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Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by Janos, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Husband is flying to Qatar for a job interview, which means I will follow him. Has anyone any experiance of this country and taught there. Any information will be wonderful.
     
  2. In my 6th year here. We stay for the wonderful students,high salary, cheapish living, excellent teaching resources, reasonable workload, good holidays and great package - nice apartment, medical, pension etc. This makes up for the fact that there's not much to to do, the 3rd world bureaucracy, suicidal driving conditions, temperatures which regularly hit 120, not much choice in the way of books, DVDs, etc, though that is improving.

    It's a good place to save money - once you've bought a car, etc there's not a lot to spend money on.

    We were very lucky with the school we work in - I know that a lot of the new private schools in Doha have got very bad reputations, re. tyrannical and profit-obsessed management (A story came up last week from one of these schools where the management cut costs by making the students bring their own toilet paper in)
    So take care.
     
  3. Only survived one year there but chevalier is pretty much on the money. Obviously at one of only two schools in Qatar that treat their staff well. Is your husband going for an interview at a school or is he going for a corporate possy and you're looking at teaching? Agree wholeheartedly about the dangerous driving - enter a few demoloition derbies at home just to get some useful practice in before you go.
     
  4. Husband is going for a corporate job and I would comsider teaching. what is their attitude to women? This is a concern of mine.
     
  5. Thanks for the frankness chevalier, this is the kind of info we need. As my husband will be employed I can take my time and loook carefully at any opertunities which come my way. My biggest concern is how the treat western women.
     
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    An N.O.C. is a "No Objection Certificate". In short, this is a document that says that your present employer, whether it is your school or any other institution, has no objection to your going to work for some other company (or school) in Qatar. If you do not get an N.O.C. from your present employer in Qatar, then nine times out of ten you cannot get another job in Qatar. You must leave and you cannot be re-employed for another two years.
    The bad news is that most teachers have never heard of N.O.C.s when they get off the aeroplane in Doha. They do not realise that you cannot go and get a job at another Qatari school, if your first choice does not work out the way that you hoped that it would. Therefore I would urge all teachers who are thinking of going to Qatar to do their research very thoroughly, as you do not want to find yourself working in an uncongenial institution, while at the same time be unable to apply for any jobs elsewhere in Qatar. It is also worth bearing in mind that trade unions do not operate in Qatar and that some schools are in the habit of dragging their feet re. exit visas and passports.
     
  7. For the most part I enjoyed living in Qatar. Once you got used to the driving it wasn't too intimidating, though the state of some roads (huge potholes) does make it very dangerous particularly when someone behind you is almost touching your bumper.
    Its a great place to watch sporting events at very little cost and for extravagent brunches on a Friday.
    What I would say is don't make any big plans there no matter who your employer is. I worked for the big educational foundation which I assumed/was told was a very secure position and found myself out of a job just 2 weeks before the end of the school year because the new boss decided to reorganise the school. It was really unexpected and I found myself trying to flog a car at very short notice, though fortunately I didn't have an expensive car, loans and possessions like others.
     
  8. Hippo
    Won't the OP's sponsor be her husband or her husband's company so she can work for almost any school in a casual/relief capacity and therefore not require an NOC from each school? I would certainly have liked to have someone like that available but she will probably be snapped up for a fulltime position quick smart. Janos - do take your time and do your homework before committing to one particular school.
    Ah - the Friday brunches! Our kids still say that is one of the things they really miss from Qatar.
     

  9. Any clues what the two decent schools are?
     
  10. If you are an English teacher or maybe even a foreign languages teacher then British Council have a couple of positions you may be interested in.
     
  11. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Dear Sonofateacherman, yes, in theory you can be on your husband's sponsorship, if your husband has a job in Qatar. This should mean, in theory, that you would not need to have an N.O.C. in order to get another job with a different school. I have written "in theory" because a lady colleague of mine (who is a great cook) found out the hard way that it does not always work like that. The owner of the school where we were both working called my colleague into her office and told her that if she applied for a job at another school in Doha, she would pull some strings and make sure that neither her nor her husband ever worked in Qatar again. In Arabic, there is a name for it: "wasta".
     
  12. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    I'm certainly sorry and appalled that this happened to your friend, but I don't think that was actually wasta. That was a threat. And frankly I would have stood up to it and applied for another job. Rumors and urban legends aside, I know a lot of people, I've been in Qatar a long time, and I have not known anyone who faced that sort of problem with their residence permit. Just because a slimy person tells you they can do something illegal, doesn't mean they can. Wasta is based on affiliations and friendships. Slimy people don't tend to have a lot of either. They may try to make such requests, but they aren't likely to succeed. Their family and 'friends' are tired of them before they even show up, and they aren't likely to do something illegal just to make a slimy person happy.
    The people I've known who actually have wasta, have been lovely people for the most part, and have not used their wasta to ruin other's lives.
    Note I'm not saying it's impossible, just less likely than people think. And way less often than rumors would have us believe.
    We have words for it in English too. Corruption. Nepotism. Discrimination. Do we really treat foreigners well at home? I certainly feel more welcome here, than I imagine a typical asylum seeker feels in theUK.
     
  13. People are getting so frenzied on this thread that they are not answering your question! I worked in Doha for 8 years and although the attitude to women does take a bit of getting used to, if you abide by some basic dress rules then you will avoid any strange looks from the locals. It's a muslim country so many local women will be covered head to foot and if you are a feminist it does take a while to get your head round the whole women's rights issues. But under the surface, Qatar is a progressive country with massive investment in education and many of the young muslim women you may well come into contact with at school are far more thoughtful about the role of women in society than many ambivalent Western girls. I loved it there, yes it can be boring and a cultural desert but it can also be refreshing getting away from permissive consumer society. The kids I taught were delightful and friendly with respectful and grateful parents. The money's good and the climate, whilst unfriendly at times, is glorious from November to May. Make sure you get a job at the right school. You could send your CV and offer to do some cover work if you and husband re-locate. Supply teachers are a rare comodity, so you could try some schools before applying for a job. Doha College is a great school.
     
  14. I'm happy to support the mention of Doha College above. The American School would be the other one but you probably have to be from the U.S. to get a gig there. There are degrees of not so goodness and badness in the other schools but the danger of mentioning any here is that the thread will be pulled quick smart. Just do your homework - I wish I had before I ended up there. My family and I don't regret the cultural experience we had there - just the school experience was very disappointing. Janos overdose on bacon and eggs, ham sangers and pork roasts & sausages before you go!!!
     
  15. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    No, Gulfgolf, wasta is all about "corruption, nepotism and discrimination"! I have no statistical data or independent means of verifying this, but having lived there for two years it seems very likely that quite a few wealthy Qataris who set up fee-paying schools do indeed have friends and relations in various government ministries and in the Police. In other words, a threat is not just a threat when it is made by a Qatari who has connections.
    As an expat teacher, what would you do in that situation? Telephone your union? Write to your M.P.? Get a lawyer? As you cannot even leave the country without your sponsor's permission, it is no exaggeration to say that you would not have a leg to stand on. If you bother to read some of the threads on www.qatarliving.com, you will find that there are plenty of other expats in Doha have had similar experiences in Qatar.
     
  16. afterdark

    afterdark New commenter

    Not all School are in Doha, or even on the Eastern coast of Qatar.
    Crytic clue for crossword fans "some french with Ricardo Montalban".
     
  17. afterdark

    afterdark New commenter

    I was responding to 9, albeit a little late in same way as post 15.
     
  18. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    No, not all schools are in Doha, afterdark, but the majority of them are!
     
  19. I have been offered a job at the gulf english school, is there anything you can tell me about it?
     
  20. Dear Sammydodders, I just got a job offer from that school and I was wondering if you have any experience?
     

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