“Be brave enough to travel the unknown path, and learn what you are capable of.” Rachel Wolchin
Moving away from the known, to the unknown, is not easy for us to do as humans. Especially when it means leaving your family and routines behind. It is not for everyone, but for me seeing the professional and personal rewards have made it easier. I hope that this section of the website will make the paths to international teaching clearer.
My Journey to International Teaching
In 2012 after completing my master’s, life had become a never-ending cycle with no scope for growth. So I started retooling and applying for jobs in any sector I saw openings that would match my skill set. After various interviews, no job!! I scoured the internet and started applying for teaching jobs abroad. But my lack of experience outside of Jamaica proved to be an issue. It is not as easy for teachers of specialized arts-based subjects to get hired abroad.
In 2015, I applied to the JET Program for the 2016/17 school year but was only selected as an alternate. Alternates are candidates that the embassy pulls from should someone decide to withdraw. The decision was then made not to wait, but to apply for the J1 program.
J1 Teacher Exchange Program (USA)
In 2016, there weren’t as many of the sponsoring companies marketing to Jamaicans as there are now. After research, I decided to register with the J1 company EPI. At the time, they invited teachers from a wide variety of subjects and levels to apply with their company. Please note that this program is only open to non-immigrants; so any country outside the USA.
I started the process late and by early August 2016, I had an interview which lead to a contract. I moved to South Carolina to teach music in a rural primary (PreK-2) school. The three years spent here changed my trajectory as a music educator. I participated in various professional development activities within the district and state. While here in the USA, I decided to invest in an International Baccalaureate (IB) course. I learned about the IB framework during my initial research into teaching abroad. So, after fulfilling the J1 visa requirements, I decided to apply again to schools abroad. But with a slight focus on schools that use the IB curriculum.
I decided in 2018 that while I would apply for an extension of my J1 visa, the aim was to move further abroad. So I updated my profile on the job sites and applied to new sites. The main ones were: The International Educator (TIE), Teacher Horizons and Schrole. Schrole then became known as ISS-Schrole, though they ended their partnership in 2021. I used these sites among others to apply for jobs worldwide. By April 2019 I signed a contract for a school in the Congo.
As you can see, finding teaching jobs abroad is not as hard as one might think. You just have to know where to look and when to start applying.
Hopefully, this website will prove helpful as you begin your journey. Please check out the FAQ section and this article on Choosing an International School for further information.
I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments. Feel free to send me an email at [email protected] or reach out to me on any of my social media pages.