Teaching English in the UAE - Dubai TEFL Jobs

Dubai TEFL jobs allow you to save more money than most English teachers can do in other regions of the world. Unlike teaching English in Saudi Arabia ,which is another good place to save, there are many ways to spend money too. There are plenty of shopping malls, hotel restaurants and bars, and other diversions that are not so readily available in other parts of the Gulf.

Dubai is the most cosmopolitan of the seven emirates and it's the shopping capital of the Middle East. However, it's still very conservative. It's a crime to be gay, and public displays of affection may get you arrested - as has happened in recent years.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are the main emirates and the first two are where most of the jobs are for teaching English in the UAE are. The other emirates are: Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah and Umm Al-Quwain.

Finding Work Teaching English in Dubai

Dubai TEFL jobs - and other ESL jobs in the UAE can be found online, but it's a good idea to search for universities in Dubai - or whichever emirate you are interested in - and check their websites. ESL jobs are often advertised there. You can also send you C.V. and a cover letter to any institutions that interest you. 

Getting jobs teaching English in the UAE can be hard, and many people first get a job in a neighboring country such as Oman or Saudi Arabia then after getting some experience in the Middle East, apply for jobs teaching English in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. 

The bad ESL jobs are bad, so it's better to get the necessary tefl certification which usually means a tefl diploma or an MA TESOL , and apply for the better jobs. The best university jobs are increasingly asking for a PhD and published research. 

There are numerous stories about colleges or universities with poor quality management. Read and ask questions on the UAE forum at Dave's ESL Cafe. 

Apart from TEFL certification, Dubai TEFL jobs usually require at least 3 years post MA experience in a tertiary institution. Often 5 years relevant experience is asked for. There is also a preference for candidates with experience of teaching English in the Middle East. 

If you have a recognized teaching qualification from your country there are good jobs in the international schools which exist in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Some advertise online, others need to be contacted directly. 

Apart from ESL jobs with universities and international schools, there are also Dubai TEFL jobs with the military, oil companies and private language schools. The private language schools often need their teachers to work split shifts which can be quite uncomfortable.

Typically, the hiring and interviewing is done in March and April, but some hiring will usually be done until September when the term starts. However, it's best to apply early. Delays in getting a visa are common

If you have the opportunity, attend TESOL Arabia which usually takes place in March. This will give you the opportunity to interview with many employers from the Gulf at the same time, and also to meet other teachers working in the region.

The school year is from September until the following summer. 

Students in the UAE

Students in the UAE are not known for being independent learners, and many of them have quite low levels of maturity. Cheating can be an issue, as can classroom management. Be prepared for questions on how you would deal with discipline problems in your interview. 

The students here like to talk, but typically have problems with their writing. Unlike in China, Korea or Taiwan, where teaching conversation is an important part of the EFL teacher's job, in the UAE writing is often more important; particularly if you work in higher education. 

You will probably be spending a lot of time helping your students to write grammatically correct sentences, then helping them build up to paragraphs and essays; while at the same time trying to make sure that it is their own work. 

Benefits of Teaching English in Dubai

The salaries are often similar to Western salaries, but without the tax. They vary widely and you need to check individual Dubai TEFL jobs yourself, but as an example the average range seems to be £15,000/$22,000 to £25,000/$36,500. With time you should be able to find jobs paying more than this. Some teachers report saving over $30,000+ a year, but to do this you need to live simply. Other teachers report saving nothing. It depends so much on your lifestyle. 

Less than this is also possible; much will depend on your experience, qualifications, connections and being in the right place at the right time. Be aware that some companies regularly pay late - not a benefit. Most employers offer free housing, or a housing allowance and return flights to your home country. 

Dubai is a commercial city, and unlike Saudi Arabia, it keeps working, seldom stopping for prayers. Public transportation is minimal and the traffic is bad, therefore the location of your accommodation could make a big difference to you. If you live too far from your work, you could waste money, as well as time, every day.  

While few people go to Dubai for the cultural experience, there are sights of interest in the city. 

Palm Islands is the largest group of artificial islands in the world. 'The World' is a man-made archipelago of 300 islands representing the world. Burj Dubai is the tallest building in the world at 818m. The Dubai metro is the world's longest driverless metro. And Dubai also has the world's first underwater shopping mall. 

A final 'benefit' is the hot sunny weather - often reaching 50*C during the summer.

a reader's question about finding work in dubai 

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