“To many school officials, Filipino teachers are ideal job candidates. The mostly female recruits speak English, hold advanced degrees and pass internationally recognized teaching exams. And they see the salaries offered here as small fortunes. But for all their enthusiasm and experience, they first have to learn how to manage unruly American students.
“In Prince George’s, the starting teacher’s salary is $43,481 — almost 10 times what the same teacher would make in the Philippines. Many Filipinos, like Mabel, can make much more here because of their years of experience. Salaries for someone with two decades of experience and a master’s degree can be more than $80,000.
“Perhaps most important, the teachers get a shot at becoming Americans. If they perform well for three years, the county will sponsor them for a green card, or permanent residency. It can take years for them to actually get the card and, later, citizenship, because of the government backlog. But theirs is a much easier path to the United States than that of many other immigrants. They don’t have to come here illegally or win a visa lottery. They just have to do their jobs.
“As life-changing decisions go, Mabel didn’t agonize that much. Going overseas for more money is common in the Philippines. About 10 percent of the country’s 89 million citizens live abroad, according to the Philippine Commission on Filipinos Overseas.”