TESOL Blog

These notes provide basic information about what to expect when seeking work teaching English in UAE. Note that there will be considerable variation between schools, employers’ preferences, and government regulations, and requirements will change from time to time. Before entering into any commitment, you are advised to check with an appropriate authoritative source such as the embassy in your country.

The United Arab Emirates is on the border of the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia. Its position is sometimes seen as being important because of the vast amounts of oil that pass through the Straits of Hormuz. It is a rich country with huge reserves of oil and gas.

The UAE consists of a federation of seven emirates, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The capital, and the largest city, is Abu Dhabi. Dubai is the second largest emirate. The UAE is now an important commercial centre.

The federation was formally established on 2 December 1971. It has borders with Saudi Arabia and with Oman. The standard of living for many people is high and the population is small, at around 8.5 million. Interestingly, only 13% were UAE nationals in 2010, with the rest coming from other Arab countries, India and Iran. The largest group of all is from India at around 50% (Wikipedia).

Standards of health are generally high. In 2011, UAE was ranked as the 14th best nation in the world for doing business based on its economy and regulatory environment. There is a large expatriate community and dress styles vary significantly. Many building and development projects are under way in the country making some parts of the UAE look ultra-modern. The UAE welcomes a wide variety of different religions.

The UAE is mainly sandy desert but there are many other areas to see including towering dunes, fertile oases and rocky mountains. It is becoming a very popular tourist destination, in part because it offers sunny weather, white sandy beaches, blue sea, excellent hotels, a wide range of restaurants, not to mention every variety of sporting activity. With regard to the weather, the best months are generally October to March as the day-time temperature is commonly around a manageable 25°C. However, the weather can get uncomfortably hot and humid, and it is not unusual to have 45°C+ and high humidity at times from April to September.

There are many teaching opportunities in the UAE. Rates of pay are good (£2,000 – £3,000+ per month) and housing is provided. Higher rates of around £5,000+ are available for more senior posts or in the university. The cost of living is surprisingly low. However, these factors, plus the weather, mean that there is competition for teaching positions and so it would probably be difficult for applicants to find a teaching position without experience. Adverts for jobs can be found in a number of different websites and these are generally two-year contracts that include a good salary, free flights and accommodation.

It goes without saying that applicants must also be appropriately qualified and so a degree plus a TESOL or TEFL qualification are normally essential. However, some teaching work may be available to a spouse where their partner is working in the UAE. As a native-speaker already in the country, it may be possible to pick up a variety of part-time opportunities.

Note that whether your qualification is in TESOL or TEFL is unimportant. Both titles refer to the same style of training and both are accepted by employers. TESOL-direct offers TESOL courses accredited by the College of Teachers in London. Our sister-site The English Training Centre offers courses leading to qualifications in TEFL.

A TBE qualification (Teaching Business English) would certainly be a great asset and would attract higher pay rates. Having a TEYL qualification (Teaching English to Young Learners) would also be welcomed by schools, as well as independent companies.

Useful websites for English Teachers Going to UAE

Author: TESOL Direct

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