas and travel.


    1. To December 5th comment about those with ESL/EAL… Your remark is insulting. It is challenging for teachers to teach non-native English speakers in the “language of instruction” in all subject areas, not just English class! Something you probably have not considered are wide-spread underlying instructional concerns regarding teachers of other areas instructing in English to non-native speakers. It is also about you the teacher that is not ESL certified remembering that these kids are not from the UK, USA, Canada or Oz. This is where the importance of the ESL/EAL teacher comes in. Not to just help the students but to help the teachers as well. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt for ALL international teachers (yourself included) be required to be certified in ESL. It would serve the students better IMO. I also happen to know teachers who moved from other subject areas with teaching licenses and experience in their “home countries” into ESL/EAL…even after acquiring Master’s degrees. Why? ot because they “took a step down” as your comment seems to suggest, because they fell in love with the idea of teaching to speakers of other languages and helping international schools build language programs.


  4. I’m a teacher for the last 20 years in international schools. I have met many a teacher who was a “traveler first” and “teacher second”
    . When they encountered a difficulty they “traveled” out of the school instead of seeing it through and seeing the changes come to pass. Sometimes we can be the catalyst that improves a situation instead for running away. I do like travel but put it in perspective–sometimes at vacation time I just meet friends out in the capital. Other times I travel close by.


  5. I am a teacher first, but like some other people have posted, I went into international teaching because the classrooms were smaller, the benefits more alluring, and I have found that the students are often backed by motivated and concerned parents. This really makes teaching a dream.
    I have worked at several international schools over the past ten years, and I have unfortunately also seen the teachers that do the bare minimum and are only planning their next holiday and next move rather than true concern for the individuals in their classroom. Some areas I can understand that besides the opportunity to travel and leave that area there is nothing much outside of work to do. However, that should not be a reason to forego the education of the students you have signed on to teach.
    Seeing the responses gives me hope that there are still plenty of people who can do both!


  6. Working more than 10 years in the national system and h the last 5years into an international system for sure I must consider my self a teacher


  7. I became a teacher because I love teenagers and teaching. I left a lucrative career on business to do so and cut my salary by two-thirds in the process. I went international because the small class sizes allow me to be the kind of teacher I want to be.

    I enjoy traveling, but I love teaching more.


  8. Teaching began for me as a way to see the world and only later did I discover that teaching would become such a rewarding career choice. Twelve years, a masters, a teaching credential from back home as well as a lovely wife and two kids reaffirm that teaching overseas was the best decision I ever made.


  9. Yup traveller first. I only became an international educator after teaching ESL for a few years and I got the travel bug and wanted to make it a profession. While I enjoy teaching it is only a job and a means to an end and does not define me. It allows me to earn a good salary, provide for my family, travel the world and enjoy great holidays. I do enjoy teaching and interacting with the kids but if I could have it my way I would rather not work at all. Teaching internationally is hardly every boring, life becomes an adventure. Love it!


  10. I was a teacher back in the USA. I was laid off due to budget cuts. I chose to take a vacation overseas to break out of my funk of being unemployed. I happened to get a job overseas while on my vacation so I accepted the offer. I returned to the USA and sold off everything and have yet to return to the USA. That was 8 years ago.


  11. I consider myself a traveler and only got a teaching credential because I wanted to leave the US and live overseas. I taught for almost 20 years and loved being in the classroom and overseas.


  12. I am a traveller first. I studied abroad in college (I was not an education major!) and ever since then I have had the “bug.” I became a teacher (in the states) to have 14 weeks off a year to travel. And, though the 1st few years were touch and go, I came to LOVE teaching. I believe I have the best job in the world. I get to impact students lives on so many levels and I feel my career has meaning – not many people can say as much. I only just started teaching internationally after 17 years in the profession when my son went off to college. I travel so much now I am embarassed to share it on social media! I am enjoying every second and feel like the luckiest person on earth!


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