…Pulling off a late-night runner with a whole lotta personal possessions is not for the faint of heart. In fact, at one point I had concluded it would be impossible to sneak myself and my possessions out of the country without attracting the suspicion of admin, nosey parents and/or sycophant teachers. But then, I just knew I had to go home, no matter what, and I wasn’t willing to leave anything I cared about behind.
The last teacher who ran had second thoughts — that was her mistake. In an effort to act responsibly she decided to inform admin she would not be returning after summer. She ended up in a world of hurt, poor girl! Within days she was fired, had her visa revoked and found that the lock had been changed on her apartment door (they did, surprisingly, return her passport). Another teacher making an unannounced early departure was detained at passport control. Someone at the school had gotten wind of his plan early on and a powerful parent had the connections to block his exit. Witnessing those 2 fiascos convinced me to keep my early escape plan completely secret.
You may think I’m a sneak, a coward, a loser and a whole host of expletives. But, I have my reasons to leave, not the least of which is the touchy, feely director. Get my drift? Feel free to judge me. Go ahead. Until you’ve been in my shoes you have no idea what it’s like to have your boss creeping you out in a country where you have no rights nor recourse. Me, myself, and my stuff ALL had to leave! My sanity required it!
That’s when I decided to kick it into high gear and have a yard sale. I like to think of my sale as “hiding in plain sight.” I sold off furniture, books, kitchen crap, and everything of no real sentimental value. Yup, a few people may have been suspicious, but everyone bought into the idea I was simply getting ready to replace my Western-style furnishings with fun, ethnic stuff I would buy during my summer travels.
With a successful yard sale (and some cash) under my belt, I began to send friends/family back home small boxes of my treasured, personal items. I was careful to use a shipping company far from school. You never know who knows who in these expat communities and the last thing I needed was for the gossip chain to foil my escape.
Early, on a Monday morning, with a few over-stuffed suitcases in hand, I flew out. I had made my reservation online and avoided using a local travel agent who could, in some way, know someone at the school. Looking down from high above the clouds, on my way home to loved ones and new adventures, my sighs of relief could be heard throughout the entire plane, I’m sure.
If you’re feeling trapped at one of these so-called “international schools,” you already know recruiters aren’t willing to do anything for you, or are not equipped to do so. If you can’t take it any longer at an abusive school, for whatever reason, don’t be a prisoner to your possessions or to the idea you have a responsibility to stick it out. You don’t. You have no responsibility to a school and/or administrator that abuses teachers and fails to honor the letter of its contract. It’s your life.
A teacher who should have done this earlier
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