44 Days

I will NEVER teach again…

Or so I thought.

Back in April, while walking through the French Quarter with my boothang, Lib, the United Arab Emirates came up. Maybe we were talking about our upcoming trip in September, the details are foggy, but we came up with bright idea of uprooting our daughters and moving there instead of visiting.  We vowed to return home and look for jobs. Later that week, for some reason, I told Noelle about my masterplan and she immediately introduced me to women who were now teaching in Abu Dhabi.  Lib introduced me to a few more ladies and I had an instant network and support system (Hey Tanai, Jilene, and Katrina!!!).  I haven’t taught since 2011 and I never thought I would look back.  Clearly, I need to stop saying never.

I applied for – and was rejected by – the Abu Dhabi school system. My new friends told me to be patient and diligent.  After being told no, I realized that I wanted this more than anything. I continued my search and ended up in contact with a recruiter who was seeking a teacher for an American school in Sharjah, the emirate adjacent to Dubai.  We exchanged emails for a week or two when one day, he told me that I had an interview and that it was at 9am, UAE time. I stayed up WAY past my bedtime, put on makeup (just in case it was a video call), and waited. When the principal finally called, I felt more confident that I was making the right decision.  He asked me to tell him about three things: Me, my teaching style, and my reason for wanting to move to Dubai. We chatted like old friends about Jacinda, my love for football, and my last year teaching in Chicago Public Schools. After we were done, I asked him how long it would take to hear back from him.  He said, “Soon.”

I woke up the next morning with an email from the recruiter.  Apparently, I was amazing. My offer included housing in a brand new building for Jacinda and me, a stipend in addition to my tax-free salary, and the realization that I would be moving away from Chicago for the first time in my 35 1/2 years of life. A month and a half has passed since I accepted the offer. I’ve told a few people but haven’t made an official announcement…until today. Our one way tickets to Dubai have been booked and on August 10, 2015, I’ll be doing something I never thought I would do: go back into the classroom.  I’m much more nervous about teaching again than I am about leaving the US. I’ll miss my friends and family, Jacinda will adjust to life abroad, and I’ll still have the conveniences of Western civilization.  After four years, I think I’m ready to return to a career I was once passionate about. My time spent away taught me a great deal about myself and what I was put on this earth to do…adults just aren’t my thing.

I plan to spend the next month and a half enjoying Chicago, loving on my family and friends and preparing to leave the only place I’ve ever called home.  If I request your presence at some point during this summer, it’s because I want to spend time with you before I leave.  Indulge me. You never know…you might need a tour guide in the UAE (tour guide, not place to stay…just so we’re clear). I hope to get a chance to see all of your lovely faces before I leave in 44 days…2 hours…27 minutes.

XOXO

JK

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