Two high school teachers made such an impact on his life that Charles Franklin II decided to become an educator himself. After five years of teaching Grade 5 in Texas, Charles was ready for a change. He craved more training and a chance to travel. What he didn’t want was a change of profession. Teaching has always fed his hungry mind and heart. He says,
Every day, every hour is different from the one before. It is always interesting.
Charles researched international teaching opportunities on the internet, and then a colleague described all the ways Search Associates (SEARCH) could support his quest for an overseas teaching position. Once registered, Charles began using the SEARCH website daily, finding the Job Match function particularly helpful. If a school expressed interest in his candidacy, Charles would study its details. When he saw that Suzhou Singapore International School (SSIS) in China would provide International Baccalaureate (IB) training, Charles knew it was the right school for him. He took the position teaching middle school math and science and began training in the IB Middle Years Programme.
In his seven years abroad, Charles has worked at Daystar Academy in Beijing, Qatar Academy Doha, and International School Bochum in Germany, in addition to SSIS. He explains,
I use Search Associates as my recruiting agency of choice because of the quality of their member schools.
He has attended the Search London fair twice and admits that while the experience was daunting initially, chatting with other candidates about the “ins and outs of a fair” made it much easier. One thing Charles recommends to prospective overseas educators is to become clear on the “important questions to ask during an interview, such as benefits, especially in regards to medical insurance.”
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly put a twist in Charles’s most recent plans: a school at which he was supposed to start teaching was forced to rescind his contract. Using the SEARCH website, Charles was able to land a long-term substitute position, teaching Grade 5 in Washington, D.C. For his current school’s hybrid-learning environment, Charles is glad to have acquired technological skills in order to teach successfully.
Eager to return overseas when the pandemic abates, Charles is sustained by memories of teaching overseas. He fondly remembers teaching 3rd graders at Daystar Academy how to build model rockets and then launching them as part of a model rocketry club. He also enjoyed seeing the “different sides” of his 7th graders at SSIS students when would take them camping at the beginning of each school year. While more opportunities for teaching adventures and first-class professional development are excellent reasons to work in international schools, Charles gives another reason why it has been wonderful:
The biggest difference between teaching overseas and teaching in the U.S.A. is that overseas I feel more respected and valued as an educator.