It’s always hard to admit you are wrong, well certainly for me. Having been to the COBIS conference I was really happy to find that indeed, it has changed and is welcoming and useful. I met Head Teachers from Cairo, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan, School Board members from Brazil and Belgium and many more. Ok, I can admit it- I was wrong.
One of the themes of the conference was about putting internationalism into the fabric of every school. It may seem like an easy thing, but it’s not.
There are many kinds of international schools – from those that serve expatriate abroad to those that serve host nationals who want their children to have an international education and even to state schools with international type streams. There is no one type of international school, even though we all probably have one picture in our minds of what that looks like. So be prepared to change your mind and throw out the rule book
Along these lines, I got into a debate at the conference around the question of “‘what is an international school”. Again, seems simple but it’s not. For instance, is a state school in the US teaching American children using the International Baccalaureate curriculum an international school? What about a school in Spain teaching the Spanish curriculum to Spanish children but partly in English? What about a school using the UK curriculum in Egypt but teaching exclusively Egyptian children with Egyptian teachers? It’s not easy.
When you enter the world of international teaching, you must be prepared to change your mind. About almost everything. International teaching will challenge your interpretation of the world and leave you a more enlightened person but it’s not an easy path for those who think they know it all and are not prepared to consider that they are, indeed, misinformed. Yet this is the beauty of travelling the world. You get to see things through a lens you could have never accessed at home.
So if you can admit you are sometimes wrong, like I was wrong about the COBIS conference this past week, then perhaps you have what it takes to teach and travel.