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Ambivalence about working in ME

 
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AMGunn



Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 5:39 pm    Post subject: Ambivalence about working in ME Reply with quote

Hello—I am a new poster, and have spent the past year looking at potential positions in various areas of the world. The draw of the ME, aside from weather (some locations on the ocean sound quite beautiful) is, of course, money. I am wondering if you can recommend any particular country you think would work best for me.

I am a woman, older than the norm here, possibly (age 52), have a Ph.D. in English and recent TESOL certification. My area of speciality is in working with the beginning/apprehensive writer.

I am very put off by the sound of working in Saudi Arabia, although of course, the money would be a draw. Is there anywhere in particular in the ME that would be more female-friendly, or is there anyone who can speak to working as a woman in Saudi? Is it ever truly tolerable, from a political perspective, for women?

Also, why do you think they are educating their female student population? Is it because there might be profound upcoming social change and there is a goal to facilitate that, or is there the equally important desire to just simply educate their female citizens? The attitude of the current regime to educating women seems rather ambivalent; on the one hand, they want them educated, but then they seem to have very little for them to do in their own country.

Also, if anyone has experience teaching in Saudi, could you speak to an issue I've seen written about here on this board, which is that students seem unmotivated? This is a concern, because although student motivation is a given issue no matter where you teach, are students extraordinarily unmotivated in Saudi, would you say? I mean, to an unusual extent?

Thank you all very much; I appreciate your experience on this matter. The ME seems, in places, very desirable, and in other places/areas, very undesirable. I would love to work in Cairo, for example, but so would everyone else, probably.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15858
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right now you probably wouldn't have much competition in Egypt as with the current unrest and insecurity, neither tourists nor TEFlers are flocking there. So, if you feel brave, you might want to check out the Writing Program at the American University in Cairo. They also have a bridge course in writing between the ELI and freshman year. The truth is that most writing teachers in the ME spend most of their time on basic sentence and paragraph structure and not with any kind of apprehension. Cool I don't know your nationality, but I think your credentials may fit into not only AUCairo, but also the AU Sharjah and AU Kuwait. They also hire non-Americans.

I notice that you posted on the General Middle East branch rather than the Saudi branch. Good idea as with your credentials, you should be able to avoid Saudi. You can make just as much or more money in the rest of the Gulf. I worked outside of Saudi in Egypt and the rest of the Gulf so I didn't have to deal with so many rules and restrictions on women.

As to student motivation or lack thereof, it is a bigger problem in the Gulf because of the cultural differences. So often you are teaching students who will never have a real job... or will get their job from "wasta" (contacts) rather than their education or ability. So, they don't have much pressure to perform. Their K-12 experience was often purely memorization and grading may have not been based on what they have learned. They are used to being spoiled... and not working terribly hard. But if you are with the right employers, you usually have enough good students to make the job enjoyable.

VS
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AMGunn



Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for your experience on my above questions. I have to say, I find the attitude in SA so strange, from an educational perspective. It sounds like one is teaching perpetual teenagers, in terms of their overall response to the material. It really is too bad, because nothing I've heard about SA makes it sound like a desirable place to teach, and yet at the same time, it's one of the places in the world that most needs an outside perspective, and to attract teachers from the outside world (in my opinion).

I had thought originally that perhaps the reality of teaching in Saudi was that "white people" represented the outside world, and brought 'western civilization' to SA, but it increasingly sounds like you would be required to teach high school, over and over again. That's really too bad, since the students I've had in the States from Saudi benefited tremendously from leaving their country and seeing the outside world for awhile.

I can well understand current fears about Cairo; it's one of the reasons I was considering areas away from the center of fire. Wink However, I will check out the American school website, since it is what I had in mind originally. Thanks again.

I'm also interested in teaching in Asia, so you might see me on that forum as well, just to avoid creating confusion in people's minds.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3596
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AMGunn, take a look at higheredjobs.com and chronicle.com for higher education jobs worldwide.
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bulgogiboy



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 787

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a whole bunch of 'iy league' universities, and others, which have campuses in Doha, Qatar. With a PhD you would probably stand a good chance with them.

Day-to-day basic freedoms (dress, travel, driving, male friendship,etc) for expat women in Qatar are more or less the same as in western countries, but you still have to be discreet if you want to co-habit outside of marriage (as do men, of course).

Money starts at around $40-44K, with benefits such as accommodation,etc, for bog-standard qualifications, and would no doubt rise much higher for a PhD-level position.

Motivation is a massive problem in the Gulf. Qataris are, by GDP per capita, the wealthiest people in the world. The young people are generally not studying for financial reasons; they are often forced to study by their parents. The students range from very polite and friendly, to sometimes downright surly and hostile (you would probably avoid these ones, as they skulk about in QP).

It's not just an abundance of money that makes Gulf Arabs so poorly-motivated, however. The region of Saudi that I taught in before Qatar, was very poor, with students attending college just to get a 1000 riyal monthly stipend (most Qatari students wouldn't scratch their nose for a measly 1000!). The same problems of poor attendance, punctuality, non-existent work ethic, cheating, lethargy and apathy were evident though. I don't know what it is, but they often just seem loathe to put any effort into anything worthwhile...
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justcolleen



Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 644
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bulgogiboy wrote:
It's not just an abundance of money that makes Gulf Arabs so poorly-motivated, however. The region of Saudi that I taught in before Qatar, was very poor, with students attending college just to get a 1000 riyal monthly stipend (most Qatari students wouldn't scratch their nose for a measly 1000!). The same problems of poor attendance, punctuality, non-existent work ethic, cheating, lethargy and apathy were evident though. I don't know what it is, but they often just seem loathe to put any effort into anything worthwhile...


A couple of reasons.

The value isn't in the education, it's in the status of the degree. One of the saddest things I've ever seen was a sign that said "Eng. Mustafa Somethingorother." The only thing Eng. Mustafa was engineering was a photocopy machine, but he has an engineering degree and all of the bragging rights that go with it, doggone it!

The other reason is, in my opinion, because there's simply no need to do anything that would lead to a responsible adulthood when parents will take care of their children forever, and a 40 year old man will live at home with his parents and get his spending money from his father. The only enticement to do anything different is marriage.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12297
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And three more words: Often Spoiled Rotten.

Regards,
John
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