Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Rambling Thoughts on Teaching Abroad, and My Decision

So to sum up the months of June, July, and August, I said goodbye to my students, about half of my friends/colleagues, went back to Colorado for three weeks, then returned to Paraguay with about 20 new teachers on my staff. Then only a few days later school started with my new group of kids. It was a whirlwind.

All that whirlwind kind of made me think about what it means to live and teach abroad. I mean, obviously, you have the amazing benefits of being able to travel, explore, and see the world like most people only dream of. And the downside of missing "home" like crazy. I kind of expected both. But one of my friends here in Paraguay, Bree, summed it up more perfectly than I could: "It's like I live two lives. I have my life in the US and my life here, and there is absolutely nothing in common between them." It's so true, and it's pretty bizarre. I think it might be easier in a lot of ways to be part of a teaching couple or family abroad than a single, for just this reason. I am embracing every experience but it's also a really strange way to live, when you think about it. Another thing that was a little difficult was the transience of the teachers at my school last year. I think it was an unusual year to have so many teacher deciding to leave at once, but dang if I was starting to like those people. Now I've started to make new friends with the incoming group, but it's still strange to change out half of your coworkers in a year. And in this world, coworkers = friends and coworkers = your family-so it's a big deal.

I hope I'm not coming across as negative because I am having the most amazing experience. The experience of a lifetime. Just doing some reflecting.

So the second part of my title, the decision. By the end of October we had to announce our intentions for the following school year. Yes, international schools run on a totally different hiring schedule! For me, I kind of always planned on staying for two years. For one thing, I have some ties at home, like my townhome, to consider. For another, I don't exactly know if, for every year I teach overseas, is another year I'll have to work in the US before I can retire. That would kind of suck so I should probably figure some Adult Things out pretty soon here. Plus, I just love where I'm from, and my people there, so dang much that I kind of want to go back! Not in a weepy-homesick-I'm miserable kind of way, just a normal way. So I filled out my paperwork and turned it in, announcing my intention to leave at the end of the school year. It's not that easy of a decision, really, because I have great friends here, and financially it's been beneficial as well. Not to mention my cush schedule and planning time at work. But for now...it's the right decision for me. Who knows where I'll end up in a couple of years?

In the meantime, of you know of any teaching jobs opening up in the metro Denver/Northern Colorado area come July 2015, let me know!

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