My conscience won’t allow me to teach where persons with political beliefs contrary to that of their government are imprisoned, even tortured. Likewise, I’m opposed to teaching in a country that suppresses freedom of speech, woman, and select religions. Countries that block and censor websites, including Google, are also not a ‘good fit’ for me. For example, friends tell me they need a VPN just to view ISR in China.
China tops my list of places to avoid, as does Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Turkey. Would I visit these countries? Of course. Would I teach there? No! I was recently offered a position in Saudi and turned it down. I cannot be party to paving the future for the overly entitled kids of oppressors. As teachers, we are not there to effect societal change, and trying to do so only frustrates you and your students. At least that’s been my experience.
I’ve talked to teachers who feel teaching in a country, one which is actively violating the human rights of its citizens, provides them an opportunity to implant the seeds of democracy and humanity in those kids destined to become persons of influence in their societies. To the contrary, from my point of view, teaching children of the privileged cohorts of a suppressive regime clearly qualifies as aiding and abetting an enemy of democracy and human decency.
I did find a teaching position in Costa Rica. That’s after three unsolicited offers from schools in countries with politics that conflict with my values. It appears such schools have a difficult time finding teachers.
It would be much appreciated if you could open my comments up for discussion. I would love to hear opinions, personal experiences, and the stance of educators regarding this aspect of International Teaching.
Best Regards and Thank You,
Ms G. (ISR member since 2010)
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