Sharon Awuor Wasonga finally landed her dream job through tremendous perseverance along with the support of an old friend as well as her Search Associate Bill Turner. She has accepted an overseas teaching position at British International School, Istanbul (BISI), and Sharon is over the moon.
It was in early 2019 when Sharon traveled to Qatar to visit her sister. During that trip, she met up with a former university mate whom Sharon hadn’t seen in many years and who happened to be teaching in an international school in Doha. When Sharon asked her how she had come by her overseas teaching job, Redempta told her about Search Associates (SEARCH). Sharon remains forever grateful to her friend Redempta for that helpful guidance through the registration process.
Born and raised in Kenya, Sharon has been teaching at international schools in Mombasa for eight years—first at Oshwal Academy, then at Jaffrey Academy. Nevertheless, it was difficult for international education recruiters to perceive her as an experienced overseas teacher, claiming that Sharon lacked international exposure.
Almost daily, for three years, Sharon applied for jobs on the SEARCH website. She loved the ability to find detailed information about member schools. She also appreciated APLi, the feature that helps candidates monitor the progress of their application, as well as providing other services. Sharon describes what has helped her the most:
I sincerely appreciate my Associate Mr. Bill Turner. He walked with me, advised, and encouraged me when I almost gave up, as it was proving difficult to find an overseas position due to the pandemic. One thing I will never forget: After I scheduled my interview, Bill set up a Zoom meeting with me prior to the main interview and helped me with how to handle the interview process. Because of that, I was able to get a chance in a new school.
Sharon will not be traveling with her husband, but she will be taking along her daughter, Jowie, who has not yet begun school. Once Sharon checked out her new school’s location and curriculum on the SEARCH database, she felt at ease:
I was happy that it was just almost similar to my current school in Kenya; thus, I knew this school would feel like home too.
It was Sharon’s passion for sports that inspired her to become a Physical Education (P.E.) teacher. She had played numerous sports in both her secondary and university years, during which she became captain of the soccer team that clinched the gold in the East Africa University Games of 2010. When Sharon saw an opportunity to study sports, she vowed to impart her knowledge and love of the game to future students so that they could appreciate and envision sports as a possible career. During those years, Sharon earned a Bachelor‘s Degree in Sports Science, Honors and a Certificate in Early Childhood Education. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Physical Education.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for P.E. teachers around the globe trying to instruct remotely. Sharon says that there has been little one can do to monitor if the children are concentrating fully from the screens in their homes. Sometimes, students are online but using different tabs or browsing while one teaches. The crisis did enable Sharon to experiment with some new apps that on any other day she would not use. She adds that the circumstances have forced her to work extra hard to put the children “on toss” so that the children would be excited to participate in the lesson. On toss during remote learning means that Sharon’s students must prove they are completing assigned activities by submitting recordings of themselves doing those activities in real time.
As she heads to Istanbul, Turkey, after some challenging job-hunting years, Sharon Wasonga knows that Search Associate Bill Turner remains behind her, doing whatever he can to make her journey as smooth as possible.