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Working in OMAN colleges - feedback please
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MuscatGary



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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CANDLES wrote:
Surely it's not that bad! I was there for a year and found a handful of students who were useless; the majority were fine. !


I think the past tense is significant here. I've been here for 3.5 years and it has got worse each year. This year has seen the most dramatic deterioration. They are not admitting students into the Foundation programs in the tertiary sector who cannot even introduce themselves in English despite having 'passed' the final year English examination. The attitudes are also worsening and the level of arrogance becomes stronger and stronger. I've aso noticed salaries going down and seen f/t teaching jobs advertised with salaries of 700 OMR.
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CANDLES



Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 453
Location: Wandering aimlessly.....

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was there last year! Sad I must have been lucky.

Friends tell me similar horror stories like you MG.
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Tazz



Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 142
Location: Jakarta

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are recruitment agencies, for example Hawthorn, really trying to recruit western expats to work the MOHE colleges for 700 OMR a month now.....? That's half a ministry direct hire salary?!!
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CANDLES



Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 453
Location: Wandering aimlessly.....

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there are no ESL jobs in UK/US then unfortunately teachers will go there.
Outrageous!
Evil or Very Mad
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a way to change it all overnight--just don't go there to work. If all westerners did this, Oman would turn the corner and improve. Going to work on a slowly sinking ship is demoralizing. Life's too short, my friends. Find a teaching job you can tolerate or change careers. I'm doing the latter, as I'm tired of all the BS in this business. BS that is getting worse by the year.
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CANDLES



Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 453
Location: Wandering aimlessly.....

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CVN-76.....

Easier said than done! If you leave one career for another (for eg. teaching) and then try go back to former at a later stage, I can you tell you it's VERY difficult. I know because I'm in that situation, so many Westerners put up with the situation and try their best.

It's a job, pays the bills and that is the end of it!
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MuscatGary



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

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tazz wrote:
Are recruitment agencies, for example Hawthorn, really trying to recruit western expats to work the MOHE colleges for 700 OMR a month now.....? That's half a ministry direct hire salary?!!


No, Hawthorn are paying 960 OMR + accommodation for a Bachelors degree holder. The accommodation and the furnishings are generally grotty but at least they pay on time from month one. The MOHE took FIVE months to start paying new hires this year.
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 540
Location: Salalah, Oman

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MuscatGary wrote:
Tazz wrote:
Are recruitment agencies, for example Hawthorn, really trying to recruit western expats to work the MOHE colleges for 700 OMR a month now.....? That's half a ministry direct hire salary?!!


No, Hawthorn are paying 960 OMR + accommodation for a Bachelors degree holder. The accommodation and the furnishings are generally grotty but at least they pay on time from month one. The MOHE took FIVE months to start paying new hires this year.


I have no idea about the standard of the accommodation yet, but that's what I was offered. They also cover medical insurance, but that's probably standard.
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chaos333



Joined: 28 Feb 2010
Posts: 3
Location: abroad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CVN-76 wrote:
The high turnover in Oman can be attributed to a few (good) reasons:

--The students (the main reason)
--Authoritarian, yet incompetent, administrators
--Entrenched colleagues who view new teachers as threats
--Red tape
--The existence of acceptable alternatives


pooroldedgar wrote:
It was the first one, for me. The complete meaningless of your work is not something I'd like to get used to. I go back and forth every day about coming back for one more year. Probably not. Even the ones who remain concede this place is a joke. Better a low salary and some professional dignity.


MuscatGary wrote:

I think the past tense is significant here. I've been here for 3.5 years and it has got worse each year. This year has seen the most dramatic deterioration.


As someone who has worked at one of these colleges for a number of years I'd like to wholeheartedly agree with the above mentioned - especially with the last quote.

Instead of things getting better and better, or, at least, remaining the same, the rate at which the situation at the colleges in Oman has deteriorated is abominable. Just like pretty much everything about teaching here has become abominable. It's all one giant abomination.

Other than the reasons listed above (where I want to highlight the students, and hence the entire job, once again as the main reason), I'd like to add a few of my own to the list:

- Incredibly high salary cuts over the last two years (I am now making less money than I did when I first started - so much about how teachers are valued if they stay).
- The colleagues who "don't see anything wrong" and are "happy with and grateful for their jobs" are those that are at "the end" of their careers (or, in many cases, beyond, aged 55-65+). They have no choice, perhaps, so they are always annoyingly trying to "justify" things that simply cannot be justified.
- Unscrupulous agencies that will do everything in their power to make your stay as unpleasant as possible.

Pure and simple, if you are not close to or over 60 - don't come here, or you'll regret it. If you want to start a career in EFL teaching, there are many places that (at least monetarily) will value you more. And if you're already going to sacrifice aspects of your lifestyle to live in the ME (anywhere in the GCC, really) for a little while (as well as your dignity and professional ethics) - then you might as well earn more money while doing it. Or choose a place that will have colleagues closer to you in age and perhaps a few decent places to go out on occasion. Oman doesn't really have any of that, not anymore, and not at the prices they are charging nowadays (coupled with the ridiculously low salaries).

Even if you are approaching, or over, 60 - if you cannot be content with the fact that you'll be more of a babysitter than a teacher, that 'gardening' or a walk on the beach are the most exhilarating activities you can expect - then you won't be very happy here either.

Oh, and one more thing - @pooroldedgar:

I would not say "better a low salary and some dignity" - the salaries here are low enough (at least for someone who is qualified, competent and capable). What I would say is - why stay in Oman when you can get a HIGHER salary, professional dignity, and a much higher quality of life elsewhere?

My next job fulfills all of those three criteria - and, ironically, in order to get this job I didn't "need" the job in Oman in any way shape or form.

So my advice to the job-hunters out there is to be patient and to look hard for something worthwhile. Don't be seduced by the volume of jobs and how it is "easy" to get them - that should be a warning to you in itself!

Ultimately, it is rather sad that that's the reality of Oman today. It used to be such a different place. I'll try to remember it as it was, not as it is, although after all that has happened recently, this will be very difficult.
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I'm totally done with the GCC. And it's not because of the minarets or the heat or the abayas. It's because of the students. And the fact I can be fired for seizing the exam of a cheater, yet somebody at the same employer can keep his job for years when he's a stinky slob who comes to work drunk at least twice a week. Somebody I can check on and learn he's not teaching his students anything. Students I may soon be stuck with, along with the mess he's made by automatically passing them because he's an obedient yes-man, terrified he's going to lose his job.
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CANDLES



Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 453
Location: Wandering aimlessly.....

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minarets, heat and the sounds are great, but totally agree with you about slobs working there. They spoil the whole mood! Shocked
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MuscatGary



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

PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="1st Sgt WelshI have no idea about the standard of the accommodation yet, but that's what I was offered. They also cover medical insurance, but that's probably standard.[/quote]

I live in privately rented accommodation but visited a Hawthorn teacher's accommodation several times this week. He's had no water for two weeks and only one working a/c, it's currently 50C+ most days... There is sewage coming into the bathroom and kitchen through the drains and despite repeated requests nothing has been done. I really can't understand why he's leaving!
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 540
Location: Salalah, Oman

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MuscatGary wrote:
1st Sgt Welsh wrote:
I have no idea about the standard of the accommodation yet, but that's what I was offered. They also cover medical insurance, but that's probably standard.


I live in privately rented accommodation but visited a Hawthorn teacher's accommodation several times this week. He's had no water for two weeks and only one working a/c, it's currently 50C+ most days... There is sewage coming into the bathroom and kitchen through the drains and despite repeated requests nothing has been done. I really can't understand why he's leaving!


That sucks. I don't know what else to say except that I hope I will be a lot luckier than your friend.
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MuscatGary



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

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The teacher whose accommodation I mentioned has read my comments and is aggrieved at me. He says I forgot to mention the cockroaches, the delinquent Omani kids throwing stones at windows at night and turning the water off from outside and then stealing the handles so it can't be turned back on. The building used to contain a brothel which has resulted in Omani men knocking on doors at two in the morning looking for sex (they're not too concerned what gender you are!). The nearby mosque wakes everybody up at four in the morning with the amplified call to prayer. There is more but I can't be bothered to type it all out...
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CANDLES



Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 453
Location: Wandering aimlessly.....

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Business and pleasure all in one place....WOW! Cool
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