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Thinking of teaching in Abu Dhabi

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by abbieclark248, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. abbieclark248

    abbieclark248 New commenter

    Hi, I'm a primary school teacher looking for some advice from people that have moved from the UK to teach in Abu Dhabi as it's something I am considering. I was wondering what life is like out there, for example living arangments and community. Any advice would be helpful!
  2. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    There are a number of threads on the topic, so you could find a lot of good information by looking back, but in summary:
    Abu Dhabi is a lovely city. 4 months of stifling hot temperatures (June to September) with May and October being just about manageable. The other 6 months of the year give the most beautiful climate - dropping to the low 20s in January, with, naturally, clear blue skies all year (it may rain 2 or 3 days in the year).
    The city is incredibly safe (apart from the roads, and even these are much quieter/less dangerous than Dubai's). It is a beautiful city, with some of the most striking architecture in the world and some beautiful parks. I am free to go to my amazing church to worship in complete safety.
    Socially it is brilliant - Friday Brunches (if you don't know what that means, you are in for a treat!), plenty of amazing bars, world class restaurants, beaches, amazing golf courses, and a rediculous (from a male's point of view) invention called 'ladies nights' where (once a week) each bar will let any female drink for free all night (?!).
    Now the not so greats:
    All schools are NOT the same. I would advice thinking very carefully about working in the local authority (ADEC) system - have heard horror stories, although we all know that isn't necessarily the norm. Private schools are also in a huge range... some 'British/English Curriculum' schools will be almost 100% EAL, and these will be lower paid (although still more than a U.K. Teacher) and may require you to share a house/apartment. These schools can still be amazing places to work for - it will depend on the leadership.
    There are three 'top end' schools - I won't name them, but happy to tell you who they are in a private 'conversation'/PM. These will provide good accommodation and a salary that will compare with U.K. SLT for a class teacher. They will demand a lot from you, but will also have amazing students to teach as well - the equivalent of a solid private school in the U.K.
    The biggest negatives are the administration - anything that is administrative (visa/bank/driving/etc) can be shambolic and can make you want to pull your hair out.... so best to just accept it and stay calm. For me, the biggest issue living here is the lack of social mobility for anyone who is not 'western expat' or local. So the treatment of the Indian sub-continent, Philippine, and African workers is tough to bear.
    But in general - we love it here, and I often laugh at people on this board, who have no idea what it is like here, who make sweeping generalisations about "I'd never work in the Middle East, it's awful"!
  3. charb74

    charb74 New commenter

    I spent four years working in Abu Dhabi. I agree with Powergnome3; it is a nice place to live, especially for British expats. IMHO, the best offer would be the one that offers accommodation as an additional payment to your salary, not a share of apartment etc., as you may choose to rent a comparably cheaper place and can save the rest of that money, too. Another suggestion is that, beware of the banks, as they offer 20 x your salary as a loan even before you get your first salary. It is very tempting, however do not go into that road if you are not willing to stay until you repay it, which would be 4 years max. I also would suggest avoiding the downtown for a rental, unless it is close to school. Most buildings are old, worn out and dirty + you cannot avoid food smell from neighbours, as the A/C is almost always central. Turning off the A/C is not an option. :)
    two_tenors, Mr_Frosty and binza87 like this.
  4. lifeinthe852

    lifeinthe852 New commenter

    @Powergnome3 I have also sent you a conversation! A wealth of ME knowledge!
    Rentaghost likes this.
  5. MuffinMK

    MuffinMK New commenter

    There are loads of brand new affordable buildings that don't smell. We only use air con in June and September.

    You need a BEd in the subject you are teaching (including primary), 2 years experience, or degree in your subject you will teach plus PGCE, and now talk of 4 years experience if you have PGCE. It is really strict about the BEd for primary for private schools.

    It is an easy pleasant place to live, well organised, clean and easy to live tightly to save if that's what you wish to do.
  6. aamirishaque

    aamirishaque New commenter

    I have just come across this thread I would really appreciate any additonal info on schools in Abu Dhabi.In particular the top schools you mentioned in your post. I have already applied to a few schools out there. any advice would be welcomed :)
  7. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    Sure - happy to help - send me a PM and I will give as much help as I can.
  8. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    II don't know which schools Powergnome meant as top 3 but if they're the same as the 3 I'd class as top then I've met teachers from 2 of them. All seemed happy in their jobs, very much like back home though, compared to my job where my work life balances is much better than back home. I didn't get chance to find out what the package was like at the Derbyshire school but I knew someone from the Rock school and they were getting a very good deal - their Salary was double what some schools here pay and they got a nice flat on top of that - they were not in the Abu Dhabi campus though.
  9. vsutton

    vsutton New commenter

    Hi Powergnome,

    Great advice -would love to pick your brain on where to stay near Baniyas, although due to being a new poster can’t PM. Any tips?
  10. mrjack

    mrjack Occasional commenter

    All sounds very interesting, I would never normally consider the ME but AD is starting to sound rather decent, there are always lots of jobs going there too!!
    What are the local pupils like?
    Is AD good socially ? I'm a single forty something guy.
    Are there many opportunities for an outdoor lifestyle, hiking, diving etc
  11. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    Vsutton, I have started a private conversation with you...
    Mr Jack... personally I would avoid working in a school with high percentage of locals. I have heard some horror stories about the ADEK schools.
    Socially, AD is excellent, although can be very expensive if you let it be - there is always things to do that make you dig deep! I have many single friends having the time of their lives here... you can make of that what you will!
    Outdoor lifestyle for 6 months of the year (if you like the heat that could be 8 months) - diving you have to drive for - either Oman or Fujairah’s the best places... not much to see in AD waters!
    aliali5208 likes this.
  12. mrjack

    mrjack Occasional commenter

    Great, so avoid ADEK schools and get into international ones if possible. What about the other 4-6 months, too hot ?
  13. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    Mrjack- correct re the schools.
    Well... I still manage to play golf in the summer - although at 3 of the 4 courses here, the staff do bring you ice towels and ice lollies every few holes to keep you cool, and there are refrigerated water taps at the start of every hole (free buggies too, of course - no-one walks!). Other than that, my only outdoor activity in the 4 months of blistering heat involves evening drinking!
    Most people leave the UAE for nearly two of those four months, and June is ok because it is looking forward to the summer break, and September is ok because we are all crazy busy with the start of term.
    Mr_Frosty likes this.
  14. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    Just for a bit of balance, most of my students are locals but it's a private school not ADEK and it's very different from the impression most people have of local students. Behavior is good and on the whole they work hard and are pretty motivated - we do follow an international curriculum though and the pressure on them is pretty high so the ones that might be less well behaved or well motivated tend to drop out pretty quickly.

    And well done @Powergnome3 even in winter I suffered playing golf so have given it a miss the last couple of years. I don't mind the crazy heat though - most days it makes me smile.
    Powergnome3 likes this.
  15. pink_reindeer

    pink_reindeer Occasional commenter

    I would say no to an outdoor lifestyle. This may be largely to do with the location the school housed me - there was naff all around and it wasn't really an area made for walking. To get anywhere decent would mean a trek in a taxi, and I struggled with this on a school night when I had to get up at 5.15am. Also, it was expensive. I guess it depends on how much you want to do it. Not sure where you could go hiking?!

    Socially, I would say it's pretty good. But again, taxiing into the city was an obstacle for me. Always lots going on. If you're on facebook, see about following Best Bites Abu Dhabi....it's a group where people discuss places they've been for the 'best bites', and being a member of the group often gives you discount in places. Also, the entertainer app has lots of BOGOF deals etc.
  16. Sloth_91

    Sloth_91 New commenter

    Could you PM the three schools please? Thanks!
  17. sm110814

    sm110814 New commenter

    hi Powergnome3
    I would like to ping you personally can you please tell me how to do that
  18. Powergnome3

    Powergnome3 Occasional commenter

    I have sent you a ‘Conversation’ - can you see it?
  19. TexanTeacher2013

    TexanTeacher2013 New commenter

    I would love for you to PM me the schools you're speaking of.
  20. two_tenors

    two_tenors New commenter


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