With layoffs, scandals, and pay cuts, many Atlanta metro teachers are looking elsewhere to utilize their talents. And for some, that means travelling halfway around the world for a job.
A dream job.
"The benefits of going? Salary, of course!" laughed Bonnie Dyer. "The salary is outstanding."
Dyer and Ahmed Ahmed are former DeKalb County educators, who are getting ready to teach in the United Arab Emirates.
"They pay for your housing; they pay for your medical; and they'll sponsor up to three children under the age of 18," she said. "They guarantee that you can save up to 60-70 percent of your salary."
In addition, English as Second Language teachers typically don't have to pay taxes. And in a time when many educators feel under-valued and overworked, teaching abroad can be a smart career move.
"I've experienced a lot of teachers who've experienced lay-offs," said Ahmed. "A lot of ex-teachers who've experienced cutbacks in terms of no standard of living increases and furlough days."
Between the two of them, Dyer and Ahmed say they have six degrees and six teaching certifications. And yet every year, their jobs were not guaranteed with schools operating on a shoestring, plus new teachers being hired for less.
They believe many other veteran educators will join the migration to other countries.
"Many of their teachers and administrators are going over to the UAE to teach," Dyer said. "And it's not just the UAE, it's Saudi Arabia, there's some in Kuwait."
Changing locales to a shining city in the desert is just one of the perks for ESL teachers. Another is the satisfaction of knowing that they are wanted.
"They want an opportunity where they can expand career-wise and just to avoid a lot of the things that have happened in terms of cutbacks, teacher layoffs, standard of living decreases, and so forth," Ahmed said. "So this is definitely a great opportunity."