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Americans: Teach in the US Virgin Islands Private Schools

 
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virginislander



Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject: Americans: Teach in the US Virgin Islands Private Schools Reply with quote

A few years back I had the chance to work in the VI, on the island of St. Thomas. There are several private schools on the island and because of a high turn over rate, private schools annually replace lots of Margarita teachers. My students told me Margarita teachers are those who come down to the islands to teach at the beach, but just for a year or two.

Some people can't hack it. I plan on returning, but not just yet. I have lots of friends down there who have been in the islands for 3, 5, 10, 25 years. Some are now working for the public schools, but they have their certs. Others are lawyers, librarians, university profs, boat captains, deck hands, scuba instructors, waiters, mothers, fathers, masseuses, party planners, etc....

US soil, but Caribbean culture. Locals speak English, but with a West Indian accent. There are lots of 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation Spanish and French speaking immigrants from neighboring islands as well. Caribbean Spanish, French Creoles. I lived with a 3rd generation Spanish family and later in a Dominican enclave. B.E.A.U.tiful landscape and water. Thats common knowledge.

Also, from St. Thomas, you'll easily be able to hit up St. John, St Croix, the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Lots of sailing opportunities, just make friends with a captain. Two favorite spots: First, a ship that is anchored off an island, and the ship has been converted into a bar. You have to dock next to the boat and climb aboard. Also, the Soggy Dollar. Its on a small island, I donít remember which. However, the harbor is too shallow, so you have to anchor your boat and swim to shore. Hence, your soggy dollar. And then you have the rest of the islands to explore.


Teaching is demanding. Assuming youíre a Margarita teacher, kids will listen to you but not truly respect you. Return for a second year, and you'll be worshiped. There are many bright students as well as teachers in the private schools. I taught with two UPenn graduates, a Georgia Tech graduate who is now getting his PHD at Harvard, Cornell, UPitt, Charleston College, etc.... Also, despite fewer resources and a fly-by night faculty, many of the kids attend some big name schools. Like I said, itís demanding. You have to know your $hit. These are real schools, with real money. However, being private schools, they can't pay too well. About 2 grand a month.


Despite not having a background in science, I taught Earth and Space to 8th graders and Life Science to 7th graders. I also took over a High School English class for a month. I spent lots of nights, reviewing, preparing, grading. Apply early, and you can pick and choose something you are strong in. NO CERTIFICATION required for private schools.

The best part has to be the diversity. Africans, East Indians, Palestinians, East Indians from Trinidad (they are different), Frenchies, islanders from other islands, Mainlanders from stateside, Chinese, Dominicans, Haitians, Puerto Ricans, Arabs. And then you have the combinations. My Favorite student was Khalil Chung. His mother was from Lebanon (lots in Caribbean, S. America), hence Khalil. His father was black Jamaican, expect that his grandfather was Chinese, hence Chung.

I also enjoyed the history. Where else in the world do you have the histories of the English, Irish, Portuguese, Germans, Africans, Arabs, Jew, East Indies, Indonesians, Dutch, Chinese, French, Spanish collide so violently and colorfully? Lots of odd things, too. For instance, the island of Malta controlled the VI for a brief time; the VI was bought to protect Puerto Rico from the approaching Germans in WWI, Danes were the most sadistic slave-owners and the US government segregated black and white American troops during WWII, put the Islanders in with the African-Americans but ultimately created a division just for the former because a similarity in color doesn't equate to similarity in behavior, particularly submissiveness. Great local history, too. But only the locals can teach you about that.


Negatives. Itís a great place to be a single woman. Lots of men down there with lots of money. Actually, the first person I ever met who taught in Korea was a 35 year old woman who was working in a coffee shop. She spent three years in Korea, loved it but appreciated the dating opportunities in the VI.

However, it isn't as easy for men, especially those on teacher salaries. You'll meet lots of women on vacation as well as at work but not anything like in Asia. Highest rate of HIV outside of Africa is in the Caribbean, too.

Violence. Itís like New York City. Here itís OK, over there itís not as OK, down there is a No No. You need street smarts, which I have lost in Korea. There are more violent crimes in the VI. However, I know several foreigners who spent time in hospitals in Korea because of stupidity,only one in the islands. Most of my friends had real nice lives up in the hills, away from the poverty that you'll find in any major city.

Lastly, the money. You won't save like you save in Asia. In regards to wealth, my father always "You cant take it with you when you die" but I have memories that I'll take with me to the grave. I really liked the students and their families. To this day, former students and parents still email me.

MOD EDIT

Also, you can check out vimovingcenter.com
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parrothead



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 342
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that was a very thorough post. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us.
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shantaram



Joined: 24 Jan 2008
Posts: 42
Location: Montreal, Quebec

PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great information, thank you so much.
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FUD71



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 7
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you suggest a good website that would help me find a job at a private school? I don't have my certs, but I can teach Math up to Calculus IV.
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haruspex7



Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:13 pm    Post subject: Jobs? Reply with quote

Thanks for the information, Virginislander! Any chance you can direct me to jobs in the area? I have a MA in education and 2 years of full-time teaching experience as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program as a high school English teacher. I've spent the past 5 years in the not-so-joyous world of corporate America and I'm ready to get out. I would love to teach in the Virgin Islands. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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eclectic



Joined: 09 Nov 2006
Posts: 1122

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great avatar, haruspex, the etruscan magician.
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haruspex7



Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, eclectice! I took Latin for 5 years - I figured I might as well do something with my knowledge of the dead language Laughing
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eclectic



Joined: 09 Nov 2006
Posts: 1122

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, who was Laris Pulena?
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beachbum



Joined: 24 Apr 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the post Reply with quote

That was a great post on teaching in VI, I especially like St. Thomas. Violence is in many countries, I try never to let my guard down in any country.
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beenthere96-2005



Joined: 01 Aug 2010
Posts: 79
Location: St Louis

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:41 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the post Reply with quote

This was indeed a great post on teaching in the Virgin Islands.

Thanks a lot.
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