Üsküdar American Academy
Website Üsküdar American Academy
WORK WITH THE RIGHT GOALS, IN THE RIGHT PLACE WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
The Üsküdar American Academy gives equal importance to the aims of the institution, academic goals and the career goals of its staff.
In accordance with this philosophy the teaching staff and administrators serve the school using all their knowledge and skills but they also find the opportunities to develop as individuals.
It is important that the prospective teacher understands the nature of the school, its history, unique culture and the pedagogical demands made on those who work here.
Established over 135 years ago by American missionaries, Üsküdar American Academy is one of the oldest schools in the region. Today the school is governed by a Turkish non-profit trust, the Health and Education Foundation (SEV). The foundation provides a high quality English language, college preparatory program of studies to 840 students at the high school level.
In many respects Üsküdar American Academy is neither an American nor an international school. The limited international component of the school involves its long affiliation with American missionaries, the practice of employing a foreign Director and teachers, and the main language of instruction being English. Otherwise the school is very much a Turkish institution and this manifests itself in many ways.
The Turkish educational system is highly centralized. The Ministry of Education regulates all matters from curriculum issues to textbook selection and requires the approval of routine activities such as guest speakers and field trips. While the foreign teacher is generally removed and “protected” from the bureaucracy, one is, nevertheless, always accountable for enforcing and upholding both the letter and the spirit of the Turkish educational system.
Turkish society is generally hierarchical and authoritarian in nature. Students are conditioned from an early age to respect authority and conform to laws and institutional procedures. For example, students wear uniforms to school and are expected to stand when answering questions. Students are used to, and are more comfortable with, traditional teacher directed learning. In a curious sense, Turkish students are more “at ease” with formality than with friendliness and casualness.
Once the new teacher has grasped the basic characteristics of Turkish Education, there lies just beneath the surface of “cultural differences” a rich vein of opportunity and potential. Education is valued in this society. Teachers are respected. Students come to school prepared to learn. Given our very homogeneous population most students are “on task” and they expect much from their teachers.
The teaching environment at Üsküdar American Academy is very demanding both personally and professionally. Teachers need to possess qualities such as sensitivity, tolerance and flexibility. Further, they need to have sound teaching skills which will be challenged on a daily basis. If the prospective candidate understands these special attributes of the school, then he or she could be a valued addition to the faculty.
Established in 1876 by American missionaries in the village of Adapazarı east of Istanbul, Üsküdar American Academy (ÜAA) is one of the oldest schools in the region. In 1921 the Academy moved to its present site in Üsküdar overlooking the Asian shore of the Bosphorus. In the 1960’s a decision was made in the United States by the founders of the schools that in all countries where the American Board (ABH) had established schools, hospitals, and other institutions, these institutions should be turned over to local citizens, for they are the ones who should own and operate the institutions that serve their own country. In 1967, the graduates of the ABH schools arranged with American Board personnelto protect the property of the remaining ABH schools by establishing a new foundation, Sağlik ve Eğitim Vakfi (SEV), a Turkish non-profit trust in 1968. SEV has a professional staff to oversee both the financial and educational management of ÜAA and its sister institutions, the American Collegiate Institute, Tarsus American College and SEV American College. In 2010, the Council of Ministers (Bakanlar Kurulu) of the Republic of Turkey notified the public of its permission to transfer the founder’s status of the three ABH schools to SEV. This is the final act: the change in ownership from ABH to SEV, as intended those many years ago in the United States by the founders of American Board schools throughout the world.
To teach at UAA a prospective candidate must be eligible for a Turkish work visa. For visa approval, the requirements of the Turkish Ministry of Education and the Turkish Ministry of Labor stipulate that the teacher must have: (1) an undergraduate degree from a four-year accredited college/university in the subject area to be taught and (2) a teaching license in that subject area with appropriate grade level endorsement. There are no exceptions to these requirements. Beyond the academic credentials, the school also looks at past experience in international or intercultural working environments, professional collegiality skills, and educational experience outside of the classroom such as: sponsoring clubs, coaching, service-learning experience, etc