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NQT looking to teach in UAE

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Smirah95, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. Smirah95

    Smirah95 New commenter

    Hi, I'm interested in getting a teaching job in Dubai or AD once I qualify. I wondered if anyone could tell me if you can be hired having had only one years teaching experience? Would you recommend going after probationary year? I'm unsure as I feel you would obviously lack experience. However I do feel that this may be the best time to travel and get this experience.

    I would appreciate any thoughts/tips! :)

    Thank you in advance!
  2. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    Hmmm. have you searched the forum for answers to this, the most popular question asked?

    You state the answer yourself: get more experience. Yes, of course you could get lucky and get a very supportive environment. More than likely you'll get an establishment that could break you, set back your teaching career and make it very hard to find a job when you return to the UK. Just consider a Monday morning, going in to face a class of 24 troublesome boys, with few resources at hand, little guidelines to what you should teach and with management who have done their job appointing you and will offer little else. Some schools don't mind if you are a poor teacher and will happily renew your contract annually.

    I've been in a school in the ME where everyone thought it was a shambles, everyone wanted out and everyone whispered quietly in small groups for fear of being overheard. No-one was developing their career, enjoying a cultural experience and no one was saving money over and above the norm.

    Avoiding such places depends on you getting good experiences in the UK and references from good establishments that will push you up the food chain. Otherwise it is a long slog that depends on your will power and good/lucky choices. On the other hand, it can be done if you are mentally strong and determined, but very few would choose that career path.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, this question has been asked by many people. Having taught in the UAE, I would say that it is probably not the best place to start your international teaching career. Yes, there are schools in the UAE (and in some other places in the ME) that make a habit of giving jobs to NQTs. One has to wonder why this happens. (It rather reminds me of the old Marx brothers joke, "I would never join a club that would accept me as a member.")

    I would agree with a lot of what happygreenfrog has written. Many (not just one or two) schools in the UAE really are ghastly places. When I was teaching in Qatar, colleagues used to joke about "doing a runner". Going to Dubai "for the weekend" was a euphemism for getting on a plane and not coming back, breaking one's contract. Teaching in a poor-quality school, like one of the scientific apple schools, can have a seriously damaging effect on the career of a young and inexperienced teacher.
  4. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    The mention of a probationary year suggests that you are in Scotland. If that's the case, please avoid a recruitment agency that will enable you to teach around the world. They specialise in the kind of schools the hippo has described.
  5. terenceconnolly

    terenceconnolly New commenter


    I am currently teaching in Abu Dhabi in a new school which is in its 3rd year. I completed my NQT year last year and got a job over here!

    Few things I have noticed
    1. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING takes twice as long, so don't be expecting things to be there as soon as you have emailed requesting for a recourse or a table for a classroom.
    2. Try not to get too emotionally attached to work and compare it to the U.K. You will send yourself crazy and burn out within the first month.
    3. You don't get as much support as you got in your NQT year but it is still there. Remember everybody has other duties and is incredibly busy all the time as you will be!
    4. You work very hard but where else can you sit on a beanbag on the beach drinking a cocktail at 5pm on a Thursday?
  6. Mattisspecial

    Mattisspecial New commenter

    I think Hippo, the advice you give to people on this forum over the years has been sound and very helpful in the majority of cases. I would like to ask though how long has it been since you worked at the scientific apple schools? is it not possible for institutions to change and improve upon past failings of several years ago?
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    It was not so very long ago, Mattisspecial, and I have stayed in contact with ex-colleagues who are still in Doha. Yes, in theory it is possible for things to improve and get better. On the other hand, it is not very likely that things will get much better if those responsible for the mess are still in charge. A new head can turn things round very quickly, in many international schools. In reality, however, the Qatari owner of this group does not want to give up any real power. That is why she has an office in every school. Is it easy for any teacher to see Madam A and to talk to her? Of course not. The SEC is also a major obstacle, as is the fact that this group of schools has such a lousy reputation that it is very hard to recruit (and retain) talented and experienced staff. (SEARCH won't touch 'em with a bargepole.) Add to the mix some dreadful behaviour from "untouchable" Qatari teenage boys and a lot of inexperienced staff, as these schools make a habit of recruiting NQTs and throwing them into the deep end, and it all adds up to a pretty toxic atmosphere. Therefore my advice would be to avoid these rotten apples and go to a proper international school instead, like the school where English is spoken or the house near the park.
  8. Silent85

    Silent85 New commenter

    What about the schools associated with the angle of the north branded schools?
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I am afraid I cannot help you with those, Silent85. I have heard some positive comments about the sparkly schools, but no first-hand experience.

    On the whole, I would say that teaching in the Middle Kingdom is a lot easier and pleasanter than in the Middle East. Yes, it is more hours on a plane and it usually takes me about a week to get over the jetlag. On the other hand, the climate in Doha (or the UAE) really is pretty difficult for about half the year and so you go from the AC in your apartment to the AC in your classroom to the AC in the shopping mall. Here in Shenzhen, I walk to school every day, something that would have been impossible in Qatar. There are only a few parks in Doha, but the litterlout Qataris would use them like garbage tips and then expect an army of foreign workers to clean up after them. Here in Shenzhen, there are lots of super parks and they are always very clean and well-maintained. Lianhuacun Park is just across the road from our apartment. It is a huge park, lush and green, with the statue of Deng Xiao Ping, lakes, pagodas, old people wearing what look like pajamas and gracefully doing their Tai Chi, beautiful flowers and lovely trees. It is like a massive botanical garden. And here is Mrs Hippo, looking even more beautiful than usual.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  10. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    Hippo you old dog. Had you down as some grizzly old timer on the verge of retirement.;)
  11. forest1234

    forest1234 New commenter

    I doubt I would have survived being an NQT in the middle east. You have to ask why would they take a risk on an NQT rather than a qualified teacher. Is it because they cannot get staff?
    I know nothing is ever cut and dry but it would be very difficult.
  12. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Dear happygreenfrog, I am indeed a grizzly old timer on the verge of retirement, but Mrs. Hippopotamus is still a lovely lady.

    Yes, forest1234, it does not make much sense for a reputable international school to take on NQTs. What is the advantage? What could be gained? It is often the rubbishy schools that seem to make a habit of employing NQTs. They are cheaper and more easily bullied.
  13. davisnigel

    davisnigel New commenter

    It all depends on what you are after - if you are wanting a challenge which brings you into contact with culturally different students and parents - both of whom can be poorly behaved and demanding - in a way that makes absolutely no sense (e.g. angrily demanding you provide the test questions prior to the test to prepare their children, etc), then you could be ok - because you will have almost certainly no chance of getting a position in one of the 'top' or 'British' curriculum schools... Ofcourse, this also means your wage packet will be approximately 30% lower than those aforementioned more experienced colleagues who waited back in Blighty for the right opportunity to get into one of these school and teach (almost exclusively) well behaved and very bright students. But the sun still shines on everyone, and all are allowed to Brunch... you decide!
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, davisnigel, I have taught at my fair share (maybe more than my fair share) of really naff schools. There are plenty of them in the ME, I can tell you. So is it always a bad idea for an NQT to leave the UK asap and head off for sunnier climes? It is certainly a matter of roundabouts and swings. Yes, there is a chance that you will be poorly paid as an NQT and that you probably will not have the same support and the reduced timetable that you would be getting, if you were to stay in the UK. On the other hand, most schools in the UK will not provide you with somewhere to live and you simply may not be able to get a job back in Blighty. When I was teaching (if that is the right word) in Qatar, I asked one Scottish lass why she was in Doha. Was it because she enjoyed the exciting experience of encountering a different culture? "I HATE this f****** place!" she screamed at me. "I'm only here because there are naye bloody jobs in Scotland!"

    Attached Files:

    estrella7 likes this.
  15. Smirah95

    Smirah95 New commenter


    I would love to know more about how you applied for the job. Did you sign up with an agency? I have heard mixed reviews regarding recruitment agencies. Are there certain qualities you would look for/avoid when applying for schools in the ME? Point number 4 is definitely appealing! :p I do hope you are enjoying your time in AD!

    Thank you in advance!
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Are there certain qualities you would look for or avoid when applying for schools in the ME? Yes. I would avoid schools that make a habit of giving jobs to NQTs. Of course I am sure that there are some exceptions, particularly if you happen to be teaching a shortage subject, but otherwise let me say it again: applying as an NQT is a bad idea! Do a few years in the UK first and then apply for overseas teaching posts.
    sandgirl33 likes this.
  17. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    My advice is always complete your QTS/NQT in the UK and get your letter from the DfE saying you are a registered and Qualified teacher under section 2.2 of the education act(thats what it said in my time of qualification).

    Here in China the Employment Bureau has just figured out they are issuing Work Visa/FEC to people to work as a teacher when they have no teaching qualification or experience what so ever. Three or four hundred ESL/TSOL teachers arrested and deported this year for having no qualifications what so ever but the colour of their skin and ascent.

    Expect a crackdown on qualifications needed to teach in China in the next couple of years. So to get a work visa/FEC you will need;

    BA/BSc Degree
    BEd/PGCE with QTS(not the joke qualification given away from Sunderland or Nottingham)
    Registered as a Qualified Teacher
    5 years teaching experience
    Native English Speaker if you are teaching in an English Medium International School
    Full Police Background checks in all the countries you have worked in.

    The better schools already demand these anyway, but are there enough qualified teachers to fill all the jobs here in Shanghai, never mind the rest of China.
  18. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, this is pretty much what I heard as well, february31st.

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