A teacher moving abroad – What resources do you take? 2006 v 2013

Seven years ago, as a teacher of 3 1/2 years experience I travelled with my family to work in China for two years in Qingdao at an international school. 105453068.PfHxCi2k.XianSep08057 Next term we are partaking in the adventure again, but this time to Nanjing. I am a better teacher and practitioner this time. But, with experience and being in the same classroom for 5 years comes more physical stuff and it has been this stuff that is causing me a lot of lost sleep over the past month – what to do and what to take?

In 2006 I was allowed a suitcase, carry on bag and a laptop in its case and the same applies this time. The country of orientation is the same and the distance traveled is almost the same. The curriculum is the same for both my past International School and my future school and in both school I was and will be teaching middle to lower primary aged children.

Then comes the really big difference and will sound a bit nuts until I explain it – I am taking 100 times more resources, but I am taking almost nothing.


  • 3 Ring binders and a clear file of resources copied from books (It was 9 ring binders and 4 clear files, but was unable to fit them in).
  • A CD Wallet full of music.
  • A 1GB data stick that was worth almost $80 when I first bought it.
  • 3 books for personal reading – Empire of the Sun, Seven Years in Tibet and the Hobbit.
  • A Laptop that weighed about 3.5 Kg.
  • A Sony Cybershot camera that took still image only.
  • A Gmail account, Hotmail Account and had just signed up for this new thing called Skype.
    …and I left all my teaching colleagues at my previous school (Only one have I kept in touch with via email).


  • Every digital resource that I have ever made saved on Google Drive or YouTube or Vimeo or Drop Box or Flickr or in many or all of those places.photo (30)
  • Music is all digital and can not remember the last CD that I held let alone used to play music. If there is a song that I do not have it will just take me a WiFi connection and I will have it in a minute or less.
  • On my Kindle account are many important educational resource texts (I took none last time and they sat in a box for two years).
  • 650+ books for me to read for enjoyment all saved on my iBook App.
  • An Obi Wan and Boba Fett USB drive that has essential data that needs backing up (10-15 USBs will stay behind and they were all given out free at courses).
  • A MacBook Air that weighs 1.08kg
  • The same Gmail and Skype, but also Google+, Pintrest, a Vimeo account, a Youtube account and my good friend Twitter.
  • Class, family and personal blogs.photo (31)
  • Gadgets like tripods, iPhone Mounts, iPad Dongles that fit into my pencil case.
  • An iPhone which contains or can access all of the data that I have mentioned above and has a camera that takes still images and video.
    …and along with that one teacher that I kept in touch with I have many hundreds of friends that I contact through blogs, twitter and email.

The best part of it all is that I have no need for excess baggage and can stow it all in my shoulder bag or pocket even if I did not want to carry around my MacBook. And this is the way that I am taking a 100 times more resources, but nothing at all. The physical stuff that i sin my classroom will either be stored in a lockup or destroyed or given to others who wish for it, but that physical stuff that can not fit in my satchel will not be coming with me.

photo (32)


5 thoughts on “A teacher moving abroad – What resources do you take? 2006 v 2013

  1. Kia Ora Luke,
    I enjoyed your post. It reflects the over grown and shelves filled to the ceiling office of mine – all of which I don’t use! I recently had a student teacher and compared my TE of ten years ago where each visit to a school would have a mandatory resource photocopy session to her experience of picking up sites, apps, digi tools! A lot less tree wastage!

    Your upcoming trip has sparked my interest and something I’ve always wanted to do – I’ve done the OE but a teaching placement overseas intrigues me… I hope you don’t mind answering a few questions…
    1. Are you going Solo or with wahine/Whanau?
    2. How did you arrange it? Agency?
    3. Are you locked into a length of time?
    4. Any advice? My current situ will mean I’m not going anywhere for a few years but am still keen on info!

    Many thanks if you can help!

    Ma te wa.


  2. Hi Chris

    Here are some websites to get you started on your adventure:

    1. http://www.gooverseas.com/blog/teaching-abroad-will-ruin-your-life (Tongue in cheek, but it’s all very true!)

    2. http://www.searchassociates.com/ is an International School teacher placement agency. I’ve heard good and bad. Read up whether you want to do the Job Fairs or not.

    3. http://www.internationalschoolsreview.com/ If you read through the message board threads, you’ll get an idea of the challenges and the rewards.

    The schools in Asia usually have two year contracts but they pay a bonus at the end of your contract.

  3. Hi Luke

    I look forward to following your adventures in China. It’s cool to see this comparison of how your packing changed in just 7 short years.

    Btw, the short-cut I love the most on my Macs is that if you left click on any file or folder (no need to hold) and then hit the space bar, you get a simple preview of what that file looks like, or what the photos is etc. This saves you time from opening up the file in the actual software. If anything else occurs to me, I’ll pass them along to you. I wish Twitter made it easier to chat LOL. I thought I would barge in here with a Mac tip, since I’m talking with you!

    Bye for now…


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