In the previous episode of the Progressively Incorrect podcast, I spoke with Jasmine Lane about how teachers should focus on developing their subject knowledge and automaticity with teaching routines in order to move students forward. However, much of our discussion centered around her experience of moving from Minnesota to teach in London, where, she said, she was so much happier than when she was teaching in the U.S. Jasmine had me so pumped up on the English system’s knowledge-rich curriculum and phonics screenings that, I have to admit, I started imagining myself packing my bags and boarding the next flight destined for Heathrow. “If you’re thinking about moving here”, she told me towards the end of the recording, “talk to me, move here, and don’t look back!”
While I’m currently living and instructional coaching in the Seattle area, I miss the lifestyle that I enjoyed for 7 years as a teacher in Vietnam, Sudan, and China. We had our daughter in an international hospital in Shanghai, and we planned to continue teaching there, or anywhere but here, for many more years. Then one day, while we were relaxing on a Thai beach during Chinese New Year vacation, China announced it was closing its borders and canceling international flights. Thanks to COVID-19, we were suddenly locked out of the life that we had carefully planned for ourselves and our daughter.
While relocating back to the U.S. was at first quite disappointing, we’ve since found comfort in being able to attend family events, and share our daughter with her uncles, aunties and grandparents. Still, I want my daughter to have all the opportunities that an overseas experience offers; the chance to travel to interesting places on any given weekend, and interact with people from different cultures, and perhaps pick up a language or two. Of course, raising children overseas comes with its own challenges; Children all need stability and the chance to call somewhere “home”. If we left the U.S. now, we’d be leaving behind Saturdays at Grammy and Nona’s, and pizza nights with Uncle Eli and Aunt Lily.
So, in a bit of a departure from our regular discussion about teaching methods, I thought I’d interview an expert on the experiences of expat families and so-called Third Culture Kids, or TCKs.
Resources from Tanya:
This is the link for Caution and Hope
This is the link for our newest white paper, TCKs at Risk
Our research landing page: