Bit of an extended break between this and the last post because not a whole lot has been going on. Christmas break was great, finished my first term at Ottawa U, had an amazing Montreal New Year’s with my international friends who I love very much and now we are on the home stretch to being a certified teacher and figuring out what’s next. So. What’s next?
This past weekend I attended an international job fair at Queen’s called TORF. It is incredibly well run and organized. More than 60 schools from all over the world attended with around 300 teacher candidates. What an experience. I applied, paid and uploaded my documents a few weeks ago and at that point any school can review your file and see if you are a right fit for their school and their teaching openings. There was a list of schools attending that I looked over with a specific focus on the UAE for the possibility of making more money and being in a hot climate. If you know me at all, you might know that I’m not Type A, super organized. Getting prepared for this fair, printing out forms, making sure I had everything was somewhat of a challenge because I didn’t want to forget anything because this weekend could change my life. I had a place to stay through couchsurfing so that was an added free bonus. I went to Kingston Friday at noon, drove to Kingston and met Daphne and two other guys who were attending the conference. I got an email that morning to interview for a job in New Cairo for a job teaching at a Canadian school in Egypt that teaches the Ontario curriculum. This was my first real serious teaching interview and I think I handled it well because they offered me a job starting in August. I wouldn’t be able to save as much money as I wanted in Egypt so I declined their offer. It must be a huge struggle to recruit people to a country that is constantly in the news. I think that the media blows things out of proportion and it was more about money than safety in my decision to decline their offer.
After the interview, I went to Queen’s to register and meet with potential schools for interviews Saturday and Sunday. When you arrive they give you an envelope with information you will need for the weekend along with blue cards. Those blue cards are from schools that are interested in meeting you. I LOVE the idea of someone asking to interview me. It’s like when a girl comes up and talks to me first. That happened once……Anyway, I had like 6 blue cards and it amazed me. I anticipated maybe one card because I don’t have experience at an international school so when I saw all the cards it gave me confidence. Some of the countries included Macau, Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico, Thailand and Italy. ITALY! I didn’t even consider this school because it would be in such high demand and Europe is a goal I have in a few years. So I had 20 minutes to respond to these cards. One minute my mind is set on the UAE. The next, thoughts of Italy and South America flood my mind. All of these contracts are two years so it is a major commitment to make that I take seriously because I don’t want to bail on a school that has but its faith in me. I decline Venezuela, Macau and a few others while excitingly checking yes to Italy, Bangkok and one in Qatar. At 7pm, everyone was in the auditorium for a briefing about how the weekend was going to play out. You could feel the tension. At 8, we were free to enter the gym and talk to potential school at their booths and request an interview. It wasn’t as chaotic as I had imagined so I picked the schools I researched, set up interviews and was ready to go in 20 minutes. After that, we grabbed a beer at a local watering hole while getting excited for our interviews in the morning. I researched the schools that were interested in me and was impressed with the Italian school that has IB curriculum and teaches half in Italian and half in English. They are legit. Did not get much sleep before it was off to my 7:30am meeting with a school in Bangkok. Thailand. Sigh. I love Thailand with all my heart and couldn’t ignore an interview with them but it wasn’t meant to be. The vice-principal didn’t even know where Nakhon was! After my first interview, I prepared for my next ones. School in the UAE went ok but I knew I wasn’t qualified enough for the position. After that, a good school in Qatar offered me a job teaching kindergarten for a decent pay. I am more comfortable teaching students who are a little older and I know I’m not the best kindergarten teacher so I declined that offer as well. 3 declines, 1 no offer.
Italy next. Good vibe from the director, felt good and answered his questions. Cancelled an interview to attend his presentation. Italy was the job I wanted. Told me they would email me later on that night. Ended up cancelling my last interview in the UAE because I heard bad things about the school and because I started to realize I really don’t want to move away alone again. I’ve done it and been successful but I would love to move somewhere I had contacts and some sort of base. Moving halfway across the world for a third time alone seems much more daunting now at 28 then it did when I was 25. It would be easier if I was married and just went where my wife wanted to live. Problem solved.
In the end, Italy never messaged me and I left the fair empty handed. It was my fault for increasing my expectations. The reason I did was because I was confident I could get what I wanted. As the weekend comes to an end, I’m confident that I’m a teacher that would make a school better and I have a lot to offer. This fair was compared by the organizers as speed dating. And they were right. You are looking for the right fit, timing and shared vision. I haven’t found her or the school yet but I’d rather be too patient and picky than jump into something that I know doesn’t feel a 100% right. On the plus side, my couchsurfing host signed at a school in Bulgaria! She wasn’t even considering going there on Friday and by Sunday she was committed to spending the next two years there. Amazing. I am now lifelong friends with her and Frank so the weekend wasn’t a total write off. I’m happy for everyone that got what they dreamed and it’s only a matter of time before I write a post about how ecstatic I am about my next adventure.
"I will prepare and some day my chance will come." Abraham Lincoln