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Tell us about your background. Where are you from?
I started teaching when I was forty and realized after about 6 years working in RI and CT that if I wanted to make enough money to save anything I would have to go overseas to do it. I also found that teachers in the U.S. were ill-treated in their school districts and that kids and parents were running the show in education stateside. I had come out of sales and engineering fields where I was accustomed to being respected in my fields. I started teaching math and science to educate young people about climate change and other important factors about the world around them. I have lived all over the U.S. and always loved adventure, so I was a perfect candidate for being an overseas teacher.
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
I heard about a job fair coming to Boston and decided to see what it was all about and low and behold, I got hired at my #1 choice in the Caribbean and off I went the next year.
Which international schools have you worked at? Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.
I have worked at a school in Port of Spain, Trinidad ( International School of Port of Spain) and then in Cairo at an all Egyptian school called Misr American College and now we are in Nairobi (Aga Khan Academy Mombasa).
All of the schools have been wonderful and fun. Each of them had their own unique reasons for being such. For instance, I am a scuba diver and living on a Caribbean island allowed me to dive occasionally. I have been to Grenada 3 times and to Tobago many times since I first started coming here. I also met my husband while at this post and we just celebrated our third anniversary. He is a local island man and has now shared many new and exciting adventures with me as a trailing spouse of an overseas teacher. We spent an exciting two years in Egypt and even lived through the uprising/revolution there. During our stay there we traveled all over Egypt taking a Nile River cruise, climbing Mt. Sinai and diving in the Red Sea, just to name a few of the adventures. There were so many places to visit that we never went anywhere else during our time there. We still have some spots that we did not get to, but when the contract ended, we came home to Trinidad for one year while he worked and I wrote a book. Now we are in Kenya for a new adventure. I had done summer volunteer work for four years in a row here when I first started teaching, so I have had experience with this part of the world. There is still so much to see and do; it is a great country to live in.
Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
The cultural encounter that put a smile on my face was when I discovered a new roadside produce stand and I filled my canvas bag with an assortment of lovely fruits and vegetables which would have cost around $20US back home, but was only around $2.50 ~ Yea!
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
I look for a school that has a reasonable student/teacher ratio, I look at information on the standard of living based on salary, I look to see if housing is included, I read other teacher’s opinions about the school through websites like this (I do take comments with a grain of salt as more complainers tend to post vs. contented employees), I ask other overseas teachers what they know about a school I may be applying to. I also talk to my director if he/she is someone who has worked the circuit. I go to a myriad of websites to see what the new location is like economically, politically, and what there is to do from a sightseeing standpoint. I ask a lot of questions during an interview regarding the teaching venue, the curriculum, the technology that is available and the extra-curricular expectations. Is there medical insurance and also adequate medical facilities available? What are some of the other benefits that I can expect? Will there be an orientation and someone available to help us get settled into life at the new location? What are the travel arrangements and also what visa requirements are there? There is a lot to ask when getting ready to move overseas.
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Exciting adventure of a lifetime!
Thanks Carol! If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here. If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!
Want to teach at an international school in Kenya like Carol? Currently, we have 9 international schools listed in Kenya on International School Community:
• Aga Khan Academy Mombasa
• St. Austin’s Academy Nairobi
• Braeburn Mombasa International School
• Oshwal Academy
• Brookhouse International School
• The Banda School
• International School of Kenya
• Pembroke House
• Greensteds International School