Monday, September 17, 2007

I want to teach in Europe

I don't think I'm really happy, at least long-term, without some kind of big goal in mind. Something to look forward to and strive towards. The past few years I've been able to cross off some of those goals. Graduate. 10 weeks in Europe. Graduate. Convince April to marry me. Find a teaching job.
Now that those goals are accomplished, I realized I'm out, and so I'm searching for a new big goal. Being an assistant principal doesn't appeal to me right now. Becoming certified to teach all science (not just biology) and English...those are good goals, but they're not big, and they're more to make me marketable than anything else.
So I've been looking at moving to Europe. A place where (unless it's a US school) children want to learn. A place that's big on good public transportation, good food, good culture. A place that's green. A place where the LDS religion is something that makes us different, not the same.
My options right now:
Work for DODDS (schools run by the US government for military brats). US kids, and the jobs can be difficult to obtain, but they provide free housing, and an American influence would make April feel more at home.
Get a TESOL or similar credential and teach English as a second language in a European school. This can also be a difficult job to get in Western Europe, and I'd rather teach biology or English as a first language, but Europeans generally want to learn (as opposed to Americans...please compare high school graduation rates for proof).
Teaching for an international school. Europe has a lot of international schools where the primary language is English. Kids from all over, who have parents working in a foreign country, go to these schools. This would probably be my first pick; I still need to do more research.
Teaching a subject in the English language in a public or private school. Apparently, the Netherlands is big on this...they have classes taught in English, and the students practice English and learn another subject at the same time.
My biggest problem right now is that I don't know how difficult it is to get jobs in any of these areas. My only connection is a retired librarian who used to work for DODDS in Italy (thanks, Kirk). I don't know anyone else who's taught in Europe. So I'll be doing some more research.
Anyone who doesn't understand this obsession has never been to Europe. It'll be an adventure when it happens. We'll have to see how long I can convince April to stay. If anyone has any potential leads, let me know.


alison said...

I've been told by many that Wisconsin is "God's Country." You could check it out, decide if you think it's true... and be closer to friends (us!) and family (it's a lot more easier to live close to family than far away--plane tickets, deciding when and how often and how long to visit who's family). Definitely not as fun or exciting...Europe is a much loftier goal.

I like it. Research and apply yourself. Teach in Europe!

Woodine said...

Teaching in Europe sounds like a great goal and could be a lot of fun for a few years. overly harsh commentary on the USA if you ask my opinion. You've spent most of your time in UT and ID, which are not noted for fabulous school systems (unlike say, Wisconsin or parts of upstate NY and other areas0. If you'd like a place that's green, with better schools, better transportation, and where being LDS would make you different....try moving East. It's wonderful out here!

And as far as European culture goes, humanitarian wise it is phenomenal. Hands down. Morally it is really in the dregs. I have friends and acquaintances from Europe who are not interested in raising families there because of the severe moral decline. The USA may be struggling, but not as badly as many European nations.

Anywhoo, it sounds like a great adventure for however long you decide, and you and April will figure it out. Good luck!

Cougarg said...

I'm sure by now you have already done more research on teaching overseas than I ever did. Besides, what I did was all on going to Japan.

Also, while I have no doubt you could go over and be really happy for as long as you wanted to be there, your real trick will be with how your better half handles it. I don't know how much she has traveled outside of the western US. If it hasn't been much, I'd be inclined to second Woodine. You know, kind of a test run to see how being farther away from family suits her. But definately do whatever will make you both happy!

JorgenMan said...

I'd agree with woodline as well. I don't have much experience with Europe outside my mission - only a single 10-day vacation - but my wife spent her high-school years in England, and says the same thing as woodline - that Europe is beautiful and a wonderful place to visit, but that morally, it's quite unsavory.