Expectations VS Reality by Ann

Expectations vs Reality - that's how I want to sum up my J1 teacher journey in the US!


Before I went to the US, I did not think that teaching in the US would be so difficult. Why? Hindi naman ako bobo, a foreign principal hired me, that means qualified ako, right?

I am not intelligent, but I can communicate well in English. 

I am a successful teacher. I have three years of experience dealing with people in the community and five years of teaching experience, and the students and parents respect me too! 

So, I thought that would be enough. 

I was so excited when I first met my principal in August, 2018, and then...


The truth? I was eaten alive by my international students! 

They run my classroom instead of me. 

My classroom management was horrible (I did not think Classroom Management is the first thing you need to establish!) 

Fights happened in my classroom and the bathrooms where my students were involved. Students couldn't understand me because of my accent! The kids' behavior was so different. 

Communicating with foreign people is way different than using the English language in the Philippines. Every day was a challenge for me!

Everything was horrible to the point that even the Superintendent came to the school and observed my transition time in the hallway during bathroom and lunch breaks. 

All that time, I thought I was a loser. I wanted to quit and go home but, Oh no! ang mga utang ko sa pinas! 

So, yon nga pinagpatuloy ko pero everyday mabigat ang loob kung bumangon. I was not happy at all!

Things got worst when my principal wrote me up! 

Yes! My principal wrote me up! (See photos below for full disclosure)

She called me into her office, and I was in tears. My heart was so heavy (magkaka heart attack ata ako that time hahaha!). My urge to quit got stronger and stronger, but then again, my family needs me at ang mga utang, wahhhh!

So, I have no choice but to keep going for my family.  

A Chance To Do Better

December 2018 – Ma'am Gemma informed us in the group chat that school districts were hiring teachers for the Second Semester. Her purpose was to give teachers who were already in the US a chance to transfer. 

At first, I did not want to transfer. 

Iniisip ko ilang buwan na lang iba na naman ang mga students ko. It will get better!

I didn't want to lose a war without fighting, but, on second thought, I was scared. What if hindi ako e renew ng principal ko?! OMG! 

So, I decided to apply to one of the schools Ma'am Gemma was referring to. 

The hiring committee hired me because of one question that I answered honestly. The question was, "What is your greatest failure as a teacher?"

My answer was, "I have horrible classroom management, which makes me feel that I am a horrible teacher, too. I hope you will be kind enough to give me a chance to prove that I can do better!"

That's the magic word! 

I was hired at that school district (naiiyak parin ako until now sa mga pangyayaring ito), and I was able to prove that I have the best classroom management. 

My school principal commended me on my Classroom Management skills from when I started until I ended my time at that school (which was last May 2022 lang)!

Life has no rewind button, but there is always a chance to do better and even do our best!

I am grateful to God for all these experiences!

My heartfelt thanks to TEACH-USA for changing my life! And to all the friends I've gained in my J1 Program journey, Daghang Salamat!

Maraming, maraming SALAMAT PO!

- Written by Ann

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