Teaching Jobs in Dubai
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Salary, Benefits, and Saving Money
Teaching jobs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the rest of the United Arab Emirates are stable and well-known for generous salary and benefit packages. Many teachers come to this part of the world specifically to save, because your earnings here are tax-free. Typical salaries vary with the school and position you’re applying to, as well as your experience. On the high end, expect to make as much as USD $70,000 annually. Even on the lowest end of the scale, you’re still making at least $30,000. Doesn’t sound much better than your current contract? Consider that that on top of not having to pay tax on your earnings, free housing is also included with most UAE teaching jobs. Instead of paying money for rent, you can put it right in your savings account instead. Lots of other perks are included with teaching contracts here: return flights, extensive holidays , health insurance (which, just like accommodation, covers not just you but your family as well), a relocation allowance to get your new place set up, an annual travel allowance to visit home or go on fun trips (see below), school fees for your kids, and even a sizeable completion bonus at the end of your contract. We’ve heard from some teachers who receive an extra allowance for working in a remote area on top of all the above – though no place is truly remote in this small country (the size of Austria or the US state of Main); even the rural areas of the West are still a short drive away from the two major cities. The teachers that shine in the United Arab Emirates aren’t just motivated by the financial rewards – you should bring a real passion for teaching and readiness to face a new challenge.
Great Base for Travel and International Mixing Place
You will get to indulge your travel bug quite a bit while teaching in the UAE. It can feel a bit like getting paid to travel. How exactly does that work? A few factors conspire to make this the perfect job for a world traveller. First of all, you get quite a bit of paid time off. Secondly, you get a generous annual travel allowance. Many teachers use this money to see more of the world instead of going home for Christmas. The airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have some of the best international connections and inexpensive flights and this makes Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and the rest of the Arab world easily accessible to teachers looking for a bit of adventure.
Even when you’re working, you’ll be getting an international experience. Most people outside of the UAE don’t realize just how international and foreigner-friendly the country is. Five out of six residents here are international citizens and English is a de facto second language – you’ll notice many of the public signs are written in English. The cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are world-class metropolises, with hundreds of thousands of expats already living and working here. It’s very easy to meet new friends, with lots of social events and groups available – everything from sports teams to lively nightlife. We’ve heard from teachers that one of the things they treasure the most about teaching here is the international feeling and the diversity of colleagues they get to know. You will meet Footprints teachers from USA, Canada, South Africa, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand – as well as faculty colleagues from around the world and local co-teachers.
The Place and the Lifestyle
The UAE is located on the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. The country is comprised of seven states called emirates. Dubai is easily the most famous of these, but its sister emirate of Abu Dhabi is quickly catching up in name recognition and prestige (and as an up-and-coming location has more untapped opportunities). The climate is very sunny and hot from April to November. The temperatures are no joke: in the summer months, the average highs hover around 40C. But life here is set up for that – every public space, private home, and vehicle is comfortably air-conditioned. This doesn’t mean you will be stuck indoors, however. Winter months are UAE’s best-kept secret: the heat takes a step back and the weather gets really pleasant for outdoor activities, with lows of 15C and highs of 25C between December and March. In these months and many summer evenings, there are hundreds of kilometers of UAE coastline to explore – a quick Google search reveals some fantastic options for beach outings including some right in the city. Driving the desert dunes, boat rides in the mangroves, and hiking are just some of the other options. For nature lovers, the easy trip to nearby Oman is almost a requirement.
The ancient Emirati culture offers much to learn, with traditional Arab and Bedouin ways of live still on show among the big-city bustle. Historical sights are plentiful, well-preserved, and open to the public. Explore traditional markets, check out busy trading boat docks, visit heritage villages and forts, spectacular mosques, and historical museums. Head into the rural areas for date farms, rides on camels and Arabian horses, and even learn a bit about falconry. Locals are really hospitable, curious about other cultures, and proud of their country. With recent growth and opulence, modern sights are even easier to find – top-notch malls, world class architecture, a number of amusement parks, and even indoor skiing. The growing cultural scene hosts film festivals, orchestras, fine art fairs, huge sporting events, and even new trends like food truck fests. The French Louvre museum is set to open a stunning satellite location here in December 2015, with the Guggenheim joining it next door in 2017. There’s something for every taste. When the the glitz and glamour of the luxury hotel socialite life wear a little thin, you will find the quieter, more traditional sides of the cities a refreshing change. Step back from the bustle when you’re exploring souqs (traditional markets), boat launches, numerous historical museums, and shopping for produce and spices in the old shops or the Iranian market. Options for nightlife are plentiful – bars, dance clubs, beach clubs and restaurants abound and are often part of a fancy hotel. Unlike elsewhere in the Arab world, attitudes towards non-Muslims consuming alcohol are relaxed here. Still, there is zero tolerance for public intoxication or driving with any amount of alcohol in your system – we know of teachers who have gotten in trouble with the law and lost their job. That said, the busiest nights of the week to go out and mix with other expats and locals at a bar or club are Thursday and Friday. Time Out’s Abu Dhabi and Dubai editions can provide the most current event listings. Many seasoned expats also opt for simpler options like going to small waterside cafes or entertaining friends at home.
Types of Teaching Jobs, Schools, and Subjects Taught
There are a number of possibilities for teaching jobs in Dubai, nearby Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates in general. Many types of schools operate here, and the types of jobs available, grade levels and curricula taught are all varied – we’ll break all these down below. Of special note is the recent investment in reforming the public education system, led by Abu Dhabi – this is the best opening for foreign educators.
Types of Jobs Available – most educational institutions are looking for teachers (in particular native English speaking teachers with a teaching license from their home country. There is also a smaller intake for administrators like principals, VPs, and heads of faculty – these leadership jobs are at the top of the pay scale, but typically require very solid experience from back home and don’t come up as often as regular teaching positions.
Types of Schools:
1) Public schools – these openings are primarily in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi’s authorities want tomorrow’s high school grads to be fluent in English and have technical skills to form a knowledge-based workforce that is less dependent on oil reserves and foreign expertise (a movement that is happening all over UAE). The large-scale education reform is supported by an ongoing recruiting drive of foreign teachers. Joining this program is the best opportunity for foreign teachers – the responsibility is important, the jobs are stable and prestigious government teaching positions, and the salaries and benefits definitely reflect that.
2) Private schools – Historically, most opportunities for teaching in Dubai and the region have revolved around private schools, with licensed Western educators teaching all subjects and grades and a variety of curricula. This is still a big part of the education industry, in particular in Dubai, where hundreds of thousands of students are enrolled in private schools. A variety of schools catering both to locals and to children of expats are thriving in the UAE. It can often be hard here to get a clear sense from a school’s name or online information to see if it’s a good fit for you: the curriculum being taught, the demographics of the student body, and the makeup of the faculty. It’s a good idea to work with a recruiting agency that has local experience and can suggest schools that are reputable and a good fit for your particular background and experience. The recruiters’ inside connection to decision makers at the schools and knowledge of the quickly shifting VISA process can speed up your dream of working abroad by a matter of months. If you’re determined to try it on your own, a good starting point is this map of schools in the Dubai area
3) Vocational schools typically teach students of college age and recent high school grads upgrading their skills. Many of these have a technical orientation and their recruiting needs are often a particular discipline – everything from STEM specialties (very common) to art teachers and special ed teachers (we see postings like this from time to time).
4) Language academies – often these are evening or weekend jobs teaching adults or students preparing for an English exam. Unlike the other school types above, a BA with TEFL certification and some teaching experience may be sufficient to teach at these – you may not have to be licensed to teach in a public school in your home country. However, the pay is also usually lower to reflect that.
Subjects Taught: There is a strong demand for English teachers and STEM disciplines. If you’re a Math/Biology/Chemistry/Physics teacher, especially with middle school and high school experience, jobs are usually not hard to find. There is also an increasing need for applied instruction in specialized fields like computer science /and fill in with Jess/. Physical education teachers are also generally in demand, as are certified kindergarten teachers and early childhood educators. It can tougher for teachers whose experience is primarily in social sciences or history to find a job in UAE teaching their subject of choice, but as the education industry here matures we see a growing demand in this area. Positions like art teacher and /fill this in with Alison and Jess/ come up, but it’s a good idea to apply well ahead of your planned departure time (if you have a specific specialty in this area, contact us LINK with your CV and our recruiters will keep an eye out for positions for you).