Ambassador teachers work in full-time teaching positions where they serve as teachers of record at U.S. public or private schools. Unlike other exchange programs where teachers “swap” positions with U.S. counterparts or enter into job-sharing or teaching assistant programs, Ambassador teachers take on the expectations and responsibilities for students like any newly hired teachers.
Settling into life in the U.S. and new school positions requires significant commitment and time from international teachers, as well as school administrations. The length of adjustment periods vary depending on the similarities and differences teachers encounter—it requires time to learn, adapt and, most importantly, build trust with new students and colleagues. Again, both teachers and school districts report greatest satisfaction with exchange experiences during a teacher’s second and subsequent years, once the teacher has successfully completed his or her first year and adjusted to the new classroom and community.
Participate Learning partner schools are aware of the adjustment period for teachers in their first year, and recognize that frequent turnover in teaching staff can hamper student progress. Therefore, they are unwilling to host teachers for only one year and expect teachers to remain in their positions, if possible, for the full extent of the J-1 visa program. Accordingly, Participate Learning has set two school years as a minimum commitment for program participation.