Travel, Work and Personal Learning-
Is There Professional Life After Retirement?
We are all in the helping profession and dedicated to helping our youth become successful members and leaders of our communities. What about once you retire? I found that life after retirement gave me the opportunity to serve our country, travel, and enjoy a second career.
A personal interest of my family was international travel. We love to not only visit but understand new cultures. We enjoy the excitement of “being on the edge” but constantly learning how to adapt. It began with our travel to Luxemburg to visit my cousin. I came to realize that there is a whole network beyond public school of American Education Abroad.
The first American school established abroad was in 1888 in Mexico. This school provided education comparable to that in the United States for the children of U.S. citizens residing there. The opening of the first military dependents' schools began in 1946. Missionary schools are the third segment of American schools abroad. As America grew in world trade initiatives, businessmen were posted abroad and needed schools for their children. This was caused by changing political and economic factors and fostered the expansion of multi-national corporations. The predominance of the U.S. university system has also played an important role in the growth of American international schools.
There are now over 7000 schools abroad whose language of instruction is English serving millions of children. This student population has created a market for highly energetic, flexible, self-confident, adventuresome educators.
For those interested in other cultures, isn’t it better to live among the people for months and years rather than fly in for a week of vacation?
While in New Jersey, I was a Superintendent for ten years. The title while overseas was Director, Headmaster or Principal/CEO. I was able to cross into the overseas network and continue as a head of school. During the course of the next 20 years, I was the Director of the International School of Belgrade, the American School of Milan, the American International School of Bucharest, the Headmaster of the Canadian Academy in Kobe, and I am currently the Principal/CEO of the GEMS International School in Dubai. So not only did I have the chance to see and understand the Serbian, Italian, Japanese, Romanian and UAE culture, they served as the “jumping off” place for visiting many other countries in the world. Our two children were raised abroad and were able to learn Italian and Japanese much better than my wife and I.
During all of my 20 years overseas, I remained a member of NJASA, learning from the best practices that were employed by our colleagues in New Jersey. In turn, I have been privileged to understand and study many various other systems of education, forming my own understanding of best practice.
Are you interested in a second career? While not primary, there are many financial rewards for working overseas. The US government provides a $100,800 foreign earned income tax deduction for 2015, if you work overseas. The benefit to America, as interpreted by the government is the fact that for every American working abroad, it is estimated that he/she brings nine jobs to the US.
And there is enjoyable “incidental information” you learn. I am now in Dubai with teachers from 16 different nationalities. I enjoy hearing and identifying different accents so I have been trying to hear the difference between British, South African, Irish, New Zealand, Australian or Welsh accents. What fun!
American international schools have made significant contributions in educating the people of the world, and opportunities to be a part of these contributions continue to increase. Educators who are interested in this market should research this diverse group of schools, keeping their visions broad, their expectations realistic, and their enthusiasm high. So, if you are not quite ready to ‘hang up your spurs’ consider going abroad and serving your country by leading international and American schools.