I feel it necessary for the first post to explain what is taking me to Singapore. It was not some whimsical ill-conceived decision to just move halfway around the world...that's not my style. Rather it was a golden opportunity presented to me at a time when it was certainly needed. A true answer to my prayers. Here is the story of how my journey to Singapore began:
The economic crisis that began in 2008 has affected many businesses and American's lives, and the education profession was certainly not immune to this economic plague. Throughout the country states were letting go of thousands of teachers, which not only meant that fewer teachers were in demand, but now there were thousands more teachers with experience flooding the supply pool. After my graduation from Auburn University in the Spring of 2010 with a degree in Social Science Education, I was discovering how bad this reality really was. Hoping to find a teaching job for the 2010-2011 school year I began applying to hundreds of schools all over Alabama, with a few applications going out of state as well. Despite the hundreds of teaching jobs applied for, I received only three interviews and each school decided to go with a teacher with more experience.
I knew teaching was the right profession for me, but after struggling to even get an interview with a school and seeing no reason to hope for any real change anytime soon I became extremely discouraged. It came to the point where I actually began persueing careers in other feilds such as Air Traffic Controlling, all the while praying that if it was truely God's will for me to teach that he would present me with an opportunity, or at least show me a sign of hope. Well the Lord works in mysterious ways.
In the Fall of 2010 I attended Auburn's Education Job Fair for the semester, which I generally consider a waste of time because they hold the job fair so early that none of the schools present really know what openings they will have, but it at least made me feel like I was still making an effort towards finding a job rather than giving up. With this being the second Education Job Fair attending at Auburn I knew what to expect. I would just try to litter the place with my resume, sign up for a few rudimentary interviews with the districts I prefered, and hope for the best. However, as I was walking around the booths and considering which counties and school boards I wanted to interview with, I noticed a booth tucked away in the corner of the room that read "Network of International Christain Schools (NICS)". I beagn to notice that nobody was signing up to interview at this booth and began to feel bad for the poor representative that had made the effort to come to this Job Fair, so, with no real interest or consideration of actually going overseas, I decided I would at least listen to what she had to say and find out a little more about the schools.
With it being international schools I assumed that I would be teaching kids that spoke a foreign language, and that the schools would probably just want me to teach English, which I had no interest in teaching. But the representative began explaining how all the schools in the network basically taught American curriculum, spoke English as the primary language, and for all intents and purposes were just like any other American Christain school just in another country. She then encouraged me to come to their own job fair held in Mississippi in the following February where representatives from all the schools in the network would be in attendance for me to learn more about and possibly interview with. I said I would consider it, and kind of put the whole idea on the back burner and thought, "I'll see where I am come February".
Well, fast-forwarding to February 2011, with no prospects for a permanent job even on the horizon I determined it worth my while to make the 8 hour drive to Mississippi to learn more about this network, still with no real intentions of committing to anything. At the job fair I sat with all the other applicants, which was a astonishing low number, and listened to each international school in the network give a 15 minute presentation about their school. It was then that I started to feel excited about what these schools were doing and the stories that they told, and it was then that I began thinking, "I kind of want to be apart of this". Of all the schools that presented who were looking for a Social Science or History teacher, the one school I felt myself getting really excited about was the International Community School (ICS) in Singapore. Despite knowing practically nothing about the culture or country at all (who knows, maybe that was what was so attractive about it), I felt a genuine excitement about the possibility of going there to teach. During every break I would find the director of the school, Don Cole, and speak with him to learn more about the school, the culture, and the country, and I found myself getting more and more excited the more we spoke. When it came time to actually sign up for interviews with the schools, I had talked with Don so much that he felt that we had already talked about everything and had no need for an interview, so I signed up with a couple of other schools that were looking for History teachers just to see what they were about. However, as I sat listening to the directors from those schools talk, I just did not feel the same excitement that I felt for Singapore and I knew then that God was calling me to go to Singapore...this was his sign.
All that was left was for me to actually get an offer from ICS, and that came about two weeks later. After talking with Chris Herring, the principal at the Middle School I would be working at, via Skype a couple of times, he called me one night and said, "There is just one thing about you that is holding me up from offering you a job and that is the fact that you graduated from Auburn, but I think I am willing to overlook it. We want you to come join us out here in Singapore". I told him that it was good he was willing to overlook my allegiance to Auburn because it was non-negotiable, and also that I would like a day or two to pray about and consider the offer. After sharing the good news with my parents, my Dad said he wanted me to sincerely imagine myself turning the job down and to then imagine myself accepting the job and notice how I felt after each one. Each time I imagined myself turning down the job I was left with a sense of regret, or a "what am I missing out on?" feeling, and each time I imagined myself accepting the job I felt nothing but excitement. I had a clear answer...I was going to Singapore!