Park City Mathematics Institute
Secondary School Teacher Program
Sandra Corbacioglu - Teaching in Turkey

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Teaching overseas can bring some of the most challenging and exciting life and professional experiences you may ever have, and I would encourage any of you who are even remotely interested in going abroad to check out the possibilities. You not only learn a lot about another culture, but you learn a lot about yourself and your values and what makes you an American.

I have been teaching in Istanbul for 15 years, the most recent 5 at Robert College, which is a private high school for Turkish students founded in 1863. Our students enter after completing grade 8, via a nationwide entrance examination. They then have one year of intensive English as a Second Language (ESL); when they enter grade nine, instruction begins in English. The students are highly motivated, especially those coming from central Anatolia -- some will end up being the first in their family to attend university. We send about 1/3 of our graduating class abroad, mostly to the USA and mostly to highly competitive universities.

Some of the benefits of teaching overseas include: experiencing another culture, very few classroom management issues, no US income tax and endless travel opportunities. Some of the disadvantages: no pension plan, lower salaries and being separated from loved ones for long periods of time.

Usually overseas schools will recruit their teachers at one of the various job fairs held across the USA each January and February. Teachers register with a one of the fairs, establish a file of credentials, and heads of schools look through this pool for teachers they are seeking. They then interview teachers at the job fairs and present contracts to those they wish to hire. The golden candidates are teaching couples with no children. We get a lot of 60-year olds who are retired from their school districts and are out to see the world.

I'm completing my 15th year of teaching in Turkey, getting back to the USA twice each year, usually over the winter break and again in the summer. I try to stay in touch with the latest developments in mathematics education via summer professional development.

Whether you are just starting out in your career, or are approaching retirement, I would urge you to consider teaching outside the USA at least once.

If you're interested in being a substitute teacherŅavailable at the last minute to go anywhere on a short term basis, check out this website as well:

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