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Children overseas

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by papillon74, May 18, 2011.

  1. This is a very useful thread - thank you.

    I am moving to the UAE this summer with my 10 year old daughter and although I think it will be really good for her, it is interesting to see how other children have coped. I have been reading the Third Culture Kids book and am enjoying it. I feel like I need to be prepared for the negatives as well as the positives! The hardest thing for her is going to be leaving her dad behind, but we have bought him a webcam and intend to send her home during the end of term holidays at least.

    To help her prepare, we visited the school and took some cards with her email address on. Some of the girls have been emailing her and hopefully this will help her to feel 'at home' when we arrive. We have also been looking into transferring her Guides membership and other activities that she might want to do.
  2. mousethew

    mousethew New commenter

    It sounds like you are very well prepared there Dippycat. One thing about most international students is that, in general, they are very open to new friendships - I'm not suprised that some students are emailing your daughter already and she should have relatively little difficulty breaking into friendship circles. Although international students can be quite 'cliquey', those 'cliques' tend to be much more willing to accept new members than similar age-groups in home nation schools. The down-side is, of course, they tend to lose new members just as quickly; my son's been through 4 'best friends' in 3 years as they've moved on / home.
  3. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    I'm not a parent, so this view comes from the front of the class. What a joy to have some native English speakers in this 'immersion school' (99% Spanish children; curriculum taught in English). Flip this around and the payback is when I see (and hear) the English children picking up Spanish in the playground and in class at immense speed. Everyone wins.
    It's only one school and one perspective, I know, but a very positive experience.
  4. Thanks again for another brilliant thread. I had been dippy enough not to factor in my children's need to interact in the playground in the 'home' language - merrily thinking English curriculum = everyone speaks English. I am hoping that heads will consider Jeremyinspain's viewpoint when hiring, ie that my kids will be a bonus rather than a burden to the school (they are 11 and 12). I have no doubt that they will gain from the experience, although they naturally underestimate the potential difficulties. I am moderating my search area, thinking Europe (W or E) might be a good start so we can get home if they need respite in the holidays. They are now mortified if I start talking about UK jobs. fingers crossed for a new adventure!
  5. cityfree

    cityfree New commenter

    Agreed Pumpkin. Excellent thread. I'm moving off to China in the summer and although I am currently sans offspring, I know that I want to start having children in the next few years or so. May need to find a husband first :eek:). I have the fairytale idea of raising kids abroad and hope that some of it isn't too far fetched. I really couldn't see myself being able to give my future (hopeful) children the experience, education or standard of living without going abroad. Teacher pay and workload in the UK just doesn't allow for what i want for them. Not unless I found me a VERY rich husband :eek:).
  6. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    The 64,000 euro question...
    A lot of the horror stories are true, of course. But having said that, we all enjoy telling our own horror stories, don't we? It's in the blood of travellers, whether they be backpackers in Bombay or Aunty Madge just back from a week in Mallorca. (And don't the horrors get worse every time the tale is told?)
    Sometimes, I think very often, the horror story tells more about the teller, than it does about whatever the tale is about. Some people just like to moan. I would guess, I might be wrong, but I guess that 'happy' people feel they don't really have much of a tale to tell. So, the forums will fill up with 'great tales'. (ie 'horrors'); that's possibly the nature of the beast. Doesn't make them 'wrong', just exaggerated in their frequency if my 'guess' is correct. Also, people want to warn others not to make a similar mistake.
    Going on from that, some people can turn a drama into a crisis very easily, while others ride the waves. It's not all going to be smooth-sailing. There's a lot of form-filling and struggling with a foreign language and finding somewhere (nice) to live and buying a car and finding a doctor, a dentist and a candle-stick-maker. But if you accept all that as part of the 'adventure'...?
    Another issue. There is an economic crisis here in Spain/Europe. So belts are being tightened, schools are losing numbers. This means people are losing their jobs. We used to have 2/3 form intake. Now we see one, half empty class in nursery. Writing on the wall? Or will there be an upturn? (Don't ask me).
    So, the answer to your question?
    Prepare, prepare, prepare! (Which is clearly what you're doing). It's true that the pay is lower in Spain than in the UK. How much lower depends on what you were earning at home. There's often no 'allowances' for experience/qualifications etc. I had 25 years under my belt in the UK so coming to Spain (where I was paid the same as an NQT) meant I took a bigger 'hit' than most others. But finding out your pay is much lower than it was back home is a horror
    story if it's a surprise. If you knew it before you left, then it
    isn't. I came out knowing it was going to happen, and accepting it because at my stage of my career, it was worth it; a sort of downshift to be compensated by the experience/weather/adventure etc. I had no mortgage to pay, a house back in the UK earning me rental income, and my wife was working here as well. So, lower pay? fact. Horror story? Depends on who you are, what your finances are and whether it comes as a surprise.
    People being sacked? Yes, it happens. So, find out as much about where you might be going as you can. Look at the profile of the school (one class in nursery; 3 classes in year 2; 5 classes in year 6? What does that tell you?)

    I didn't do this but... if you were offered a job, could you visit your 'new' school before accepting? I mean, you are making a giant change to your life, is a budget flight worth the same as you'd pay for a survey before you buy a house? That depends on who you are and how much of a risk you are willing to take. (Turn it into a holiday?)
    It would be a priceless opportunity to chat to some staff (off-the-record), get a 'feel' for the atmosphere in the staffroom/playground. It would be a little unusual, but might show the head how serious you are, that you're not just looking for a year-in-the-sun and away. (Yes, the shoe is sometimes on the other foot). Heads do like 'good' staff who stay for more than the time it takes to get a good tan. (Especially if they are paying them not very much). It's complicated isn't it?
    It really is all about you and your family and what you want. A 'perfect' move that's so smooth you barely notice it is highly unlikely. A horror story, possibly equally so. Bit an adventure with risks and benefits. If you're all willing to sign up for that, then it might be for you. And if it does 'go wrong', you all laugh about it together (rather than blaming each other) and embroider the story a little before you tell all your friends.
    Finally, don't rush. Take your time, prepare, don't be afraid to say 'no' if a school doesn't 'feel' right. Ask questions, by e-mail so you have a record. Expect an honest answer to an honest question. We were told pretty much exactly what we'd earn after tax by the head on interview. (Don't think he expected to see us again). At the moment my wife and I each take home 1,500 euros a month (12 months, 2 months off in the summer. Some schools might only pay you 11 months if you don't work the July summer school; some schools make the July summer school compulsory...) We pay 600 euros per month for a nice flat, 3 bedrooms. But as I said, that's cancelled out by the rent we get from our house in Blighty.
    So, take my advice for what it is. My advice. Ask others. They will have other views, some will have genuine horror stories. I will admit, we have been lucky, so far.
    By the way, I wrote a number of 'light-hearted' articles for the TES magazine when I first came out here. Go to 'The Paper' then put 'Jeremy Dean' into the search box. Might make you smile. Hope they don't put you off.
    I might have said this before on this forum, it's not original, anyway: Life's not a dress rehearsal.
    Good luck.

  7. Thank you SO much for all this sensible advice. I think it definately needs to be a balance of careful investigation and just having-a-go! Just hope I get a job now...!

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