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Off to Doha in August - 2010 version!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by andyfun, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    I'm extremely please to have landed a nice teaching job in Doha, Qatar. After much consideration and weighing up the positives & negatives, I've decided to go for it. After making the decision I'm really looking forward to it.
    • Anybody else going this August?
    • Anybody there at the moment who could show me round when I get there!?
    I realise that there are a few threads on Doha, but I wanted to start a 2010 and see what happens!
  2. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Welcome and I hope you enjoy Doha as much as I do.
    Open mind, tolerance of ambiguity, ability to let it all wash off - key attributes whenever you start the process of settling in and in particular working with the ministries to get your papers sorted. And also needed in regular but less extreme doses as you deal with the vaguaries of life here. Just saying. Don't take it too hard, there's a lot of great great stuff.
    Get out and explore. Try the different sports, clubs, beaches, restaurants and so on until you find the combo that suits you. Don't sit around and wait for the world to come to you. It won't, at least not until you do the initial part.
    Students are different here. Not better or worse, just different. Be prepared that you will need to teach differently in order to reach them. And reach them you can. Successful teachers here are those that recognize this, take the time to build relationships with students, and keep trying different things until they find what works. Identify some successful colleagues - SMT can give you a few names if you ask - and turn them into your mentors. Don't keep doing the same thing once you discover it doesn't work - definition of insanity, etc. Unsuccessful teachers here do what worked someplace else, again and again, and blame the students again and again when it still doesn't work. Remember, you're the adult, the professional, and you can change your teaching a lot easier than the students can change their nature.
    I love it here. I enjoy the kids (almost all of them, almost all of the time), enjoy my colleagues and school, and enjoy the country. May never leave.
    There are those who do not like it here. It is not for everyone. My advice is that at this stage, since you're committed to coming, you not spend too much time listening to them. Maybe note the complaints, it never pays to live in a fairy world, but then put them aside and repeat your mantra about how much you're going to love it, and that any country, Blighty included, have both things that frustrate and things that enthrall. The key is finding the combo that suits you best.
  3. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Oh for Pete's sake...
    Drink your morning coffee, go for a run, have that extra bikky, whatever it takes for you to cheer up.
    The poor guy just wanted a little support and cheer as he prepares to make a move he's already committed to. Is that so hard?
    Many good or even great schools were once pits of dispair. They changed. And what does it take to change a bad school into a good one? Many things, but let's start with Out with the bad blood, in with the good. Bring in some new, fresh, happy faces ready to pitch in and turn things around. You seem to be suggesting the opposite - scare away anyone who might have the guts to make things better.
    OP, I'm not claiming that the schools mentioned are pits of despair. They have their issues, I'm sure. But don't let cynicism get to you. It's well known that Hippo, though generally knowledgeable, had a bad experience in Qatar and has a grudge against the country and most schools in it. He left, and should have. I wouldn't want anyone staying here being miserable and hating the people they teach and work with. Ferriswheel I don't know so much... But there are tons of people who are here, in a wide variety of schools, and quite enjoying it. We're not idiots, nor are the people who've left, we've just found a place that works for us. Schools run the gamut from dire to WOW, and I have no idea where you're going, but wherever it is, I hope you roll up your sleeves and get down to the serious business of making a life, teaching children, and adding value to your school, however good or bad it was when you got there.
  4. Well said GulfGolf! Why are people so negative!!! Newbies should be allowed to go into a new post with enthusiasm and postiveness, and to make up their own minds about how good or bad something is! Quite often, that depends on the person themselves! It's nothing to do with the place of work! So, OP, ignore any negative vibes, head into your adventure with excitement and enthusiasm, and have a GREAT TIME!!!
  5. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    dear andyfun,
    you will be able to attend world class sporting events for free or very little.
    Its easy to fly to places like egypt, jordan( for Petra), or lebanon.
    There are some good beaches and if you are sporty every opportunity to get fit and play any sport you care for.
    Students, on the whole, are a breeze to teach. My biggest issue is pushing them to apply effort to achieve greater things. I have never once raised my voice to a student other than to show them, jokingly, what I used to do in class in the UK.
    If you have a family, there is a good health service, good doctors but mad receptionists who seem to hate everybody.
    The sun shines and, unless you are mad, you can save a bundle.
    Its not for everybody but it suits me fine. Have an open mind and see the strangeness as a thing to enjoy.
  6. mentioning a particular establishment does not suggest the country is bad. I could put up with the 'culture' part of it, the laid back attitude and even the mad driving of Doha but to work for a bunch of unprofessionals who keep exploiting and challenging your integrity as an educator can do quite a damage to ones self esteem. Am afraid not as lucky as GG. Anyway, the school mentioned isn't the one the OP is going to so it's probably ok.
  7. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter

    Did you ever venture out of Doha?

    In the south you have dunes around 40 metres high which are great fun to climb and drive over, in the west the are giant rock outcrops to explore. In the north around Al-Khor are beautiful mangroves. I have been to loads of empty beaches, with golden sand and clear water. There are islands in Doha bay which you can visit and spend the day on. Qatar isn't a boring place to live, however, some boring people do choose to come and live here and then moan about it!!!!!

    Come and get involved, you'll have a whale of a time.

  8. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter

    Did you ever venture out of Doha?

    In the west there are rock outcrops which rise like islands in the desert to explore. I've seen wild ostriches and gazelles there. In the south there are sand dunes up to 40 metres in height to climb and drive over. The dunes plunge straight into the sea creating gorgeous beaches which are usually empty. In the north there are mangroves teaming with wildlife. In Doha bay there are isalnds which you can go to for BBQs or just to sun yourself. My wife and I spend every weekend out of Doha exploring and experiencing. On Thursday we drank tea with a local man who guards an abandoned village in the middle of the desert. Sitting on top of one of the watch towers we watched oryx graze in the twilight.

    There is lots to experience here, you just need to make the effort.

    Qatar isn't boring, though some boring people choose to come here and then moan about the place.

    Come, get involved and you'll have a whale of a time.
  9. Qatar is a wonderful place to live and work in. It beats Dubai by a mile for me with its more leisurely pace by comparison and nice clean beaches. The issue the original poster needs to consider and of more importance is the establishment where he/she will be spending most of their time in ie. Work. If its any old establishment running Montessori methods as British institutions or links with Compasses and apples or an Academy on a new site there may be issues which may prove hindrences to enjoying Qatari life in the long run. My advise would be to do your research on your workplace over and above the country for what its worth. I love the common people and country but would stay well clear of some of those aforementioned establishments.
  10. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    What a fantastic post TD, have you ever been to Oman?
    I think I need someone with your sort of enthusiasm to get me out of my 'safety zone' in Muscat, and drag me to the experience the wonders that I know are out there.
    I might even buy a cool box this weekend!
    I used to go camping loads of times when I was younger and teaching in Southern Africa, but some how middle age creep has slowed me down...

    ...not sure I want to go camping in Oman in April (or any later) though.
  11. From a Geography point of view Qatar is great.
    Doha does not really fit any of the urban models and with new land being created, amazing skyscrapers being built etc etc; it is a great city to explore. The beaches are great for depositional landforms (you may have to dodge the plastic bags and glass that gets everywhere) and the sand dunes are amazing; it will be great if you get to teach deserts again (CIE removed it from the GCSE spec whilst I was out there). Add to that all those migrants from all over the world and a tiny, but growing local population, and massive traffic congestion, great weather from being located on the Tropic of Cancer, amazing wind erosion, and the Arabian Gulf, sea level rising due to climate change, or falling with all that extra evaporation.......
  12. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter


    It sounds like you're working at a terrible school and it's quite possible that this has influenced your experience of the country as a whole.

    Most of the friends I have that work at other schools have a decent set of benefits.

    In response to the points you raised about Qatar itself:
    Yes the beaches will be too hot for part of the year (as opposed to too cold for most of the year in the UK)

    Taxis are DIRT cheap!!! You can travel across the city in a public taxi for about £5- I can only echo previos comments that you must have been using hotel Limo services.
    Not having a letters delivered to your home can be a pain- but all you have to do is pop to the post office.

    Some Qataris are rude/dismissive, but there again so are many Brits.

    I'll tell you what you won't find in Qatar:

    Hoards of teenagers roaming the streets and shopping malls with nothing to do but be abusive.
    Constant stories of rape and muder on the news
    A car that costs more than £10 to FILL with petrol
    The taxman taking a large chunk of your wages to dish out to people who can't be ***** to work
    Homeless people wandering the streets
    HIV or TB

    Maybe I'm too positive- You'll have to make your own ming up when you get out here!!
  13. deadly lampshade

    deadly lampshade New commenter

    Nice one Tyler, I like the thought of people making their ming up!
  14. making your ming up?
  15. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter


    Or perhaps it could be a do it yourself ancient vase kit?
  16. Hi
    I have an interview for an English teaching job in Doha, next Monday, and was wondering if you could let me know what the interview would be like. What sort of questions would be asked and how many interviewers are on the panel? Would be really grateful for any advice. I really want this job but am very nervous because apart from a phone call telling me about the date and time of interview I have no other information. Please help!
  17. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter

    Why Qatar/Doha?
    Will you be able to cope being away from home?
    What can you offer the school in addition to your teaching?
    What techniques will you use teaching EAL pupils?
    Typical interview questions about teaching philosophy/ AfL/ tracking and monitoring.
    Do you have interests/ pass-times that you could do in Doha?

    Trying to think back to my interview but I had it at the same time as my wife so I didn't get to say much!!!

    Hope this helps.

  18. Thanks a lot. Could you please let me know how many people were on the panel and was it just an question answer session? How long did it last, i mean was it a full day interview?

  19. tyler durden

    tyler durden New commenter

    I had my interview with the vice pricipal. It lasted about an hour. There was a presentation about the school and then a fairly standard interview.

    I think this year the heads of school went along for the interviews which would mean two people on the panel.

    PM me if you have any more questions.
  20. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    In my experience, different schools organise their interviews in a variety of different ways. Of course, some do not bother with "face to face" interviews at all and instead you get a long telephone call. Answering questions from a panel of two or three (or more!) interviewers can be pretty daunting, whereas a one-to-one can sometimes be more like a friendly chat.
    The most difficult interview questions to answer are those which reveal that the interviewer has not read your CV.
    The great Harry Deelman was of the opinion that portfolios are a good idea. Some heads scrutinise these and ask lots of questions about them, while others do not give them a glance.


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