Laid off and disenchanted, some U.S. teachers find jobs overseas

Monte Whaley / The Denver Post
Published Mar 31, 2011 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

DENVER — Jennifer Alevy was tired of feeling underappreciated and always looking over her shoulder for a pink slip, so she decided this year to trade her life and job in America for someplace that truly wanted her.

So long, USA and the Adams 12 School District. Hello, Nepal.

Alevy, 44, begins work as a librarian at the K-12 Lincoln School in Katmandu in August.

She’s selling her house, putting her furniture in storage, and heading to one of the poorest countries on Earth.

Alevy said she wants to absorb a foreign culture and help kids eager to soak up the English language and Western curriculum.

She’s part of a growing number of disenchanted American teachers who are being dumped by school districts in the throes of budget cuts.

“I know how much I worked and advocated as a librarian,” said Alevy. “I worked on committees, worked just about every night, wrote articles, did research, trying to help out the school and kids.

“But you’re left with the feeling that none of that mattered,” Alevy said.

“Given what’s happening to public schools and how their budgets are being pummeled,” it isn’t surprising teachers are looking at overseas opportunities, said Peter Vigil, professor of elementary education at Metro State College.

Alevy’s post at the Lincoln School is similar to those she held at Northglenn High School for the past year, and at Horizon High School for five years.

At both schools, she was a victim of big budget cuts.

Alevy was reassigned to Northglenn at the end of the 2009-10 school year in a budget-slashing move. She was then told the next deep cuts will claim as many as 190 jobs in 2011-12, likely including hers.

“Why should I stay here and worry about what’s coming around the corner when I could be doing something I really want to do?” Alevy said.

She applied to International School Services, a New Jersey nonprofit that recruits teachers.

American teachers are in high demand to teach the children of U.S. diplomats, business executives, journalists and other Americans living in other countries, as well as local students, who believe they need English to succeed, said ISS president Roger Hove.

Many teachers apply for foreign jobs for the adventure, but Hove said he’s seeing more — and younger — teachers sign up because jobs have dried up at home.