Back Home w/the Job Search Blues


After 4 years teaching overseas I thought I’d be a ‘hot ticket’ in the pool of candidates vying for jobs in America’s public schools. I spent 2 years in Thailand, a year in South America and a year in Saudi. I’ve had experiences with students and parents from all over the world. Any school principal or district-office bureaucrat could see I’m adaptive, open-minded, well-traveled, and uniquely qualified to teach a widely diverse student body. Or, so I thought….

It never occurred to me that people in a position to hire me would view my overseas teaching as an extended volunteer experience and/or a laid back beach vacation! Part of the problem is they just don’t understand the reality of how professional and world-class international schools can be (certainly the ones I worked in) and how hard us international teachers actually work! I’m sure they, instead, picture a thatched-roof complex of dirt-floored huts with bare-footed students sitting on straw mats.

To extinguish any preconceived ideas, I talk about IB accreditation and that I taught in English, while also, contractually, having to tutor, lead student community service clubs, and teach after-school activities. I tell them about the extensive computer labs, sports programs and availability of resources, about how I dealt with inattentive and/or high-achieving students, discipline problems, and parental ‘concerns’ and support.

It may be interviewers fear I’ve been living on a different planet and won’t fit in back here in the “trenches.” Yet, I had 10 years public school experience and was tenured before leaving for international teaching. I know the score here in US schools and I’m ready to jump back in. But how?

Anyone else have a similar experience? I’d feel much better if I could hear about how other freshly returned-home international educators are overcoming this unanticipated obstacle.

Sincerely,
B

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65 Responses to Back Home w/the Job Search Blues

  1. Curtis Lowe says:

    I taught overseas for two plus decades before returning to the states. I attended private school job fairs with both Carney Sandoe and Cal West. Some directors were keenly interested in my overseas experience while others just gave it an after thought. The ones who didn’t show much interest about my overseas experience were folks that just simply weren’t cognizant of the the international scene and not that informed about the many top tier institutions world wide. I did get an offer at an excellent private school and couldn’t be happier with where I have landed with my family. With that said my new colleagues in the states (who are fantastic by the way) didn’t give two hoots about where I taught internationally! I also attempted to go the public route and that is where I was really shut down on my international experience because I was going to have jump through all sorts of hoops to get properly certified. I let my certification lapse in the US because one of the excellent international schools where I taught paid for my MA in Education. For this school, and the other subsequent overseas schools where I was hired having an MA was equivalent to being certified. My conclusion of my recruiting process with private schools here in the states was what it really really boiled down was whether I was a good fit with the school culture I was interviewing with and vice versa, and not whether I had international teaching experience.

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  2. ann harris says:

    In Australia, fifteen years of expat experience is a negative as far as getting work at a school. I’ve been told I had been away too long and would not be able to teach an Australian curriculum. Speculating about why the negative response, intimidated or jealous, it just amounts to career suicide in Australia. Very hard for me when I eventually want to be settled back home, finding my career opportunities have evaporated. Same reported by teaching friends. The longer you stay overseas the more your are attractive international teacher but also you have to realize that at 55-60, my situation, there are limits to locations overseas. A career dead end but I’m left with late (in the year) hire positions in countries without age limits this is a stressful way to work contract to contract at my age.

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    • Annie says:

      Ann, I am an Australian teacher with similar experience, but was only away for four years (one spent writing textbooks and lecturing). It did not matter that while I was overseas, I’d also written texts for the Australian Curriculum!

      There have been huge systemic changes all over Australia in the past few years, with teachers selected and groomed for leadership positions early. As one principal put it, it was not so much that my recent experience was unprofessional, it was that I’d been playing rugby league while everyone else was playing soccer! My experiences were therefore difficult to relate to. Then there are problems with staying certified – in my state this requires working a minimum of 40 days each year. What a pain to have to do this as a supply teacher!

      Can you volunteer or put yourself in a school that offers the IB? When I worked briefly in a candidate MYP school, I was able to help the school move forward, this was appreciated.

      I am now working in IE again in northern Europe. Salaries are not very different from Australia, taxes and cost of living are a bit higher. I am now permanent and will be able to work there until 67, maybe longer. Otherwise, rewrite your CV as suggested by some of the respondents below. The AC capabilities align quite well with the IB ATLs and so forth. In some ways, you will have skills that will help schools.

      Go where you are needed. Best wishes.

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    • Umut Karzai says:

      I sympathize Annie Harris! I have made my peace with the establishment back home in the states I have been teaching in Mexico English and History for the last 7 to 8 years now. I will not go back I will end my career here and have had over 20 years teaching overseas. I tried back home and was treated as, if I wasn’t a serious professional, because I had taught overseas. I would, put my colleagues here in San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Mexico up against any school in the U.S. or Canada and I believe we would outshine most, if not all of them! Also, the IB curriculum is vastly superior to the so called common core known overseas as the common crap. I will stay here I am 58 going on 59 I just signed a new 4 year contract after it is finished I’ll decide how much longer I want to continue to teach, but I’m saving to buy a condo here in el centro and I’ll retire nicely, because the cost of living here is less than half of what it is in the states.
      As I said, before I’ve made my peace with the educational establishment back home. I won’t ask them for anything and I’ll stay here and enjoy my life. I don’t need them and they don’t need me, so that is fine with me. If this sounds arrogant as some writers have said, below so be it! I believe my experiences overseas are far superior to working the GRIND back in the states. No, Thank you!!

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  3. Got the t-shirt says:

    Experienced the same as OP. Came home twice in the last 13 years, both instances thinking it was time to try the US again. Both times, interviewers treated me like a college kid home from his gap year. Reams of red tape for job applications, references, and on and on. When I did land work, found the schools (one of them a charter school) severely lacking in academic and professional integrity.

    At the risk of sounding a little Tea Party, I see international teaching as the final answer to “Who is John Galt?”

    American Public is a sinking ship. Would I rather jump into a lifeboat, or discuss what song the band should play on the way down? I love teaching, but feel martyrdom is a fruitless enterprise. Sign me up for another two-year in foreign lands; I prefer a job where I’m respected, rewarded, and never need worry about defending my classroom against a shooter.

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    • Umut Karzai says:

      Got the T-Shirt, Great job some of the writers here like to throw out the white flag and allow the stay at homers dictate which jobs you will be offered and how valuable your experience is! Well, As you said International teaching is the perfect final answer to “Who is John Galt?” although I doubt many here will know where the quote comes from since the author of the questions philosophy is the exact opposite of the philosophy of the modern day teaching profession! I prefer her philosophy by far over the post modernism coming of the education schools of today’s Universities!! I have been living overseas for the last 7 years, before that I tried to come back to the U.S. and I was treated similarly as you were I took a job in a private school for one year then I left and I haven’t been back except for one month each year, before I came back I spent 12 years abroad! I just signed a new 4 year contract I will continue to live in paradise San Miguel de Allende,Gto. Mexico. Rent zero, pay: $42,000 a year all utilities paid. Once a year a flight to the U.S. and a return flight no charge or an extra bonus in cash! Why would I put up with the educational none sense back in the states.. Instead my rent and utilities are paid and everything else and I live in a small city that is paradise on earth. You want great food, Italian, German French, Mexican all within 10 blocks..
      As You said at the risk of going a little tea party! Don’t worry the tea party has a lot of good ideas, but I don’t need to hit my head against a wall of ignorance and I refuse to do, so! Congratulations on escaping the ignorance in the states and getting back to where teachers are respected and wanted.. Great Luck in the future!! I will retire here and I won’t waste my retirement on taxes and more taxes in the states!! The Great Adventure Continues!!

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  4. Wanderer says:

    This is a very interesting (although somewhat depressing) thread. I have taught in six countries, and I have had lengthy stays at my last two schools (15 years total). I was open to returning to the U.S. this coming school year, if we did not find the right school. In the back of my mind, I wondered how my experience would be viewed. I don’t like to paint public schools in the US.. with a wide brush. There are good and bad schools, just like we all see overseas.

    I noted that the writer of this post worked at three schools in four years. As someone else mentioned, I think that would raise some potential flags. I realized early on that it would be wise to make a longer commitment to a school and that’s what our family for our last two schools. As I approach 50, I think my options will be more limited (at home and overseas). In light of that, we have done our best over the years to build our nest egg, invest for retirement, consider potential retirement destinations (probably outside the U.S.), and to always prioritize the type of education (now and for higher ed) our child requires.

    I value the opportunities my child has received overseas. She has seen things I could have only dreamed of as a student growing up in a small town in the U.S. I also love to return to the U.S. each summer and building connections to family and life there. I know it would be hard to make a move back to the U.S. Our plan was to give it at least two years in the U.S., if we had moved back. That first year, for many, would likely be difficult in many ways. Fortunately, we found a great job and will not be returning to the U.S.

    I believe there are jobs out there in the US public or independent school system. Just as many of us are willing to move to a new country and to take that risk, people moving back to the US need to be willing to relocate. I have talked to and read about too many teachers who are unwilling to do that. I have enjoyed this discussion and wish you all good luck. You have received some good advice from many here (ex. not talking endlessly about your overseas adventure to others who cannot relate). Cheers!

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  5. aroundtheworldwithmykid says:

    I have to say, these comments really make me sad. I have taught abroad for five years and just moved home a few weeks ago to give my son some time to grow up in the US. We have had such amazing experiences and learned a lot about people and life. We have friends from around the whole world. It makes me sad to think that these experiences and wisdom aren’t valued and sought after. I have, however, been experiencing the same thing in trying to find a job, even with a very strong CV and experience in many different aspects of education. I am starting my own business though and hope to make my name that way for now. I wish everyone the best! Being an expat in another country is such a valuable experience, I wouldn’t change it for anything. And one day, I’ll be back out again too! 🙂

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    • Anonymous says:

      These experiences and wisdom are valued, but I think ex expats can go overboard talking about their experiences. Think about it. You’re sharing with people who’ve never maybe traveled or lived in any other place. Some don’t care, and some are purely jealous. If your teaching area is elementary ed., it is hard (that’s my area). Generally speaking, U.S public school teachers are up-to-date with PD, have “loyalty” to employees (code: they’ve stayed at the same school for years), and their references are state-side (meaning it’s not a hassle to get in contact with former bosses). Good luck with your business ventures! In this day and age, that’s the way to go for sure!

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      • Umut Karzai says:

        Annonymous, Only a stay at homer who has never had any of the experiences we ex-pats have had and will have could say that ex pats go overboard about our experiences! Unless you have had similar experiences your stay at home ignorance drips from your comments. I would say to all ex pats here to not even try to talk to the stay at homers they are ignorant of the world around them and they suffer from a disease I call STAY AT HONE ITIS!
        I would rather talk with a stone wall than talk with these people who are not even curious about the world outside of their countries borders. I go home once a year to visit my cousins, to eat some fresh seafood and to visit Fenway Park and see a Red Sox, Yankees game, but I stay 2 to 3 weeks and I get bored and I head back to my REAL home overseas where new things happen every day and where I learn more things in a week than I would in a year back in the boring states of America!! Don’t get me wrong I love my country just not the ignorance of the people living there. I wouldn’t stay in one place especially in the states I’d rather have my toe nails ripped out one by one. I’m a proud ex-pat teacher and plan on continuing to be a proud ex-pat teacher!!

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        • Anonymous says:

          Umut Karzai, I taught overseas for 14 years in 4 different countries so I am speaking from experience. You are arrogant and have a vibe as if you are better than. You are the exact reason people don’t want to hear about overseas experiences. There are ignorant people the world over. You’re proof of that.

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          • Umut Karzai says:

            Anonymous, I am blunt, because I have had the experience of people telling, me that the world outside the U.S. isn’t worth knowing..Also, Your vibe is to take a kick in the groin and a punch in the mouth only, because one person asked you about living abroad, but 3 or 4 people shut you down and basically belittled your experience! I won’t take a kick in the groin or a punch in the mouth! As my father told me about traveling you have learned more traveling than all you could have learned in school.. I won’t be silenced by you or the ignorance, back home. Good Luck you’ll need it since you like being silenced NOT ME!!

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            • Jon Cristofer Miller says:

              Please slow down!

              The initial posting involved the difficulties faced by returning ex-pat teachers in finding teaching positions after returning to the US. Teaching abroad is not the same as teaching in the US. Some overseas schools are great and some are terrible, but they are all different from those in the US, regardless of the “model” asserted by the overseas school administration, Add in the difficulty of obtaining initial reference letters, and the costs incurred by those sending them internationally. Then, have some sympathy for the reader finding inadvertent humor [e.g., “moves well for an elderly person”… intended as a compliment!] and other bizarre English-as-a-second-language remarks.

              Think, too, about our experiences. Some were fun, but could have happened anywhere… including the US. Others are unique, but do not necessarily serve any teaching objective other than providing breaks from whatever regimen is in place.

              In other words, take pride in our teaching records both at home and abroad, focusing on the subjects and the students. Catalog differences if important, to show that you recognize and appreciate them, e.g., my students in China spoke American English, but used British spelling. Most spoke much better than they wrote, but responded to criticisms… and did well in American colleges and universities.

              I, too, have been frustrated by applying to teach at many kinds of schools in the US. Religious schools end with questions like, “How can you teach without having Jesus in your heart?” or, “How will you use Mathematics to promote the Faith?” Others ruled me out because of age, experience notwithstanding. So, take a long look at yourself. Do you really want the responsibility of teaching full-time? If not, perhaps substituting – a lot less money but more choices – is right. Do you want to apply your international insights? Perhaps tutoring international students would put you ahead of the pack.

              Again, let’s stay with the initial poster’s situation.

              Sincerely,

              Cris
              Jon Cristofer Miller

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            • Umut Karzai says:

              Dear Mr. Miller, You can slow down, if you want, but I will not, because teachers who have taught overseas are sick and tired of being abused by the ignorant educational establishment and others in our own country.. Pure ignorance and sometimes outright envy mark many teachers job searches that, is why my advice stands get a new overseas position and leave and don’t look back. When you find the right place for you sign a long term contract and only visit the U.S. as I said above I am never going to teach in the U.S. again San Miguel de Allende makes any other spot pale into insignificance!!
              You want to slow down go ahead, if you want to be abused go ahead let them abuse you. Pay through the nose for everything in the states no thank you!! I’ll serve this community, because from the school administration to the children and their families I am treated well abuse I don’t need and trouble I don’t wan. Go on and take the abuse I’ll never take it ever again! Hasta Luego!!

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  6. Jackie says:

    Well, I have had good and bad experiences overseas, now in Seattle at a startup preparatory school, happy to be there. It is certainly a tough go of it, going overseas and returning 🏠.

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    • Dianne says:

      My last job overseas was as the Librarian of US Embassy School where the children of world leaders attended and the parents dropped in on occasion. We had many happy students and worked very hard. And now I can’t get a job. My cycle – after completing a contract overseas, I try for a year, can’t find a good position and because I need money I go abroad again. This time I have been home for 3 years, held a well paid consulting position for 6 months and worked for one year as a fast replacement in an unaccredited elementary school. It is the best I could do. I am now unemployed again.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Dianne, try Calwest, Carney Sandoe, or Southern Teachers Agency. What is your certification in? Have you ever taught in public schools?

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  7. I have been teaching overseas for the past 19 years and when I went back home in 2016, I couldn’t get a job at all. They just looked at my CV, nodded and said ‘we’ll be in touch if we need anyone’. Eventually I had no choice but to take a position abroad last year, and now I am back overseas, moving around – I am 51 years old! All I can say, is start your own business or take the next opportunity which comes way and take it from there.

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    • Barbara Lam says:

      I hear you,Esther Joseph! I started working overseas at 51 and aside from aging out of some countries it works for me because I retired from teaching at 50, started collecting my NY teacher’s pension at 55 and sold my house (had 27 years left on the mortgage!), and basically bank 95% of everything I bring in. I am actually looking at houses now that I will pay in full all cash (no more mortgages or car payments at my age!), and working overseas AFTER retirement made this possible- Mainly because I have no bills and no financial responsibilities that drain the bank every month. It does take some discipline, But again- I went overseas AFTER retirement, so SS, pensions, etc were already in play. Let me also say I am thankful for the NY State Teacher’s Retirement System. Not all states teacher retirements are as well handled.

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  8. Catherine says:

    Exactly my experience and it is a similar story with everyone I knew who stayed out of their home country for more than a year possibly two. Dispiriting.

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  9. Donald Kirk says:

    “how hard us international teachers actually work!”

    You taught English and you think “us” is the subject, not “we”?
    Suggest a remedial course in grammar as a prerequisite for your next gig.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please. it’s a forum of casual conversation. don’t get your panties all in a bunch.

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    • Richard says:

      Actually, he said he taught in English, not taught English!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mhodge1234 says:

        Glad somebody sees the difference! It is a little annoying when people outside education assume I teach English (I teach math in China). But when people in international education don’t know the difference, then it is much worse! Yes, we are all EFL teachers to some degree in addition to being subject teachers since not all our students are proficient in English, but that doesn’t mean our subject is necessarily English. A very minor grammar mistake in the OP’s fairly long (and mostly flawless) posting doesn’t indicate a lack in qualifications to teach.

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        • Barbara Lam says:

          True, mhodge1234, however as educators we will be and are scrutinized at a different level. We have a very young principal at the school I am currently in and she has- not awful grammar, but bad enough that our non-native English born parents notice and when they comment about it what should we say? Oh- but she has a math degree? Yes she has a handful of degrees, but these parents want perfect English. The mistakes she makes are very common, such as “anyways” and “have you ever ate”… As a secondary English teacher for 20 years who has gone back to her primary roots, I cringe when I hear her using speach patterns she probably heard growing up, but it does get picked up on and yeah- outsiders do expect even a math teacher to speak and write properly. I have been teaching grade 1 for the past 2 years- will be starting year 3 and I teach every subject. It is 100% expected I use proper English in every subject. If I were hiring and someone made even a slight error in English usage- I would definitely take note.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Barbara, you are so right! Educational leaders and teachers with questionable English skills are a no-no. But for this forum, it’s okay.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi ‘B’. No disrespect however your CV is very ‘light’. I would be worried about employing someone who had worked in at least 3 international schools in 4 years. Why move form school to school? What went wrong? Why couldn’t you hold a job? OR perhaps: Why were you moved on. No doubt there are circumstances but it is not a good look for a prospective employee.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sandy says:

    I have tried to return to Australia after having wonderful international experiences and have huge amounts to offer in terms of art, religion and personal and spiritual development experiences. Wisdom doesn’t seem to be appreciated. The emphasis is not on the students but data driven. My experiences mean nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jan says:

    I left teaching in the USA 26 years ago and have never looked back. As a result I speak three languages other than English, and have in my wallet at least two different currencies other than US. Take your talents elsewhere ,you will be respected and richly rewarded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea but what kind of lifetime retirement do you have? Pers? SSI?
      The problem is, most people who spend years overseas do nothing to build a retirement that offers a lifetime payout like a pers system.

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      • Barbara Lam says:

        True- That’s why I started overseas AFTER 50. Now I double dip my pension and tax free salary. But yes, I have met many teachers who have no pension or 401K working overseas.

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      • Carol says:

        True, but that’s the fault of the individual. I taught four years in the Middle East — not Saudi or UAE — and saved a quarter million. I also travelled extensively.

        You can also call yourself a consultant and pay into SS if you think the system will be around long enough for you to collect it. Most recent union-busting SCOTUS decision will make union retirement programs a thing of the past. 😦 All this makes it difficult to know what to do other than protect and provide for yourself.

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        • nahcuur says:

          I agree that it is best to focus on providing for yourself first, and then anything additional that you may be eligible for when retirement comes around is a nice added plus. For my own situation, I am assuming I will be relying on my own savings solely when it is finally time to retire (fortunately still have many years to go!)

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      • Jan says:

        Hi Anonymous, you make many good points. I have managed well !

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Hi, check out if there is any international schools in your state.

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  14. Chinuk says:

    I returned to my country after more than a decade teaching overseas and within months found a great job teaching at a top private school that definitely valued my overseas experience. My school has a more diverse student body than any of the schools where I taught overseas, is extremely well funded, and pays me a six figure annual salary. Certainly not the norm, but some educators do value and respect top quality international teachers. Oh, and I’m a Humanities teacher, not an in-demand STEM subject teacher.

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  15. Most people do not understand what international schools really are. They think you taught English. I also found quite a few admins had little understanding of the IB. I found connecting my IB experience to common core and to reading/writing workshops really helped. I also described a typical day. I didn’t have a problem getting a job when I returned.

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  16. Carolynr Kitterer says:

    I would emphasize the school’s accreditation as that lends some credibility—the schools have that accreditation for many reasons, but primarily it shows colleges and universities that a certain “standard” has been met. I always needed proof of that accreditation when renewing my teaching certificate. Usually a short letter from the head of school would suffice. Also seek out the schools that offer IB.
    Good luck.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Most Americans speak only one language, have never been overseas (unless they live near Mexican/Canadian border), and believe the USA is superior to the entire world. Why would they welcome and value your overseas experiences? If anything it makes you a less desirable hire due to the complete stupidity of many Americans. Rewrite your resume to use common core buzzwords. Focus in on any American students you taught overseas during the interview. For example, “At my previous school I delivered engaging lessons in subject X that encorporated the common core elements of A, B, C for American students living overseas due to their parents’ jobs.” Review the state standards for where you are applying. Also touch on how similar those were to the standards at your school in X. When asked about how you felt living overseas, quickly say,” I am so fortunate to be home in the USA where we have the best of everything. I hope to stay here forever. (Mention any ties you have to the area- like extended family)” Personally I grew up as a military brat and later taught in many countries. To successfully transition back to USA you must blend in. No one wants to hear of your overseas experiences, see your photos, etc. You need to pretend it never happened unless you find yourself in the company of other worldly and cultured Americans. Half of the regular Americans you meet will be jealous of your experiences and the other half don’t give a care. The hiring principal cares if you can meet state standards, increase student test scores, blend into the team, and have stability/longevity. Yes you might have extreme reverse culture shock but you can reintegrate successfully. Good luck and keep trying.

    Like

    • Carol says:

      I agree.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the beginning of your rant was unnecessary. Ironically, the “Americans” that I met overseas were seemingly the least patriotic, very liberal-minded and kind of arrogant such as yourself.

      I lived abroad for 14 years. The four countries in which I lived, most of the local residents spoke only one language and the majority had never left their home country. So what’s your point?

      People who lived abroad should be able to share their experiences (though it does annoy me too when they do it too much). BUT it’s no worse than parents bragging or showing off their babies or talking about some other “milestone” that most could care less about.

      Finding a job in the states isn’t that difficult if you are willing to relocate or teach in “least desirable” schools. The key is also in how you craft your resume.

      I found a job quite easily, and the main reason they liked me was because of my teaching experience abroad.

      Good luck to everyone!

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry- it was a bit of a rant.

        Like

        • Jen E says:

          “To successfully transition back to USA you must blend in. No one wants to hear of your overseas experiences, see your photos, etc. You need to pretend it never happened unless you find yourself in the company of other worldly and cultured Americans. Half of the regular Americans you meet will be jealous of your experiences and the other half don’t give a care.”

          That is so true!! Nobody will want to hear anything about your time overseas.

          I went back to the US for a few years (10 years ago). I was surprised by how late they hired me for a position (special ed). I was hired in late July. It was around two weeks before school started.

          Like

  18. Jon Cristofer Miller says:

    Carney Sandoe claims to want well-educated, experienced, professional teachers. I found them dismissive.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      True. They do come across as elitist. But to be honest, their loyalty is to the independent schools and their top priority is getting the best teachers (or those interested in teaching) from top universities/ivy leagues. Those people never have to worry about not having a teaching job (or any job really) because of where they attended school. Carney Sandoe and Calwest are also very selective in who they choose to represent. If you get in, you will most likely get a job, even in saturated areas because the the schools know that the agencies have already done the vetting process. If you don’t get in, you can always try again in a year or so. Also try Southern Teachers’ Agency.

      Like

      • Jon Cristofer Miller says:

        Thank you for calming commentary. I suspect that the real issue is ageism… but I have become more than a little sensitive on that point.

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      • Nomad says:

        Thanks for sharing your insight on this agency. I have thought of using them in the past.

        Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    Patricia, you are SO right. People can be very jealous of your experiences and nerve to even go overseas in the first place while they’ve held the same job in the same school for years! Uh, not my idea of career bliss!

    Getting a job back in the U.S is fairly simple if you’re honest with yourself. Teacher shortage is a myth. There are TONS of qualified teachers. It’s just that some don’t want to teach in certain schools or have left the profession all together.

    What is your teaching area? Elementary education, social studies, English, P.E? Good luck. You’re going to need it. Those are saturated areas. You have to NAIL the interview, know someone, or have “something specific” they’re looking for.

    Physics. High school sciences/math. Elementary Spanish/English bilingual education. You’re in luck! Though the “better” schools are more competitive, you’ll more likely than not find a job with one of those certifications IF…1) you’re willing to go to “undesirable” schools, 2) take a pay cut (not always certain), 3) move to a different state, and/or 4) interview decently.

    And let’s not forget networking. That’s how I found my elementary education job once I relocated. I talked to people I knew, who knew other people, etc. and viola! I had kept in contact with the right people.

    I am no longer a fan of public schools; independent schools are the way to go if you don’t mind teaching kids from high-income homes. (just sayin’, ’cause some people have a “passion” for at-risk youth. Good for them. They’ll have no problem finding a job.)

    For those who actually want to focus on their craft and teach…

    Carney Sandoe and Calwest are the way to go. The schools pay decently and the students actually want to learn. I have done that.

    Can we say HEAVEN?!

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes I am experiencing that now. I believe many admin do not believe you can cut it back in the states or with the salary you may have earned overseas they do not want to hire you because you may require to much. I believe the experience I have had overseas should make you more marketable. oh well!!!

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Just market your resume as such. Sometimes it’s in the wording of the resume. My former boss taught me that trick! 🙂

        Like

  20. omgarsenal says:

    There are many sites looking for teachers with your type of experience as there seems to be a penury of skilled teachers across the States. Try these sites….they often has good positions:

    jobs.topschooljobs.org

    teachers-teachers.com

    It is free to register and offers hundreds of opening each day across the US and particularly in major US cities and rural postings.They even have the occasional overseas posts but be careful as they aren’t focussed on that niche.

    Like

  21. dismasdolben says:

    You should try to concentrate on your IB experience, which is valued by administrators, both public and private, who understand the superiority of that curriculum design, to such American rubbish as “common core standards.”

    Like

  22. Umut Karzai says:

    If I were you I’d apply overseas again and jump on a plane and not look back! The working and teaching conditions in many places in the U.S. today is just not acceptable. I’m living in the Dominican Republic teaching History and English at an International school, why would I want to subject myself to the stress and strain back home especially with the politics as they are now! My school closes at Noon time on Friday and yes I’m at the beach in 2 hours time for the weekend! I earn $2, 200 a month my apartment is paid for by the school all utilities as well. I only pay for my cable and WIFI.. Almost no expenses. I bank half of my salary every month, the chances of my ever working in the states again is ZERO and I’d recommend that all teachers look overseas for their careers instead of the grind of working like a slave in the U.S. I go home every summer for a month and I go to a Red Sox game visit my cousins and then I’m right back on the plane going back to my REAL home. My relatives think I’m crazy! Yes, I am crazy, crazy like a fox. When I retire I’ll stay right where I am paradise is hard to walk away from especially when the alternative is nothing, but stress and strain. The IB is a much, better curriculum than the so called common core otherwise known as the common crap! I’ll stay overseas thank you and allow you and the others enjoy the stress and strain of the U.S. As I said interview get another overseas position get on the plane and don’t look, back, you’ll be glad you did!! Good Luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol says:

      You are right. I LOVED teaching. In my 20 years, 11 in the the US and nine overseas, I taught eighth grade through college English — composition and literature, including Advanced Placement. I cried in my classroom my last year overseas when I remembered it was my last year. We aged out of visa eligibility and came back to the US to retire because of grandkids. I taught for one year in the US. One. I had the days until the end of the year counted in October. One year teaching in the US killed my love of teaching. Sad.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Jon Cristofer Miller says:

    Teaching abroad, particularly in “for-profit” schools, can mean that some weaker students are short-changed by – and others can “buy their way” with – administrators. I did not find teachers to be unqualified… until the administrators opted to get rid of older teachers and bring in unqualified roving “aides” to “help.” Most of my students were preparing for American colleges and universities… and did well, when they arrived; I am still in touch with many of them, a decade later.

    Of course, there are differences. We could lecture, tutor, and counsel, but exams came from the UK and were sent back there for grading. I chose to work with the students on their college applications; the letters of recommendation I wrote helped me flesh out the sterile letter grades issued from the UK.

    Was it a “vacation” for my wife and me? In the sense of having fun, and experiencing different ways of living, it was. Still, unlike typical vacations, one does not “return to normal” after a few weeks. Being a mile from a bus stop in one direction, a mile from the school in another, and a mile from a village in a third does mean adapting to routine isolation.

    “Ageing out” is still legal and normal in most countries, as I discovered; job offers were rescinded when visas were denied because of age. Back in the US, age discrimination is illegal, but seems to be the case, presumably because salary schedules are related to experience: simply put, younger teachers are cheaper.

    Working as a substitute while seeking full-time employment allows you to re-acclimate to US standards and styles [think “common core”]. However, there is an additional problem. How do you get letters of recommendations under one year old from your “teaching supervisors” if you have been substituting for a year. As the writer noted, older recommendations from overseas supervisors are harder to verify.

    Do I have any regrets about going abroad to teach? No; in fact, my daughter and son-in-law followed me. They have had some problems because they are younger and have a child, but they are planning to teach on every continent. Teaching abroad isn’t for everyone, but it is for many. Recruiters in the US with very mixed classrooms should be more receptive. ###

    Like

  24. Susan Wieland says:

    Had a similar experience. taught in U.S. public schools for 15 years, 8 of that in a 100% Title One school. I then left the U.S. to teach in Brazil. When I returned to the States the economy had crashed and the public schools told me your degrees and experience are great but “we can hire two kids just out of school for the cost of you.” It did seem that the public schools viewed my years abroad as a vacation and one said I was a traitor for leaving. Where I found a job was through independent schools. They saw my Brazil years as a plus. I am a third generation teacher and my public school teaching family was not pleased but you have to eat. I would check out the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) website for job postings and also look at international schools here in the U.S. There are a few. The pay and benefits compare somewhat to public school salaries but it depends on what part of the country you are in. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Barbara Lam says:

    I went the other way around- beginning my international carreer after retiring at 50. My daughter was grown, college educated and well settled owning her own business and I was able to liquidate and take off. I am in my 4th country and while I have aged out of certain countries, I am still an easy hire having 20+ years US public school experience teaching both primary and Seconday English(New York and North Carolina), with certification in 4 areas and a masters degree. However- Many, many, many American educators view international teachers a “flakey”. I have numerous friends in pricipal and other hiring positions and we are not viewed as highly as our stay at home friends. And, honestly speaking, I get it as I have met my fair share of traveling gypsies being overseas for over 6 years. And yes- there are flakey people everywhere, but I have only made a few lasting connections as my lifestyle is pretty low key.

    I went overseas because I could. Also because how could I turn down the savings opportunities? However, I also knew I would never be trying to re-enter the public school system in the US. The reality is if you have family and/or financial responsibilities its not so easy to get on a plane and leave for 10 months. I have met way too many teachers who have left familes, husbands, wives, children back in the states simply because they needed the money and others who bring children into less than shing situations because they need the job.
    I start my seventh year end of August in Kazakhstan (year 2 there). The pay is good, I have practicaaly no expenses, but the reality is I would never raise/educate my child here and out of 4 international schools I’ve taught in, only one was credible. And teaching professionals in the US know this.

    None of us are going to stand up and say we are less professional because we work overseas, but I know I am. I am not held to the standard I was in the past and while I will not say I do not work hard, the standards are nowhere-nowhere-nowhere near the standars in US.

    I am sure a lot of international teachers will disagree with me, but a lot will also quietly say “Yep!”.

    Like

  26. mhodge1234 says:

    I was under the impression that there is a teacher shortage, but maybe you need to consider the right location, and/or subject if possible. I can understand people thinking that your job in Thailand was sort of like a vacation (of course I know that it is not), but Saudi would be far from that. Your experience in South America should make you more qualified to work with Spanish speaking immigrant kids, assuming your Spanish is ok. That should be valuable in states like TX, CA, AZ, NM, etc.

    I have been teaching high school math in China for 8 years, and while I wouldn’t expect all 8 years here to have value in the US, I certainly expect that at least 2 or 3 years of this experience would put me ahead of a candidate who only matches my US experience and education. However, I personally wouldn’t want to teach in a US high school after reading so many articles about how bad that has become in the last few years so I won’t envy you even when you do get that job you want!

    Like

    • Barbara Lam says:

      I concur mhodge1234!!! I am currently working internationally, socking my New York pension in the bank and counting my money.

      Like

  27. Christine M Rogers says:

    I taught only one year at at an international school in China. Before that I had 4 years experience in US schools. On my return to the US, the only interviews I got at public schools were for long-term substitute positions. However, I got 5 interviews and 3 offers from charter schools. I accepted an offer from a Hmong Language School, where my experience teaching in China was considered a great asset.

    Like

  28. Carol says:

    I’ve had this experience twice in my life. Once when I returned from living overseas in my 20s and again three years ago when I returned from overseas teaching. In my 20s I had trouble getting a secretarial job even though I typed 100 wpm because “we can’t call your ex-boss and talk to him.”

    It was easier to get a job teaching because of the teacher shortage. As for having my 20 years of teaching experience, including nine overseas, respected, well, that was another story. With the 20 years experience plus three master’s degrees plus being multi-lingual, I made a grand total of $40,000. The curriculum was centered on test prep and called only reading excerpts. I retired after one year.

    In general, Americans are very geocentric and suspicious of anyone who would leave “the greatest country on earth” to work/teach somewhere else. The current environment has only made that worse. Couple that with lousy salaries and test mania. I would never teach in the U.S. again.

    Frankly, I would stay overseas. Just my take.

    Like

  29. Patricia says:

    People can be jealous. I’m not sure why you want to be back in the States (I’m presuming from your mention of “public” school experience that’s where you are) unless you have obligations. I’d downplay and focus on your renewed dedication to your community. If there are programs for “second language learners,” you can excel there. I had self-contained classrooms for ESL learners in public schools before I went overseas.

    Like

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