Kazakhstan teaching opportunities
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to visit Astana and Kokshetau - two cities in Kazakhstan. The aim of this trip was to meet teachers working for the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS) and to learn more about about their experiences. During this visit I met with 12 teachers in three different NIS schools.
Andrew at NIS Kokshetau
We have been working with the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools for three years and this was my second visit to Kazakhstan. What struck me this time was the fast pace by which the country is developing. The schools and the education reform project are a crucial part of that development and the teachers I met all felt very privileged to be part of it.
The schools and the NIS organisation have come a long way in the last three years. They are now much more geared up for international teaching staff and have sorted out a lot of problems they had initially with contracts. In the first year of the project many teachers left after one year, however , these days teachers seem to be staying on and renewing their contract. In fact, a lot of them were choosing to relocate to different parts of Kazakhstan to further their experience and knowledge of the country.
They told us how much they enjoyed working alongside the Kazakh staff and how much they felt they've been able to contribute to the development of education in the schools and Kazakhstan as a nation. They had all been involved in lots of workshops and led professional development sessions but also learned so much from their Kazakh colleagues.
The teachers worked hard and sometimes long hours but they found it very rewarding. They particularly enjoyed working with the children who are extremely well behaved and really want to learn. The children actually put quite a lot of pressure on teachers because of their eagerness to learn. They each have a career path mapped out and the free education that they receive from the government enables them to achieve their goals. They see the international teaching staff as a crucial part of this road to success.
Outside of school the teachers I met seem to have a very active social life. Many of them socialised with their Kazakh colleagues or with other expatriates living in the city. We went to two towns and in each there were lots of international shops and restaurants and plenty of things to do for expats.
Yes , it was cold when we visited but what many don't know is that Kazakhstan actually gets very hot during summer months. The country is very well set up for the extremes of weather it experiences. Kazakhstan is the size of Europe and has some amazing sites to visit. Teachers told us of some incredible travelling experiences that they had in different parts of the country and we saw some fantastic scenery from the train to Kokshetau.
I can understand why so many teachers had fallen in love with the country. The Kazakh people are so friendly and genuinely interested in people from other countries.
This article was written by Andrew Wigford, Director of TIC Recruitment
Capital city, Astana