Teaching English in the UAE
by K.H. and Faiqa
(London, UK & Pakistan)
Question One - from KH in the UK - I am interested in teaching in the UAE in particularly in Dubai. I have no previous teaching experience or a degree. I would like your opinion on the best route to take. I was wondering if a TEFL course alongside a MA TESOL or a CELTA qualification would be more advised. Also any other recommended routes which I haven't thought of would be welcome.
- To get a job teaching English in the UAE you will need relevant teaching experience, a first degree and TEFL certification. For the better jobs (and you should avoid the bad ones) you will also need a higher degree.
First you need to begin working towards a first degree in a related subject. This could be education, linguistics, English or modern languages. You could do this part-time in London and also take a TEFL certificate
- only the CELTA and the CertTESOL are recognized in the UAE
, and in the Middle East generally. Then you would be in a position to find part-time work and summer work to help fund your studies.
Once you have your first degree (whether it was taken part-time or full-time) find a job. I recommend that you then get a couple of years experience in an easier Middle Eastern country. For example Egypt. By then the present (2011/2012) difficult visa situation should have sorted itself out. Morocco is another possibility, and so is Oman.
The pay in Egypt and Morocco is low, but experience teaching English in Arabic speaking countries would be valuable. Teaching English in Oman
is another - financially much better option (although the pay is still well below Saudi Arabia
and the UAE. There is a constant high turnover of teachers there, so opportunities are always appearing.
A first degree + a CELTA and a few years teaching experience in a country like Egypt will mean you can apply for the lower paying jobs in Saudi Arabia. By this time you should certainly be able to find work in a country like Oman.
To find a good job in the UAE you will also need higher TEFL qualifications, as well as a good level of experience - over 5 years, more would be
better. TEFL qualifications usually asked for are a TEFL diploma
, or - more often - an MA TESOL/applied linguistics
. The best university jobs in Dubai ask for a PhD TESOL
or applied linguistics.
I don't know any other routes, except having very good contacts, but that is easier said than done, and would probably still take years to make. The better the qualifications, the better quality of institution you could apply to. Therefore the more pleasant experience of life you would have there. The best jobs are good, but the worst ones are truly bad.
Other possibilities in the Middle East include teaching English in Qatar
, Bahrain and Kuwait. All of these require TEFL certification and experience. Question Two - From Faiqa in Pakistan
Hi, I did my MA in English Literature and then my M.Phil degree in Linguistics(English). I am very much interested in teaching in Universities in Dubai and European zone. Please provide me any guideline for applying in universities and jobs available in UAE or European zone. Thanks Answer
Hi Faiqa, I don't think you will be able to find work at a university in the Eurozone at all. The competition is very stiff, and there are few jobs available. Added to this it's very hard for a non-EU citizen to get a teaching job in the EU. Even native speaking Americans have a lot of difficulty with this.
The Middle East offers more opportunities. There is still a preference for native speakers, but far less than in Europe. However, Dubai is the most difficult part of the Gulf. They pay the most and demand the most. Your qualifications would not be enough to find work in the best universities.
You may be better off looking for work in Oman, which pays less, but has lower requirements for qualifications.
You don't mention whether you have experience teaching English. This is essential; if you don't have experience, get it. If you don't have any experience, then I'd say your chances are much lower. It may also be a good idea for you to get some kind of TEFL certification. The degrees you have are literature/language based, not educational. Knowing the subject and knowing how to teach it are not the same - so try to get some teaching experience.