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Advice requested before applying in Oman
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oldmankit



Joined: 11 Nov 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:25 am    Post subject: Advice requested before applying in Oman Reply with quote

I'm interested in moving to Oman to teach ESL. I'm currently teaching ESL in a Thai University, and have been for about five years. My qualifications are a BSc in Psychology and a CELTA.

Partly I don't want to make this move because I'm very happy in my current job; however, I could do with more money, quicker, for a house. I'm also interested in a change for a year or two (or three), and the middle-East is appealing. I've spoken to a few people and they all agree that Oman is one of the better places to go.

I've got two questions. First, will I be miserable? No-one can answer that definitively, of course, but I have a friend who went to teach in Kuwait for a year and it killed his passion for TESOL. He found the students' attitudes just horrid.

My second question is where and how I should be applying. A friend recommended the TESOL Arabia conference, which I can see I would need to apply for very soon if I wish to go. However in today's age of internet communication, is there really any need to book flights and go through the whole rigmarole? I would do it if it was likely to be worthwhile (in terms of getting a better job or better money for the same job).

I am open-minded about where I teach. I wouldn't expect to get a job in a university (given I don't have a Master's degree, and that my undergraduate degree is not in English or teaching). Most of my friends here in Thailand work in state or private high schools. I have never taught under-18s before, but I would be willing to.

I really appreciate any advice that helps me make good choices.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4319
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:55 am    Post subject: Re: Advice requested before applying in Oman Reply with quote

oldmankit wrote:
I'm interested in moving to Oman to teach ESL. I'm currently teaching ESL in a Thai University, and have been for about five years. My qualifications are a BSc in Psychology and a CELTA.

My second question is where and how I should be applying. A friend recommended the TESOL Arabia conference, which I can see I would need to apply for very soon if I wish to go. However in today's age of internet communication, is there really any need to book flights and go through the whole rigmarole? I would do it if it was likely to be worthwhile (in terms of getting a better job or better money for the same job).

TESOL Arabia's job fair attracts lots of applicants with related MAs and teaching experience from this region. Your unrelated degree and TEFL experience in Thailand aren't likely to get you a second look from employers attending the job fair. Frankly, if earning more money is a major priority for you, given your qualifications, your best bet for employment in this region would be with a Saudi contracting company.
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oldmankit



Joined: 11 Nov 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:22 am    Post subject: Re: Advice requested before applying in Oman Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
TESOL Arabia's job fair attracts lots of applicants with related MAs and teaching experience from this region. Your unrelated degree and TEFL experience in Thailand aren't likely to get you a second look from employers attending the job fair. Frankly, if earning more money is a major priority for you, given your qualifications, your best bet for employment in this region would be with a Saudi contracting company.


I am wary of working for a Saudi contracting company because from what I know of the students in that context, I would find the job a real grind.

What you said about the TESOL Arabia conference was discouraging. However I just had a look at the TESOL Arabia jobs board, and I found two out of the eight positions up there did not require a masters, one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. They were both tertiary-level. I wonder whether attending the conference in person would give me a significant advantage over applying online.
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Tazz



Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 142
Location: Jakarta

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't want to be discouraging but I doubt you'd be able to even get a 'foot in the door' with B.A. + CELTA in UAE....
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pooroldedgar



Joined: 07 Oct 2010
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you applied through the recruiters to teach at one of the colleges of technology, I bet you'd be fine.
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oldmankit



Joined: 11 Nov 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tazz wrote:
Don't want to be discouraging but I doubt you'd be able to even get a 'foot in the door' with B.A. + CELTA in UAE....


It's cool. Perhaps I was being unrealistic and need a reality check.
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oldmankit



Joined: 11 Nov 2013
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pooroldedgar wrote:
If you applied through the recruiters to teach at one of the colleges of technology, I bet you'd be fine.


Thanks. I'm not really sure what a college of technology is like. Would the experience be closer to a university or at a private company? My friend taught in a Kuwaiti oil company, and that was what killed his passion for teaching.
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PattyFlipper



Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 563

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Colleges of Technology are basically babysitting operations, intended to keep unemployed and potentially disaffected Omani youth off the streets and away from Molotov cocktails, and to provide a modest stipend for attendance on which some families (particularly those with several offspring at the college), survive. There are few jobs available in most of these interior towns, and youth unemployment rates are astronomical.

Student motivation and behavior varies. While only a few of them are generally as arrogant, obnoxious or unruly as some Kuwaiti students can be, English and general education levels are low and management expectations in terms of curriculum, progression and achievement unrealistic. This however is a common theme throughout the Gulf (and not entirely unheard of in Thailand either Smile ). That said, Omanis are usually polite and respectful, and it is not too difficult to win them over in the classroom. And when they are good, they are very, very good.

Working conditions can vary from college to college, depending on the local administration. Some are perfectly tolerable, while others may be less so. Staff turnover in the college system seems to have decreased in recent years, with far fewer teachers doing the 'midnight run'. This may be due to a rather more rigorous recruitment process, or perhaps because fewer Westerners are being hired overall.

Not sure whereabouts in Thailand you are located, but your biggest hurdle may actually be adjusting to life in some of these small and often remote towns in which the colleges are situated. If you are presently out in Nakhon Nowhere, the transition may not be so difficult; however moving from say Bangkok or Chiangmai to Ibri is going to be a bit of a shock to the system. The upside to this is that there is little to spend your money on, and as long as you are not rushing off to Muscat or Dubai every weekend to preserve your sanity, you should be able to bank a sizable portion of your salary.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4319
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oldmankit wrote:
...I just had a look at the TESOL Arabia jobs board, and I found two out of the eight positions up there did not require a masters, one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. They were both tertiary-level. I wonder whether attending the conference in person would give me a significant advantage over applying online.

Laureate Vocational Saudi Arabia's ad states a minimum of a BA (a related degree is better), so I believe you're referring to HCT for positions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Although their ad indicates a BA is required, be aware that the majority of HCT's teachers hold TEFL-related MAs, which is preferred. That's not surprising since TESOL Arabia's job fair attracts lots of job seekers with relevant grad degrees + experience teaching in this region. That's your competition. So if you're still interested in attending, go for the seminars/workshops and networking, but keep your expectations realistic in terms of the job fair.
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Sleepwalker



Joined: 02 Feb 2007
Posts: 367
Location: Reading the screen

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your friend's experience in Kuwait is not untypical - I was okay with my students in the oil company but it was the management of my sponsoring company that drove me away.

I heard recently that Omani teachers have gained fairly substantial pay rises in the colleges and those in private colleges will flood the Ministry with applications for next year so there may be fewer opportunities.

If you're looking for money, maybe Qatar would be better.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4319
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sleepwalker wrote:
If you're looking for money, maybe Qatar would be better.

That's not likely to happen with an unrelated BA and teaching experience gained in Thailand. Qatar University requires an MA in TESOL, Applied Linguistics or ELT. Very likely the same for Qatar Foundation. Qatar Community College (CCQ), which is affiliated with the Houston Community Colleges System in Texas, possibly hires teachers with BAs, but preference goes to local applicants since a Texas bank account is required. Plus, deployment is from Texas.

Anyway, Saudi Arabia is the OP's best bet. Oman is a "maybe," only if an unrelated degree is acceptable.


Last edited by nomad soul on Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:45 am; edited 2 times in total
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nomad soul



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:41 am    Post subject: Re: Advice requested before applying in Oman Reply with quote

oldmankit wrote:
Partly I don't want to make this move because I'm very happy in my current job; however, I could do with more money, quicker, for a house. I'm also interested in a change for a year or two (or three), and the middle-East is appealing.

In a nutshell, Oman is a maybe, but a sketchy Saudi contracting company will definitely take you. Given your limited options for work in this region, I suggest you stay in Thailand, especially since you're very happy in your current job. Frankly, it doesn't make sense to trade a good position for employment in this conservative/restrictive part of world just so that you can make quick money. (That "appealing" factor will wear off quickly.) Stay where you are and continue to put aside money for that home, and consider taking on extra work, if that's feasible. But definitely give this region a pass unless you're willing to upgrade your qualifications.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 832
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same quals as you plus an MSc in Educational Technology and have been employed in a College of Applied Science (Tertiary) for the last three years. One the agents who recruits for the Colleges, Hawthorn, definitely accepts teachers with just an unrelated BA/BSc + Celta so maybe worth checking them out.

The students here are generally ok, albeit lazy and inclined to cut corners whenever possible, other posters have pointed out that motivation levels are low and that many are in College purely to get the stipend, this is true.

Oman is still reasonably liberal and there is an active social scene in the bigger towns and in Muscat. I don't know what sort of money you're expecting but with your quals it would be about 1000 OMR + accommodation with a recruiter, more if you can get direct hire after a year here or even as a first post, although this is harder to do. The other big plusses here are that its tax free and the holidays are fantastic, 60 days paid leave per year and all the national and religious days in my College. The actual teaching semesters come to 2x15 so 30 weeks per year but the students never come for the first or last weeks so its really 26 minus whatever holidays happen during that time. Teaching hours are capped at 20 but few actually do that many....

Good luck!
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Chuma



Joined: 21 May 2013
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't know what sort of money you're expecting but with your quals it would be about 1000 OMR + accommodation with a recruiter, more if you can get direct hire after a year here or even as a first post


What salary could a direct hire with an MA TESL and years of experience expect from a university in Oman?
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 832
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Nakhon Nowhere"]
Quote:
What salary could a direct hire with an MA TESL and years of experience expect from a university in Oman?


I don't know about the unis, SQU or private, but in the Colleges of Applied Sciences MA TESL + 4 years post-Masters experience would get you 1505 OMR total. That's including the accommodation allowance. All the usual perks are included on top, flights medical insurance, etc.
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