New Teacher working in Middle East
If you're a new teacher considering a position at a private school in the Middle East, here are some recommendations to help you prepare:
1. Understand the customs, traditions, and etiquette of the country where you'll be teaching. This knowledge will help you connect with your students and colleagues and avoid unintentional cultural misunderstandings.
2. Many Middle Eastern countries are predominantly Muslim, so it's crucial to respect Islamic practices. This could include adapting to the rhythm of life during Ramadan, understanding the call to prayer, or dressing modestly.
3. Middle Eastern countries often have more conservative dress codes than Western countries. This is especially true for women, who are generally expected to cover their shoulders, knees, and in some cases, their hair. Research the specific dress code in the country where you'll be teaching and pack your wardrobe accordingly.
4. Even if the medium of instruction at your school is English, learning some of the local language can be beneficial. This will assist you in daily life and help you establish stronger connections with your students and their parents.
5. The classroom culture in the Middle East might be quite different from what you're used to. Students may have different expectations of teacher-student relationships, different attitudes towards authority, and different approaches to learning. Be prepared to adapt your teaching style to fit the cultural context.
6. While many private schools in the Middle East are well-resourced, the educational materials and technology they utilize could be unfamiliar. Be prepared to familiarize yourself with their curriculum, adapt to different resources, and learn new educational technologies or software that may be in use.
7. Living conditions can range from ultra-modern cities like Dubai to more rural areas. Research your destination thoroughly and prepare yourself for the living conditions you'll encounter.
8. Ensure you fully comprehend your contract before signing. Consider aspects such as salary, accommodations (often provided by the school), health insurance, vacation time, and end-of-contract bonuses.
9. Consult with your doctor about any vaccinations or medications you may need before you go. Familiarize yourself with the healthcare system in your new country. While many parts of the Middle East are safe, some areas can be unstable, so stay informed about current situations.
10. Connect with other expat teachers who can provide valuable advice and support. They can offer practical tips and help you navigate any challenges you might face.
Teaching in a new culture can be challenging, but it also provides a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. Best of luck on your journey!