Welcome to our site. My name is David Chin and I'm a former international teacher who spent 8 years working at American schools in Saudi Arabia and Beirut, Lebanon.
May I ask where your original certification is from?
If you are not certified to teach in Georgia, I would recommend that you visit the Georgia Department of Education website for certification information:
Different states have different requirements and there is always the possibility that you may arrive in Georgia only to find that you are not qualified for certification for one or more reasons.
Secondly - when was the last time you taught? Most schools seem to require "current references" from teacher applicants. I left the field of education at the end of 2002 and took a five year break - pursuing a culinary degree and a job in the hospitality and food service industry.
When I tried to re-enter the field of elementary education, I was told that I wasn't qualified despite 17 years experience and a Master's degree. Why? I didn't have "current references."
My solution was to side step the issue. I used my background and experience to apply for a job as chef instructor at a high school.
What can you do to "stay current?"
1) If you are still abroad, try substitute teaching at the local international American school. If you substitute teach, MAKE SURE you do the following. Record the school administrator's name, school address, e-mail address, and phone number including international country code in your files for future reference (such as filling out job applications). Also - make sure that if you substitute teach that before leaving this country you get the building administrator to write you a letter of recommendation to add to your files.
2) If you have not already done so, begin work on a teacher portfolio that highlights your experiences. Include certification, transcripts, any awards you may have received, letters from parents, written recommendations, Praxis test scores (if available), pictures of your classroom, samples of newsletters, samples of lesson plans and anything else that you think has a bearing on your background/experience as a teacher.
I think it's great that you have international experience but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Organize all of your information into a portfolio that you can actively use in a future job interview.
DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF A NOVICE by offering the entire portfolio to the human resource director or building administrator. Demonstrate your creativity and organization by incorporating the portfolio into you job interview.
The human resource director asks how you address the concept of having a classroom with a wide range of academic abilities.
Talk about your lesson plans AND SHOW THE DIRECTOR A SAMPLE OF YOUR LESSON PLANS.
Talk about learning centers AND SHOW THE DIRECTOR PICTURES OF YOUR LEARNING CENTERS.
Teachers who know how to properly use a portfolio at a job interview will have a leg up on their competition.
Teachers who don't know how to use a portfolio wind up looking foolish. I once had an administrator friend tell me about a teacher applicant who came to an interview with a box, several rolled up posters, and a photo album. As a test of her organization and creativity, he deliberately did not ask what these items were .... AND SHE NEVER PRESENTED THEM.
So - one thing you can do is to organize your portfolio. While you are doing this, think about how you can incorporate your portfolio into your interview.
3) Take on-line classes. There are several institutions that offer continuing education classes on-line. Stay current by taking some of these classes.
4) If you're overseas, have you joined TIE? TIE is a publication devoted to American teachers working abroad. TIE is an excellent way not only to stay current with educational trends in the U.S. but trends occurring in the international schools. [url]http://www.tieonline.com/[/url]
P.S. Depending upon how long you've been abroad, be prepared for reverse culture shock after returning to the U.S. You might want to consider working as a sub when you return instead of teaching. You will find that students enrolled in the average state side public school are generally not of the same academic caliber as are the students enrolled in the international schools. After all - most of the students in the international schools come from two parent middle class families. One or more parents are professionals of one type or another. As I'm sure you will have noticed, most students overseas tend to be on or above grade level. This is not necessarily true in the United States particularly in large urban environments like Atlanta.
Working as a substitute will give you time to help readjust yourself to living in the United States. Working as a sub will also expose you to various schools. If you decide to remain in Atlanta, you will have current work experience. You'll have a much better idea regarding the schools you'd like to teach in as opposed to the ones you want to stay away from.