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Moving to teach in UAE with young family

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by netballaddict, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. netballaddict

    netballaddict New commenter

    Apologies if this has been covered before but couldn't find the answers I needed!
    My husband and I, both PE teachers, are looking at relocating to either Dubai or AD next year. We have a 5 and nearly 3 year old.

    I'm looking for any advice or pointers from those that have already done it with a family. Any particular areas to avoid? Or anything major to consider should we get offered a positon(s) ?

    Thanks in advance
  2. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    Always surprises me when posters are so set on a certain place. I wanted to work in Japan but ended up somewhere else; it was an enjoyable experience nonetheless and I've renewed my contract twice. Unless you have personal reasons for your choice, I'd try to be a little more flexible. There are advantages and disadvantages to every location but not sure why so many are keen to enjoy the ME experience; it not somewhere I'd be looking to return to.

    Employing teaching couples can help a school save money but as PE teachers it's unlikely you would both being employed at the same institution, something you probably know. Large schools have large PE departments but, like smaller schools, may use cheaper local staff to supplement the PE department. As parents to small children, I'd be primarily concerned about the opportunities on offer for them to be educated. I think you will do well to make your dream a reality.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As usual, I agree with the happygreenfrog. The UAE used to be a place where expat teachers were well paid. As so many youngish teachers have gone and are still going there. salaries are not so great these days. Another little problem is that the number of pretty rubbishy "international schools" has grown in recent years. Yes, happygreenfrog, I have known teachers who have left schools in the ME because of the poor quality of the education their children were receiving.

    And did anyone mention accommodation? Singletons will usually be happy with apartments, but families with young children usually want a villa or at least a bigger apartment with somewhere for the children to play. This could make a married couple much more expensive for a school to employ, rather than a cheaper option.

    At this point, netballaddict, I am going to be even more of a wet blanket and mention the subject of school fees. Some schools in the UAE do give free places to teachers' children, but not all. If you are going to be asked to stump up even a part of the school fees, then you could find yourself seriously out of pocket. And the word "free" sometimes has a rather elastic meaning in the UAE. Your child's school lunches will not be free. The school uniform will most probably be eye-wateringly expensive, as will "stationery" items like school textbooks, exercise books and Uncle Tom Cobbley and All. Of course a lot of schools in the UAE will tell you that everything will be "free" for your little darlings and then later you will discover that you are paying for this and for that and for something else as well.

    On the matter of two PE teachers getting a job at the same school, all I can say is good luck to you. Yes, it does happen that sometimes a school will employ both of you, but not often. My present school has a mixture of expat and "local" staff in the PE department and this is pretty much the rule in most international schools.

    If you are thinking about the UAE, then why not widen your net and include Bahrain and Qatar as well? Or maybe Saudi too? Jordan and Oman will be nicer, but do not pay as much.
  4. netballaddict

    netballaddict New commenter

    Thanks for your responses, I did expect to hear some of the things you are telling me.
    We actually tried to get a job for just my husband last year, to no avail. And we have since have been advised that trying as a teaching couple, we would possibly be more employable, granted this will only be if they have 2 positions available. Although maybe I should have been clearer from the start in saying that I am open to part time or even being employed as a teaching assistance to begin with, so should widen our chances.

    In terms of why UAE, several reasons. We already know people that work there (and they even recommend it!). I think from research we know what to expect (even the downside!) and also, leaving family/friends behind isn't affecting our decision, especially but knowing they would be keen to visit us there definitely helps!
    Qatar has been recommended funnily enough, but for now, rightly or wrongly, our heart is set on UAE! And even that's expanded from the original 'just Dubai'!!

    Clearly if anything gets that far. I'll need to be very careful about schooling for our children, we obviously wouldn't want to work in a bad school, or send our children there! And as well as the tuition fees , which we are already aware of checking with any package, I'll be wary of the cost of lunches, uniform etc, so thanks.
  5. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    I'd like to throw in a final point about applications. In my eleven years overseas I've proven successful at securing posts in 5 schools YET . . . having returned to the UK after one contract expired it took me six months and almost 40 applications to continue that run. Further, that CV was a speculative one, sent before the post was available and the location was slightly undesirable, which enhanced my chances.

    My point is that finding a suitable post is not as easy as some may have you believe. The number of applications the more desirable schools receive would surprise you and minor complications, errors and questions in or about your application sends it to the bin. I still believe the biggest factor to securing an overseas position is proving you can adapt to living and working overseas. The OP cannot tick that box and getting on the rung should be a primary objective rather than trying to overstretch.

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