1.) 2 1/2 months of paid vacation (with the combination of summer holidays and national holidays, we are quite spoiled!) My breaks have given me the time to travel! In the past three years, I have explored Budapest, Vienna, Ljubljana, Varna, London, Cappadocia, Dubrovnik, Rome, Madrid, Southern Turkey and the islands off the Dalmatian Coast, in addition to spending 3 weeks at home each summer. Life is good;)
2.) Hugs are welcome! In Turkey, especially, if you work with small children, you are a good teacher if you are affectionate with the children. You can hug, hold and kiss your students and they will do the same to you. There is nothing better than reading to a student sitting in your lap, or being greeted each morning with big hugs.
3.) Amazing coworkers. I have worked with passionate, intelligent, globally minded, well-travelled and creative individuals from every corner of the globe. It is awesome
4.) Unlimited Resources: Working at a school that charges 29,000 lira per year has its advantages. Any material, any game, any resource (within reason) can be yours.
5.) It is fun! Last year we had numerous dance parties, a pyjama party and a picnic. We planted flowers. We dissected cacti. We studied different cultures. We discussed the importance of recycling and introduced the concept of global warming. We made bird houses. We toured a TV set. We played with play dough. We hosted the school Olympics, a winter festival and an End of Year show that rivaled a Broadway musical. Every day is different and there are numerous opportunities to try new things.
6.) You are independent. My classroom was my own. I designed it. I organized it. I established the rules and the routine. I created new materials and researched new activities. I was responsible for behavior management. I was given the independence and responsibility to manage 19 individuals in a collective space.
7.)Good Benefits. Teachers receive an apartment or a housing stipend, private health insurance, a residency and work visa and a very comfortable salary. Additionally, transportation to and from school was provided, as was lunch and two snacks per day. Did I mention I was able to save half of my salary each month?!
8.) Quality of Life Your salary puts you in the upper middle class of Turkey. You can travel, you can explore and you can take advantage of anything you may desire.
9.) Numerous Insights on Parenting. I can tell which child has good parents within the first 10 minutes of meeting them. They are respectful, independent and thrive in the classroom environment. I have been consulted by numerous parents, at least 10 years my senior about specific parenting issues. I provide advice about how to support their children at home. It was bizarre and thrilling to be seen as an expert. As a classroom teacher, I have learned how to support, educate and empower children.
10.) A Network of High-Powered Individuals The parents of my students were managers, professors, bankers and business owners. They were at the top of their fields, fluent in English and they had travelled the globe. We bonded over our efforts to educate and support their child, but the relationships I built proved to be more than that. I have spent the afternoon sailing on the Bosphorus with several families from my class. Some of my students hosted a BBQ on my behalf. Others have invited me to stay at their hotels. It is absolutely surreal to be welcomed into their worlds.