The Hudsons say teaching is "definitely in the family." Marshall spent his college breaks working at the school his father helped to found in Honduras. Both Marshall's older sister and brother-in-law are teachers. Lizzie, an American, was raised in Scotland while her mom worked at, what is now, the International School of Aberdeen (ISA). Lizzie was fascinated.
"I remember hearing friends of [my mom's] talking about holidays and getting confused over countries--I thought that was the coolest thing ever! They had been to so many countries, and had friends in so many places, that it absolutely became something I wanted to do. I went to the States to [earn] a master's degree with a teaching license and taught for two years in the States, just long enough to get the minimum experience recommended for international schools."
Having taught in the U.S., Lizzie can appreciate the benefits of international teaching. She describes international teachers as very motivated, active, open-minded, and voracious for travel and food. International schools, with their highly-involved parent community, are well-resourced and forward-thinking, especially regarding educational technology. She describes schools abroad as committed to professional development for teachers, which necessitates "travel[ing] to different countries to hear from people who are real experts in their fields." Lizzie also notes the myriad national and domestic forums made available for discourse with other teachers.
The Hudsons met at the Seoul International School during Lizzie's first overseas appointment. Marshall had already taught in Honduras and then at the Colombus School in Medellin, Colombia before meeting Lizzie. Together they moved to Discovery College in Hong Kong, where, for seven years, they were members of the founding staff. Now they've taken positions at the newly-opened IGB International School in Kuala Lumpur, an unexpected choice:
"… we had initially decided we didn't want to work at another beginning school… [but] we really liked our initial conversation with Anne Fowles, and then the interview with their principals went well. At this point we went to our Associate to ask his opinion and quickly reached out to international teaching friends around the world via social media. All of the feedback we got back about the people who had established the school… as well as the current administration was extremely positive… Harry, our Associate, felt that IGBIS was the best match for us. We trusted his opinion, and with my parents already living in Thailand, it was a good decision to stay close to family in Southeast Asia."
Marshall had already found success working with Search Associates. His attendance at the Cambridge Fair in both 2000 and 2003 landed him positions at the Columbus School and Seoul International School, respectively. After the Bangkok Fair in 2007, he accepted a position at Discovery College, Hong Kong. So, in January 2015, when it came time to pursue new overseas positions--now as teaching couple with two children--Lizzie and Marshall were drawn to the Bangkok Fair. Before attending, the couple referenced searchassociates.com to compare schools and establish their priorities. As prepared as they were, Lizzie and Marshall still called the experience a roller coaster. Lizzie says,
"… the posters in the candidate lounge [at the Bangkok Fair were] helpful… an immediate reference point, especially [since the] jobs we had anticipated, based on online searches, had gone by the time of the fair. Because we were looking for two positions, there weren't as many options for us, but it meant that we could be focused on the interview sign-up."
The Hudsons initially felt limited. They feared some schools would prefer teaching couples in different divisions while others would prefer teachers without young dependents. Luckily, Search Associates eased their anxiety, and they were given an option to sign up at the London Fair, in case they didn't find the right opportunity in Bangkok. Fortunately, they found opportunities that excited them at the Bangkok Fair.
Nearly a year later, all of the Hudsons have settled into their new school and home in Kuala Lumpur. Lizzie and Marshall are eager to share what they have learned with prospective international teachers.
- Be open to going anywhere.
- Choose the right school, not the ideal location because having a good place to work and good colleagues are what will make or break your time away, especially your first time.
- You make lifelong friends at international schools, and it really becomes a small world once you've been in it for a while.
- You'll have friends to visit in almost every country in the world, and those contacts can quickly help you find new opportunities once you are ready to move on.