Adventure in BelgiumMany people, especially Belgians, ask how I ended up in Belgium. After all, I've lived in Liberia, Morocco, the Philippines, and Zambia. All of them are way more exotic than Belgium. How did this happen?
There is a story.
The main way to get a job at an international school is to attend a recruitment fair where teachers and headmasters from around the world meet to interview. It is nothing short of a very stressful meat market. I scheduled nine appointments. The last one was for Antwerp, and it almost didn't happen. The director said he'd already scheduled enough art teachers to interview. I told him it was his loss because I had a great "show and tell" package to share with him.
That sparked his interest and I had my interview.
One of the nice things about the fairs is seeing teachers that I've worked with before. Everyone compares notes and shares hopes throughout the weekend. After one particularly good interview, I told a co-worker about the director from Antwerp and the possibilities of working there. And, guess who walked in the room at that moment? The director from Antwerp! My co-worker said she was going over to talk to him. She did too. I heard her say, "I just want you to know that you want to hire this guy. The students adore him and I know you'd be happy with him."
I can't remember the last time I was that embarrassed -- but I won't forget this time. I turned so red. The director laughed and whispered, "I like him, too." Then, he came over to shake my hand and said, "Send anyone you want to see me. I really enjoy it."
An hour later, I got a job offer. But, it wasn't from Antwerp. It was from the bottom school on my list. I didn't even want to consider it, but you have to consider any job offer when facing unemployment. I discussed the offer with another art teacher as we went up the escalator. Then, when we saw other friends going down the escalator, she called out, "He got an offer!" It was a case of the most perfect timing. The director from Antwerp happened to be standing directly behind my friends. He turned to me and called out, "Don't accept it!" I yelled back, "I won't!" I knew without a doubt where I wanted to work. Any school with a director who wanted me that much was where I wanted to be. And, I got the job I wanted.