Brittney Caldwell’s original plan was to take a steady job as a school paraprofessional in order to support a move to Atlanta to study law. But instead, she ended up “loving education so much” that she decided to pursue her passion and earn teaching certification and a Master’s in Teaching Social Studies Education to Secondary Students.
For the past four years, Brittney has been working for DeKalb County District in Atlanta, currently teaching 11th grade and Advanced Placement U.S. History. This coming July, however, she’s taking a new leap and heading to the International School of Kenya (ISK) for her first overseas teaching position, with the help of Search Associates (SEARCH)!
Brittney is not entirely new to overseas teaching. While taking part in study-abroad programs in both Mexico and Ghana, she had the privilege of observing classrooms. During her breaks from teaching in the U.S., Brittney has been volunteering and fundraising for kids in Ghana. She describes a special relationship she formed with a village school in Gwabe in Greater Accra:
I have worked with them to enrich teachers and help them to finish their school building. I have crowdfunded supplies for them, and really admire the work and curriculum of their program.
It’s no surprise that Brittney was inspired to join the world of international education. She registered with Search Associates on the recommendation of a friend who had landed a teaching position in the Netherlands through the agency. With the help of Senior Associate Julie Ryan, Brittney’s registration went smoothly. She says,
It is difficult to vet schools out on your own, and it feels more secure going through SEARCH. I was very excited to have an Associate who was so helpful, resourceful, and quick to give feedback.
At the start of her search, Brittney used the SEARCH website often, finding it easy to navigate. Daily email updates kept her apprised of opportunities. Six weeks into her job search, Brittney received a promising email from ISK, requesting a Zoom interview. She reflects,
Search Associates was very useful, and I would not have found the school without this agency.
Brittney accepted a position as an International Baccalaureate (IB) History and social studies teacher at ISK for July 2021-June 2023. She is excited for July 29th when she makes her official move to Nairobi! Even though she’s has never been there, Brittney feels confident about the move. Her women’s travel group on Facebook connected her to expats living there who gave Brittney loads of information. Then, after her first interview, Brittney was convinced that ISK would be a great fit because of the “natural connection” she felt with faculty members “from the beginning.”
Brittney’s ability to reach out and connect with others has allowed her—during both the pandemic and throughout her job search—to go from strength to strength. She explains,
I have formed many relationships with teachers online through social media, online organizations, and support groups. The support from other educators online has allowed me to strengthen my network and feel very supported.
The COVID-19 crisis has challenged Brittney to balance the demands of her school administration with the daily mental, emotional, and educational needs of her students. She adapts her lessons to changes in schedule and routine that occur daily, considering what is best for her kids that day. Let it go; let the day seize itself: this philosophy has kept her centered. Her ability to adapt and be flexible will serve her brilliantly overseas.