As a teaching couple, Mark Bowyer and Kirsty Green began their careers in New Zealand as Heads of Department in Physical Education and Humanities, respectively. In 1999, the excitement of travel lured them to teach in London. After packing away some pennies earned from substitute teaching, they traveled for three months around Europe in a VW Combi van, an adventure that sparked their interest in teaching abroad! Back in London, Mark and Kirstina saw a Search Associates (SEARCH) advertisement in a local teaching magazine and promptly registered! They decided to attend a SEARCH job fair back in Auckland, New Zealand.
Several interviews with prospective schools at the SEARCH fair led to offers for positions at three international schools. Mark and Kirsty chose to accept the Seoul International School in Korea, with Kirstina taking on the role of Humanities Head of Department and Mark as a teacher of information technology (IT). Mark exclaims,
That international teaching experience in Korea opened up opportunities to travel through Asia every school holiday. From amazing holidays on Boracay Island in the Philippines, skiing on the slopes of Korea, to beautiful ruins in Angkor Wat, and finally, to the sunny beaches of Thailand and Vietnam, we were hooked!
After four years in Korea, Mark and Kirsty returned to New Zealand to start a family, with the promise to head back overseas eventually. In 2012, with an eight-month-old, a three-year-old, and a five-year-old in tow, they took appointments at the International Baccalaureate school, Prem Tinsulanonda International School, set in a lush environment, 40 minutes north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. There, Kirsty moved her way into the Humanities Head of Department role, and Mark became Deputy Principal, IB Primary Years Programme Coordinator, and Physical Education Teacher. In addition to the amazing benefit packages that overseas schools usually offer, Kirsty and Mark describe other advantages to moving back into international teaching:
. . . a high class education for our boys, the ability to pay down our mortgage back home in New Zealand, the incredible international holidays, home help, and wonderful experiences we can have as a family. . . At our current school, we couldn’t possibly have provided our boys with the same high quality education back home, so international teaching opens up huge possibilities for families. Many international schools have the money and resources to be creative and provide access to learning that we never thought possible. They also have amazing international students who make the job of teaching more exciting than ever before.
Having enjoyed great success in their current school, and ready for their next big adventure, Mark and Kirsty decided to scratch their seven-year itch. They returned to SEARCH, knowing the website would offer a great variety of prospects for overseas educators, and they looked forward to attending another well-organized job fair with high quality internatinal schools from around the world. They add,
“Our fabulous Senior Associate, Harry Deelman, supported us in preparing for the three-day, October Leadership Fair in Bangkok and gave instructions on how to load our resumes and qualifications to their website. The Leadership Fair was extremely well-organized, offering presentations from recruiters and the opportunity to interview with prospective schools.
After the fair, Mark and Kirsty were immediately offered positions in two schools. In August 2019, they are heading to American School of Doha, Qatar! They are over the moon about the salary and all the benefits—health and dental insurance, free flights home every year, free teacher accommodation, and home help—along with a world class education for their boys, exciting holidays in new locations, and the 2022 World Cup at their back door. These are simply too hard to turn down, they say. Needless to say, Mark and Kirsty are fans of Search Associates:
As a teaching couple, with family, we would highly recommend SEARCH when job hunting. Without the help of the SEARCH team, their well-organized website, a Senior Associate specifically allocated for support, and access to high quality schools through their job fairs, we would still be going through the challenge of writing cover letters and resumes and sending them off to schools every weekend for the next six months until we secured jobs.