A Whole New World: The Top Benefits of Teaching Abroad for Black Women

A Whole New World: The Top Benefits of Teaching Abroad for Black Women

Let’s talk about why teaching abroad is the move for Black women in urban education.

Over a decade ago, I found myself completely burnt out from the relentless demands of the American education system. Teaching in Title I schools in the United States, the expectation to take work home was a given, and the high-stakes testing culture left little room for actual teaching, genuine community building, or personal well-being.

If you’re a Black woman in the urban education sector, you know exactly the kind of compounded stress I’m talking about… And if the stress wasn’t enough, the intersection of racial and gender biases add whole other layer to the daily grind… Whenever I voiced needing a break, I felt guilty or guilt-tripped.

I would be told things like, “But the kids need you!” And instead of feeling inspired or motivated, I often felt defeated…

No one seem to realize that I needed me, too...

My cup was empty. I had nothing to pour into any one that needed me.

In 2010, I took a leap that changed everything. I moved abroad to teach in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where I served as a Kindergarten teacher and then Head of Faculty for 3.5 years.

Let me tell you, this was the best decision of my teaching career.

Working in the UAE alongside educators from the UK, South Africa, Canada, and different regions of the US opened my eyes to a whole new world of teaching and living…

My teaching style improved tremendously when I returned to the US in 2014!

Teaching Abroad Introduced Me to a Proper Work-Life Balance.

For starters, the expectation to take work home? Practically nonexistent.

I found myself with actual free time—time to explore, to rest, to engage in hobbies… It even gave me more time to sustain friendships. This was a stark contrast to my experiences back home. Definitely a breath of fresh air for my mental and physical health.

The cultural exchange was equally phenomenal. I learned so much from my colleagues from around the world and from the local community. It enriched my teaching methods, my worldview, and my personal growth in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

And, I have to be honest… the financial benefits were amazing perks! Some international teaching positions offer competitive salaries, housing allowances, and a variety of benefits that can make the financial aspects of teaching abroad very comfortable.

FAQs About Teaching Abroad

  1. What’s it like for Black women teaching abroad?
    • Let’s be real—navigating race and gender in a new country is a valid concern. But finding countries with a welcoming attitude towards Black expatriates and connecting with other Black women who’ve taken the plunge can make all the difference. I’ve made lifelong friends in the process.
  1. What should I know about racial and gender considerations abroad?
    • Investigate the racial and gender dynamics of your chosen country. Seek out forums or networks of Black expatriates teaching abroad to gain insights into their experiences and how they navigate these issues.

  1. How do I find legit teaching gigs abroad?
    • That’s another real question because we all know that scammers be scammin’! Start with reputable job boards and educational consultancies, but don’t overlook the power of personal testimonials. Trustworthy resources like Teaching Abroad: From Abu Dhabi to Abuja by Tori McNealy lists the various websites –both free and paid– that can help you find a teaching job abroad. Her guide is packed with practical advice tailored for us by us.
  1. How will teaching abroad affect my career trajectory in the long term?
    • Consider how international experience will fit into your career goals. Teaching abroad can enhance your resume, providing a global perspective that is highly valued in educational settings. Widening your perspective as a global educator may also introduce you to different opportunities that align with your personal goals.
  1. What are the potential cultural challenges, and how can I prepare for them?
    • Understanding and adapting to a new culture can be challenging but also rewarding. Research, open-mindedness, and engagement with the local community can ease this transition. Every destination seeking English teachers most likely already has a community of expats that will help you transition!

The Takeaway…

If you’re feeling the weight of teaching in the US, know that there’s a whole world out there waiting for you. Teaching abroad not only offered me a reprieve from the stress and burnout but also provided me with the richest, most fulfilling experiences of my life. It’s not just about escaping the high stakes and the paperwork; it’s about rediscovering your passion for teaching and maybe, just maybe, finding your bliss along the way.

So, to my fellow Black women educators feeling the squeeze: consider looking beyond our borders. The perfect teaching opportunity—and a new lease on life—might just be a plane ride away.

Sending you all courage and curiosity on your journey…


Tags: , , , ,


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)