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Is teaching in SA as horrific as I'm reading it to be?
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teacheverywhere



Joined: 09 Aug 2013
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:44 am    Post subject: Is teaching in SA as horrific as I'm reading it to be? Reply with quote

I'm interested in teaching in Saudi Arabia, but I must say that I feel very taken aback by the threads I've been reading. I'm not concerned about the culture shock. It's the lack of professionalism and honesty from the employers that concern me.

Is this a case of all the negativity being aired out and everyone who is in a safe working environment just isn't speaking out, or is it pretty much a major failure to teach in Saudi Arabia?

I'm a female strongly trying to pursue a job in SA. If anyone is willing to guide me, please send me a PM.

Thanks,
g
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16064
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because you are new and have only one post, you can't do PMs as yet. This is to stop spammers who join just to send all the rest of us spam PMs (as if we don't get enough of the stupid emails. Smile )

An answer to your question requires some information about you. What are your goals, aspirations, reason for choosing Saudi Arabia (your expectations)... etc. What kind of job are you looking for... K-12? university? What are your credentials? Have you taught overseas before?

This is not just being snoopy, but the answers to those questions decide how likely you are to get one of the decent jobs. For women, the best jobs are at university level, but they require a related MA + a few years of experience.

Sadly, there are way too many unprofessional organizations and downright dishonest employers. Much depends on your tolerance level.

VS
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nomad soul



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

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: Is teaching in SA as horrific as I'm reading it to be? Reply with quote

Assuming your interest is in teaching at the adult level, the lack of professionalism and honesty you've read about within this forum mainly describes the experiences of working for sketchy contracting companies. The better employers are the universities that do their own recruiting/hiring. The requirements for these direct-hire positions can vary from a BA (in English, linguistics, education, or adult education) + TEFL cert + several years of related teaching experience up to a relevant MA + 3 or more years of experience.

As VS pointed out, we can't really guide you without knowing a bit more about your background and teaching interests. However, for starters, you can find job postings for direct-hire ops on both TESOL Arabia's job fair and TESOL.org's career center. There are a few sketchy contracting companies listing their ads on those sites as well, but they're easy to pick out. The ESL Cafe's international job board is full of Saudi teaching jobs, but the majority of the ads are via contractors. For international schools (teaching content to children), there's Teach Away's site.
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rollingk



Joined: 23 Jul 2006
Posts: 201

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm not concerned about the culture shock. It's the lack of professionalism and honesty from the employers that concern me.


Notwithstanding a few very vocal polyannas piping in their own band, what makes you think this isn't a part of the culture, or at minimum, the culture of management hereabouts?

Quote:
. . . is it pretty much a major failure to teach in Saudi Arabia?


This question needs refinement as we can't possibly know what you mean by failure. As VS and NS have suggested, failure would depend on your goals and expectations. There's always the money, but there are also those few decent hard-working students, who to some teachers at times can make a tremendous difference.

However, if shoveling the kind of crap that is often the bi-product of dishonesty and unreasonableness just makes you shudder, then I'd give this place a wide berth.
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Hatcher



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question is why you want to teach in the KSA?

I have been around the world and it is by far and away the most difficult place I have ever lived. And for a woman... why?
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MuscatGary



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

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hatcher wrote:
My question is why you want to teach in the KSA?

I have been around the world and it is by far and away the most difficult place I have ever lived. And for a woman... why?


I was wondering about this too...Why would any woman want to teach in a country which is so misogynistic? Even though they do try to dress it up as protecting their womenfolk...
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grayskies



Joined: 03 Dec 2013
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it is your desire to work in the kingdom, then be prepared to roll with the punches. Personally, I'd like the opportunity to take a long road trip after a week of *^#*!, but that is not a luxury offered to females. Driving is only one restriction amongst many for women. It gets old very quickly.
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Fatboy



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:01 pm    Post subject: Saudi is cool Reply with quote

Don't believe the hype. Working in Saudi Arabia is quite nice.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16064
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Saudi is cool Reply with quote

Fatboy wrote:
Don't believe the hype. Working in Saudi Arabia is quite nice.

I would change that "is" to "can be." I have some women friends who worked there for a few years and found it tolerable and often pleasant, although to be honest, I know more women who loathed living there - either as a teacher or a spouse. Most of them moved on to better positions elsewhere in the Gulf as soon as they could.

VS
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mashkif



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 135

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Is teaching in SA as horrific as I'm reading it to be? Reply with quote

teacheverywhere wrote:
I'm interested in teaching in Saudi Arabia, but I must say that I feel very taken aback by the threads I've been reading. I'm not concerned about the culture shock. It's the lack of professionalism and honesty from the employers that concern me.

Is this a case of all the negativity being aired out and everyone who is in a safe working environment just isn't speaking out, or is it pretty much a major failure to teach in Saudi Arabia?

I'm a female strongly trying to pursue a job in SA. If anyone is willing to guide me, please send me a PM.

Thanks,
g







I'm going to take a lot of flak for writing this, but what the heck.

In Saudi you are liable to encounter bad employers, bad employees (colleagues), and bad students. Most likely it will be all three at once, and most likely they will be the rule rather than the exception.

1. The employer. They range the from inefficient and incompetent to the downright criminal. If you're lucky, you'll wind up working for someone where you'll experience a few annoyances now and then, but which you will be able to overcome with persistence and a smile/kind word. Unless you are really unlucky, the employer will not have a material effect on your daily life. Therefore, do your homework when choosing who you're going to be working for.

2. The colleagues. Face it: Most TEFL "teachers" go to Saudi because for one reason or another they have to, not because they want to. There are a few who do it for The Experience(TM); there are a few more who do it for religious reasons (so be prepared for a pretty homogeneous political, social, and religious discourse around you; no plurality of thought here!); there are some women who are here because they married a Saudi (no comment). The bulk though go because they are unemployable in their own countries and/or they can't find employment that pays them well enough for the debt they managed to amass (student, mortgage, alimony, child support; you name it). The bottom line is that very many are not here of their own volition, they hate having to be there, they don't have much in the way of a constructive outlet in a place like Saudi Arabia, so they take their venom to the workplace and let it fly. The politicking, rumormongering, backbiting, backstabbing... - you name it. Of course, that's present in the West and elsewhere, too, especially in the corporate environment. The main difference is that in the West you can go out get some fresh air. You also probably live at least a few blocks away from someone from work. In Saudi, you're in the same building ~8 hours a day, you probably take communal transportation to work, and at best you live within a stone's throw of each other. There's nowhere much to escape except inside of you, which - in turn - means you'll quickly be labeled a "weirdo." On the flip-side, if you happen upon another sane person, you can end up forming solid, lifelong friendships.

3. The students. The females are slightly better than the males but even in the best-case scenario, you're looking at well under a half who will be both able and willing. I don't know how much experience teaching you have, but you probably know that Making A Difference(TM) to even one student - despite my sarcasm - really CAN make it all worthwhile. You WILL have such students: those who can or at least those who want to. You will have them in EVERY class. The trick is learning how to at least manage the rest so they don't get you in trouble.

So, no, not all is bleak if you know what to expect AND if you know when to get out.
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Fatboy



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:26 am    Post subject: Like anywhere else in the gulf... Reply with quote

The same three points could be said about teaching in any other country in the Middle East.
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psychedelicacy



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 67
Location: Qatar

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hatcher wrote:
My question is why you want to teach in the KSA?

I have been around the world and it is by far and away the most difficult place I have ever lived. And for a woman... why?


She wants to teach in Saudi Arabia for the same reason you do - to save some money.
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rollingk



Joined: 23 Jul 2006
Posts: 201

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm going to take a lot of flak for writing this . . .


Not from me you won't. I think you hit a lot of nails squarely on their round heads. I just have one observation:

Some of us are forced to live near our coworkers in KSA, but there are many jobs where this can be avoided. However, my experience has been that most cannot imagine living on their own in the big awful world here, and prefer close quarters with coworkers.
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teacheverywhere



Joined: 09 Aug 2013
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:05 am    Post subject: Re: Is teaching in SA as horrific as I'm reading it to be? Reply with quote

teacheverywhere wrote:
I'm interested in teaching in Saudi Arabia, but I must say that I feel very taken aback by the threads I've been reading. I'm not concerned about the culture shock. It's the lack of professionalism and honesty from the employers that concern me.

Is this a case of all the negativity being aired out and everyone who is in a safe working environment just isn't speaking out, or is it pretty much a major failure to teach in Saudi Arabia?

I'm a female strongly trying to pursue a job in SA. If anyone is willing to guide me, please send me a PM.

Thanks,
g


Why I want to teach in Saudi Arabia:

My short term goal is to get into medical school. My long term goal is to practice medicine and participate in Doctors Without Borders. The ways in which I will accomplish this goal is by saving enough money to afford medical school and prepping for the MCATS when I'm not at school teaching. Considering that I have no practical skills that would allow me to make enough money, I have turned to teaching abroad. Plus, I value traveling and meeting people who could refine my paradigm. I've spent time in a research lab, and I have a published paper, but the thought of being a scientist behind a desk and waiting on DNA results around the hour is not for me. ‚ÄčAlso, rather than spend hundreds of hours doing miscellaneous volunteer work to put on my resume, I know I could be more effective if I devote a portion of my life teaching and growing at a global level.

I am choosing this country based partly on salary, but I'm not blinded by money. I have a strong desire to experience many things in life, and I would like to know what it is like to live in an extreme country. It would also be nice to learn Arabic. I want the ability to empathize with people who live in such a heavily governed society. If I do obtain a teaching job in SA, my lifestyle would not even be comparable to that of its female citizens, I don't think. I would never be fully submerged in the culture, but I'll have a hands on experience or glimpse into their world. That is important to me. I can't relate if I can't feel. I seek to understand and to improve the wellness of humanity. You might wonder why I'm not considering other heavily governed countries since it's difficult to get in SA when I don't have a competitive teaching resume. As I stated, I'd like to afford medical school.

I have an undergraduate degree in Biology, TEFL certificate, and 1.5yrs teaching experience in Korea.

I just want to be safe in terms of having a boss who possesses integrity. I don't want to get cheated or be forced into a distressful situation that makes me want to leave. I don't want to be in a shady situation with co-workers who are out to get me.

I've already accepted the discrimination, regulations, and so forth that I will endure. If I'm weeks or months into the job, and I realize that it isn't for me, then I will find the safest way to get out. If anyone is interested in guiding me the right way, please send me a PM.
(it was mentioned that I can't send out messages because I'm a new member, but I have received messages. If you include your email address, I will respond.)

I welcome any constructive feedback.
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Hatcher



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I say you are better off to stay in Korea and get some privates. If you get to med school and need money, you can easily get a loan.

The KSA is far behind the times and you are not protected by any labor laws here and although some one this board would argue that you would be protected by criminal law, you are not. Recently, at my university, I noted a crime and the offender turned out to be a friend of my boss. I was told that yes, in my country there are laws for everyone but here, they are only for foreigners....

The hospitals here are scary.... far better in K.

I found three groups of teachers here - M, 3M and E. The most common reason is M - money... 3M - Meccah, Madinah and Money... the E elderly who cant get hired else where....

Finally, for women, one of the biggest surprises in the KSA was how many wives of co workers didnt want to be here...

So if u come, I suggest PNU and stay on the compound...
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