Many people considering coming to the UAE will try to place their time in the country in terms of their overall vision of their career. They will also wonder, rightly, about the organisation they are thinking of joining. If you're a teacher thinking about coming to the emirates, these are some commonly asked questions.
I am considering teaching in the UAE - will working in the country hurt or help my career?
I have enjoyed over twenty-five years teaching in the UAE and it has not hurt my career! I also enjoyed professional development and promotion throughout this period whilst teaching in some great schools.
The advantage of teaching in the UAE is that, generally, you have some great schools with fabulous youngsters who want to learn, supported by parents who are keen for their son or daughter to do well. This is complemented by teachers with a positive attitude who are social and, in effect, form your new ‘family’ and social circle to start with.
Having said that, do research the schools before you apply and/or accept a position as terms and conditions can vary quite dramatically across the emirates. As, too, living conditions. Living in Dubai is a very different experience than, say, living in Fujairah and it is important to find the area that would suit you and your desired lifestyle.
The UAE is a great place to bring up children and if you have them, many schools will offer fully paid or subsidised school places for an overseas contracted teacher. The number of places is often limited to two children up to the age of eighteen.
For those teachers coming from countries such as the UK, you should factor lack of teachers’ pension into the equation.
If you ask the question, will it help or damage my career if I teach in the UAE, this must be based on your own professional plan. What you will find, however, is that many a teacher who teaches overseas actually stays overseas for several years finding professional development routes in overseas schools.
Do schools in the UAE support teachers in terms of training, and making sure they keep abreast of the latest trends?
Many schools in the UAE now subscribe to continuous professional development (CPD) but not all, and, when considering a school, this would be a good question to ask.
What resources are available to potential teachers to assess schools?
Clearly, a site such as this will offer you a snapshot of the school. In time, it will also offer more subjective comment from parents that can help to inform you about a school.
In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the schools undergo evidence based inspections and, when published, these reports can be very informative.
Finally, visit a school’s website as that will give you a real sense of the school’s ethos and whether it would suit you and your professional development.