Keeping My Fingers Crossed


The news that Covid-19 had significantly declined in the area where my new International teaching position is located was a real cause to celebrate. Yes, I would have a job in September. But, wait, not so fast! The following week, American passport holders were banned from entering what was to be my new destination!

Someone once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans.” Truthfully, it feels like life just sneaked up and bit me on the behind. As an American currently in Texas, it’s unfathomable we handled the Covid-19 situation so incredibly poorly that developing nations have now closed their borders to Americans.

I had read on the ISR Forum that schools can pull strings to get teachers in, but haven’t heard anything about this from MY school. To date, the answer to any and all questions has been, “We’ll have to wait and see.” Well, we just can’t wait much longer with the academic year about to begin! I think my school should be able to offer some information, one way or the other.

At times I dwell on possible outcomes to this uncertainty and even have some severe emotional reactions to these imagined outcomes — not good for my attitude or health. So, I formulated 3 potential positive paths for my future and focus on them rather than on events I cannot control. Of course, everything could change in a heartbeat — just look at the hurricane that struck Texas last week! Yikes!

Well ISR, I do have my fingers crossed for a positive outcome. I’m sure my feelings are not unique. If you would post my letter and open up a community discussion on this topic of uncertainty, we as international educators could use our energy to support each other in these trying times.

Sincerely,

Ms B.

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17 Responses to Keeping My Fingers Crossed

  1. PhilZim says:

    “As an American currently in Texas, it’s unfathomable we handled the Covid-19 situation so incredibly poorly that developing nations have now closed their borders to Americans.”

    Oh yes, many of those so called “developing nations” are far more developed in caring for their people, peace towards other nations, aspiring to better values etc. Often what we see coming out of the US is chilling. I am sure that your President is unrepresentative of your country, but his election calls into question the labels “developed” and “developing” as they are conventionally used.

    Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    Stuck in one country without another contract, unable to go to a new country due to no flights. Mandatory vaccines coming for all teachers, including for the virus after a few tests on a few volunteers. Be aware be very aware. If the school will not provide you with the medical requirements, itemised list including each test and vaccine that is compulsory search the local news for updates.

    Like

  3. COVID 19KG says:

    I know of a few people who were hired and now have had visa/work permits rejected. They were all EU countries.

    Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    You have to understand it’s not that US citizens are banned from travel. Our US employees have gotten home and have flights to return. But the country itself might not have all its regulations in place for returning and new staff, so it holds up booking flight tickets. And because often flights are keyed to entry, and needed for visas, it holds that up. We are still trying to finalize our staff entry to our country. Be patient, reach out to the school and ask them what they CAN tell you, and then be patient.

    Like

  5. Times we are in says:

    Like many of you, I am currently unemployed as well. I am lucky, however, as I am a dual citizen of the USA and an EU country. I decided to stay within the boundaries of the EU as it will strengthen my pursuit of trying to obtain a job. I am glad I saw this coming and I feel that I made the right choice in staying here rater than the USA. In my opinion, Americas are not going to get in by September nor any time soon. The best-case scenario is if Biden is elected and rebuilds relationships with countries and handles the virus

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Williams says:

      That’s your best case scenario?

      Like

    • Times we are in says:

      With both COVID rampant and poor diplomatic relations with Organe man in charge don’t you think this is the best-case scenario? I know of many people that have had contracts outright void because they are currently in the USA. Instead of making blank statements why don’t you provide evidence to support your argument (as that is what I sense from your question)

      Like

  6. sandjuggler says:

    Some schools will lie and expose new hires to dangers just to fill positions. I was blatantly lied to about a job in post-revolution Libya, was told the news reports were false/exaggerated and that the location was ok for a young family. That changed once I arrived and we lived with the daily threat of shootings, car bombs and kidnapping. Add to that lack of health care, decent accommodation, late salaries etc and it was a spiralling disaster ending with 2 teachers dead, a kidnapped principal (karma is a bitch) and evacuation. My mantra now is follow my gut instinct and if it smells bad walk away. The current pandemic shows you have to be very careful with where you are headed.

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  7. Realist. says:

    Not much point in crossing your fingers. Many teachers are fortunate to have jobs right now and there are certainly plenty in the USA. Stay home.

    Like

  8. Tezza says:

    I hear you. I love your positive response. There us indeed no point worrying about what we cannot control.
    Plans are fine but the awareness that they may change in a split second is a good mindset to have.
    As a species, uncertainty and change are not what we’re hard wired for despite the fact we international teachers seem to buck that trend. We thrive best in environments where we feel a sense of belonging and connection and hence when we move serk out new friends, potential partners and a place to call home. What in normal times is difficult enough – moving country, school, job – now seems like an easy task in comparison to the CV19 world we now inhabit. We have all been forced to realise what we push to the back of our minds in the busyness of day to day life. We aren’t as in control of our destiny as we think.
    You seem to have come out the other side of the emotional stress of your situation. Knowing others are in similar or worse ones doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a very tough time for you. Other doors will open if this one closes. Change is the only certainty in life. That is both a blessing in bad times and a curse in good ones. Take the best of care and good luck.

    Like

  9. COVID-realist says:

    You are in the same position as 1000 of teachers around the world. Just because schools are.often owned by the high flying families of various countries it doesn’t mean they can swing things to get teachers in.

    There is no conspiracy, although they may well be looking at each teacher individually on the ease of getting them into the country.

    The current US ban for your new country could very well mean you are at the bottom of the pile just now for attention.

    I would suggest you have a plan B.

    Like

    • Richard Levett says:

      This is a good reminder to have at least 6 months salary in cash in an emergency fund as an expat. At least enough for a “go home and survive” plan. Never go abroad without one. Plans for the worst, hope for the best.

      Considering pandemics typically last 2-5 years (2 years best case where herd immunity acquired quickly and is perm either naturally or via vaccination) and we are 7 months into this one, teachers need to plan ahead with this in mind. Of course this year many countries are in panic mode and in following years probably systems to allow in new expats will be established, so will be easier.

      Personally I won’t work in countries with huge human rights violations and with extreme autocratic governments, so the PRC is out of question, but there are many jobs there. However with a new potential cold war starting? Might be hard to get in to take a job aspect if American or British! So teachers need to be cautious where they go.

      I an signed up for next year and will extend for a further 2 years after that as no way is moving a good idea if you have a good job! Stay put is my advice (if possible) for at least a year. Many jobs will appear for “no shows” or “no Visa” if you live in many countries affected.

      Like

  10. mbkirova says:

    First, blame your ‘president’. Second, Latin America still welcomes you. Not the greatest pay, but a very fine lifestyle. I am just about to start with a large private school in CDMX. Love it here, and don’t listen to harrowing news about COVID. The safety practices in middle-class zones, as well as my school, are impeccable, and we’ll probably start online anyway.

    Like

  11. Hang in says:

    I’m in the exact same situation and making myself a bit crazy. I understand my school may be able to get us all into the country since we are not coming as tourists. I just wish they would give me some sign that it will happen. It’s a bummer watching my bank account dwindle and have no source of income.

    Hang in there Miss B. we’re all in the same boat. You can bet schools are doing all they can to remedy the situation as they too have skin in the game and lot to lose. Stay positive!

    Like

  12. Strange Days says:

    Don’t leave too much in the hands of fate, Ms. B. I think you still have a few cards on the table.

    You’re right that some schools, especially those with close Brit or American embassy ties, will be able to “pull strings.” In Europe, Americans are not allowed to come over for tourism, but they are permitted for certain “business purposes.” To that end, my school is working frantically with the US embassy and host national government to get their teachers back in the fall. Not sure what the rules look like in other corners of the world.

    So that’s what your school can do, and probably IS doing if they’ve got their ducks in a row. However, you need to let them know what your stakes are. What is your drop-dead date, at which point you’d need a definite “yes, you’re coming” or “no, we’re still not sure?” Let them know.

    Like

  13. Jon. says:

    Why dont we tell one another where these things are? Im currently stuck in SArabia. Cant get my visa sorted. For months now. Cant get out on embassy supported flights. Employer full of endless excuses. Trying to avoid salary payments. Be v careful if you consider this posting via any agent. They are like a good marriage gone bad, if there are any hiccups the divorce is not easy.

    Like

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