Where – besides the International School Community – do you go to learn about and stay connected to International Education? We have a new one-stop shop for you! It’s called Educators Going Global.
We just started a new enterprise with multiple channels organized around school life, recruiting, transitions, finances, and travel.
The central portal of our endeavor is the Educators Going Global (EGG) website. There you will find a podcast, a blog, a resource library, and links to our YouTube videos where international educators share their “Going Global Stories.” We also have a Facebook group where we post resources and crowdsource questions on topics such as potential guests, questions we need help with, and lots more.
We hope you will see our website as an additional tool for your international teaching toolkit. Have a question about finances or your upcoming transition to a new school? Visit our site to select “Finances” or “Transitions” to see podcast episodes, blog posts, books, and website resources for your review.
At the same time, you can subscribe to the Educators Going Global podcast on your device using your favorite podcasting app to listen to our shows. We have posted 15 shows now and we have many more in the works. Our guests have been interesting and informative, and there is something there for everyone, whether you are new to International Education or a long-time veteran like ourselves.
We will share with you how to travel, teach and connect!
That should cover What Educators Going Global is. Now, here’s the Who! We are Audrey Forgeron and David Carpenter.
Audrey is a thirty-year international teaching veteran of seven international schools on four continents. She has variously taught Health and Physical Education, Social Studies, French, Film and Design Technology in grades three through twelve and has been an instructional technology educator. She is now a trailing spouse and mother of two grown Cross-Cultural Kids (CCKs), and she is currently training to become a life coach.
David is also a long-time international educator, having worked in ten international schools over a 30-year period. He has worn many hats, from Social Studies teacher to Counselor to Curriculum Designer to Instructional Technologist to Instructional Coach for Wellness. David is now semi-retired, wearing his dad hat whenever possible to support and learn from his adult sons, Maxwell and Samuel.
So Why are we keen to share our insights and the expertise of our guests? We want to give back to the community of educators that gave each of us so much. We see our effort as a public service.
Our mission is to inform both veteran and aspiring international educators about working overseas – What it’s like and how it’s changing, Where to find more information, Why “going global” is so attractive, and How and When to work through the recruiting process. We do this via targeted podcast episodes that include informational interviews and personal vignettes related to these five Ws of international education.
We work to tell the whole story, so you are really in the know about international schools. Our motto is: Eyes wide open!
The bottom line is that just like when we worked in international schools, we want to build community and be of service. Please connect with us as we go global together!
Look for ways to strengthen and maintain your enthusiasm.
We all have been there before; alone in your new apartment, not wanting to go out onto the street to the nearby market, not wanting to be confronted with a bunch of people that are speaking a language you don’t understand, feeling tired all the time and wanting to sleep through your whole weekend, etc.
It takes some mental toughness to get your spirits up again, to grasp at a tiny bit of enthusiasm when you are knee-deep in culture shock emotions. If this is your third international school, you might have said to yourself, “this time it is going to be different. I am going to accept people’s offers of invitation to go out around the town. I am going to be more positive and active during the first 3-6 months after I arrive.”
Sometimes it feels like every other new teacher at your school is full of enthusiasm and you are the only one not feeling that way. However, it is true that all new teachers go through this tough stage of culture shock, which is trying to stay positive about your situation and keeping an upbeat attitude about the host country and culture.
Ways to increase and maintain your enthusiasm:
• Join a meetup.com group in your host city. There are many groups on that website from all over the world. Sometimes it is good to just get away from your work colleagues and meet some other expats in other industries.
• Invite some of the new teachers out for a drink at a bar in town, for a walk around the nearby park, for some dinner over at your new apartment, etc..
• Start up a blog about all your new experiences living abroad. Keeping your friends and family up to date with all your new experiences can be quite motivating, and your friends and family look forward to your new entries and enjoy hearing about all your adventures.
• Make sure you have some of your favorite TV programs to watch on your computer. We have all experienced in at least one of the host cities we’ve lived in the long wait time that there can be when getting internet installed in your new apartment. Having some TV programs or favorite movies to watch in the meantime can definitely keep your enthusiasm from dipping too low.
• Make sure you don’t pass up your first travel opportunity on the school calendar. Looking online for flights to new destinations can really boost your enthusiasm for the expat life that you have chosen for yourself. If you are not feeling like traveling, just start asking the other teachers at your school where they might be going. Once you hear where they are going, you will for sure want to get on the bandwagon and get your trip planned as well.
• Before you move, make sure to pack some of your favorite home country food products. When you have a day that you are feeling down, you can get one of these products out for dinner. Having some familiar foods can really make you feel back on track. It might just be too much of a shock to your system to only be eating the host country’s cuisine.
Does anybody have any more good ideas for keeping up your enthusiasm? There are many more for sure. Just try and keep in mind the reason that you decided to take on this new challenge and change in your life. The life of an expat is indeed quite nice, but it is not full of wonderful moments all the time. International school teachers need to be prepared to handle these tough situations we experience every once in a while when our enthusiasm for this lifestyle temporarily dims.
This article was submitted anonymously by an ISC member.continue reading
Do not expect to replicate your current lifestyle. Look for what is there, not for what isnʼt.
“Wherever you go, there you are.” A psychologist friend of mine told me that one time, and I think it is 100% true.
I’m not for sure international school teachers are moving from school to school and country to country to replicate their current lifestyle, many times they are trying to flee it! But again and again, you typically find yourself just settling back into the same routine and actions that you have always been doing…no matter where you are living. You do change some small things in each placement, but many routines take time to change and are hard to break.
I think what this commandment is referring to is the situation when a person is coming directly from their life in their home country. Then for sure, you should not expect to replicate your current lifestyle. It is easier than it sounds though.
It happens to be a bit human nature to want to surround yourself with familiar things. Many smart entrepreneurs and importers are keen on this aspect and cash in on selling us those things in many of the cities around the world where there are international schools (e.g. brownie mix, soft brown sugar, satellite TV, chocolate chips, etc…). These familiar things are going for a high price because those stores know that many of us international educators want them. This is done all in an attempt to replicate our past lifestyle.
After a while, though, you find things in the local stores and shops that start to create your CURRENT lifestyle in your new host country. Many of those new aspects can become an even better addition to your lifestyle than the old ones! I definitely miss things that were part of my lifestyle in my last placement, but certain things are just not replicable outside of that placement (cleaning lady, having a driver, going out to eat every day, etc…). With that being said, you will certainly find other things in your new placement that will become a part of your new lifestyle.
Successful international school educators are good at being open-minded to trying new things in the host country. It means taking chances and taking opportunities to try new things and to do things in a new way. It also means leaving some old routines of yours behind, or at least “on hold” for a while.
One thing I enjoy about my new lifestyle abroad is going grocery shopping almost every day, versus going 1-2 times a week in the United States for example. I also enjoy walking to the grocery store versus taking a car. There are many other aspects of an international school teacher’s new lifestyle abroad that would be hard to leave behind if we were all to move back to our home countries!
This article was submitted by a guest author and ISC member.continue reading
It is a time of celebration for International School Community as we now have over 24000 members on our website!
To celebrate our 24000+ members, all members can get 25% off of all premium membership subscriptions from 1 – 7 October, 2022 (ending 23:59 PST on 7 Oct, 2022).
The 25% off coupon code is: OKT2225O
Even if you are a member with Premium Membership already right now, you can still add more premium membership during this promotion. Just login to our website and go to the Manage Subscription page, choose the membership option that you’d like and then enter this coupon code (OKT2225O). Next click on the Make a Payment button to pay either with your PayPal account or without logging in to PayPal and just paying with your credit card.
Once you have premium membership access, please take this time to submit some comments on the schools you know about on our website. For every 10 comments you submit, your account will automatically be updated with one free month of premium membership. There is no limit, too. So if you submit 40 comments, then you will get four months of premium membership added to your account for free!
International School Community’s website launched back in February 2011. When our first newsletter came out in May 2011, we only had 49 members! On average, we have been getting over 300-400 people signing up to become new members each month. We hope this trend continues! The more members we have, the more people you have to network with.
International School Community’s goal is to be the largest online community for international schools educators. Our website provides a useful, informative and celebratory environment for networking with other international school teachers and learning about different international schools around the world.
We created a website that would highlight the ins and outs of working at international schools (the benefits, the school itself, the city and travel information, etc.).
Another major goal of this website is to provide experienced teachers the platform to share what they know so that prospective and seasoned international school teachers can make more informed decisions as they venture out to a new international school. Making connections and gathering information about international schools in our community has never been easier! Whether you are looking to make new friends, network with other international school teachers or learn more about the wonderful world of teaching at international schools, International School Community is the place to be.
We want members to provide real information that is specific; information that is related to all the different topics we need to know about before signing a contract. International School Community offers up-to-date information in a highly organized, easy-to-use manner.
We also offer a vast amount of information and links related to the world of teaching at international schools and education in general via our blog.
You can search our vast collection of international school profile pages to find that specific international school you want to know about. You can also search our member profiles and be able to find a contact to send a private message to so that you can get firsthand information about a school that member has worked at.
While the focus of the site is to serve the international school teaching community by providing real and useful information about international schools, we have specifically organized our website to promote our members to leave comments and information that are useful for everyone. Enjoy being an active member of our website!
We strive to have the largest collection of resources and services for the international teaching community. International School Community really wants to take writing reviews and comments about international schools to the next level.
Here are what some of our current members are saying about International School Community:
“It’s really useful…it’s a really good way to find out practical info about schools when you’re looking for jobs. If you are interested in particular schools, you can just contact any member from that school to find out insider info! It’s also good if you just want to find out what life is like for teachers in other cities! Really unique idea!” (An international teacher in China)
“International School Community is a great resource for international school teachers. Whether you are doing research for a new job, or just connecting with other teachers, this site is has a plethora of great information. I especially love that this site has a positive feel to it, rather than a place for teachers to vent. I really recommend registering to be a part of this great idea.” (An international teacher in South Korea)
“You have an amazingly wonderful website and seeing these comments is extremely helpful to me.” (A teacher looking to teach abroad at international schools)
“I am very impressed for a website to take the time to do this. You have a great resource that I certainly could have used when I first set off overseas teaching in 1998!! The site works well and it is nice to get a good background on almost every school I’d wish to work in. You are doing a fantastic job with your website, keep it up!” (A veteran international school teacher)
“I truly love being an international educator and researching and comparing schools, as well as discovering great schools that aren’t as well-known. I am grateful for ISC having a platform that makes it all so easy.” (Another veteran international school teacher)continue reading
Anticipate a challenging adjustment period of at least SIX months. Do not decide if you like it until these six months have passed.
How important is this time frame when you first move to a new country, from the first month to the sixth? It is VERY important. Some international school teachers tend to experience different levels of culture shock and can pass through the stages quite quickly, but I still think for those people that you need to give yourself six full months to decide whether you like your new country or not. Also, it is important to give your new school six months as well before you decide whether or not you think you are a good fit for the position and school.
I have international school teacher friends that seem to be able to just move anywhere and be in any culture and be just fine. They don’t get stressed out too much about how things are different from their previous placement. According to LaRay Barna – “There are no fixed symptoms ascribed to culture shock as each person is affected differently.” And I would have to agree to that. Unfortunately, there are other international school teachers that are very sensitive to basically all the stages of culture shock. Let’s go through some of the stages of culture shock that are on Wikipedia.
1. Honeymoon phase:
Everyone’s favorite stage. It is definitely the most fun one. I love just getting to a new country. Your new apartment, your new school, your new friends, the new culture, the new stores, your new favorite restaurants, etc… You post on Facebook how cool things are going so far to all of your friends and family. It is truly a great time to really enjoy why you got into the field of international school teaching in the first place; exploring the world and experiencing different cultures firsthand.
2. Negotiation phase:
The anxiety sets in about your new school and host country and how it is different from the one in which you were previously. “How could they do things this way?” I hear some international school teachers say many times. You must be careful during this phase to not offend your coworkers, bosses, and the people of the host country either directly or inadvertently. The anxiety you are feeling can become stronger too if you don’t know the host country’s language (e.g. the language barriers start to become very apparent). It is important to note that some schools employ many people from the host country to work in the administration offices, the cleaning staff, and even in teaching and teaching assistant positions. Their level of English is most likely not 100% native-like, so there are bound to be times when they are just not getting what you are trying to communicate to them; and sometimes you might be trying to communicate some really important matters (e.g. getting your work visa all situated, etc.)
3. Adjustment phase:
Wikipedia says that this stage starts around after six months. So, it is in agreement with Nexus’s 10 commandments of relocating overseas. Finally, things start getting back to “normal”. You have now found how you fit in at your current school (hopefully). By this time you will have made the necessary changes and adjustments so that now it does seem like you are indeed a better fit for your position at your new school. Also, the host country most likely feels more like “home” and when you arrive back at the host country/city airport, you indeed feel like you are back home. Sometimes that might surprise you, having these new positive feelings after having gone through the anxiety phase!
4. Mastery phase:
Well, I’m not for sure I have gotten to this phase ever. I would guess that most teachers never fully master being considered an equal member to the locals of a community in another culture/country. I have worked at schools where there have been expat teachers working at the school for over 25 years, and I got the impression that they still experience a sense of not fully belonging, even if they are fluent in the host country’s language and have a spouse who is a local. I would love to hear what other international school teachers think about this mastery phase. It is probably an achievable one, but many factors would come into play and the stars would have to be aligned for it to happen I would imagine.
Go ahead and check out our current members and send them a private message. According to some member profiles, we have some very experienced international school educators on International School Community. Also, check out the stages of culture shock here on wikipedia.
This article was submitted by a guest author and ISC member.continue reading