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Best path to qualifying for direct hire at a uni?
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 831
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a particular reason you want to work in the ME? If it's purely financial then you can probably earn just as much with a nicer life style in other places given your present qualifications. If you want the really big money then as others have said you need to upgrade the quals.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
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Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
People talk a lot about "good conditions" and "bad conditions". This is very subjective, so I'm not sure we share the same understanding of what constitutes "good" or "bad". Let's define our terms:
- What are "good conditions", "acceptable/ok conditions", and "bad conditions" to you?


It would be far more efficient for the OP to define her own good/bad conditions, rather than asking all other posters here to do so!!
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The Fifth Column



Joined: 11 Jun 2014
Posts: 331
Location: His habitude with lexical items protrudes not unlike a damaged pollex!!!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kinda reminiscent of another, recent poster, what?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4291
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

romermac wrote:
I wonder if I am being too narrow-minded by specifying "direct hire" and "university".
- Are there other ME EFL positions/employers that you would recommend looking into as a long-term goal?
(Recommendations should be feasible without relevant MAs.)

Again, none to recommend due to the lousy business practices of Saudi contracting companies, which offer the only chance for employment for those wih unrelated MAs.

By the way, direct-hire positions are those in which the university or school does their own hiring of employees. By contrast, contracting companies are essentially middle men that recruit, hire, and manage their own workers to supplement the staffing needs of the client (a university or school). The employment contract for a direct-hire teacher indicates the name of the university or school as the employer---likewise for the designation of the contracting company as employer for those teachers it hires. Thus, teachers working alongside each other in a university preparation year program (PYP) are often a mix of direct hires and contracting company employees.

and wrote:
People talk a lot about "good conditions" and "bad conditions". This is very subjective, so I'm not sure we share the same understanding of what constitutes "good" or "bad". Let's define our terms:
- What are "good conditions", "acceptable/ok conditions", and "bad conditions" to you?

No one can answer that question but you and your husband; you'd have to determine what you're willing to put up with while also managing life in an ultra-conservative cultural context. Since the responses so far on this thread are from current/past direct hires (relevant MA holders), you really need to head to the Saudi forum and read the comments and personal experiences on what it's like to work for outfits like ICEAT, Al Shabaka, Education Experts (EdEx), Saudi British Centre (SBC), Quality Education Holding Company (QEHC), Arabian Education and Training Group (AETG)...
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

romermac wrote:
- Are there other ME EFL positions/employers that you would recommend looking into as a long-term goal?
(Recommendations should be feasible without relevant MAs.)

For you, no. The only other decent conditions/pay positions for women are in the top international schools. They will require a few years of experience in those trenches (somewhere in the world) and a valid state teaching license. That would take you longer and cost more than an MA.

For your husband, there are probably possibilities teaching general or technical English with military or petroleum companies. Most of these are in Saudi Arabia. But for many of these, they are single hires - no family. Or if you can accompany, you would most likely be somewhere in the hinterlands where there would be no work for you... and not much of anything to do.

Have you considered looking into things like teaching fellowships to get a basically free MA? That is what I did at AUCairo. Check out their website:

http://www.aucegypt.edu/admissions/grad/finsup/Pages/TEFL.aspx

There are a number of US universities that have programs like this.

VS
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4291
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Romermac:
If you're still interested in teaching in Saudi Arabia, focus mostly on those job ads specifying that married couples are encouraged to apply. Otherwise, you each may end up working and living in completely different parts of a city or the country. You could certainly apply to ads seeking male and female teachers. Just be sure to indicate you're a married couple.

By the way, you didn't mention if you have dependent children.
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El Hobo



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 40
Location: Iraqi-Kurdistan

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might have a chance in a couple of universities in Iraqi-Kurdistan, romermac. Don't want to get into how safe it is here again, do your own research; it's safe.

That would be your relevant experience, but like others have said, you're going to need that relevant master's.
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romermac



Joined: 17 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good tips here -- thanks!!

Seems I have a couple questions to answer:

- No, no dependent children.

- I am interested in the ME for both financial and philosophical reasons. I am looking for a challenge that will stretch my husband and I to our limits (like the one I had in Cameroon. Absolute hell at first, but well worth it in the end). Additionally, the quiet lifestyle and the older, more serious foreigner population sound attractive to us. I'm just very curious about it. If it doesn't work out, we can always leave! Razz

- My definition of "acceptable conditions":
-- Minimum salary of ~$3,000 (USD)/month (literally salaried .. preferably not hourly pay)
-- Safe, furnished housing provided during my first year (not sure about after that just yet, but it seems like an allowance in addition to the salary or simply a higher salary is reasonable to expect). Furniture needn't be fancy; just the basics. I want the ability to prepare my own food. It seems to me that being asked to move on short notice would be annoying, but not truly an issue if housing is provided.
-- The ability to remain with my husband. Short term separation is ok.
-- Eventually being paid everything that is owed to me without having to start a fight to get it. I don't mind waiting a month or two, especially if I'm not having to pay rent.
-- The ability to request vacation without fear of losing my job and/or housing.
-- A work visa would be nice... I suppose this isn't absolutely necessary, but it would be annoying if something bad happened.


I could be missing something, but these are the things I can think of for now. I didn't touch on cultural issues, but I should mention that those things aren't a deterrent. Yes, there will absolutely be culture shock, but I think this is an invaluable experience.

I've lived long-term in a very traditional Muslim area, so I am aware of some of the gender issues that are likely to come up.

If anyone else would like to define "good" and "bad" conditions working as an ESL teacher in the ME - especially those of you who have used these terms - I'd love to hear your thoughts! Smile


Last edited by romermac on Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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romermac



Joined: 17 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

El Hobo wrote:
You might have a chance in a couple of universities in Iraqi-Kurdistan, romermac. Don't want to get into how safe it is here again, do your own research; it's safe.

That would be your relevant experience, but like others have said, you're going to need that relevant master's.


El Hobo, do you have specific universities in mind?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16063
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

romermac wrote:
I'm just very curious about it. If it doesn't work out, we can always leave! Razz

Be aware that in some countries you need an exit visa - approved by your employer - to leave. (Saudi and Qatar) Stories have appeared here of people not allowed to leave KSA for a family emergency or funeral. Thus there is also no opportunity to do a runner in the dark of night if things really go badly.
romermac wrote:

-- Minimum salary of ~$3,000 (USD)/month (literally salaried .. preferably not hourly pay)

All contracts in the Gulf are salaried. Only overtime is paid hourly... if available.
romermac wrote:
-- Safe, furnished housing provided during my first year (not sure about after that just yet, but it seems like an allowance in addition to the salary or simply a higher salary is reasonable to expect). Furniture needn't be fancy; just the basics. I want the ability to prepare my own food. It seems to me that being asked to move on short notice would be annoying, but not truly an issue if housing is provided.

Housing is a crapshoot... even when they provide furnished housing, there is an inventory of flats, and you get what you get. Moving may or may not be an option or perhaps not until the next year. Same with furniture condition. But, I suspect that your experience in Africa has made you more realistic about issues like this.

For a first time expat, you really want a job with a provided flat rather than a housing allowance. Not knowing the language and the system, renting on your own presents too many issues... if you can avoid it.
romermac wrote:
-- The ability to remain with my husband. Short term separation is ok.

This will depend on the job offers, of course... and you can usually avoid taking separate positions too far apart. Best to work at the same place if you can... certainly in the same city!!
romermac wrote:
-- Eventually being paid everything that is owed to me without having to start a fight to get it. I don't mind waiting a month or two, especially if I'm not having to pay rent.

Check out the employers carefully... only way to avoid this issue. This normally gets mentioned here...
romermac wrote:
-- The ability to request vacation without fear of losing my job and/or housing.

Vacations in the Gulf are at set times and everyone goes at the same time. So, there are no requests to be made... except perhaps a variation of a few days. You don't get to decide vacations, the employer does. Your housing is still there when you get back. The only place I know where teachers have to move out before summer leave is in Salalah, Oman. They have a "monsoon" season when many Arabs show up to enjoy the cool and the rain... and the landlords charge them insane rents. Cool
romermac wrote:
-- A work visa would be nice... I suppose this isn't absolutely necessary, but it would be annoying if something bad happened.

A legal work visa is CRUCIAL!! Don't consider any job that doesn't provide it. The employer arranges and pays for it... though you will have to jump through a few paperwork hoops to get it.

VS
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4291
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

romermac wrote:
- My definition of "acceptable conditions":
-- Minimum salary of ~$3,000 (USD)/month (literally salaried .. preferably not hourly pay)
-- Safe, furnished housing provided during my first year (not sure about after that just yet, but it seems like an allowance in addition to the salary or simply a higher salary is reasonable to expect). Furniture needn't be fancy; just the basics. I want the ability to prepare my own food. It seems to me that being asked to move on short notice would be annoying, but not truly an issue if housing is provided.
-- The ability to remain with my husband. Short term separation is ok.
-- Eventually being paid everything that is owed to me without having to start a fight to get it. I don't mind waiting a month or two, especially if I'm not having to pay rent.
-- The ability to request vacation without fear of losing my job and/or housing.
-- A work visa would be nice... I suppose this isn't absolutely necessary, but it would be annoying if something bad happened.

I could be missing something, but these are the things I can think of for now. I didn't touch on cultural issues, but I should mention that those things aren't a deterrent. Yes, there will absolutely be culture shock, but I think this is an invaluable experience.

Veiledsentiments' response was spot on. Your idea of the general terms and conditions of employment in Saudi Arabia is a bit off and possibly unrealistic. I suggest you take a look at the Saudi job postings on the Cafe's international job board to get a basic picture of the work conditions/contracts in as well as the benefits and salaries being offered.

Quote:
Me: M.S. in Applied Psychology, CELTA (pending), 1 year TEFL experience (elementary/middle school) in Korea, 2 years TEFL (high school) experience in Cameroon, and 1 year teaching psychology at a U.S. university

Husband: B.A. in Psychology, CELTA (pending), 1 year TEFL experience (elementary/middle school) in Korea, 1 year music teaching assistant at a U.S. university, some published writing (9 articles)

Another issue you need to think about is the possibility of only one of you getting a job. Even with a newly-minted CELTA, your husband's unrelated BA + 1 year of experience teaching EFL to young children will be a tough sell. In comparison, although still minimal, your qualifications are slightly better than his, giving you more of a chance for employment with a Saudi contracting company. However, keep in mind that you may not be able to sponsor your husband if you end up being the one to get hired. That means a long separation, possibly for the duration of your contract.

Since employers want to see teaching experience (with adult students) gained post-CELTA, consider heading back to Korea to add a few years of relevant (university-level) TEFL experience. This would improve you and your husband's ability to both eventually get work in KSA and very likely, remain together.
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romermac



Joined: 17 Apr 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it difficult to get an exit visa if needed?

I won't consider a "no housing" arrangement at this point, and I'll stop considering a "no work visa" arrangement right now!

As for vacation, that's fine. I don't need vacation to be available whenever I want it, I just want a vacation! Is getting approval to leave the country during the designated vacation time generally an issue? How common is it for this time to be paid?

I am a little worried about my husband's qualifications. I don't think a fellowship is a possibility for him, as his college GPA is low. (He really screwed up as a young person.) I would have thought licensure might be a better route for him, but VS said that's even more expensive than a Master's! Razz
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4291
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

romermac wrote:
I won't consider a "no housing" arrangement at this point, and I'll stop considering a "no work visa" arrangement right now!

It's unclear what you mean by "no housing," but employers either provide accommodation or offer a housing allowance. Per Saudi immigration, every woman is required to have confirmed accommodation for the duration of her stay in KSA. Therefore, most contracting companies don't offer female employees an allowance but instead, require them to live in all-women apartment buildings. This is why you need to look at employers who are "married-couple" friendly so that you don't have an issue with accommodation that's designated strictly for single women or for single (bachelor) men only, in keeping with the country's gender-segregation law.

Quote:
As for vacation, that's fine. I don't need vacation to be available whenever I want it, I just want a vacation! Is getting approval to leave the country during the designated vacation time generally an issue? How common is it for this time to be paid?

Contracts are generally year-to-year, depending on your start date. Employees of contracting companies work for 11 months and get paid for the 12th (vacation month). Whether you actually get paid or not depends on how sketchy the employer is.

Be aware the Saudi employer is essentially your sponsor (kafeel). Their permission/approval is needed for you to exit/reenter the country, exit on final departure, open a bank account, get a bank loan, rent a car, obtain a visit visa for family members, etc.
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romermac



Joined: 17 Apr 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for all this feedback, everyone. It's been very helpful and has really got me thinking longer term.

Here's what I'm thinking:
- Husband can find a way to get licensed to teach in the U.S. There are some inexpensive programs in California and Texas (attempts to incentivize people to become teachers) that would work well.
- I can apply for fellowships to get an MA, in addition to PhD programs in Applied Linguistics (many of these programs include fellowship packages). I would actually love to go back to school, I just don't want to have to pay for it (again)!!

So, now my question is this:
- What degrees would be acceptable aside from MA/M.Ed./PhD/Ed.D. in TESOL & MA/M.Ed./PhD/Ed.D. in Applied Linguistics?
For example, some programs seem to offer a PhD in just "Linguistics". Is that ok? Or would a PhD in just "Education" be ok? Obviously the coursework and dissertation should be focused on second language acquisition, but it isn't necessarily clear what the actual degree would say (for SOME institutions).

If I'm going to go for a PhD, I want to maximize my employment opportunities -- meaning I want to be able to get a good university job anywhere in the world.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

romermac wrote:
If I'm going to go for a PhD, I want to maximize my employment opportunities -- meaning I want to be able to get a good university job anywhere in the world.

A good job in a university anywhere doing what exactly? If it's to teach ESOL, you don't need a doctorate; a relevant MA will do. If you want to move into a university TESOL or linguistics professorial role or into administration in this region, be aware you'd be competing against nationals with similar credentials, plus experience in the region, and obviously, bilingual (Arabic-English) skills.

I suggest you consider getting an MA or EdD/PhD in Educational Technology. It greatly expands your employment opportunities into nonprofit organizations, corporate, and government as well as educational environments---any place (including this region) and situation that utilizes technology to facilitate training, teaching and learning.


Last edited by nomad soul on Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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