Next stop, Amman…

“Never give up on anybody.”

Hubert H. Humphrey




Amman Jordan at night

Leaving your job as an international schoolteacher is a daunting proposition. Teachers need to resign from their current job, grovel for letters of recommendation, update their portfolio and resume, fly to job fairs (best described as speed dating), wait for positions to open up and hope for the best. It is an extremely stressful time that every veteran international schoolteacher understands. It is sometimes months before finding new employment.

My current situation was a little desperate. I attended two job fairs (one in London and one in Hong Kong) only to lose out to lesser-qualified candidates. I was a very strong candidate. Alas, teaching couples got first dibs for they are cheaper to insure, house and transport. My beautiful wife is a non-teaching spouse so I had to wait for the couples to fill up the open spots. It is frustrating to hear that you are the most qualified candidate but that you cannot be hired because you are too expensive.

Flying back from the London job fair without a teaching contract and with my tail between my legs is a memory I will not soon forget. I left both job fairs feeling scared, tired and stressed. What good is all my hard work if I cannot secure a decent living? This was especially a concern of mine now that my wife is expecting our first child. Losing out was a lonely, humbling experience.

With each passing job interview, I reflected how much I have improved as a professional teacher. Due to my current school’s development opportunities, I now am much more confident in my abilities to affect change among my students. I remain steadfast that I will continue to improve as an educator. I am at peace with myself and proud of my growth.

Mercifully, I have secured a place in Jordan with the International Academy, Amman. I could not be much more excited about the transition. Along with teaching fourth grade, I hope to coach aspiring teachers. I look to develop curriculum. I plan to volunteer. I am registering to study Arabic. Along with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah; I aim to help“build bridges with the world community.” I look to actively teach peace in a yet another corner of the world that could use it.

8 thoughts on “Next stop, Amman…

  1. Good on ya! All the best with the new job. I can relate to yr unpleasant experience as the situation over here in Hong Kong isn’t any better. It’s been 2 yrs that I don’t have a stable job due to the fierce competition: me vs fresh graduates (who are much younger), mainland chinese (much cheaper), and foreigners (I am Australian Chinese with a chinese face!) when everyone looks up to foreigners and treat us like 2nd class citizens.
    I’d love to teach in France and basically anywhere cold. Any leads?

  2. Barry,

    Congrats on your new position! I wish you much success in this new endeavor. You no doubt with be a blessing to the students you will teach Amman. I also wish you and your with many blessing with your first child as well.


  3. Congrats on the new job! I think Jordan would be a fascinating place to live and work. I have a friend who works in Jordan (not as a teacher), and she seems to be able to travel to lots of very interesting places.

    -Amanda at

  4. Hey,
    I wish you the best of luck.
    You’re going to love Amman 🙂

  5. Like I already said: ahlan wa sahlan fi ‘urdunn! mabrouk, ya ‘amm! wa lakin al-lugha al-arabiyya sa’b jiddan, mumkin mish ma’qul. (you will learn what that means).
    Also important:
    – shisha bikam? sab’a dinar? da ‘ali!
    – isra’il feen? ana mish ‘arif.
    Greetings from Germany,
    Yours, Marcus

  6. Mr. Mernin,

    I am SO happy for you. Back in 2009, Brandon and I backpacked through the middle east and we spent about 10 days in Amman. We LOVED the city. The people were so warm and friendly. Lots of great spots to watch soccer. Delicious food everywhere. There is a nice coffeeshop called BOOKS@CAFE you should check out.

    Best wishes for much success. The students in Jordan will be so lucky to have you as their teacher.


  7. To a fellow Barry, good luck in teaching overseas. I taught for forty years in middle school. The teen years of poor actions in a school setting. I blog about some of it and if you can use it in the classroom for discussion please feel free. Let me know the reactions. In Love with a Stamp I wrote about how my class helped me compose letters to a mail order bride.

  8. Pingback: Expat Teacher Man | Leaving Hong Kong

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