My family and I have relocated back to the good ole USA. I’ve enrolled in an educational leadership and technology PhD program at the University of Kentucky here in Lexington, KY. So far I really like it. I’ve thought about working towards a PhD for quite a while but hadn’t found the program or the people that I felt were a good fit. I had the opportunity to work with Dr. John Nash and Dr. Jayson Richardson this past year when they came to work with the school I was teaching at in New Delhi. I was very impressed with how knowledgable and professional they were and at the same time super approachable. I also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Justin Bathon last year while I was in Singapore helping out with the Learning2.013 conference being held at UWCSEA. After only being here for a short time I knew that I made the right choice and I am in the right place.

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy though. It’s been one of the bigger shifts we’ve been through. We are used to moving to a new country and getting set up but this move has had some big differences. First off, every time we have moved in the past it has been because we had been offered jobs at a school and we were going to go to work there. When we moved to Lexington my wife didn’t have a job and I am working part time as a graduate assistant. My wife worked her butt off to find a job teaching at a public school in Lexington. What was a bit frustrating for her is that she has been working at great schools with great people for the last 10+ years but her international experience doesn’t really translate well to people here. It’s almost like starting over which can feel a bit frustrating to a veteran teacher of 15 years with a masters degree in school counseling. Also we’ve always had our kids with us at the same school or at home with a nanny. It’s been a shift sending them off to school each day and not really knowing a ton about what goes on. The channels and amount of communication between school and home is quite different than what we are used to. We’re getting ourselves up to speed and overall feeling good about it.

Our kids are overall happy about things. It is quite different from what they are used to but they are masters at adapting to new environments. One is in private day care and the other is in 2nd grade at a neighborhood public school. I have some issues with some things that I see happening (or not happening) at school but I am trying to be patient and go with the flow. I have a lot to learn about how public education works here in Kentucky and more specifically Fayette County public schools. The teachers seem to be very dedicated and truly caring people which I feel very lucky about.

I am excited that my GA focus is working with the UK Next Generation Leadership Academy. Through the academy UK has been able to work with schools and districts here in Kentucky to help kick off transformative change. Working together an entry point is identified and a reform project is developed and implemented. It’s nice to be fighting the good fight and positively affecting education and kids in a tangible way.

For the last ten years I have been focusing pretty heavily on international schools as that’s where I have been living and working. Now that I’m back in the states I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts on what I see happening in education and schools here in the US. I’ll still be keeping an ear to the ground on what’s happening internationally but I’ll be paying more attention to what’s shaking stateside than I have in the past. I hope to continue to look at what awesome things are happening in classrooms and how teachers and students can help each other do amazing things.

Random… rambling post but I just needed to get something out!

6 Responses

  1. Hi Benjamin, I’ve just returned also, to be a caretaker for family members. It is a bit like being in another new country, things have changed quite a bit in 10 years. It’s a very different feeling…I’d gotten accustomed to the school safety net and automatic inclusion in a group. That will come as I get back into the system, I hope. I applied for a Para position, just to get my foot in the door and find out how the schools meld the PYP with Common Core, but I was turned down because I was overqualified, and not likely to stay put in the position. All true! But no problem, I’ll find another way in. International experience doesn’t seem to be an advantage here, but it’s up to me to make it an experience that does not place me too far apart from the teachers who see themselves as staying at home and minding the farm while I was out gallivanting around the world.

    1. Thanks for your comment Kathy. I have forgotten how rigid the public education system can be. I think it will take time an patience for someone returning to find a place where they fit. It sounds like you have a great attitude about it which goes a long way! Good luck finding something that suits you!

  2. Hi Benjamin,
    Your post both scares me and excites me. I have been overseas for 15 years and my family and I are thinking about moving to the US next summer. My Turkish husband and my two daughters (3 and 6) have never lived in the US. I feel like it will be a new country to all of us. The plan is for 3-5 yrs so my husband can become a US citizen. This has been a decision that was thought about for about a year and I can finally say that I am okay with it. At first I was scarred. I have the same thoughts/issues as you. I love having my daughter in my school. I am used to having the support and network of the international school. Who knows where we will end up.
    How long are you going to be in Kentucky? Didn’t Dana Watts move back as well?
    Good luck settling in. I look forward to reading more about your US adventure.

    1. Hi Anne, thanks for your comment. Funny, at this point we are looking at this as a post as well. Sometimes the tough thing is to remember to have patience. We sometimes fall into the thinking that because this is the states it would be an easy transition. We forget that our kids are in a country they have never lived in, we are in a place (KY) that none of us have lived in (with a culture all its own), are all stating new schools and jobs, and that moving in general can be hard. We are loving the town we are in and have been really lucky that some of the folks in my program have been super helpful in helping us settle and get things dialed in. It definitely helps to have help! I think we are all ready for a little vacation though… missing that fall break we were used to in international schools. Will have to make due with Thanksgiving break!

  3. It sounds very much like you may be the Ben Sheridan doing the Digital Citizenship course with Chrissy Heller. Are you enrolled or admin?

    Seems there are not many of us perhaps…


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