Newly hired teachers share excitement about working in US

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino teachers who were given a shot to practice their profession in the US shared how elated and excited they were for their new opportunity.

More than 40 Filipino professional teachers arrived in Las Vegas, USA last June. They were the fifth batch of newly hired teachers to be assigned at the Clark County School District since it started hiring J-1 and special ed teachers from the Philippines in 2016.

Newly hired teachers share excitement about working in US

Andrea Anciano and Reynaldo Advincula are among the newly hired educators. They shared how the experience gave them hope for a new future and how emotional they were when they landed in the US.

"Hindi ko po inakala na dadating yung point na makakapunta ako dito. Pagkatapak ko sa L.A. airport, talagang naiyak po talaga ako. Sobrang fulfilling po yung naramdaman ko," Anciano admitted.

Advincula also couldn't believe his luck as it was also his first time to ride an airplane.

Just like most educators seeking greener pastures abroad, Advincula and Anciano admitted they had to go through the grueling process of finding money for the fees they needed. According to them, they had to lean upon lending companies to help them with their processing fees which had reached over P500,000 or $10,000.

Being a breadwinner, Anciano admitted she couldn't believe that she was able to achieve her dream of working abroad. "I come from a poor family. Wala po talaga akong kakayahan na makapunta dito. I'm the breadwinner. Wala po akong nanay tatay," she said.

Despite the excitement, they are also those who had to admit their fears in moving to the US amid a global pandemic.

Mark Zoel Masangkay, a math teacher, admitted he had to go through several emotional challenges. In the end, he bravely accepted the new chapter in his life.

He said, "The fear of the unknown, of what will really happen to you. You are diving into a new culture, at the same time what's gonna happen when it comes to your physical health? It's more of the emotional stress, more than anything because it's really hard to leave your family in a very uncertain setting."

More educators are now looking at possible opportunities abroad. For J-1 teachers like Advincula and Anciano, their starting salary is at $40,000 (Php 2 million) annually. A much higher rate compared to when they work in the Philippines.

The educators are also provided with J-1 visas to work in LA for three years, with an option to renew contracts and stay for another two years.

The status of J-1 teachers were once in peril during the administration of former US President Donald Trump. Under Trump's immigration proclamation, he suspended the entry of certain foreign nationals, including those under specific categories of J-1 visas.

In 2020, Nevada Representatives Dina Titus and Susie Lee urged Trump to allow foreign educators hired by the Clark County School District to enter the US to teach.

US J-1 Teacher Program

The J-1 Teacher Program is a nonimmigrant cultural exchange, which gives foreign teachers the opportunity to teach in accredited primary and secondary schools in the United States. Once hired, they will be able to work in the US school for up to 3 years, with the possibility of a 1 or 2 year extension.


Interested teachers will be qualified under the following:
  • Currently employed as a teacher in his or her home country, or country of legal residence.
  • OR
  • If not currently employed as a teacher, have completed within the past 12 months an advanced degree beyond the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree in either general education, or in the specific academic subject field in which they intend to teach.
  • AND
  • non-U.S. citizen
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Have strong proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Possess a degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree in either general education, or in the specific academic subject field in which they intend to teach.
  • Meet the necessary qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in their home country.
  • Have at least two (2) years of full time, post-degree classroom teaching experience as a lead teacher in a primary or secondary school.* Of good reputation and character
  • Have the ability to satisfy the teaching eligibility standards, including any necessary certification or licensing, of the U.S. state or school in which they intend to teach.
  • Do not intend to use the program as a path to permanent residency or employment in the U.S.

*Experience as a part-time, assistant, intern, or student teacher does not count toward this requirement. Experience obtained prior to acquiring a bachelor’s degree does not count toward this requirement.

For more information on the J1 Teachers, visit Teachers Council, one of the designated sponsors of the program.

— The Summit Express

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