It’s that time of year again: international school recruiting season.
Every year around this time, we start hearing about friends and colleagues taking off for the next adventure, and for the last five years we’ve been very content to stay where we are. We absolutely love Japan, and we’ve been so fortunate to work with so many wonderful people at YIS.
Around this time last year, I made the decision to try working part time so I could focus more on other opportunities. Although having that one extra day off a week has been helpful, I’m realizing that it’s not quite enough – I’m split in too many directions. And, although Alex loves his job at YIS, he’s ready for a new challenge.
So, after five years of staying put, we’re now off on our next adventure (again).
A New (Old) Home
It turns out it’s not so much of a new adventure, location-wise, as we’ll be moving back to Bangkok! Alex will teach middle school MYP English and Humanities at NIST, and I’ll be spending more time developing the three organizations I’m involved in, as well as my consulting, with NIST, and with other schools around the world.
Although we’ll be sad to leave Japan and YIS, there are so many exciting opportunities ahead:
The Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy program that Jeff and I co-founded six years ago is growing so fast we can’t keep up! We have amazing instructors and coaches (all COETAIL graduates, of course) that work with us (thank you!), but I feel strongly that it’s my responsibility (along with Jeff) to make the program outstanding. We built this from the ground-up and we are so proud of how far we’ve come – there’s no reason to stop here! We are always learning and trying new things, we want to give our participants an amazing experience, and we want to make sure the program stays relevant and innovative as we grow.
We had our very first Learning 2.0 in Africa this year! We have opened up applications for Europe and the Middle East for 2016! There is something very special about this conference, and planning each one is a year-long process. As we continue to open up new regions, we’ll need more time to plan and develop the program so that it’s just right for that location. Plus, the Advisory is working to make Learning 2.0 into a non-profit organization, which is so exciting, but also takes tons of time and energy.
A little over a year ago, Jeff and I sat in Singapore chatting about how we can continue to work together and build something new. It’s hard to believe that in such a short time, we’ve developed an entirely new company (with an amazing team!), created five new online courses (huge thanks to Clint, Dana, Chrissy, Robert, and Rebekah) that are already on offer (and have been very well received so far), begun building long- and short-term consultancy packages for schools, and started designing regional learning institutes that are innovative and pushing the boundaries of what professional development can look like.
My work with NIST is still being defined, but the thing I’m most excited about is still having that strong connection to a school community, to be able to work with teachers, parents and students on a regular basis, to get to know the school and what they need so that I can really make an impact. Combining my work with NIST along with my personal consulting work at other schools will enable me to share great experiences and examples with lots of different schools – and to bring back that experience to NIST.
Even with all these opportunities ahead, I’m still a little bit shocked that this will be the first year of my life since graduating university that I will not have a full time job. Everyone keeps telling me self-employed is different than unemployed, and I definitely know how much work all of the above is going to take me, but it feels kind of crazy! So, if anyone has any advice for this whole self-employment world, please share!
Images by superkimbo, CC licensed on Flickr: