Three times a charm or three strikes and you’re out

It’s been a while since my last blog. I don’t know what happened with the oversees job in Kuwait City.  They never got back to me, so TeachAway told me to assume that I wasn’t selected for the job.  So sad.  I thought that interview went really well and I was sure that I would be going to teach over there but that wasn’t in the cards either at the time.

A lot has occurred since then.  I went back to school and received my Masters in Education with a Reading Specialist Certification.  I taught across three grades, K, 1st and 5th.  I resigned my position from Mastery Charter School.  I am now working as a Professional Development Consultant/Literacy Coach and an Adjunct Professor, teaching Adults in the Early Childhood Education concentration.  But one thing has not changed, I want to work oversees.

So here I am, once again, applying to teach oversees.  This makes attempt #3 and either three times a charm (as my husband says) or it’s three strikes you’re out like in baseball.

Sunday, December 13, 2015, I applied for several oversees teaching positions through TeachAway.  The positions were in public and private schools in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.  These countries cover lodging for you and your family as well as medical, and flights there and flights home during summer break. The pay is great and you don’t have to pay taxes.

There are several reasons why I want to get hired: I want to go before my kids leave the nest, so that they can be exposed to another culture, something I never had.  I have lived my whole life in Philadelphia and I wish I had the opportunity to travel and live abroad while I was a child.  Every good parent wants better for their children. My husband and I have goals in mind.  One includes making vacation and home one, once the kids leave home, and opening a restaurant. He loves to cook.  He is starting culinary arts school but we really don’t have a way to pay for it.  The pay oversees is such that I could save a chunk every month towards our goals, pay for his schooling, pay regular expenses and live comfortably. The middle east is also a huge travel hub.  It is smack dead in the middle of the world.  My kids and I could travel all over from there, see the world and I love to travel. Also I’m ready for a change and to meet new people.

Anyway, on Monday, December 14, 2015, I received a call from a TeachAway representative that she wanted to conduct a prescreening interview with me.  Today I passed the prescreen interview and now I will have to gather all my paperwork and ‘wait’ to hear when my in person interview with ADEC will be, just like before.  So here we go again.  I am not optimistic this time because I already been through this process and had my heart broke.  So for now, I will keep my heart guarded and try not to make the same mistakes.

Today I also received an email inviting me to a prescreen interview for the position in Kuwait.  That interview is scheduled for Thursday.  And let the games begin…



And that is why it’s good to have options

My mother always said never put all your eggs  in the same basket.

I didn’t have to wait long to get the dreaded but not surprising news from ADEC. I was not offered a position with Abu Dhabi.  And although it was my original destination of choice it would seem that it was not in the cards for me to go there right now.  I knew I did not do well on my interview and I can’t turn back the hands of time so I’ve accepted that it was not meant to be. I guess I could be bitter with the way that interview day went but it won’t change the outcome.

And then there were one…

That is why it is always good to have options. I received an email from the representatives for Kuwait and my application is still being reviewed. However my friend also received an email about Kuwait and she was not selected. So fingers crossed; I should be hearing an answer soon!

The Kuwait City interview

Today is a brand new day and I’m leaving the horrible memory of my ADEC interview behind. My interview for Kuwait City is today and I am more determined than ever to rock this interview. That’s why options are important so that when you fail at one you have a back up. My interview is at 11:30am. I arrive at the Doubletree on Broadway a little after 11:00am. I wait for about 10minutes before I am allowed to go upstairs to the room to meet with the agency rep. The rep and I have had a few email conversations so it is nice to finally meet her face to face. She’s young, pretty and Irish. She’s also very pleasant. I tell her about yesterday’s horror and she’s very sympathetic. She gives me few tips and takes me to the room where the hiring rep for KCC is. The atmosphere is less stressful. Less waiting is always less stressful. I interview with with one person and I’m me the whole time. It would have been better to have pictures of my classroom to show. I found a few on my Ipad and showed them. I also show pictures of my students writing samples and progression. I think she’s impressed. I know I did well and I only have to wait 2 weeks to hear yes or no. I was allowed to ask questions and wasn’t rush unlike the day before.

I noticed that the questions on both interviews were more grade specific than anticipated. I expected the questions to be more generalized.

Different questions asked at this interview:

What sort of technology have you used in class?

Have you ever used a smart board? (I have not but I’m a quick learner)

I felt so much more ready for this interview mostly because I was ready for the questions this time.

I’m thinking working in Kuwait would probably be better for me and my family: more benefits, accommodations fully furnished and near the sea, shipping allowance, relocation allowance, paid tuition for both my sons, utilities covered by the school, American curriculum with all American staff, transportation to and from the job.


Yesterday I received an email saying my application was still under review with KCC and I would hear something within 2 weeks. Unfortunately my coworker met a different fate. She received an email stating she was not selected. It is weird how these things happen. She thought she’d done really good and so did I. So you know what I will be doing…………………WAITING!


The Abu Dhabi interview

After 6.5 hours of waiting I finally had my interview. I did not do well. I think I was so mentally and physically exhausted that I could not even explain how I teach letters. I have interviewed enough people in my job as an Academy Director to know that when an interviewer asks you the same question several times its because you are not answering it correctly.  Secondly I was sent possible interview questions and I rehearsed the answers but they didn’t ask those questions. Lastly when I left I could of sworn I heard the interviewers laughing. Of course I assumed they were laughing at me. Once I got back to the friends aunts apartment in Brooklyn, I was hungry and depressed. I called my family and talked to them before i laid down but I couldn’t sleep because the right answers haunted me all night long. Failure is a terrible feeling for which I’ve only felt a few times in my adult life.  Once when I tried to get a job as a border patrol I passed all the interviews and the physical but because I was honest about something I once did I didn’t get  the job and I was devastated. Just like I was the night of the interview. But I knew I had to snap out of it because I had my Kuwait City interview the next day. Here is a list of the interview questions I can recall being asked for Abu Dhabi:

What are the ages of the Kindergartens you teach? (Btw Abu Dhabis Kindergarteners start at age 3)

What does three years writing look like?

How would you get their drawings to turn into writing?

How do you manage behaviors?

What do you think will be one of your hardest challenges coming to AD?

How would you show parents their children’s work?

What would we hear and see in your classroom?

What reading curriculum do you follow?

The set up of the interview was: in a hotel room, in front of two ADEC reps, sitting in the lobby waiting for your turn, no food, no cushion seats, but you do meet interesting people from all over who want to teach in another country just like you.

So even though I feel like my chance to teach in AD is over I felt it important to mention that they say I won’t hear anything til some time in April after all other interviews across the U.S and Canada have concluded and then all the info is taken back to AD. And so the waiting continues………….

Someone else’s Gum

Sitting in Starbucks at the window across from the Le Parker Meridian 56th street Manhattan thinking one of the worst things that can happen to a person is touching the under side of a counter and realizing your fingers are touching somebody else’s gum! 

So today’s the day of my Abu Dhabi interview. I’m here in New York. I hate New York. You always have to wait in New York.  I made it to the Le Parker Meridian by 8:45 am where my interview will be held along with many others. Only to find out that yes my interview is at 2 pm and that the system made a mistake directing me to be here by 9. Apparently 8:45 was the time for the am interviews and I didn’t have to be here until the afternoon. Then I’m next in line to hand the Teach Away rep my paperwork and he asks me to wait until later so that he can get all the am applicants paperwork first. SERIOUSLY!  So I’m struck sitting here and doing what WAITING… for 5 hours. All be it to say This Is Not A Good Sign. 

There are like 15 women to 1 man here. At 9 am we went to a room on the 34th floor to hear a short orientation from 4 people who reside in AD.  There is a woman here who lives in AUSTRALIA. I wonder why she’s applying to teach in the U.A.E. She said she wants a change. Ok.  By the way why do people insist on pulling the door when it very clearly says PUSH?

So the other teacher that works with me was not invited to interview with ADEC after her phone interview.  Neither was I the first time I applied 1.5 yrs ago. However she will be interviewing for Kuwait City as will I tomorrow here in New york at the Doubletree n Manhattan.  We are residing with her Aunt in Brooklyn. Her aunt was very nice to allow me to stay because both hotels that I’m interviewing at charge over 200 per night. Ridiculous. The parking at the Le Parker is 53.00 so I took 2 trains into town. The ride in was not too bad. If you don’t mind underground subways and rats. Lol. I slept ok in a foreign bed after I almost went crazy from the noisy neighbors and Aunty gave me earplugs. I would like to give the person that invented earplugs a hug. I don’t like sleeping in NY. 

And you want to know what’s worst than touching someone else’s gum…..WAITING!


I have been trying to convince another teacher to apply to teach oversees in Abu Dhabi with me. She has but she hasn’t heard back from the Abu Dhabi representatives yet. However we both have been contacted about positions in Kuwait City. Last week I interviewed over the phone for Kuwait City. It is not where I intend to go but it’s always great to have options. The blogs I’ve read about Kuwait City haven’t invoked interest in me. I’ve read that it is very old but a good place to ensure your kids don’t indulge in drugs, drinking and sex. The position there is in a new American school with top of the line technology.  The pay range is slightly higher and the benefits include medical and dental as well as free tuition for my youngest child since he would still be in elementary school.  The school is private and goes to 6th grade. The principal is American. Almost sounds too good to be true. And I have to wonder why are they offering so much. The other teacher and I have interviews for the Kuwait position on Monday the day after my other interview. Less than one week to go. By the way I still don’t know the venue details for the Abu Dhabi interview, just that its in New York. But I do know the details for the KC interview. I will spend this week making sure that I have all my paperwork together and in nervous anticipation, Waiting….

Wait #2

Two days ago I received an email from my Teach Away representative. I have my interview date. So wait #1 is over. Wait #2: It can be up to 6 weeks before I know if I have the job or not but at least the interview is coming up with ADEC. I’m anxious to get that part over.

I will try to be as helpful and clear as possible as to what the expectations are. What I mean is, I read many blogs but they never really answer all of my questions. I will keep the questions in mind that I had and have and try to answer as many as possible so my readers will be as knowledgable as I wish I was. You can find my answers to many questions under blog “things you may have wandered”.

Here are a list of things I had to gather for the interview:

4 passport style photos- color, head & shoulder, white background, does not have to be the same as your actual passport

Intro statement- teach away will email this to you in an attachment. You will need to print it, complete it, sign it and ensure the info matches your passport

3 color copies of your actual passport picture. copy your passport with a color printer.

Resume- 1copy including teaching experience, and dates.

Fbi clearance

1 reference letter from a principal or supervisor.

records of employment verifying your teaching experience- must be on letterhead from the school.

Health form- this will be emailed to you. Print it and complete it.


Teaching license

If you will be traveling with children you will need additional things like… Passports for each of them, birth certificates, signed consent from the other parent.

Oh and Authentication that’s complicated and expensive. Alot of your forms need this. You will need to send or take them to the state capital, then Wash D.C, then Embassy to prove they are true. I have not completed this yet but expect to spend about 500.00 (non refundable) on this.

So the waiting continues…


Waiting is one of the hardest things to do.

I guess it was about 5 months ago when I applied to teach overseas for August 2013. I had my phone interview and completed the online application. After the interview I received a list of documents to gather and authenticate in preparation for my face to face interview with ADEC (Abu Dhabi Educational Council). To be completely honest I never heard anything about Abu Dhabi until the Sex and the City movie and when I saw Abu Dhabi on teach aways website I thought why not. I always wanted to see the world. (I still fear plane rides but I cannot let that stop me from exploring.) I have lived in Philadelphia all my life and it is time to see the world. If I pass the interview with ADEC my 2 sons and I will be starting our new adventure. Zamir and Zarien are super excited. They keep asking when are we going. I hope sometime soon I can come home and say “boys start packing” and watch their faces light up. My husband Darryl will come and help us settle in, then return home. I have heard that expat husbands have a difficult time finding work there and he is not the type to sit home. We are also a blended family. He has 3 daughters from a previous marriage. So he will visit us and we will visit him on breaks. I romantisize (don’t think thats a word) about us meeting in Italy for our anniversary. My coworkers that I have spoken to about this can’t believe that I would leave without Darryl especially since we haven’t even been married two years yet. It’s a little unnerving to think about but people that really know me, know that once I get my heart set on something I usually follow thru no matter what.

So here I sit at my wooden dining room table beginning my blog about teaching overseas. My husband ask, what are you writing about? I’ve read many blogs from expats teaching in Abu Dhabi but most begin once they sign the contract. I haven’t even had the interview so I’m starting a little early to take the sting from WAITING… Because waiting is one of the hardest things to do!

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