By Angela Sargent | New Tri-State Defender
Teaching abroad has been a dream of mine since I started teaching in 2006. However, being born and raised in Memphis, I felt it was my duty to stay here and share my gift with local children.
Life also played a significant role in my decision to stay. Being a wife at the time and the mother of two children, I could not fathom being anywhere but Memphis, Tennessee.
Now, after 16 years, my dream has come true. I am taking my first overseas teaching assignment in Cairo, Egypt.
The New Tri-State Defender got word of my journey and opened the door to sharing periodic reports with its followers. In addition, I will have a virtual diary on YouTube and I invite you to subscribe to Unapologetically Angela.
My journey began on May 9th during a casual conversation with my cousin, William “Fry” Arnold, about him celebrating his birthday in Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai.
Dubai is the initial place I had dreamed of teaching. The conversation with my cousin reignited that spark. He mentioned that his sister had been teaching there for three years and loved it.
I connected with his sister and the ball started rolling. She directed me to two websites: TeachingNomad.com and TeachAway.com. I asked a few more questions about housing arrangements, teaching expectations, and her perspective of the experience. Overall, her responses were positive, and my curiosity peaked.
The next day, I started the initial application for each agency. The process required time and energy to locate documents such as transcripts, recommendations, and licensure since I had been teaching in the same school system and the same location for 16 years.
I got the preliminary requirements and was then able to apply for abroad teaching assignments by May 12th. I eagerly began to look for assignments in Dubai; there were quite a few available. I applied for each one that I was qualified for.
On May 13th, I noticed two openings for an elementary teacher in Cairo, Egypt; my entire being lit up! Oh my God, what an experience it would be to teach in Egypt! I quickly applied with no expectations. I was just excited to be applying for a job in Egypt.
By May 15th, I had received two invitations for interviews: one for a kindergarten teacher in Saudi Arabia and one for a second-grade position in Cairo, Egypt. I immediately accepted the interview invitation with Metropolitan School in Cairo, Egypt.
The interview was scheduled for May 16th at 1 p.m. GMT+2 hours. That meant 6 a.m. in Memphis and I was ready to give it my best shot.
There were two interviews, one with the human resources manager and the other with the school’s administrative team (principal, vice principal, and professional learning coach.) Each lasted about 45 minutes to an hour.
At the end of the last interview, the principal said, “We will be in touch.” That left me nervous and unsure, so I continued with my everyday life, preparing for the end of the school year.
On Sunday, May 29th, as I lay in my bed meditating and asking God what my next steps should be, I received an offer letter!! The Metropolitan School of Cairo, Egypt offered me a two-year contract that included a housing allowance, a comparable salary, healthcare, and roundtrip airfare twice a year.
I was in tears – tears of joy and awe because things had just gotten real.
I had three days to respond. This was a significant decision to make in three days.
Monday morning, I got on the phone with my current school district to see if there were leave-of-absence options available; according to them, there were none.
I had a day in a half to decide to stay with the system I had been loyal to for 16 years. Or, take this leap of faith and follow my dream.
On Wednesday, June 1st, I made up my mind to follow my dream.
So, today – August 6th, 2022 – I will bid Memphis, Tennessee farewell (for a while) as I journey to Cairo, Egypt to do what I love and to build a legacy for my family and the hundreds of children I have taught throughout the years.
Journey along with me. This journey is for all of us.