When Samran Wiriyaphng (Sam) was in high school in his home country of Thailand, he faced a difficult time. Two groups of people helped him survive, his friends and his teachers. It was then that becoming a teacher crossed his mind.
Sam’s teaching career started at NIST International School as a teacher’s assistant and eventually as a part-time teacher of information and communications technology (ICT) in the elementary school. He was hooked! He speaks of “magical moments” when everything works out right, and he is a part of that experience. Once Sam earned his certification, gained enough teaching practice, and “developed the courage,” he applied for his first teaching job abroad. He says,
“I knew nothing about teaching overseas until I met my friends at NIST who shared a lot of information with me and encouraged me to discover this path. NIST’s generous professional development (PD) funds also played a big part in this.”
Sam landed his first position at Shanghai Community International School, teaching ICT at the elementary school. Over the past eleven years, he has worked at Luanda International School, the International School of Tanganyika, and the American International School of Lagos. Sam comments,
“I love the dynamic and the mindset of the people within the international school community. Even though there are some challenges that come with working overseas, I still love it.”
Except for a couple of teaching stints where Sam applied directly to the school, Search Associates has been a great resource to help him find a job. Sam has enjoyed several Search London January fairs because he often ran into old friends there. A challenge for him was to stay positive and flexible, though, because at that time of year, jobs he was interested in might have already been filled. Another hard part was prioritizing positions of interest because of the limited time to sign up for an interview.
Sam’s job search process involves updating his CV and ePortfolio before re-activating his Search Associates account. He scans the searchassociates.com database for a list of current international teaching vacancies. He adds,
“There is a lot of crucial information that is well organized and easy to find at my fingertips. This saves me a lot of time and that is important in the job search because I do not want to miss out on a good job. My network of friends within the international teacher community also plays an important role in this as they help to seal the deal for me.”
Sam is thrilled with his current position at the International School of Kenya, teaching Robotics and Apps Making, as well as working with other Middle School teachers to integrate technology into the classroom. Additional courses that he will be teaching in the following year are 2D & 3D Design and Funky Inventions. This is the fifth international school he has been hired at through Search Associates. He says,
“The school has the best PD opportunities so far, not to mention how wonderful the weather in Nairobi is, and the package is very good. In my opinion, Search Associates has been very helpful in providing important information to help me make a decision. Senior Associates Harry Deelman and Gez Hayden were very helpful and reassuring when I was looking for a new job in the past, and it has been successful so far.”
Sam offers some words of wisdom for those considering a career in international education:
“Overseas teaching opens the door to many opportunities, and one of them that we all love is traveling. My advice is to prioritize your finances and make savings a commitment. It is very easy to live life to the fullest and save very little. Do not make that mistake. Another piece of advice is to be open-minded. The cup can be half-full or half-empty, and that depends on how we look at it.”