Canadian teacher, Damianne President, has worked in India, Sudan, Japan and Czech Republic in the last 10 years.

"I have been working overseas for 10 years. As a student, I never considered working overseas. However, I graduated with my Bachelor of Education when there was a shortage of jobs for teachers. I needed a full time job to meet my responsibilities and, in my job search, came across a job fair for international schools. I attended the fair, having been warned by the recruitment agency that it was unlikely that I would find a job there as a new teacher, and was offered three jobs. Out of Trinidad, Colombia and India, the last seemed most interesting. The school in India was a for profit school. We were given housing, a yearly ticket to our home of record, and a salary. All utilities were paid. However, it was sometimes challenging to get resources at the school, which was a constant reminder of the commercial nature of the school.

Since India, I've worked in not-for-profit schools in Sudan, Japan and the Czech Republic. They have all been international schools with international curricula. Benefits have included medical insurance and housing. Japan and Czech Republic were the most generous, with some dental and vision medical insurance as well as a retirement contribution from the school.

My first three schools were small K-12 schools and there was always a lot to do. There were frequent complaints from teachers of being overworked because we were all involved in curriculum development and other school improvement initiatives. This translated to lots of meetings and other work besides teaching. The positive aspect of this focus on school improvement is the ability to innovate in the classroom, with a focus on collaboration, creativity and authentic learning. I find the opportunity to be a teacher-leader and change agent very appealing in the international schools that I've chosen to work in.

To me, teaching in international schools allows me greater freedom to teach. I know that there are stateside schools that have similar programs but the bureaucracy of the US and Canada are daunting to me. Additionally, if I were to return to Canada to work in public schools now, I would be starting out as a new teacher and my international experience would be given no value. That alone is a huge deterrent to returning “home.” The other is the fact that I am third-culture and Canada no longer feels like home."