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.
At a job fair in Bangkok in December, Alevy got 10 interviews and three offers. She chose Katmandu because she knows and likes the school’s principal.
Her two-year contract provides pay comparable to what she earned here. The school will also cover airfare, housing, insurance and retirement contributions.
Alevy said the experience is not for everyone — she’s filling a vacancy left by a librarian who couldn’t handle the culture shock.
Alevy is not married and has no children. Her biggest worries are selling her house, keeping in touch with her young niece and nephew, and her 7-year-old dog, Pippen, who has epilepsy and can’t make the move.
But she’s ready for the change. “Travel is my thing. I’ve already been to 35 countries in my life. And I love exploring,” she said.