Mongolian Visa- Easiest Process

Mongolia

Best visa process!

Teaching internationally can be tough with obtaining visas. Mongolia has been the least stressful visa process I have experienced.

I worked with the school in the beginning stages. They asked for typically things such as an HIV test, credentials, health/doctor recommendation, and background check. The school then processes the information for a VISA code.

For me, the wait between the Visa code and submitting the documents was the worst. I get a feeling I want to get things down ASAP. So this was a personal problem. However, the school received the code within a 2 week period they predicted.

You send the code, flight information and a money order to the embassy with a pre-addressed envelope. Finished!

Kuwait was the most difficult. Venezuela required an interview for USA citizens. China requires more now. Mongolia is the most relaxed visa process and I believe a great first step to working abroad!

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How to Make Co-Teaching Work? – TAs, ESL Teachers, Co-Teachers

Teaching abroad can always be difficult. You work with people from different cultures and teaching styles. All these differences can lead to conflict or more difficult circumstances. Some people take their role too seriously, others not serious enough, and still, others blame you for a weird working environment. I learned to take each new assignment and teaching partner and try to learn how to work with them. Most have worked out. One has not worked out at all. And a select few have developed into a beautiful friendship.

Advice to Get It Working

1. Be clear with what you are expecting.

I am generally a very laid back teacher. Maybe even too laid back for some adults I have worked with. This laid back attitude is my saving grace when it comes to teaching. I do not overthink bulletin board colors. I like giving a general idea and being happy with whatever gets created. I want the people I work with to help save me time and energy and being too much in control does not give me the free time. I know teachers who are picky and they end up staying at school until 6 or 7 pm in an international school. You can stay for 1 hour after students leave and should be able to finish all your work. This is leaving at 4 pm or 5 pm. Being flexible and accepting how they want to complete a task I find to be helpful if the people you work with are competent. If they are not, more guidance is needed. I should have given my second TA in Venezuela more guidance or instruction. However, I felt that she has worked at this school for at least 5 years. She is an older woman. I shouldn’t have to tell her all the dos and don’ts of being a TA and what her job entails or doesn’t. But I hope she finds a way to work with future teachers and students because I can tell she is a very nice and beautiful person. I guess being laid back and giving people the freedom to do their job as they want works well with those who understand why they are in the classroom. If you find you are working with someone who makes a mistake by giving the opposite directions as you or just in generally overstepping their role, you need to tell them.

2. Set up a time to meet weekly.

I find this to be the most helpful. Sometimes people do not like listening or do not find them helpful. But honesty is the best policy and if they have an issue you can create a meeting where everything is addressed. I had meetings with my ESL teacher weekly and they slowly stopped but we found a rhyme and what I wanted her to prep before class became less relevant when her ESL students become more advanced. I should have had these meetings with my TA who didn’t work out. She completely disagreed with my style of teaching and was kinda trying to run a second classroom in mine. It was weird and I just tried to ignore it. In all honesty, when she was switched with another TA, the attitude and vibe in the classroom became significantly more positive. Weird. But a weekly meeting will help all parties express their thoughts and feelings. When my new TA came in for the second half, I didn’t have a scheduled meeting but every Friday, I asked how her week went. Who knows if she told me the truth but I tried!

3. Let them take small groups

The more kid interaction the better. I find when my new assistant at the end of the year was better because every morning she worked with a small group at 9 am. Every morning, I had photocopying ready on Monday at 7 am. She had rocket math after the first break. And got science or social studies ready afterward. I felt there was a rhythm. When she had free time or finished, she worked with a few students. Mainly making her presence known which is half the battle. But since she worked with all the kids, slowly they began to trust her. All the students need to trust any adult who comes in your classroom. The previous TA spent more time highlighting negative behavior. I do believe that over time since she didn’t follow through or really had a nice chat with these students they began to resent her. Therefore, a negative vibe in the classroom.

A beautiful friendship

My ESL teacher, Miss Oriana was such as pleasure to work with. Here she wrote me a letter and afterward, I would love to respond.

Dear Krissy,

I had never met Americans before coming to CIC. This year has been a great experience for me and among everyone, you’re the one with who I spent most of my time. No regrets girl, you’re my type of American! You’re F… crazy hahaha. However, you are also kind, friendly, sincere and passionate! I think you are an interesting woman that lives her life in an interesting way, definitely a risk-taker. (Don’t get me wrong, I still think you are out your mind by going to Mongolia) But then again, you came to Venezuela, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to me…

Krissy, I firmly believe that you are a great teacher, I admired your creativity and positive attitude with the children towards these hard times in the country. I cannot tell you how much I’ve learned from you. I’m really thankful for letting me be part of your classroom environment. People told me it wouldn’t be easy to be part of someone else’s class, but you made me part of yours in such a fun and nice way that the kids felt it too.

I wish I had spent more time with you, just hanging out or something. Unfortunately, life didn´t let me. Anyway, it doesn´t matter! Thank you for all the laughter at CIC. Somehow you made it easier. I truly wish you the best in your life as an international teacher and your coming adventure: marriage! You and Peter are just too cute together:3

I hope to keep in touch, at least once in a while. I don’t want to say goodbye but see you later, my friend. It will be awesome if we meet again someday!

A lot of kisses and good wishes,
Oriana

My response

Dear Oriana,

I am happy I am the first American you worked with and luckily it has been a great experience. I do not appreciate you language missy, but I will gladly expect that I am crazy but like in a good way. But enough about me! Oriana, you are truly a lovely person and a great teacher. All the students loved you and missed you when you didn’t come. I think they missed you because you are warm-hearted, funny and extremely helpful and caring. You made me feel happy to have you in the classroom. You added a fun and happy spirit to the room when my spirit was being drained and killed slowly through consistent, “Miss, what do I do?” At least there was another miss to answer all these questions.

I hope you get to work outside of Venezuela and I hope the continued years at CIC are joyful and fun! You will be a great addition to any school because of your warm happiness. Maybe you and Silvana are related? But anyway, you always made my last year more enjoyable. You were always there for me emotionally. I will miss you!

We will keep in touch. Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are always there. See you soon my friend.

Love, hugs and a little bit of tears,

Krissy

Review of Mac in a Sac- Traveling Raincoats

Overall Rank

On Mac in a Sac Website, it received 5 stars from about 900 customers. They have a great color variation. Many customers are extremely happy. Also, Mac in a Sac is proactive and tries to fix and sort out issues from their products. They want you to have a truly great experience. This company is based in England.

Product Description

Rainproof raincoats that can fold up nice and tiny for ease of packing and travel. I need this when I travel since during my week or 2-week holidays I want to pack as light as possible. Also, I usually only bring 2 suitcases whenever I move somewhere. I want my clothes and belongings to be able to shrink and fit in my suitcases. Also, to not be overweight. So a raincoat that can roll up into a small bag sounds like the perfect product to add to my suitcases when I travel the world. Who’s with me?

Pros & Cons

Pros are always nice to start with, I will start there.

1. Folds up on its own to a small bag.
2. Variety fo colors to choose from.
3. Associated with TargetDry, a highly rated outdoor company.
4. Not too expensive.
5. Lightweight and breathable.

Some cons I came across just seem to be a pile of bad luck. Sizes were smaller than anticipated. So if someone is shopping from outside the UK I would suggest comparing how sizes are different than your own country. Also, the product ripped within a few days. This issue can easily be fixed within the 2-year guarantee.

Price

20 pounds to 30 pounds per coat.
This I fee like is a fair price for a quality product.

Guarantee

Every customer enjoys a 2-year guarantee for the product. I think this is a great amount of time to see if this product is for you and for you to use in on the exciting holidays we experience in International Teaching!

Get your own Mac in a Sac!

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Teach Addition and Subtraction- Reading Stories!


Reading can promote learning in all content areas. Teaching in predominately ESOL classroom, I love to include stories while I teach math. Parents can also purchase books connected with math. Math can be tricky to teach as well as for students to connect to math. If students are naturally good in math, they love it! If students feel nervous or do not do as well in math, they generally do not like math class. I try to incorporate as many other skills in math class so students can engage through their strengths.

In a general math lesson, I like to read a story every week to demonstrate what topic we are learning. There is a book for everything! Sometimes, I show videos of someone else reading it. I find videos like this on YouTube all the time. Crazy, huh! Next, I show examples for 5-10 minutes. The following 10-15 minutes, I have students give directions to other students or they work in partners and read the steps we created together as a class. Lastly, I give a 5-10 minute activity of independent work. Students love to engage others. Many students in my class express they begin to like math class. I teach 3rd grade. This scares me that students already associate math with fear and anxiety.

My top 5 reasons to include reading in math

1. Students love getting read to. I know even in high school, I enjoyed getting read to in classes. It’s strange and its weird but I think it reminds children or students when their parents read to them at night. Students associate read aloud to love and caring.
2. The students can understand the “why,” in math. Common Core wants students to understand the “why” and be able to express “the why” through oral and written formats. While I teach math, I constantly have students tell me “why” they added or “why” the borrowed in subtraction. Consistently giving them ways to hear and express the “why” is important.
3. Using different ways of teaching is beneficial. Some students have math anxiety. Reading a story might calm nerves and these students who do better with language skills. Teaching through their strengths might allow students to relate to math.
4. Add these books to a small library dedicated to math concepts that students can read during reading time. This promotes math concepts during reading lessons and reading skills during math lessons. Cross-curricular and making connections between subject promote and prove to show more learning. Students begin to have more long term memory about the different topics.
5. Connect writing or oral stories in the classroom. Books can encourage and be a support to help with word problems. Many books about mathematical concepts use similar language to questions in word problems. Also, word problems become less scary because they have already included reading comprehension in their math lessons.

Books for addition and subtraction

The first two books are the puppy series. Here are reviews about these series. Reading through this blog, I found so many positive reviews! They are great for younger students. Suggestions would be KG-2 grade.

The Number Tales series recieved mostly 5 stars on Amazon. From reviews, many parents who read to younger kids (3-5) found them less engaging. I reccommend these books for 1-3 grade.

If you are looking to get a set. Amazon has a set of 5 books, including the two I have here.

Only two reviews on Amazon, but both gave the next book 5 stars! I know I enjoy reading this book. This can be read to younger children still. I recommended KG-2.

The next two books are great for older students. Recommendation is 2-5 grade. Frankie Pickle is a collection of comic strip stories relating to math concepts! Engaging! No reviews were less than 3 stars on Amazon! Multiplying Meanace really engages older students in multiplication facts but students can relate through repeated addition. I love reading this story to my students.

Amazon might provide better deals, so check their prices at first!



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Why Is Saying Goodbye Hard?- Last Days of Venezuela

Goodbye Friends.

Hope to see you soon. It was a pleasure to work with you. We won’t say goodbye but see you later. This is truly the hardest part at the end of a school year.  It is the time of the year where you know you may never see this person again. You hope you do and some friendships can last through social media and WhatsApp. Maybe a few relationships will continue through Skype. You could also be lucky enough to work with another international teacher in another country in the future. Maybe you will both travel to the same country? But the realization that the last days at a school still hurt each time and it does not get easier every time. It gets harder because the hope you have that all the beautiful friends you met here may never talk to you again. It is hard realization.

 

Tips for this hard moment

  1. Find a way to keep in contact. Both parties should agree if keeping in contact is through Facebook. Maybe, you decide you will skype occasionally? Like family members back home, make time for those who are truly special to you. Exchange contact information or update your contact information as you change countries. I find comfort in knowing I can speak to the amazing friendships I made in Kuwait and China. So, knowing that I have lifelines in Venezuela feels good. I make it a goal to send a message to my close friends bi-monthly. Yes, sometimes I miss a month. But I want them to know I am thinking about them. I also want to keep up with their lives. Although we do not live in the same country, I want to know all the new adventures they are going on. Even if their adventure is binging on Netflix! I binge on that too!
  2. If you can or have the ability to plan a face-to-face visit, do it! I met my best friend in China. I have seen her every other summer since we met in China. Or is it every summer? Either way, both parties tried to make sure we see each other for at least a few days. It does feel like you start from where you left off. You laugh at the moments you experience together. But you also celebrate how different your lives are now. I know my BFF is a mommy of twins. She moved to a new state and recently went back to school to further her degree. I am traveling the world still and did end up meeting the man I will marry. Both of our lives took a great and unique direction. The most important aspect is we celebrate each other for what they are doing now! She also has never made me feel guilty for my choice to work abroad. It is sometimes the easiest to talk with her because I am not expected to fit her mold of a successful life.
  3. The hardest part for me is comparing new friends and colleagues to previous friends and colleagues. Everyone is different. All the friendships that you form will be different. One close friend, I only speak to twice a year, but that is A LOT! While others I message virtually monthly. I also compare how the friendships turn out. I remember thinking in Kuwait. “Wow, I like working with non-teachers. They are easier to get along with.” I move to Venezuela. “Wow, I like working in a larger school. There is more opportunity for friendship.” But, China was only 8 foreign hires in the city! I find myself also looking at the greener grass instead of celebrating and appreciating the green grass I have in my life. I am sure in Mongolia, I will wish I have a Mongolian mommy who loved me like one of her daughters.

 

Stay Positive

While everyone cries the last day, stay as positive as you can! Make sure you give and show the love to the people who matter to you in the school year. Make sure they know how much you love them. This can be gifts. But this can also be just your warm presence.

 

Remember and talk about all the fun times! Remember and thank them for all the times they stuck by you and helped through that difficult time. Remember that they were an intricate part of your life and it is your decision to decide if they stay that way. Obviously, it is extremely difficult to talk to all the staff you worked with. However, I do find that I have a close relationship with 2-3 people a year.

 

I found myself done this over the past few years is pull away. I think this is a protection strategy. I know I will cry but I do not want to cry in front of people. It is a fear, but I always find I cry in front of people once during the year. I cried yesterday, so maybe I can stay strong until I get home. Peter get those tissues ready!

 

Letter to My Venezuelan Momma

Dear Daniela,

Since last year, maybe you did not know it, but I always felt the closest to you. I felt like we are the same person but born a few years apart and in different countries. Over the course of this year, I met your beautiful family and fell in love them as well. You are truly and beautiful person. Although my Spanish sucks and you believe you speak like the step mom on Modern Family, we found common ground and love that can’t be explained or taken away. I send my prayers every day for you and your family and I hope that one day we meet again. Maybe in Venezuela! Maybe in the USA! But, I still hope and pray that our paths will cross again. I hope we WhatsApp throughout this time apart and I hope we continue to find common ground and connections miles and countries apart. I will love you and your family forever!

Love,

Krissy

 


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3 Funniest Moments Abroad- Students Are Funny!

Students always make me laugh. The curious mind is such a great thing. Here are some funny moments that I laugh whenever I think about. I hope I continue to get these funny moments over my career. Although, seeing the lightbulb moment is great as a teacher. Your struggling reader can read. Your student who couldn’t add, can now! I think I enjoy teaching more with the funny every interactions where I become “friends” with my students. They are absolutely hilarious. Probable should have a youtube channel! I think one of these kids does. Hopefully, it is private.

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Hands-on Activities For Kids- Great Fun!

Mom, I’m Bored!

 

What parents out there have heard this sentence? I am sure on a daily basis. I hear it at school as a teacher. Usually, I hear this sentence when they need to do work they do not enjoy. So during math class (if they feel they are not good in math) or writing class (if they feel like they can’t write). Being bored can be good for children. It activates the creative process to figure out what to do so they are not as bored. Summer vacation is approaching and now mamas have their children all day. I bet, “I’m bored!” will ring in your ears every day. Some days let your children figure out what they will do to overcome their boredom but other days check out these resources to add to your repertoire.

Looking back to when I was a child, I am sure I said this to my mom. Heck, I still say this to my mom when I come home. Usually, it is because I am in summer mode while my parents and family are in work mode. They are not educators so do not have the summer when they can get more free time. As an international teacher, I more or less have the summer’s off. This is a huge plus! Talk to teachers in the United States or the United Kingdom. I bet they do not feel like their summers are free and wide open.

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Books Kids Will Love!- A Story About Them!

You know what kind of books kids will adore.  Story Of My Name How cool is that? I would love if I got a book for Christmas, a birthday, my first holy communion, or any special religious event and received a book about me! Or I would find it so funny to read a story about my parents, grandparents or other members of the family.

The website is set up and is very easy to understand and place an order! The books can come in 6 languages: English (American or UK), Spanish, French, Dutch, German, and Italian. Maybe your child is bilingual or trilingual! They can get the same book in 2 or 3 languages. The site always lets you preview the story before you purchase.


For example, the My Name is Great Book can introduce children to the Acrostic poems. They can create an acrostic poem about other family members using the letters of their names. This can help with vocabulary development and also explore the dictionary for cool words to add to those poems.

Parents rate this books with 4 to 5 stars! They are highly pleased with their purchase and the children love them. It can inspire writing acrostic poems or write their own stories. It also can help build vocabulary. I would recommend this book to anyone with a child 6 years old or younger! But to be honest, I want to buy myself a Story Of My Name . Maybe read it the first day of school, so they realize how special my name is!


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