Ryan Simonet is a perfect example of the many international school educators who have found complete fulfillment in teaching. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ryan originally went to college to be an artist, yet he found himself unsatisfied with his first career in advertising and graphic design. He enrolled in a graduate program at the College of New Jersey, where he earned his teaching certification and master's degree. The decision to teach abroad felt ideal, especially when Ryan realized how much his prior work supported his teaching. He explains,
"I am able to teach on both academic levels and through real world experiences. These traits, which encompass a firm understanding of the 21st Century Skills that employers and entrepreneurs of the future are sure to require, are now being passed onto my students."
Although his focus remains on international teaching, Ryan is also an experienced musician, artist, and techie. He records his own original music as a one-man band and also has diverse skills in audio engineering, videography, photography, poetry, programming, animation/stop-motion, graphic design, and many other forms of visual media. Ryan considers both education and music to be integral parts of his identity and his teaching practice. Naturally, he loves to share all that he knows with his enthusiastic students. He says,
" … I found happiness in teaching. Being an educator gave me so much pride, and I finally felt like I was contributing to the greater good of our global community—not only by being an effective educator but also by being a positive male role model to the young individuals who will soon run our world … My teaching style is always a two-way street—students learn from me as much as I learn from them, and questions are encouraged."
In 2008, Ryan took his first international post at the American School of Doha, Qatar, after following the advice of an acquaintance and researching where in the world he wanted to live. In Qatar, he learned a lot about Arab culture, which he found completely different from the way it was portrayed on the news. Ryan and his newfound friends, fueled by what they experienced in this new, stimulating environment, would have philosophical conversations all night on a wide variety of topics. He has come to consider Doha—and now China—with their caring people, rich cultures, delicious food, breathtaking scenery, and spectacular wonders—his homes away from home!
Ryan's last job search was particularly challenging because of his extensive yet unique skill set. Tempting job offers came his way at the 2013 Search Bangkok Job Fair, but Ryan declined them all, holding out for a position that would combine all his interests. With the power of positive thinking and useful feedback from friends knowledgeable about the region, Ryan was offered and accepted a position at the Dalian American International School (DAIS) in China. Now in his fourth year at DAIS, he has recently been named K-12 Technology Coordinator, after being Elementary Technology Integration Teacher, Elementary Librarian, and iLearning Specialist.
Ryan first heard about Search Associates from colleagues. In addition to utilizing the searchassociates.com website to narrow down which positions were a good fit for him, he enjoyed networking at the Bangkok Fair. The fair was rich with top schools and candidates, and Ryan loved the opportunity to chat informally with school administrators. He also enjoyed exchanging international teaching experiences with other candidates and catching up with former colleagues. Ryan's Associate Michael Williams was right there, ready to answer all inquiries and provide any assistance necessary. Ryan says these elements will draw him back to another Search Associates job fair when the time comes.
Ryan advises prospective overseas teaching candidates to jump in feet first. He exclaims, "Don't worry, you'll find the perfect fit!" Above all, he suggests that candidates stay positive while finding ways to be the standout in the crowd. Ryan has found his bliss teaching abroad, which he explains:
"The priceless things about international teaching would be meeting and working with amazing educators from different countries and the wonderful exchange of stories with them. I also love teaching multicultural students and meeting the parents, a great way of learning and being exposed to various cultures and customs … You will also greatly expand your horizons in fields such as travel, art, food, and literature to name a few… You will get a better grasp on how the world actually works through your first-hand experience—rather than seeing it on TV."