Teach Away

When I first applied to teach overseas several years ago I went through Teach Away, an international teacher recruitment agency based out of Canada, and even though I didn’t get a position the first time, there was never any doubt that I would try again.  The representatives at Teach Away were always professional.  So, when I decided to seek employment overseas again, I went back to Teach Away’s website.  They guided me every step of the way from the original email, through the application process, to the interview and with any questions I had after I secured a position.  I didn’t pay any fees to Teach Away.  I had to pay all of the cost associated with my paperwork, and cost incurred from traveling for my interviews but no company fees.  I’ve spoken to many other teachers and they went through companies that they had to pay a membership fee to.  I’ve never used them so I can’t speak on them.  But, I have nothing but great things to say about Teach Away and my experience working with them.  I even obtained my TEFL certification with their help through the University of Toronto TEFL online course.
When I received the following email over the summer, I was both surprised and honored!

Hi Kennesha, 

I’m the content marketing intern here at Teach Away and I just wanted to reach out to you to give you a quick heads-up on a recent blog post we published on the Teach Away website featuring your blog! 
I love how your blog follows your personal journey teaching in Doha, I thought that your blog would be a great addition to our list of teacher blogs to get you excited about teaching abroad! I loved looking through all your stories, and the fact that you are a Teach Away alumni is even better!  
Once again, I just wanted to contact you to let you know about this post, and to say thank you for being such a great representative for Teach Away during your journey abroad!’
When I decide to leave my current teaching position in Qatar, and pursue another overseas teaching position, I will be using Teach Away!

Side Note

Do they really move this slow in the Middle East?

“Good Morning Kennesha,
I have received a copy of your CV through Teach Away and understand that you already interviewed with our director, Dr. ___ in January. If you are still interested in an elementary teaching position in Kuwait starting August 2016  I would like to arrange a Skype interview with you as early as possible. I look forward to hearing from you.”

This is an email I received today.  It was unexpected to say the least but refreshing.  After all this time I am still being considered  for a position in Kuwait.  Too bad I already accepted  an offer from Qatar Foundation.  Not too bad for me. I mean I wanted Qatar more than the others–but why did they take so long.  Do they really move this slow in the Middle East?

Well criminal history reports, degree and transcipt have been sent to PROEX for the final authentication process for a measly $264.  I saved almost $200 by driving to Harrisburg and getting the first part done myself.  My girlfriend Michele drove with me; we enjoyed 4 hours of girl talk.  It cost $15 each to get the documents attested in Harrisburg and $18 both ways for tolls.  While I wait for these documents to come back, I have court next Tuesday for the custody hearing.  Once the courts send me the modified order, I have to get it notarized, translated in Arabic and authenticated.  The FBI clearances will be the last of the paperwork, also needs to be authenticated.  I’m getting closer.  Only 4 months to go.

Side note: This blog was meant to help others who are considering teaching in the middle east and as a way for me to track every step of the process.  It is also intended for others to follow my family’s journey and be inspired.  But there is someone else out there, someone extremely bitter, who has chosen to use my information from my blog for something else, for their personal gain and to use the information against my family. So to my husband’s ex-wife, Edna, I say, I see you, hi hater…I hope you are enjoying my blog.

All I see is $$$$$

At least they give me some of the $$$$ back

Yesterday I received an email from my Teach Away Rep for Abu Dhabi.  At this time ADEC would like to move forward with my application to the hiring department and an offer letter would be going out within the next few weeks.  I quickly informed the other girls via the text chat group and within a few hours they all responded that they too had received the same email.  It’s crazy because for a brief moment I felt sad.  I felt sad because I really like the women from the NY interview and they would all be together and have each other but me, I would be alone in Qatar without any of them.  I know it probably sounds petty but it felt good to be around like minded women and people that were sort of in a similar situation as me, feeling what I feel and anticipating what I’m anticipating.  Still, I feel good about my decision to go with Qatar.  It’s a better choice for me and my family.

There is so much to do to get ready.  There is so much to do just to get all paperwork to QF.

I’m in the process of trying to enroll the boys in QF Doha.  From what I’ve heard it’s a really good private school that is a part of QF, so the tuition would be free for the boys.  They offer the IB curriculum, and many more wonderful opportunities.  I completed the admission’s application and the fee was $500 Riyals which is about $137 U.S. dollars for each application.  I had to try 4 different credit cards to pay the fee before one finally worked, due to international transactions.  I had to attach a picture of the boys, medical records, immunization cards, last 3 end of year report cards, pict of passports as well as my passport.  Some of the documents I did not have yet so I uploaded blank documents so that I could submit the applications.  I spoke to my QF director to inform her of the completed applications and she told me that she already enrolled them in QF Sidra as a backup, which was great.  I hear that Sidra is okay but Doha is the best.

I’ve sent my H.R. director, copies of the boys birth certificates, my marriage certificate, copies of my passport, Darryl’s passport (my husband), and the boys passport.  All of this is necessary to begin the process of our visas.  I must get 2 pre-employment Health examination forms completed by a doctor, as well as complete Blood Group Reports for each member of my family.  This means all of us have to see a doctor and have lab work done.  That means ($) copays and ($) fees for form completions. Did I mention I had to pay $137.00 for both school application fees?

I must send several documents to be authenticated: Transcript and degree, children’s birth certificates, marriage certificate, ($) Criminal Record check for Darryl and I, ($) FBI record check for Darryl and I. This means all documents must be ($) notarized, ($) stamped by the issuing state, ($) stamped by Wash D.C., $stamped by the Qatar embassy. I have decided to use ProEx to complete this process.  I will ($) pay them, ($)mail them all the documents and they will take care of the whole authentication process.

I need a letter signed by my ex-husband and father to my children verifying that he does not object to me sponsoring my children in Qatar.  Then this letter needs to be ($) translated in Arabic and notarized.  I’ve found a company to take care of this too.  But first I have to get ‘him’ to sign the paper.

The boy’s passport expire in a month so you know what that means.  I have to ($) pay for new ones and because they are minors, there is no renewing, only $pay the whole application fee.  My passport expires in two years, which means it will expire before my contract is up.  You know what that means, I have to ($) renew mine.  Oh we also need ($) passport pictures for the new passports.

On top of all of this, all of us need 12-16 passport style pictures to travel along with us to Qatar.  They use these pictures for everything, visas, Driver’s license, liquor license etc… Passport pictures usually run about $8 for 2.  That would cost me over $200 for all of us.  So I went to Office Depot, ($) purchased some photo paper for $8.00 on sale.  I put up a white chart paper on my wall and we all took head and shoulder shots on our phones. With a purchase of some ($) printer ink, we were good to go.  We used the gov’t passport website to help us crop the pictures correctly and WAHLA!

At least they give me some of the $$$$ back for all this paperwork when I arrive in Doha, Qatar if I don’t go broke first!

Boys or no boys

No word yet from Qatar Foundations or AUS (Kuwait) but I am 25% through my TEFL course with the University of Toronto.

I have been reading this blog http://www.abudhabiyew.wordpress.com.  The author is currently teaching in Al Ain and is from the UK.  Her blog is very informative as it begins when she first applied as does mine.  Like me, she didn’t put it out there until after she was offered a position.

I am noticing from reading other blogs that teachers don’t really talk much about what it’s like to teach over there.  I wonder why… I will have to look for more blogs and stories online about this.  I will be sure to discuss this if/once I am over there blogging.

I spoke to another teacher who taught in Abu Dhabi a few years ago.  She and I became Facebook friends when I applied the first time.  She got the job, I did not. She taught over there for a year and then came home because her mother was ill.  Her two young sons accompanied her.  I asked her for the true pros and cons.  This is what she said: Pros- The money is great and you get to travel.  Cons- You don’t know what you are going to get until you get there.  She said make sure I ask for Kindergarten.  (I did) She also recommended I not take me boys.  (What?) She said, girls adjust better than boys.  Another teacher took her sons and they did not do well at all, she said.  I would prefer not to leave my boys behind because part of the reason I am doing this is so that my boys can experience life somewhere else.  If I had to choose going over there with or without my boys I don’t know what I would do.

The decision is getting more difficult as I have given my oldest son the choice to go or not since he only has two years left at his high school and it is a great school. I prefer my boys be with.  I don’t know if I could go without them.  I can’t see myself not raising my own kids.
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