The decisions and questions that come with teaching abroad are nothing less than life-changing.
“Do I move alone and leave my family behind?”
“Do I take my family with me and leave our lives behind?”
I am pretty sure many of you would come across moments just like those – moments of doubt. Especially first-timers moving across different parts of the continent. Being away from home for the very first time is never an easy call to make. Take it from me.
As an international school teacher, I’m in a unique position. I experience education and life in different parts of the world with my daughter. This experience taught me what I need to consider for myself and my family when going away from home so we can live our best lives possible.
These are the most important things I need to have in order to be able to teach abroad with my daughter: courage to experience new parts of the world, opportunities to develop my career, and the advice and support from others like me and in my inner circle.
Leaving home for the first time was scary
As I move into my 50s, I can appreciate how much of a challenge it is to leave one’s comfort zone. Especially when it’s voluntary.
When I moved to the US for college at 18, I didn’t know how to speak English. My English communication skills were very basic.
On the airplane, I had my chance to practice with the flight attendants. I recall during that 10+ hour flight, I said “yes,” “good,” and “okay.”
I felt pretty brave leaving everything behind, going into a whole new environment, and trying to develop my own life, alone, at such a young age. When I was 18, my parents had a say in almost everything I did and should do. But they supported me.
Years later, I have a family to look after. I’m a dad raising my daughter alone.
When I think about this time now, I wonder what the big deal was.
Part of my teaching journey started when I was a baseball scout for the MLB
My very first job was working with baseball players as a translator for a professional Major League Baseball team in Asia.
As a translator, I asked myself where I wanted to go from there. How can I grow? By exploring the opportunities and gaining new strengths and skills, I eventually became a baseball scout. Over the next 10 years, this career drive would bring me more opportunities with various MLB teams. Up until now, I appreciate everything I learned there. Especially because it helped me discover my passion for teaching.
There was a lot of career planning involved, but I was eager. I saw the opportunity to move from being a scout to an educator. Once I had my eyes on the target, I knew I wanted to go for it. I wanted to continue my passion in sports as an educator.
I couldn’t do it without the support of my family and friends
Journeys shared by others in the same profession or other fields offer such a variety of viewpoints.
Asking other teachers traveling with their families is one of my favorite things to learn about. Whether it was about different cultures, foods, people, histories, politics, or religions, you name it, I wanted to know it.
It helped me understand what to expect and be confident enough to move ahead with my own family.
Being able to experience new cultures, live in different countries, meet different types of people and learn from them, strongly influences how I want to develop in my career. There are many exciting, family-friendly opportunities to work abroad. My experience has been mostly (there’s always something to learn from) positive.
Teaching abroad with a family will come with a lot of planning…but it will all be worth it
Regardless of my career pursuits, my daughter comes first. The move has to benefit my daughter. While teaching and traveling abroad, I consider whether the city the school she’ll attend will be suitable for her grade levels. I find answers to a laundry list of questions while making the decision to move.
What does the class structure look like in that new school? What’s the student population as a whole school and as a class in the new school? Will my child fit into that new environment well? Will I be able to navigate a new working environment while knowing my child will be committed to a new environment, teachers, and peers?
I believe these are all factors us educators have to look over and over again before making the next career move. There are sometimes opportunities that offer a better salary package that I’ll have to turn down if it doesn’t work for my family.
Teaching abroad as a family is a fulfilling, one-of-a-kind experience
I’ve had the opportunity to work both in Asia and in the US at different schools as a family. I’ve seen a hugely positive influence on my daughter’s growth.
The year when I worked as an after-school coach in New York City, my daughter had the opportunity to see how teams were run, how parents were involved in the program, and how student-athletes showed their desire to take part in the activity they had signed up for.
We were able to make comparisons and contrast with how schools run in Asia.
The opportunity to teach and live abroad also broadens our views of the world. One of the most significant experiences I’ve had is learning how to embrace differences among different people. As an educator, this has largely helped me support my students’ growth. I treat and coach other students the same way I would for my daughter.
If you’re thinking about teaching abroad, remember to be open minded.
Whether that’s to other jobs, people you encounter, or teams you’ll be in charge of, being open minded will ensure that there’s inclusiveness within your heart and a desire to welcome everything new, both for yourself and your family. I guarantee you that your teaching abroad journey will be as exciting and amazing as it could possibly be, regardless of what challenges along the way. You and your family will appreciate and embrace this journey together.
Are you interested in teaching abroad?
If you’re ready to take your family along with you on your journey teaching abroad, you’ve come to the right place. Apply to teaching jobs today with Teach Away.