David Noga earned his first academic degree in consumer science. He never considered a career in education—though teaching has been in his family for three generations -- but when two friends from university, who had been teaching in Korea and Mexico, returned for a holiday break, they encouraged David to consider overseas teaching as a way to experience new cultures. Off he went to South Korea to teach English as a Second Language at Philips Exeter English Academy. A newfound passion for young learners inspired him to stay in Bucheon City for two years! Nine years in international education has flown by since then, but David remembers:
I loved working with children because of their curiosity towards the world. Being a naturally energetic but patient person, I felt that I was a perfect match to teach younger learners.
After Philips Exeter, David took a post at Vietnam Australia International School in Ho Chi Minh City, during which time he completed teacher training. He was then in a position to become Grade 1 Homeroom Teacher at CBIS, a British Columbia Canadian offshore school in Seoul, South Korea. Two years later, David Noga registered with Search Associates (SEARCH). He explains,
I discovered Search Associates through a colleague at my school in Vietnam. He explained to me that it is a trusted networking and job search site for experienced teachers. One of the difficulties I [had] encountered abroad was trusting a school with minimal background information. I was excited to sign up for SEARCH because of the existing transparency between candidate and school.
A key to David’s success is his openness to living in most countries. His navigation on the SEARCH website focuses primarily on which schools match his philosophy about education. After noting the schools with open positions on the My Positions section, David counts on the School Profile page to seek the perfect fit. He also loves the “Position Matches” feature on the dashboard, an easy way to see which schools have recently-posted positions.
David attended his first job fair in 2016, Search Bangkok—SEARCH’s largest fair! Despite being nervous about the fast pace and high level of competition, he enjoyed checking his mailbox to see which schools had responded to his interview requests. He remained in contact with several schools after the fair but ended up accepting an offer from an International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Brazil, St. Francis College— a Search Associates school that had not attended the fair. He says,
The first job fair prepared me for interviews with schools on SEARCH. It was beneficial to meet several schools within a short period of time. I learned that every school is unique and has a different philosophy, and it is important to do extensive research to find a school that is a good fit.
David will bring plenty of experience to his next job fair! He has delivered the Cambridge Curriculum, the National Curriculum of England, the British Columbian Curriculum, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme. In 2019, he reached some of his professional learning goals: completing a Master of Science in Education and becoming a certified Math Specialist! When David informed his school of his enrollment in a specialist course, St. Francis College appointed him as Maths Coordinator. This promotion has allowed him to develop skills in educational leadership: heading professional development sessions and organizing curriculum. He is grateful for the opportunities this overseas school has given him, and he is confident that you can achieve your goals while teaching abroad as well! For those considering teaching overseas, David has this to say:
It is a life-changing opportunity. . . Your experience will be more positive if you approach your journey abroad with a growth mindset. . . Make sure to have an open mind to where you want to live. . . To me, there is nothing more exciting than [experiencing] new cultures and meeting people from different backgrounds. . However, it is best to do your research and also talk to multiple people when considering a school or new country because everyone has different perspectives.