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MoE/UAE - not worth it? Info pls!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by tanjidah1, May 10, 2018.

  1. tanjidah1

    tanjidah1 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I'm an English grad doing a TA course at the moment (with the hopes of doing teacher training one day).
    I applied for an English Graduate Teacher position in the UAE with a recruitment agency/MoE. My application is still being screened so it's not urgent but I've been perusing this forum trying to find honest reviews on the experience. I have a bad habit of overthinking and backing out if something's put me off.

    Many of you pop up in these MoE interview threads just to say "don't do it" and "it's not worth it, just run" but I haven't really seen many reasons why?

    Can anyone who's actually spent time over there doing a teaching position at a public school tell me about their experience?

    So far, I've read that accommodation not being included is a no-no.
    Also read that public schools with the MoE are just plain awful to work at because you don't get any support - the position I applied for mentioned 3-month training. Has anybody done this already?

    I just need some insight in case I get an interview.

  2. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    Haven't done it, but found out this week that one of my colleagues husband's work in an MOE school and apparently the free housing is being replaced with a housing allowance. I have no idea how much it is or when it will start but it might be worth considering.

    I've said before I know MoE teachers who been here 3/4 years and they are all still here so I guess they don't find it that bad but it probably depends on your previous experiences, expectations and resons for being here.
  3. tanjidah1

    tanjidah1 New commenter

    Ah, thank you for the reply!

    The job listing I applied for doesn't include accommodation so it would have to come out of the 16,000AED/month salary. If accom was free/gave an allowance, I can understand why people would still be there 3-4 years later but having to pay for it (considering how expensive rent is over there), it just doesn't seem worth it.
  4. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    Rents are coming down all over the city, mine will be 33% cheaper next year than it was 2 years ago. If you can manage in a studio you can get some really nice ones near me for 3,500 AED a month - with a pool and gym etc. And a one bed in the same area for less than 5,000 AED a month - that's pretty central. With the MoE jobs I guess there's a chance you could be a little further out of town and I've seen Studios in MBZ for 22,000 a year and 1 beds in Khalifa A and MBZ for 43,000.
    edit: have a look at propertyfinder.ae for an idea of prices and facilities.

    That would leave you with around 10-12K a month after rent and while you wouldn't be rich, you'd be comfortable and live well - in my opinion - everyone has different ideas of what living well means.

    I'd never heard of the Graduate teacher programme before this year so it may be new but I wouldn't dismiss the offer out of hand, depending on what other options you might have.
  5. tanjidah1

    tanjidah1 New commenter

    Thank you so much for all the information! Useful stuff!
    I'm personally not fussed about living rich and I don't even care about a pool but I did want to save money or at least be able to send some back here to my family. Would that be possible, do you think?
  6. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    One very obvious reason is that the kind of school who will employ you without any teaching qualifications or experience might not be a place where anyone wants to work.

    And what kind of terms and conditions do you realistically expect, given that you've never done the job? Will you actually be paid during the training period?
  7. tanjidah1

    tanjidah1 New commenter

    I thought the training programme would cover the teaching aspect of it (even though it's not long) and was assured that there'd be mentors assigned for help as well as CPD and other training opportunities...
    Because it's a grad opportunity, I also expected to hear that the support was ongoing and my lack of experience wouldn't be too much of a problem.

    I noticed many people spent months relaying info on their lengthy application process and contract finalisation on these forums but then they seem to disappear after their supposed move date. I just wanted some more insight on what actually happened to them.

    And yes, apparently you get paid the monthly salary asap, so it covers the training too. That's all I know at the moment. I just want to know if the training is decent and if anybody who's accepted an English Grad Teacher position and moved there, can offer some guidance.
  8. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    You 'thought'? You 'expected'? Have you confirmed any of this with the employer? Who will be training and supporting you? It may not be the best plan in the world to go to the Middle East if you aren't sure what you are getting into.

    The other threads refer to a recruitment scheme for qualified teachers. Your scheme is something different. There are two reasons why they would recruit new graduates with no teaching experience. One is that they want people who are cheap, the other is that they can't retain qualified teachers. Both of those are red flags.
    towncryer and Mr_Frosty like this.
  9. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    It's really hard to say, it depends so much on your personally and what you like to do and how you live. I can say this a couple of years ago I had a couple of operations in fairly short succession, I couldn't drink and basically went to work, came home watched TV and went to bed early for a couple of months and I think during that time I was living on around 3,500AED a month (I still ate cooked and ate nice food, took taxis to work, paid my bills etc) so on that basis if you lived in the cheapest accommodation and had no social life you could probably save £2k a month. Realistically I guess you'd be saving between £500-£1000 a month, but it would be very easy to save nothing.
    towncryer likes this.
  10. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    I pretty much agree with all of this but I would add that if you're a recent grad back home with few decent job prospects and big loans to pay off it might not be such a bad idea to come and try and save some ££ - but if you have long term teaching aspirations or are a qualified teacher then it would be a deal breaker for me.
  11. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    In those circumstances my advice would be to do a CELTA and get a job with the British Council or another fairly reputable EFL outfit. Good employers are transparent about what they offer and they arrange accommodation. How would the OP look for this if they don't speak good Arabic?
  12. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    I speak barely any Arabic and none at all when I arrived here but opted for an allowance rather than provided accommodation and it was no more difficult than in the UK. My school provided some limited assistance but effectively I was on my own and it was not only fine, but actually pretty easy.

    Every letting agent I met spoke perfect English and many were Brits or Americans, my contract is in both English and Arabic, the property management company communicates in emails and SMS in both English and Arabic and have an English phone line as do all the banks, etc. Every website i've ever used here has an English and Arabic option.

    You can live here with absolutely no Arabic at all and never have any problems, in fact many days you could quite easily live and forget you were in a non-English speaking country.

    And with that I'm not saying the MoE are good employers and I'm not saying their bad employers, I suspect this graduate programme will be used to staff rural schools that most qualified teachers don't want to work in - behaviour will be challenging in some schools and not bad in others. From the qualified teachers I know who work for the MoE the biggest determinant as to whether you have a good or bad experience is the principal and management team - which probably isn't that dissimilar from back home.
    tesolmath likes this.
  13. tanjidah1

    tanjidah1 New commenter

    The thoughts and expectations came from what they told me via the job description and emails. I'm still awaiting for a reply about the specifics but I'm starting to doubt they'll tell me anything beyond the vague, generic things they keep rewording in our email correspondance. Thanks for your help anyway, I'll look into the other things you suggested.

    Thanks again, Mr Frosty! Language difference isn't worrying me at all as I have studied Arabic before and also have relatives living in Sharjah who I could get in touch with.

    I'll take on board the suggestion that it's decent for someone who doesn't have decent job prospects here in the UK (which is my case at the moment).

    I'm not holding my breath for an interview anyway but I'll make note of all the info you and sparklesparkle provided.

    Sincerest thanks to you both again! Much appreciated. :)
  14. sabrina_nur66

    sabrina_nur66 New commenter

    Hey tanjidah1!

    I've recently come across the same english graduate teacher position with the MoE and I have a phone interview soon. I feel like our situations are very similar. May I ask how everything has turned out so far?
  15. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Listen carefully, as I will only say this once.

    1) You are talking about the Middle East here!!!!
    2) Verbal promises, half-hearted hints, suggestions that X, Y or Z will be sorted out when you arrive, vague or specific points covered by phone or interview are worth diddley squat.
    3) Any points in 2) above that are in writing are worth just as much (or very very marginally more) than if they were verbally made.
    4) Contracts are a Western concept, that are created for Westerners to make them feel nice and safe but do not apply unless you are a Middle Eastern National.
    5) You are a graduate, but only doing a TA course? That immediately says that you are alive and can stand in front of a class but probably don't have what it takes to be a teacher, so a school will be able to employ you because you are cheap, can be employed in classes from hell, or in schools from hell, and are not able to think through why a school would employ you rather than a proper, qualified teacher.

    Sorry if this sounds brutal, but best you find out before you go!
  16. tanjidah1

    tanjidah1 New commenter

    Hi Sabrina! They keep emailing me nonstop about the face-to-face interview on Sunday. I might not go. What's happening on your end?

    Thank you for the honesty! Not brutal at all! Initially I had just applied with the intention of seeing what happens - not in a position to move countries now anyway.
    You made really good eye-opening (albeit obvious) points I should have figured out myself.

    I also thought it was fishy that they shortlisted me regardless of my degree subject. I asked if it was an issue that I studied English Lit at uni and had no real knowledge of English Language and I was told "it's ok, don't worry, they liked you!". Even though the requirement was having an English Language degree.

    I'm gonna steer clear of this, for sure. As for your first point, I really had no clue the ME was so problematic until I came on this forum so forgive me for my complete ignorance. :(
    towncryer likes this.
  17. sabrina_nur66

    sabrina_nur66 New commenter

    My phone interview is tomorrow. What questions did they ask you and how long did it last. I've been keeping up with another thread called UAE MoE interview March. There are a few people that have gotten the graduate teaching position and are due to leave for the UAE soon. Some applied for other graduate teaching positions like P.E. and Health Science. They've also received info on the training program which they call TTP. I think theres two start dates one in June and one in September.

    I think this new program is part of an education reform to get more qualified teachers. My sister used to work at a private school a few years ago alongside teachers without any experience or teaching license. This was very common to find. I think the UAE is trying to get rid of that. The job posting for this position says that you'll receive a UAE teaching license by the end of the 2 year contract. What I don't understand is why they would spend the time and effort with new graduates rather than just hiring people that are already qualified. Maybe they just don't have enough teachers and this is a great incentive for people that need the money. When my sister was working there, the turnover rate was pretty high and a lot of people hated the job. It's possible that the UAE scared off a lot of their expat teachers and are trying to draw in more through this new program.
  18. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    I think the time and effort is probably worth it for them, AFAIK the MoE pays qualified teachers reasonably well, especially compared to some of the private school salaries I've seen. But the graduate positions are paid at a much lower level and if people are willing to learn then it might make sense. And imo, with nothing to back it up, I think it might partially be a way of reforming teacher training for local teachers too, but they are 'trialing' it with expats first - of course there could be local graduates involved too, but I haven't heard anything about that.
  19. kozar_izabela

    kozar_izabela New commenter

    Hi tanjidah! You seem to be in the same boat as me, I have applied through astuute edcuation and they were telling me the same thing with the TTP etc!! Have you heard anything from your agency/ the MOE? Are you still considering going there?
  20. tanjidah1

    tanjidah1 New commenter


    I decided to withdraw my application in the end and stick to applying for TA posts here in the UK. I've seen a few TA roles abroad which I may consider once I've gained enough experience but for now, no.

    Best of luck with your search/application and I hope you manage to find some more answers about this whole process.

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