I am writing this from Mugg & Bean, a coffee shop in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mugg & Bean offers a “bottomless coffee” for 18 Rand, or about $1.50, which is a cup of coffee with unlimited refills. Starbucks, take note. This, my friends, is brilliant. If Mugg & Bean had free wifi and a power outlet or two for me to charge my laptop and iPhone, it would easily be at the top of my list of coffee shops. But rants of the caffeine addict aside, I am in Johannesburg for a job fair. Yesterday, I interviewed with six different international schools.
On Friday, as I was flying from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg, I grappled with indecision about my future: do I continue working internationally, or do I return to Fort Wayne, Indiana? There are pros and cons of each.
Eventually, I came up with a list of what I’m looking for in the next school I teach at, wherever that may be:
- A “department” and collaboration – a school that is large enough for me to not be the only teacher in my subject area
- PD opportunities and administration dedicated to improving teachers through professional development opportunities, observations, and constructive criticism
- Medical insurance
- Coaching opportunities – especially in volleyball
- Opportunities for me to be active and play sports (after/outside of school)
- I.T. integration
- IB or U.S. Common Core curriculum
- Concern for individual students (differentiation), not just test results
- A salary that provides for basic needs, travel over breaks, and some savings
As a result of this list, I turned down one concrete job offer this weekend and am convinced that at least three of the other schools are not the right placement for me. The other two schools I am quite interested in teaching at if they offer me a position, but at the same time, would be just as happy to return to Indiana for a year or two if nothing comes of the interviews.
In short, I still don’t know where I will be teaching next year. But I do know a few places where I will not be teaching, got some valuable experience interviewing (I’ve never actually interviewed for a teaching job before this weekend!), met some great teachers and administrators, and I scored a visit to Johannesburg / South Africa for the first time, which is almost like being back in the U.S. All in all, a great weekend!
Oh yes, and my final thought from my pre-job fair brainstorming session:
Ministry is not a place; it is a lifestyle.