As California teacher Beth Dagitses glanced at an ad online for an international school, she never imagined she would one day find herself traveling the world to teach. She loved being an educator, helping students achieve their goals and make discoveries. She loved creating learning engagements that allowed students to develop skills and concepts that would serve them well in their future. Beth especially loved watching her students discover new strengths, interests, and confidence when she pushed them to step outside their comfort zones. For Beth, teaching overseas was a distant dream, outside her comfort zone— actually quite terrifying, she later admits. But just when her son was about to start high school, Beth was laid off from her teaching job. Suddenly, that bold idea became the perfect opportunity.
Nine years of teaching abroad has since flown by! Initially opposed to the idea of Beth and her son moving overseas, Beth’s family couldn’t help but watch them flourish. Now they can hardly wait to visit! Beth has taught International Baccalaureate (IB) English Language & Literature and IB Film at Kodaikanal International School in India. During her next appointment at UCSI International School Springhill in Malaysia, Beth became Diploma Programme Coordinator, IB workshop leader, school visitor, and examiner. She moved on to the International School of Estonia in those same roles, and now, with the help of Search Associates (SEARCH), Beth has landed at the American International School, Vienna (AISV). She compares teaching abroad to teaching in the U.S.:
“Apart from the experience of living overseas and immersing myself in the local culture, I will say the obvious: class sizes. I was teaching up to 38 kids at once in the U.S., and now I rarely have over 20 students in a class.”
Beth first heard about SEARCH from some colleagues during her first appointment in India. It was some years later, however, that she registered with Search and found the process for finding her next overseas teaching position much easier. The SEARCH database allowed Beth to seek available positions that fit both her experience and the direction she wanted her career to go. She logged into the website at least once a day, where the My Schools section of the dashboard helped her track the schools in which she was most interested. The My Job Search helped her see which new jobs were available or updated. Beth loved the daily email updates about new vacancies and admits,
“Schools took me much more seriously because I was registered with SEARCH."
Once Beth narrowed down her list, she studied each school’s website. She also spoke to colleagues working in the region who were familiar with her top choices. Beth recalls what sealed the deal for her latest appointment at AISV:
“I knew the school was the right choice after my first interview with the principal, but then the subsequent interviews as well, with a variety of people I would be working with. I felt these were like-minded educators with whom I could collaborate.”
For those considering overseas teaching, Beth Dagitses, like many other experienced international educators, keeps her advice simple:
“Just do it! Research schools and their locations before applying and accepting. Keep an open mind. Enjoy all international teaching has to offer.”