Inspired by this tweet:
About this time of year, eight years ago I was at my desk at work, with five piles of assignments to mark. I looked at the clock and it read 19:05. I thought it was time to go home and get some dinner. This was a normal occurrence. My job title was Lecturer of Sport in a 6th form college in England. I found myself getting into the office at 6:30 am and not leaving until later in the evening to ensure I didn’t take work home. I started to think ‘there has to be more to teaching than this.’
We were lucky enough to be visited by ex-England International Rugby Coach Brian Ashton. He gave a Q&A session to the staff and used lots of examples from his coaching career that were inspiring. One example he told resonated with me a lot. He said 99% of people live in a box and live a very happy life. 0.5% of people say I am going to do this, I am going to do that and never quite get out of the box. The other 0.5% of people jump out of the box and get to experience things, most people will only dream about. I nudged my very good friend and said “I am going to be in that 0.5%”.
I started looking for jobs abroad, though I had left it quite late in the recruiting season. I had several interviews and eventually settled on a position in China. Within a month of that talk with Brian Ashton I had handed in my resignation, found a new job and was moving to a new country. Scary, yes…but so much to look forward to.
As I sit here now, my fifth year being international I feel blessed at the opportunities I have had. I qualified as a PE teacher in 2007, I have been a Secondary PE teacher, Lecturer of Sport, University Lecturer of Physical Education and Health, Head of Department, Athletic Director and currently a Primary Physical Education and Health teacher. I feel I have gone full circle. I have had the opportunities to swim with whale sharks in the Red Sea, surf the waves in Bali ( not very successfully), run the Great Wall Marathon and so many other life experiences along the way. Made friends from across the globe, that I would now call my extended family.
It is not all rosy…I have missed weddings, christening, birthdays, funerals. But I know the time I do spend with my ‘Home’ friends is quality and means so much. When people ask me what it is like to teach internationally and would I recommend it….My answer is always the same…GO FOR IT.
At the end of the day what have you got to lose? You can always go home if you don’t enjoy it….I on the other hand, LOVE IT.
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