Teaching Job Exchange
A teacher exchange is when two teachers
from another area of their own country or from somewhere in the world agree to
exchange teaching jobs, classrooms and usually homes for up to a year.
Most teachers go on exchange because they are looking for something different.
The weather will be different, so will the housing, shopping, friends you make,
the school, and even your lifestyle. That is why you need to be flexible. You
are going to experience an exciting year of change, you will travel, overcome
challenges and be a better person for it and you will spend more money then you
might normally spend. Enjoy your teaching exchange experience with a positive
attitude and a sense of humor. You can get information and an application
for a teaching exchange from your school district or department of education.
It was after school one cold windy October day. I was exhausted after a
particularly trying day at school and heaps of marking and planning awaited me
before I could go home. Thankfully I had an in service for the next two
days and a sub would take over for me.
That is when my mind
drifted off imaging what it would be like to teach on some south sea island near
a beach. Away from the cold and the teaching routine I had become
Little did I realize, that
in just over a year this thought would become reality.
The next morning as I
walked into an in service on class management I was absolutely not prepared for
the what lay ahead. There was the usual ice breakers, then the leader
broke us into groups of two. I was matched with someone in our school
district wearing a nametag with Marie. The spark to my future was cast.
As we discussed our teaching assignments I learned Marie was involved with
teacher exchanges. I hadn't realized that there was such a thing.
She explained that
teachers could exchange jobs, houses and sometimes vehicles with teachers from
other parts of our country or from overseas for up to a year. Further, as
an exchange teacher I would be paid by my home school district, maintain my
salary, be credited with my experience and pensionable service when I taught
somewhere else. As I represented our school district in a classroom
somewhere else, I could also write off my moving expenses.
A few days later I
obtained a teacher exchange application. One should usually plan about a
year to 16 months from the time you decide to go on an exchange to when you
actually leave. I applied in October and received my first offer of an
exchange in March to Washington State to start in September. This proposal
was not accepted by the Yakima Washington teacher. A few weeks later I
received another proposal to Colorado. The teacher exchange partner from Fort
Collins had already made other plans so did not accept. I than received a third
proposal to Perth Australia in early June , this was accepted in early July and
we finally were on the plane to Australia January 3. It probably is unrealistic
to think that you can apply for an exchange in June and be in another part of
the country or world by September of the same year.
As you can see, not all
proposals are accepted. As an exchange teacher, you have control as to
which county, provinces or states you wish to exchange but as someone else does
the actual matching based on your teaching assignment, experience, size of
your family, (they wouldn't match a family of 5 with a teacher who owns a one
bedroom apartment), you don't have a choice as to specific school or city.
Getting the teacher
The first step to a teaching
exchange is your application, references and resume. You want to sell yourself
to a potential exchange school and you want to sell your community, home and
school to your potential exchange partner. You obtain these through your school
district or department of education.
The same application you fill
out at home gets seen by education authorities, superintendents,
principals, vice-principals, department heads and finally by the your potential
exchange partner. An impressive application is to your benefit.
Some teachers try arranging
exchanges independently. Although few of these independently arranged
exchanges have been successful, almost all fall through because of visa
difficulties. The challenge with any teaching exchange is that it
needs approval from your school administrator, your school superintendent and
school board, then must meet the approval of your education department so
that a temporary teacher license can be issued. Then you will need to be
approved by your exchange partners school, school district and board. Once
you clear these steps you need a visa to work as a teacher in another country.
All countries require a sponsorship to issue a visa. The process of
trying to find an independent exchange is long and frustrating. If you
work through your department of education or their representative, they will do
all the arranging for you and the process is much easier.
you agree on an exchange:
When you receive an offer
of exchange, your application has been approved by the other teachers principal,
school jurisdiction and education department. The only thing left is the
approval of the exchange by the other teacher.
In July I accepted our
partners exchange proposal which included their teaching assignment 6th grade,
same as my assignment, photos of their school and home and contact information.
Over the next few months my wife and I planned our trip. We exchanged
letters with our partners, answered heaps of questions and learned about their
home and lifestyle. We also agreed to swap houses as well as cars.
Some teachers don't swap cars, but as our swap was overseas, this was practical.
The Australian school year
is different to ours. School in Australia starts around February 1 and ends
about December 15. They teach for 6 to 8 weeks then get two weeks vacation
in between rather than a two month break like we have. When my partner came
here, he started in my classroom January 5. I started in his class Feb 1.
On January 3 we were on
our way to Western Australia with stops in Hong Kong and Bali. We were met
at the Perth airport by his parents who took us to his villa, a three bedroom
The first week was spent
getting oriented to driving on the left side of the road. We also traveled
in the area and relaxed on the back yard hammock, with parrots flying above.
Our partners home was 3 blocks from Scarborough Beach.
I am use to coming into my
classroom and preparing for the school year a few weeks before school starts.
This opportunity didn't happen at the school I was assigned to. A building
was closed until the first day. When I arrived at 8 am, I learned where my
classroom was and improvised for the first full day. Kids arrived at 8:30 and
left at 3:10. More amazing, teachers left by 3:20. The teacher
parking lot was empty and the office closed by 3:30.
Other than Australian kids
wear uniforms, they are much the same as kids in any North American school. The
nice kids are really nice and the challenging kids just as challenging.
The teacher work load is similar to ours at home, except most planning and
marking is completed at home.
Throughout our year we met
heaps of new people, many are still wonderful friends. Much of our free
time was spent visiting other exchange teachers, there were 75 teachers on
exchange to Western Australia from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, England,
Scotland, Switzerland, Japan and other areas of Australia.
There were many singles,
some couples about to retire and several families on teacher exchange.
Many families exchanged to homes with swimming pools. Some couples both were
teachers while others like ourselves had only one person teaching. My wife
relaxed and also started her own resume typing business while I was at school.
A year long exchange has
advantages, write offs and lifetime memories but can be expensive with much more
traveling just to see things.
For those that want
to try an exchange for vacation before venturing on a year long venture,
vacation home swaps are available at 4homex.com Teacher
Home Exchange Trading homes for
vacations provides free travel accommodation. Global
Special home exchange coupons for teachers
||1 month to June 30
|1 year just on Global
|1 year on 4 partner home exchange clubs
- Global Home Exchange /Global Pacific Vacation
- Echange de maison (also featured in teacher
- Aussie House swaps
- Home Base Holidays and their 3 partner clubs
advantage of this special offer!
name, email details (check off special promotion,
record (teacher) and record your listing choice and
total cost ) then press send . After
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registration is completed, please ignore the regular
We also offer a great fund raising
opportunity for school organizations
helping with School
Many schools and parent teacher
organizations need to raise funds for a variety of
projects. Global offers a terrific way to raise funds
and keep ALL money raised or donated to your school