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Educator Abroad by Becoming a School Headmaster in Jordan

Camel and baby, Jordan
Just off the side of the the road on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan.

Teaching Traveling: Interested in being a teacher or administrator abroad? Bill Horniak is making the transition this year to become a Principal in Jordan!

Bill, tell us a bit about your background.

Bill: Military Brat. 13 different public schools as a child. Much traveled throughout the continental U.S. as well as Western Europe as a youngster. Originally from Charlotte, NC but spent most of my life growing up on a military base in North East Maryland. I have three degrees, two advanced ones. Served our country for three years in the USMC.

Taught MS & HS Social Studies and History for 19 years throughout NC and MD. Been an Assistant Principal the past four in the western mountains of NC. Will be relocating to Amman, Jordan next month to take on my 1st Principalship at a private K-12 school there.

Bill, hard at work in America before moving to Jordan.
Bill, hard at work in America before moving to Jordan.

TT: Wow! Tell us more about your travels.

B: My experiences and travels were extraordinary throughout Europe and Jordan. The essence that made them so wonderful was the enigma and the long histories of all these locales, primarily noticeable in the architecture of places like Germany, France, Belgium, Poland, Luxemburg, and of course Jordan.

All told I spent four years total over the last 30 years traveling. Additionally, another fascinating aspect of travel abroad to places with long histories is the culture and the people themselves. Unlike the USA, the people are much more relaxed and slow paced compared to the rush and hectic pace in which you find in the USA.

TT: Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.

B: There are two. First, spending four plus hours touring and walking the halls of the Louvre in Paris experiencing the priceless pieces of art. Secondly, traveling to Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea in Jordan spending time there was awe inspiring.

Both places are surreal in knowing how connected you become instantly when you experience artifacts and locale that are thousands of of years old and you have read about most of your life. To be able to experience them firsthand is in fact priceless.

Dead Sea at a resort in Jordan.
View from the pool looking out at the Dead Sea at a resort in Jordan.

TT: How did you find your upcoming job in Jordan?

B: My most recent and next adventure will be to take my 25 years of experience in education and put it to work in an international setting and environment in Jordan for the next 2-3 years as I am contracted.

I have worked with group recruiters as well as making contacts to individual schools both in Europe and the Middle East seeking my first Principalship. I interviewed for my current move and relocation back in February in Philadelphia with the school’s owner and director. The rest is history.

TT: How did you find the money to fund this travel?

B: The school in Jordan offered a very attractive salary and benefits package which will take care of both the move, necessities, as well as housing abroad.

TT: What should people know about getting a job in Jordan, and teaching there?

B: From visiting the country in the past, it is very nice. The people are kind and cordial. The history speaks for itself. There are literally thousands of foreigners living and working abroad there.

They are a very open minded people and accepting of Westerners, contrary to popular misconceptions and misunderstandings. The country is safe and has a very comfortable mix of tradition and all the modern amenities you would find in a major metropolis here in America.

A highway sign in Jordan, heading to Aqaba Beach.
A highway sign in Jordan, heading to Aqaba Beach.

There is a public school system as well as several private schools, K-12. The private schools cater to those who can afford the tuition primarily. These schools annually recruit and visit the US, seeking top notch and highly qualified teachers and administrators from all over the world.

TT: How have your travels impacted you as an educator?

B: Tremendous impact!

I consider myself to be very culturally diverse, accepting and open of others and their differences, as well as respectful and tolerant to the ways of life of all peoples.

There is no substituting all that you gain from traveling. It simply cannot be replaced, learned or read about in any school book… It has made me not only a better teacher and administrator but a much better person.

Bill's sister in law's home. It does snow in Jordan!
Bill’s sister in law’s home. It does snow in Jordan!

TT: How have your travels impacted you as a person?

B: The stereotypes, misconceptions, and prejudices that one might read and hear about in biased books, publications, media and from people in general who know nothing about what they are talking about no longer play a role or have any merit to me when I listen and read most things.

TT: What advice do you have for other teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers who are dreaming of teaching?

B: Do this now. Don’t dream about it, but make it a goal/plan and priority! Life is too short.

Travel as much and as often as possible to places you really have a deep desire and or interest in learning about or helping through action and deeds.

TT: Thanks so much, Bill! You can find more from him at his blog, billhorniak.blogspot.comReaders, what questions or comments do you have?


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Tuesday 12th of June 2012

Unfortunately, in the US the majority of women become invisible when they turne 50. This is not my idea; many friends, books and articles address the issue. I was valued as a teacher when I was younger. Suddenly, this year the story has changed. I did not expected age discrimination would be found in other countries. Both my husband and I were very surprised when we learned this. The discrimination is not explicit. In the US, it cannot be explicit by law. I would imagine each country would have different laws. I subscribed to an online teaching abroad information center. When my husband and I sat down and went over a list of desirable attributes, aside from teaching well, I fell into a well. It was pretty dark down there.

Lillie...Thanks for answering in such a constructive manner.

Bill...Thanks for your wish.

Lillie of

Monday 25th of June 2012

Barbara, here's an interesting and useful take on finding a job abroad at all ages:


Monday 11th of June 2012

Barbara and Lillie, As I explored and went fishing for my 1st Principalship abroad I did not see any indications, job descriptions or other information inferring or suggesting either age or gender discrimination. I would think from my own point of view as one ages and becomes wiser, that this might play a role in the recruiting and hiring process, however? I agree Lillie with what you said about more experienced teachers having much to offer. In retrospect, I have come to acknowledge that life does not even really begin until you're :) 50 anyhow! Everything else prior is still just meandering, learning and experiencing what life is supposed to be like. Somewhere after the half century mark one then begins to appreciate how far they have come and begin to reflect and look upon others with all their knowledge and experience as being truly educated and diverse... I wish you the best of luck Barbara!


Monday 11th of June 2012

I am 60 years of age. When I investigated teaching abroad, I found that most schools wanted single, young people. Having a husband was/is considered a liability. The slower pace of life and friendliness that overly busy people in this country have lost does not seem to be available to elders. In the past, I taught in a school that was near the United Nations. Wonderful children from 6 different countries were in my class. Also, I lived in the most culturally diverse area of the world which is right here in the US. My teaching experience spans from teaching abused children in a residential treatment school, the school near the UN and in the Bronx, NYC to the mountains of North Carolina. This paints my diverse picture. Yet, at this time, my choices in both this country and abroad seem to be quite limited. I am not dead, yet. B.

Lillie of

Monday 11th of June 2012


Thanks so much for sharing this, though it's extremely upsetting. You are not alone because several women have been explaining recently that they're facing age discrimination when applying for jobs abroad.

I also have to wonder how gender plays into it. Bill, did age come up for you at all in the hiring process?

Educators in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s have so much to offer, and I truly hope there are some schools out there who realize this.

Readers, have you seen the presence or absence of age discrimination for Teacher-Travelers in certain places and jobs?

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