News: Ted O'Connell: Portrait of an International Educator  - Mar 21, 2015
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Saturday, March 21, 2015Candidate Stories

Ted O'Connell: Portrait of an International Educator

A passion for helping students master a skill, a zest for adventure, and an admiration for different cultures. These are just some of the extraordinary qualities of international Educator Ted O'Connell. During the Cambridge Fair this February, Marketing Coordinator Tiffany Young, took the opportunity to interview Ted, who represents the finest in Search Associates' candidates.

Ted's interest in other cultures began early in his life, while attending a summer boys' camp in New Hampshire, where many of the counselors came from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Later, as a college student, he spent a semester in the United Kingdom. He realized then how much he loved learning about new customs, local verbiage and dialects, and food, in addition to being educated about the politics and social life of a culture. Ted added,

"No matter where I've been as an international teacher, it's always those things I enjoy learning."

This February, Ted attended his second Search Associates Cambridge Fair, where he happily accepted a job offer from the International School of Panama teaching Grade 7 MS Math. His first Cambridge Fair experience in 2004 was prompted by his attendance at an information session on teaching overseas, given by Search Associates Founder John Magagna at the Hyatt in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

When his first Cambridge Job Fair yielded a teaching position for Ted in Honduras, his life flourished. The hospitality of the Principal and her husband, together with her compatible educational philosophy, smoothed the way for Ted. He became more fluent in Spanish, and he fell in love with the fourth grade teacher in the classroom next door, Michelle, now his wife. Ted stated,

"Now, ten years later, with a pregnant wife expecting our first child at the end of the school year, we decided to come back to Search [Associates] for me to find a new position."

What continues to draw Ted and Michelle O'Connell back to the world of international education is a sense of intellectual freedom and exploration that allows teachers to try new things with curriculum while maintaining high standards. Additionally, the O'Connell's love their new friends, whom Ted says tend to be "outgoing, adventurous, and spirited."

Ted describes what brought him back to the Search Associates a second time:

"I love how personal the fairs are. Having one (or more than one) associate whom you can ask for advice, talk out your decision-making process, or just get some encouragement, really sets Search [Associates] apart.  The fairs are extremely well organized, and even though Cambridge is one of the largest fairs, it never felt like there were too many candidates [or] too many schools and recruiters …one of the great benefits of the fairs is meeting people and making connections.  I love that you can be competing for the same position with someone sitting at your table in the candidate lounge, and yet strike up a great friendship."

Ted also praised the format of the ever-improving Search Associates website, which allowed him to search for positions in various regions of the world, as well as different grade levels and subject matter. He was grateful for a website that allowed him to communicate by email with international schools prior to the fair. This enabled him to set up interviews for the [Cambridge] Fair ahead of time. Ted emphasized,

"…if you use the website well, it can make the fairs a really positive experience, where recruiters are already familiar with you, and you are already familiar with the schools."

Candidates like Ted will tell you that pursuing the path of the international educator is an exciting and rewarding choice. Those who wish to combine a passion for teaching with a desire to explore other cultures must face certain challenges: considering other countries in which to live, choosing schools, applying for positions, making decisions on the best match, and moving to another country. Fortunately, Search Associates has dedicated the last 25 years to assisting candidates like Ted and will continue to help pave the way for successful careers in international education worldwide.


Did You Know…?

Search Associates responds to Child Protection recommendations with substantial changes to their candidate application. These changes will help us gather the most complete candidate profile possible, making the evaluation/hiring process for international schools more efficient and effective.