BECOME A MEMBER! Sign up for TIE services now and start your international school career

LIFESTYLE

It Makes the World Less Difficult to Traverse

International Education: Stories From the Field
By Mathew Steuer and Constance Darshea Collins
27-Mar-24
It Makes the World Less Difficult to Traverse


In this collection of stories, international educators share their unique experiences, insights, and perspectives. These accounts include how some began their international school career, things to consider if you’re curious about the international teaching landscape, what they’ve learned along the way, and the unparalleled journeys on this career path.

Join us as we delve into the stories of these inspiring educators and gain a deeper understanding of the transformative power of education across borders.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Constance: Hi everyone, my name is Constance Darshea Collins.

Matthew: Hi, my name is Matthew Stoyer.

Constance: And we teach at the International School of Uganda. I'm the Director of Strategic Initiatives.

Matthew: And I'm an early childhood educator.

Constance: And we'll just tell you a little bit about our story as a teaching couple in international education.

Matthew: So, firstly, we actually met at the American School of Kinshasa, Tassel. TASAUK is how it's referred. We did orientation. We were new teachers at the same time. We became very good friends and then somewhere along our journey, our relationship took a wonderful turn.

Constance: Yeah, so one of the great things about international education is that you're able to meet like-minded educators who are interested, not in just serving our students, but also a sense of adventure. So that's what we found in each other. We wanted an extra challenge in addition to our love for teaching, our love for students, our love for education, and our passion just for teaching. So that was great. So, when our relationship took a turn, it was at a critical point in our careers.

Matthew: And it ended up that for one stage, she had a job in South Africa and I had a job in Uganda. But then once we got married, she came and began, got a job in Uganda as well. And so, we're both working for the same school now. But one thing I think we would both share with you is that if you go into this as a teaching couple, I think it's good to know that this can be an advantage…sometimes. It can be an-, well, there's two levels. One level where it's an advantage is you have a natural built-in support.

So, moving to a new country is challenging. It can be disconcerting. The ground you might stand on will be a bit shaky because you don't know the culture. You don't know where to go to get food. You don't- maybe you don't know the language. How do you get a taxi? There's so many questions that you might struggle with and one might be loneliness. And so, when you move with a partner, that's kind of a built-in support right away. You go home and you have somebody right there. So, when you're struggling with something new in your culture or in your school, you have a sounding board right away that somebody you trust, somebody you love that you know is gonna help you through that challenging time.

Constance: Yeah, and also, so I just want to say I've met a lot of people in the States where I'm from, and they have said, you know, I would love to move abroad, but, you know, I don't know if I'd be able to find jobs, et cetera. And there are many jobs for teaching couples in particular, and I think that, you know, in a great opportunity for couples who want to enter into international teaching couples, of course, because there are those opportunities. I mean, it's difficult in some ways to find that perfect match for both of you, but there are so many opportunities. And like Matthew just said, it makes the road less difficult to traverse when you're in a new place. So that's, you know, that's something that I'd like to offer as well.

Matthew: And I think just to add to that, sometimes for some similar reasons that I mentioned about why it's good for the couple itself, schools also know that. And when it's a particularly challenging country or place, the schools know that it helps them to retain you, possibly for more years, when you have a built-in support in a partner.

 And so there are some schools that may specifically be looking for teaching couples because they know that you're more likely to stay for more years and it will help you to be more settled and more confident in your work.

And one last point that I wanna add is, don't even think that having children will stop you because most of these schools, you can have your children go to the schools. They have some policies about children, about tuition being covered for your child. So even if you have one or two kids at home, please don't let that stop you from exploring this as an option because it's still an option.

Constance: Yeah, and one last thing for me, just personally about how being part of a teaching couple and living internationally, working together has strengthened my practice and impact on students is that I come home. It's not every day that we just spend all our time talking about, you know, work and, school, but you have an added lens into what it means, you know, another sounding board and someone who has a different lens but is in the same school to bounce ideas off of, to get feedback in a really safe way. And it's just, I think it's an amazing experience and yeah, that's good.


--------------------------------------------------------------
Matthew Steuer was born and raised in New York City, and is currently working as an early childhood educator in Uganda. He has spent most of his adult life working internationally, having lived in seven countries on five continents in over 30 years of global adventures. He has always sought to open his heart and mind to the cultures and people in the places where he has lived, building meaningful connections, deepening understanding, and celebrating the rich and colorful differences while at the same time, the profound common threads we share as one humanity. He earned his undergraduate degree from Wheelock College, focusing on birth to three-year-olds, as well as examining the social systems that impact development. He earned his master’s degree in early childhood education from the Erikson Institute. Matthew believes it is our obligation to work tirelessly so that every single child in this world has the foundation to thrive, the soil to nurture strong roots, realize their gifts, and fulfill their dreams.

 

Constance Darshea Collins is an educational leader committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ). As the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the International School of Uganda, she focuses on community engagement, wellbeing, and DEIJ, leveraging her background as a social studies educator. Her international experience in Switzerland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, and Uganda has deepened her appreciation for cultural diversity and her dedication to equity and justice in education.




Please fill out the form below if you would like to post a comment on this article:








Comments

There are currently no comments posted. Please post one via the form above.

MORE FROM

LIFESTYLE

The Power of Slowing Down and Silence
By Megan Vosk and Shafali
Apr 2024

Raising Globally Mobile Children
By Lena Lee and Natasha Winnard
Oct 2023