Wednesday, September 08, 2010

It's a Different World Over Here

Yesterday was New Teacher Orientation at my new school in Beirut. Wow! is pretty much all I have to say. We're not in NYC public schools anymore, Toto!

We started the morning with an introduction from the HR director. She said that this morning she was reminded of herself being a new hire four years ago and all the excitement she felt to be working at this school. Then a few months later the excitement and newness started to fade and she wondered where it went. Then she asked herself where else she would want to work other than here and her answer was nowhere else. The room of teachers and administration new and old cheered. (Then she cracked a joke about asking the same thing about her husband: Who else would I want to be married to? And the answer was always the same: (dramatic pause) George Clooney.

Next the President got up and spoke about all the schools he had worked at in the world and how this was the best school in the world. OK, he might be a bit biased, but still, can you imagine working at a school that could even proclaim to be the best in the world? Then, person after person got up and while introducing themselves gushed about how much they love the school and couldn't imagine being anywhere else. It was pretty amazing.

We had tours of the school campus which is gorgeous. My friend's fifth grade classroom has a wall of windows where you see nothing but the sparkling blue sea! (I'm a tad jealous I must say!) After the tour we took a bus ride up to the satellite campus in the mountains which has an even more gorgeous view of Beirut and the sea. After a presentation from the HR department we had a catered lunch of Lebanese food before heading back down to Beirut.

Beautiful campus aside I was just struck by the excitement of all of the staff that we met. The president said when he was speaking, "I have complete confidence and faith in each and every one of you. You've all been brought here to work at the best school because you are the best." And you really felt that he meant it. What a breath of fresh air coming from NYC where as a teacher you feel as if you aren't trusted to do anything without being micro-managed.

Today the foreign-hire teachers (there are eight of us) had a meeting with the President where he talked about life in Lebanon: politics, religion, emergencies, personal safety, and basically anything we needed in getting adjusted to life in a new country. He made us feel really secure in knowing if anything dramatic were to happen in the country we would be taken care of. He was also on top of any sort of requests that we had. No wireless in your apartments? We're on it. Furniture in some of the apartments is old and dingy? We will replace it by the end of next week. The shipping company didn't do a professional job? Thanks for alerting us, we'll get a new one. Honestly I can't imagine anyone being more responsive. After our meeting we were taken out to lunch by the president and his wife and we all just chatted and got to know each other better.

Needless to say I am loving my school so far and feeling a little more than spoiled. Being an international school teacher definitely has its perks!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I have arrived in Beirut and am loving it! New teachers report to work this Friday, the rest of the teachers return on the 13th and then school starts on the 23rd. Yes, we have THAT much time to prepare! Take that NYC!

I've started a new blog about my life in Beirut so I won't be blogging here anymore (not that I have in ages anyway. ha). If you are interested in following me to my new blog you can find me here:

Hope everyone has a great start to the new school year!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snow Day Tomorrow

I never thought I'd see the day that a snow day was called *in advance*. Remember last year we were all hoping for a snow day that wasn't called until 6 am after many teachers and students had already left for school. I was just out of the shower when a friend from school texted me to tell me the good news. Later, the mayor had the nerve to go on TV and say, regarding the people who complained he called it too late, that any "intelligent" person could look out their windows and see the amount of snow and *know* that schools would be closed.

So, we must be getting a heck of a lot of snow tomorrow. But at this point, it doesn't really matter how much it snows; we already got our snow day. Can't take it back now :)

I for one am prepared for tomorrow. I went grocery shopping today and I plan to enjoy my day off tomorrow. I'm gonna sleep in, watch some movies, and cook. Pancakes for breakfast, tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch, and roast chicken for dinner. I can't wait!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

You guys, I'm going to Beirut!

That's right, I got the job! The one I wanted so badly. The one that last August I knew I wanted and just assumed I would apply to and get so I could go back to Lebanon. The one that later seemed SO impossible to get with all the candidates that were going to be at the fair. But it really did happen. I got the job in Beirut!

I'm going to be teaching middle school ESL/ELA. It's going to be a HUGE change for me. I'm definitely going to miss the little ones but I think a change will do me good. The school year starts in September but I'll probably try to get there sometime in August so I can enjoy a bit of the Lebanese summer before work starts.

I am so, so excited!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

It's Time

So, here I am on the bus to Boston for the international school fair. I'm full of anticipation for the coming days. I've been thinking seriously about working at an international school for more than five years and now it is so close to happening. I've read up on the job fairs and how the work and recounted the information to untold numbers of people over the years and now here I am about to experience it for myself.

Over the past couple of weeks I've had time to research some of the schools a bit so that I have an idea of my options once I get to the fair. The second day of the fair there is a mad rush to schedule interviews with schools and you have to be strategic about who you interview with and when. If you have no idea which schools are going to be there it just makes the process that much more confusing. While looking at the schools that will be there I've managed to work up some excitement about schools not in the Middle East. Ecuador, Singapore, and Switzerland are just three places, for example, that have openings I could potentially interview for that sound exciting. Lebanon is still by far my first choice and I would take almost any teaching job to go there but I am starting to feel excited about other possibilities too. The tricky part will be deciding which of my back up ideas to choose if my first choice doesn't come through. Then again, if I don't find anything I like I can always stay in NYC. I have a job, an apartment, and I like my life.

Monday, January 18, 2010

International School Update

So I am officially attending the job fair in February! I am nervous and excited all at the same time. Beirut is definitely where I want to go and there are two schools there that I can apply to (I applied today actually!). If I were to get either a classroom or ESL position at either of those schools I would take it in a heartbeat. I will also consider going to other countries and parts of the world but I will have to put a lot of consideration in to my decision to go anywhere else. I have a LOT to think about in the next two weeks!