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Now ye're talking - to a teacher in Dubai

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  • 26-08-2019 3:07pm
    #1
    Boards.ie Employee Posts: 12,597 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Boards.ie Community Manager


    Our next guest is an Irish teacher currently working in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She is here to answer questions about teaching in the UAE and the differences between teaching there and in Ireland.
    Given that moving to the Middle East for a few years is something a number of Irish people do in various careers, I'm sure there will be lots of questions.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,725 ✭✭✭SureYWouldntYa


    What was your 3rd level education in before going down a TEFL route (i'm assuming that's your role I could be wrong)

    I'm seeing a few friends going down the TEFL route when their primary degree isn't teaching related at all, might be something to interest me in the future


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    What was your 3rd level education in before going down a TEFL route (i'm assuming that's your role I could be wrong)

    I'm seeing a few friends going down the TEFL route when their primary degree isn't teaching related at all, might be something to interest me in the future

    Hi SureYWouldntYa!
    I did a degree in music and education, which qualifies me to teach secondary school. I'm currently teaching in a British Curriculum International School in Dubai.
    I've never done TEFL, so I'm afraid that I can't help you there.
    With regards to the qualifications needed for teaching in Dubai, the KHDA (like the Department of Education for private schools), and the Ministry of Education (MOE) are really starting to get strict with the qualifications you have to have to be allowed to teach in Dubai. They are now in the process of making it compulsory to have a degree in your subject(s) and a teaching qualification I order for a school to be allowed to hire you. Most schools won't even interview you without a degree and teaching degree anyway, but SABIS are still the exception to that at the moment, as far as I'm aware.
    Honestly, there really wouldn't be much work in Dubai for someone who has TEFL and not a teaching qualification, as a lot of teachers do tutoring on the side.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,828 ✭✭✭unklerosco


    Whats the salary like? Perks etc. You hear lots of storys of great money, moving allowance, rent, food, bills paid for. Is that all true?

    How do you find the culture and settling in over there? Do you plan to stay for long or will you do a few years and come back to Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,172 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump


    Do you have any worries about being arrested and jailed for "normal" activities while over there?

    Or can you legally do whatever you like once you are in your compound


    I had a friend who taught in Saudi. Obviously more strict there but she said that the students were awful privileged, lazy and stuck up


  • Registered Users Posts: 31,824 ✭✭✭✭Mars Bar


    Are you going to Westlife on Thursday? :pac:

    Do you look at the schools in UAE and think about how gloomy and understimulating Irish primary schools were when we were kids? (I'm 30 so talking mid 90's to 00's)/ The amazing facilities on offer to the kids here is ridiculous.

    How many hours do you work a day? I think it's a longer work day than in Ireland.


    Asalaamu al-aykum min Abu Dhabi!


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  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Unclerosco, it really depends on the school you go to. I'm in what's referred to as a "midmarket" school, so our wages are on the lower end. I make around €2400 per month, but if you were in a "premium" school, you could be looking at €3000 upwards.
    The perks are fairly decent, to be fair!
    I get a flight allowance for one set of flights per year, medical insurance, and a one bedroom apartment to myself.
    I don't get any of my WiFi/electricity/municipality/food bills paid, but I have heard of the odd school that pay the electricity/municipality bill too.

    I really like the culture in Dubai. There's a great scope to either really chill out, it party hard over here!
    I'm in my second year over here, so I think I've done my "settling in". I was absolutely fine initially, but I did get a bit homesick for a few days in the November. I don't think I really fully settled in until March, but I don't think it was that unusual. There are a few GAA clubs over here, so if you're in anyway sporty, I imagine that would help the transition a bit quicker. There are a lot of Irish people in Dubai, so I imagine it wouldn't take you too long to run into one of us!
    I so plan on staying in Dubai for a few more years, although I think I will look for a different school once my contract is up this Summer. Long-term, I'd love to come home, but there's no jobs there, so, for me anyway, I don't see the point in coming home just to end up without a job.


  • Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 3,713 Mod ✭✭✭✭eeloe


    Do you find your 2400 a month goes very far?

    When i was there in 2012, i did notice that it was VERY expensive.

    Can't imagine living there being much cheaper, considering the tourist prices.


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Do you have any worries about being arrested and jailed for "normal" activities while over there?

    Or can you legally do whatever you like once you are in your compound


    I had a friend who taught in Saudi. Obviously more strict there but she said that the students were awful privileged, lazy and stuck up

    Saudi is a very different ballpark compared to Dubai! Dubai is much more "westernised".
    I can honestly say that I don't have any worries about being arrested doing "normal" activities over here. In general, the local Emiratis don't pay all that much attention to the "westerners", and I've never had any issues with them. You know as a rule of thumb that if you're out drinking, not to start a fight, or be puking/p*ssing on the streets over here, or you'll definitely be arrested for being publicly drunk. It's just common sense really.
    You can go around on the public beaches in a bikini, and nobody says anything. It is a bit unusual seeing someone in a bikini less than 5 feet from a woman in an abaya and hijab, but it's not seen as an issue.
    There's a good mix of students. I teach both some of the loveliest students, and some of the most self-entitled and downright rudest students I've ever taught. In a good school, the rude and self-entitled ones will be put back in their boxes by management quick enough!


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 1,105 ✭✭✭Limpy


    Would the school tell you what topics to cover? Would you have to tell the teenage students that being gay is punishable by death or would most people know that already?


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Mars Bar wrote: »
    Are you going to Westlife on Thursday? :pac:

    Do you look at the schools in UAE and think about how gloomy and understimulating Irish primary schools were when we were kids? (I'm 30 so talking mid 90's to 00's)/ The amazing facilities on offer to the kids here is ridiculous.

    How many hours do you work a day? I think it's a longer work day than in Ireland.


    Asalaamu al-aykum fee Abu Dhabi!

    No, sadly I am not going to Westlife on Thursday.😭
    (Although if you know of anyone selling two tickets, I'm your gal!)
    I'm teaching in Secondary, not primary, but my school goes right the way up from Junior Infants to 6th Year of Secondary.
    Looking at the facilities that even a "midmarket" school like mine has, it is really depressing to think of the lack of facilities in a lot schools back home. The Dept of Ed back home really do need to make a serious investment in education, but we all know that the likelihood of that happening is sadly less than zero!
    My contracted hours are 7am to either 3pm or 4pm, depending on the day, but I often end up bringing a lot of paperwork home. I don't teach a "core curricular" subject, so I see an average of 600 kids per week. There's a lot of marking and planning as a result, which I just don't get the time I need to get it done in my normal work hours.

    Wa ‘alaykum al-salaam min eind Dubai!!


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  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    eeloe wrote: »
    Do you find your 2400 a month goes very far?

    When i was there in 2012, i did notice that it was VERY expensive.

    Can't imagine living there being much cheaper, considering the tourist prices.

    Dubai is absolutely an expensive city to live in, however, if you're strict with yourself, it doesn't have to be extortionate. Last year I found that my wages covered enough for me to pay my few bills back home, pay my bills here (the cost of WiFi is eyewatering!) and have a few nights out. I really wasn't strict with myself at all last year, so I'm forcing myself to budget better this year so that I'll have some savings by the end of the year.
    There's a great app called The Entertainer that has a lot of 2for1 deals on it for the year. You have to pay for it, but it more than pays for itself by the end of the year! It's great for going out and about.


  • Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 3,713 Mod ✭✭✭✭eeloe


    Also, just another question if you don't mind.

    I've heard that martial arts and in particular Jiu Jitsu is being made a part of the curriculum in schools over in the UAE, is this true?


  • Registered Users Posts: 31,824 ✭✭✭✭Mars Bar


    No, sadly I am not going to Westlife on Thursday.��
    (Although if you know of anyone selling two tickets, I'm your gal!)
    I'm teaching in Secondary, not primary, but my school goes right the way up from Junior Infants to 6th Year of Secondary.
    Looking at the facilities that even a "midmarket" school like mine has, it is really depressing to think of the lack of facilities in a lot schools back home. The Dept of Ed back home really do need to make a serious investment in education, but we all know that the likelihood of that happening is sadly less than zero!
    My contracted hours are 7am to either 3pm or 4pm, depending on the day, but I often end up bringing a lot of paperwork home. I don't teach a "core curricular" subject, so I see an average of 600 kids per week. There's a lot of marking and planning as a result, which I just don't get the time I need to get it done in my normal work hours.

    Wa ‘alaykum al-salaam min eind Dubai!!

    A massive part of my job is to go to schools in Abu Dhabi and deliver football coaching sessions as part of the ECA or ECP. Full size astro pitches and swimming pools...it just makes your eyes water.
    I am aware that parents are paying good money for it, though.

    I always slightly envy the package that teachers get. One return flight a year, accommodation and the sweet teacher promotions on car rentals and some brunches. :o


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Limpy wrote: »
    Would the school tell you what topics to cover? Would you have to tell the teenage students that being gay is punishable by death or would most people know that already?

    We are a British Curriculum School, so we follow the National Curriculum for England, and the different iGCSE and A Level syllabi for the exam years.
    Being gay is 100% illegal in Dubai.
    You don't talk about it with the students, it taboo.
    You also don't mention things like sex, relationships, drugs, alcohol and religion.
    Because of the subject I teach, they're not topics that'd come up with me anyway.
    Gay people are working in Dubai, they just don't advertise their sexuality publicly. It's illegal for a man and a woman to live together without being married (people still do anyway), but no-one would bat an eyelid at two men or two women living together in a "flatshare".


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    eeloe wrote: »
    Also, just another question if you don't mind.

    I've heard that martial arts and in particular Jiu Jitsu is being made a part of the curriculum in schools over in the UAE, is this true?

    No problem at all!
    I haven't heard about that being introduced as part of the curriculum over here. That's not to say that certain schools might be offering it as part of their PE curriculum or as an extracurricular activity, but my school isn't.


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Mars Bar wrote: »
    A massive part of my job is to go to schools in Abu Dhabi and deliver football coaching sessions as part of the ECA or ECP. Full size astro pitches and swimming pools...it just makes your eyes water.
    I am aware that parents are paying good money for it, though.

    I always slightly envy the package that teachers get. One return flight a year, accommodation and the sweet teacher promotions on car rentals and some brunches. :o

    Schools with a pool come with a fairly steep pricetag per child per year. I'd say the parents have all paid for it several times over at this stage! Astro pitches seem to be a standard thing, even if you're not in a "premium" school. You can definitely see the difference in the demographics of the schools depending on their pricetag though.
    I'll not deny that for the most part, we get a good deal. Haven't found any brunches that do a teacher's discount; you'll have to let me know where they are!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,475 ✭✭✭Dave0301


    We are a British Curriculum School, so we follow the National Curriculum for England, and the different iGCSE and A Level syllabi for the exam years.
    Being gay is 100% illegal in Dubai.
    You don't talk about it with the students, it taboo.

    You also don't mention things like sex, relationships, drugs, alcohol and religion.
    Because of the subject I teach, they're not topics that'd come up with me anyway.
    Gay people are working in Dubai, they just don't advertise their sexuality publicly. It's illegal for a man and a woman to live together without being married (people still do anyway), but no-one would bat an eyelid at two men or two women living together in a "flatshare".

    How do you and other Western teachers feel about that? Is it a big elephant in the room, or do people just shrug it off?

    Do you teach children from Dubai families or the families of ex-pats as well?


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Dave0301 wrote: »
    How do you and other Western teachers feel about that? Is it a big elephant in the room, or do people just shrug it off?

    Do you teach children from Dubai families or the families of ex-pats as well?

    It's a bit of a funny one really... If we're in a group of expats, it might be brought up that "this is so and so's girlfriend/boyfriend", but other than that, it's not really mentioned. To be fair though, I wouldn't go around asking everybody what their sexuality is back home anyway, so it's not that big a deal to me. As my Mammy says - "I don't care who they're sleeping with or praying/not praying to, once they're a decent person". It doesn't seem to bother the gay people that I know out here all that much either. They can still get on with their lives pretty much as normal, they just can't go snogging eachother in public (heterosexual couples aren't allowed snog eachother in public either, fyi).
    Again, the locals tend to turn a blind eye to westerners, once they're not being offensive in front of them.

    I teach a mix of local and expat kids over here. Because I'm in a "midmarket" school, most of the expat kids that I teach are Middle Eastern/Indian/Pakistani/African/Eastern European.
    Most of the Irish/British/American kids go to "premium" schools.


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    OSI wrote: »
    I’m surprised it’s that “low”. I thought the whole point of people heading over there was that salaries were multiples of those you can achieve in Ireland. What was your motivation for going over?

    The market is getting a bit tighter over here at the moment, so salaries aren't as high as they were 10 years ago, because more teachers are trying to come out here.
    I moved over here because there was no job for me at home. Most of my friends who are still at home are on 6, 8 and 11hr contracts, or don't even have a contract, and are relying on sub work, and that's just not sustainable. I knew that coming over here I'd have at least 2 years full-time teaching, where I could get more experience.
    I also want to travel, as Dubai is a great transit hub for traveling!


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Mr.S wrote: »
    Does it get a bit tiring / boring being around a constant stream of transient ex-pats? I'd imagine mixing with locals isn't common and properly integrating isn't a factor you need to consider.

    I'm surprised at the salary, but given your rent is paid for it must still work out well. I had assumed Dubai was the land of sky-high salaries. Is a salary at that rate not obtainable in teaching in Ireland?

    It doesn't get boring, but sometimes it makes it harder to make friends? I knew nobody when I moved to Dubai, and the group from my school that I moved over with wouldn't be my main friend group now, a year later.
    Everybody comes over here knowing that most people will be here for at least 2 years if they're a teacher (standard initial contracts over here are 2 years, and can be renewed after that year on year). Most of the people I'd hang out with now have been here for more than 3 years, and don't have any plans on going home anytime soon.
    Mixing with locals wouldn't really happen for adults. It's not uncommon for children in school to mix, but it'd be rare to see it as adults. No, we're not expected to integrate, but we are expected to be respectful of the country and culture we're in, but I don't think that's unreasonable - if someone came to Ireland, I'd expect them to be respectful of my country and culture too.

    It works out alright, but it's not allowing me to save as much as I'd like to. If you're working high up in management, or as a principal, you're easily making 5 or 6 times more than the rest of us per month, and have better perks to go with it!
    A few years ago, when it was harder to get teacher to move over, the money was better, but now that more teachers want to move over, there's more competition for jobs, so the packages aren't as good as they once were.
    For me, it would be very difficult to make that back home. I'd need to be on full time, permanent hours, and they just don't exist anymore sadly. The two tier pay scale back home doesn't help matters much either. If I was at home, I'd be looking at somewhere between 6-11hrs (if I was lucky), or I'd be relying on sub work, so it's be a very very long time (if ever) that I'd be making that at home.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,570 ✭✭✭vriesmays


    Why move to Dubai to earn less than €30k.


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    vriesmays wrote: »
    Why move to Dubai to earn less than €30k.

    I kind of feel like I'm repeating myself now, so this is the last time I'm answering this type of question, if people don't mind.

    The jobs just do not exist at home. I know the government have been bleeting on about the supposed shortage of teachers back home, but the majority of those jobs are for irregular sub work, or low hours (8 hrs or less) contracts. I saw an advertisement for a 3hr contract in a school on one of the Irish teaching jobs websites last week - how is anyone supposed to live off that?! It would cost more to go to work than you'd earn!
    I would be relying on sub work, or very, very low hours (if I was lucky)! As a result, I wouldn't make that much at home, because the jobs and hours aren't there. At least over here I know that I'm guaranteed full time hours for at least two years.
    I wouldn't be able to afford to rent the cupboard under the stairs in a house share back home, and over here the rent my own one bedroom apartment is paid for by my school (not including bills).
    I also wanted to travel, and Dubai is a great place to be based to travel this part of the world!


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,334 ✭✭✭✭freshpopcorn


    How are people and the students regarding homosexuality? Would it ever be discussed in class for example.
    Is it as bad as the internet makes out or are people more relaxed about it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 531 ✭✭✭Stopitwillya


    vriesmays wrote: »
    Why move to Dubai to earn less than €30k.

    30k tax free and your accommodation paid for is not the same as some poor fool earning that money in somewhere like Dublin and paying a fortune in tax and rent.
    But then again you are only in here to troll and insult like the rest of the threads you do it.
    What a loser.


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    How are people and the students regarding homosexuality? Would it ever be discussed in class for example.
    Is it as bad as the internet makes out or are people more relaxed about it.

    Being gay is 100% illegal in Dubai.
    You don't talk about it with the students, it's taboo.
    You also don't mention things like sex, relationships, drugs, alcohol and religion.
    Because of the subject I teach, they're not topics that'd come up with me anyway.
    Gay people are working in Dubai, they just don't advertise their sexuality publicly. It's illegal for a man and a woman to live together without being married (people still do anyway), but no-one would bat an eyelid at two men or two women living together in a "flatshare".
    I don't think it's something that's even on most of the kids radars to be honest; a lot of them are very innocent. I get the impression from most of the older kids that they don't particularly care one way or the other though.
    From my experience of living in Dubai, I've never heard of gay people being targeted/arrested/persecuted, and I imagine that'd be something that'd spread like wildfire through the expat community if it did happen!
    I think for a lot of people, they hear "Middle East" and think of Saudi. Saudi is a million time more strict than Dubai. Dubai is definitely more relaxed and "westernised" than Saudi. Nobody I know over here (gay or straight) has any desire to visit Saudi, even though we're practically next door!


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Mr.S wrote: »
    Makes sense!

    How do you cope with the weather!?

    Two words - Air Conditioning.
    Seriously though, everywhere here has air-conditioning, so that helps. It's in the low 40's at the moment, but once it starts hitting mid 30's in about a month, I probably won't even notice the weather all that much.
    You also have to make sure to stay really hydrated throughout the day.
    You'd be surprised at how quickly you learn to acclimatise! When I first moved over here, I was convinced that I'd self combust if I went out into the sun for any length of time, and by Christmas Break, I thought 25° was wooly jumper and jeans weather! 😂


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Mr.S wrote: »
    Another question - how's the dating scene? Is it hard to find long-term relationships given the fact most people are on temp contracts for 2-3 years?

    It really depends... some people have met their husband/wife over here. Over the Summer Holidays, several people in my school got engaged and married to people they met here.
    The casual dating scene is alive and well, although trying to find something more long term is definitely harder.
    There's a lot more western women than men over here, so they're in short supply (and they know it!). A lot (but not all!) of the guys over here know that there's a significant enough imbalance between the amount of men an women, and would rather "play the field" over here than commit to a relationship.
    There's the theory that, if you want a long term relationship, you need to pretty much meet the guy while he's fresh off the plane, or his head will be turned.
    Again, that's not all guys, but there's enough of them that it's regularly talked about among women over here.


  • Company Representative Posts: 63 Verified rep I'm a teacher in Dubai, AMA


    Right, there's a 3hr time difference between Dubai and Ireland, so I'm logging out for the night. Back tomorrow!


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,381 ✭✭✭✭Galwayguy35


    how long is the school year over there, I mean do the students get the same amount of holidays as here in Ireland?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 15,176 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes


    Why wouldn't you want to settle there long term?

    Are students more studious there?

    What are the differences between the young and old in politics social attitudes etc? Are they just as conservative or less so?

    Have you learnt any Arabic?


This discussion has been closed.
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