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Work-Life balance - Is there ine inthe Middle East?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by celticreature, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I have posted earlier but have asked such general questions and got little response so I will be more specific. Is it possible to have some sort of family life when working in the Middle East? At present working in the UK I seem to eat , sleep and breathe work just to get it all done and good. Yes, I work for an outstanding rated Special Needs school which creates its own problems but I spend weekend, evenings and a lot of the holidays working. Is it any better over there? Not looking for an easy ride but would like a slightly 'easier' one if you get my drift.
    Would be coming over with husband and 2 kids and have lived in Kuwait (without kids and not as a teacher) before!

    Thanks in advance to all replies.
     
  2. Hi,
    I have posted earlier but have asked such general questions and got little response so I will be more specific. Is it possible to have some sort of family life when working in the Middle East? At present working in the UK I seem to eat , sleep and breathe work just to get it all done and good. Yes, I work for an outstanding rated Special Needs school which creates its own problems but I spend weekend, evenings and a lot of the holidays working. Is it any better over there? Not looking for an easy ride but would like a slightly 'easier' one if you get my drift.
    Would be coming over with husband and 2 kids and have lived in Kuwait (without kids and not as a teacher) before!

    Thanks in advance to all replies.
     
  3. Sure, sure. I am a special needs teacher from the US of A, and I worked overtime for years in Oregon before coming to the Middle East. I've worked at a special needs school in Kuwait, a national school in Abu Dhabi and schools in Al Ain and now Do-Buy. I can say it's much easier here to do the same job and to get the same (or even higher) level of results. Mainly, this is due to a lower set of expectations, plus you're working with some students who speak English as a second language, so any improvement is appreciated. I think the main difference is the amount of <u>paperwork</u> required in each place. I don't know what it's like in the UK, but the American system demands a ton of paperwork per student. Here, it seems like you're free to improvise and to try out different techniques in an effort to achieve the best results. You're not restricted to a plan or a set of rules.
    Hope this helps.
    Cheers
     
  4. As pointed out already on the thread, the 'better' schools will have high expectations of their staff. You won't be racing out the door along with the kids to head to the beach. Teaching hours could be longer (6 hours of lessons at my UAE school), plus 30 minutes of form time, followed by meetings/planning/marking &c, as well as the requirement to teach more than the UK's 21-hour maximum each week.

    From my perspective, there were two main ways in which my Middle Eastern school improved my quality of life. The first was that my day was predictable. Free periods and breaks could be almost entirely devoted to planning and marking. In my UK school, the behaviour of the pupils does not come close to that of the, frankly, fantastic kids I encountered in the UAE. Reporting and following up behavioural issues - even in OK schools - can take a huge chunk of time and there is no way to make provision for it, as incidents arise quickly and unpredictably, and have to be dealt with immediately. Such things were almost never an issue in the UAE.

    Secondly, my timetable involved more contact hours per week with each (smaller) class, meaning that I had fewer teaching groups and pupils within. This made keeping on top of marking a great deal easier and would enable me to go home more promptly at the end of the working day!

    I suppose that I should also mention that most schools I knew would finish early on a Thursday, in preparation for the weekend... that was an aid to the work-life balance (and went a small distance to off-setting the very early starts - my AM registration in the UAE was a full hour earlier than in the UK).
     

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