Nearly 5 years ago, I flirted with the idea of teaching abroad. I reconnected with a college friend via Facebook and her posts from the UAE piqued my curiosity. Both she and her husband are in the Education field and they had recently relocated at that time. The pictures in perpetual sunny weather, frequent excursions to nearby countries, and sheer joy at living outside the U.S. really made me take stock of my then situation. Five years later, I am still taking stock.
I have never lived outside the U.S. In fact, I have only lived in Indiana (place of birth) and Georgia (my current locale). After spending a few years homeschooling, I was looking for a change. Honestly, I believe us reconnecting was exactly what I needed at that time; the thought of leaving here has never left me. I am grateful to her for encouraging me and answering all of my questions over the course of these past few years because….well, the itch is still there.
I recently joined a few Facebook groups for current and former Black teachers with international experience. Some have only been gone a few years; others have been expats 10+ years and proudly exclaim that they are never coming back. With our current political climate, I can honestly say that I do not blame them. It is definitely an option that I keep in the back of my mind.
Why has it taken me this long to make a move, you ask? Good question! With one child out of the nest, working and doing vey well, I still have two at home to consider. The middle child is finishing her Junior year in high school and the youngest is in the 8th grade. Here is where thinking like an American teacher and parent has held me back: I was too worried about what the older of the two girls would miss if we moved. You know, the traditional high school stuff like Senior Prom, class trip, memories, etc. My educational experience has been so influenced by American ‘rituals’ that I could not see past them to consider what my kids would miss by staying here. Almost all of the teachers with kids discuss how much traveling they’e done while living abroad. Essentially, their kids are getting a literal worldview because their parents decided to leave their respective states/countries. Thinking about it from that frame of reference made me realize a few things:
1. There are lots of Black people, kids especially, who do not get to travel in any respect;
2. Realistically speaking, this may be the only way to provide endless travel opportunities to my kids (unless one of you is hiding a rich and fine uncle);
3. The fact that other countries heavily recruit American teachers, cover airfare, housing, and medical insurance is a disgrace to our country and exposes the lack of value placed on our profession;
4. I am too damn old to work this hard and not be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor!
At this time, I do not know if I will be ready to move in time for the 2018 school year due to a delay in someone processing important paperwork, that’s another post for another time It is also a motivating factor for dusting off this dream of mine; I have exhausted all patience for unprofessional and incompetent people in this all-too-important profession.
Any developments in this plan will be posted in my ‘Living the American Dream Abroad‘ blog series.
Until then, later!