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CEC Network in Oman - Any comments?
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Gnome



Joined: 05 May 2004
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2004 7:57 pm    Post subject: CEC Network in Oman - Any comments? Reply with quote

The CEC Network, a Canadian company, is currently recruiting EFL instructors for Oman and the UAE. Do you have any comments, opinions and advice about their operations? What is their reputation?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16066
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2004 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never heard of them. Who are they recruiting for?

All I would say is the majority of complaints that you hear about jobs come from those that use recruiters. Personally, I would avoid them and apply only through the individual colleges and universities.

VS
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ntropy



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 648
Location: ghurba

PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A year or so ago they offered me a UAE position but the money on offer was ridiculous for the cost of living in the UAE. If this is your first posting overseas make sure you check out the cost of living before accepting anything. Costs don't translate into where you live; they're local and unique
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menace2society32



Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 9:59 pm    Post subject: Simply put!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reply with quote

STAY AWAY if you will be teaching high school students. I can't speak for the young kids in grade school but stay away if it is for a "commercial high school". The majority of the kids are well-behaved but about a third will disrupt the general teaching process and you will not receive any support for the school administration or CECN. From their perspective, the teacher is always at fault when there is a problem. Again, if it is a high school, STAY AWAY.
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goman72



Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Gosford, NSW, Australia.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,
I recently had a phone interview with the International Projects guy at CEC and he seemed to be a nice guy. I haven't made my mind up yet whether I'll go to Oman, but with the Airfare, Accommodation, Travel allowance and free Healthcover, it seems that the 750-800 Omani Riyals earnt per month (2200 Canadian $) can't be that bad...
Kevin said that the cost of groceries and transport isn't as expensive as Canada...
Where you you come from?

Cheers,

CG
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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

goman

That would be the standard package for Oman - pretty much the bottom of the payscale. There is much left unsaid here - where would you be teaching? What kind of students? Are you able to correspond with people who are currently (or have been) teaching for CEC in Oman to tell you about the facilities and housing?

That is enough money to live well and save - assuming that you don't expect to be able to spend all your time eating and drinking in the hotels. Smile Alcohol is available with a license, but very expensive (can't tell you how much, as I don't drink and never bothered to get a license) You will also need a car, which will take much or most of your first year's excess pay. Oman is like living in the suburbs of the US, rather quiet and dull, and you need a car to do most everything.

But, I note that this is your first post and that you are in China. What do you know of the Middle East? What do you know of Oman? If you are under 35, how well do you live with little or no social life other than married couples and other men - almost all significantly older than you?

Personally I loved Oman, but it isn't for everyone.

VS
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goman72



Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Gosford, NSW, Australia.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:18 pm    Post subject: Oman Reply with quote

Hi there, thanks for your insight into Oman.

I do have some more information, the Higher Colleges of Technology are located in: Nizwa, Muscat, Al-Musana'a; Ibri and Salalah (or Salaleh). I am not sure which one I should go for as Kevin said that everyone chooses Muscat as their No 1 choice. I don't want to be stuck inside and be bored, so if you can recommend and of the above places for activities then I'd be grateful.

There is a transport allowance of around RO 665 per year.
18 teaching hours per week plus the remaining time (another 20 p/week) devoted to lesson planning, grading homework, etc.
I have no teaching experience but have just finished a 4 week intensive Trinity TESOL Certificate... How do you think I stand up to the task???

Your insight would be most appreciated.

CG
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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

goman

You have no teaching experience?? Just a fresh new cert?? Well, don't take it as a personal criticism, but I think it says a great deal about this employer!! (and nothing good actually)

Well, everyone has to start somewhere and getting a foot in the door is required. Personally, I wouldn't want to be anywhere but Muscat, but that is opinion. Get yourself a book on Oman, with a map showing where the cities are. Are you a person who likes the beach? Or would you enjoy camping in the mountains and exploring the wadis? Enough for a year? because other than Muscat, the other places are pretty small and entertainment free. To be honest, I have never even heard of Al-Musana'a, so it is likely a place that is really small and in the middle of nowhere. Salalah should at least have a hotel or two and you might encounter a tourist now and again. Also, Nizwa is on the tourist route.

As a new teacher, can you fill your time with preparations? I would want to correspond with teachers that are already there so that you know more what you are getting into. One of the problems of being in these small places is that you are stuck with the few expats that you work with to provide a social life too. If you don't care for any of them, it can get pretty lonely and boring.

Are you up to the task? Good question, but impossible for me to answer. Smile You best do as much reading about the culture as you can before you get there because teaching Arabs is completely different from teaching Chinese.

VS
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Gnome



Joined: 05 May 2004
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goman,

As stated above, a car will be a neccessity, not a luxury. That will take a large bite out of your income. On the other hand, I hear that the students are great and that "most" of the teachers who worked there last year will be returning. The operation is just a year old. The students are not "youth," but 18 - 22, so that's good, too.

Don't expect to be working in Muscat, which is the best the place to live. Another reason to get a car. You will have to drive to work, the grocery store and the UAE for a break.

I think, considering your lack of teaching experience, Oman is a good Middle East choice and will be a good addition to your CV. You should have a positive teaching experience, but you won't save much money.
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shadowfax



Joined: 31 May 2003
Posts: 212
Location: Pocket Universe 935500921223097532957092196

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what has been said re cars: how safe are the Omani roads compared to, say, Saudi and Kuwait?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shadowfax

Omani roads have the usual supply of testosterone laden boys with fast cars, but in relative terms, I found Omani roads to be many times safer than the Emirates and 100 times safer than Kuwait (where they are equal to the Saudis). To be honest I found their roads to be safer and saner than East Coast America.

I quite enjoyed driving in Oman and found Omanis to often be unbelievably considerate.

The main danger is that many of the roads in the hinterlands are two lane, which is always an added danger. And then there are the loose camels - and even worse the flocks of goats who meander about. Oman has not fenced off the roads as the Emirates has done. I don't think I ever drove from Muscat to the Emirates where I didn't have to stop at least twice to let goats cross.

VS
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Simon Moroney



Joined: 14 Jul 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish you luck and hope you will maintain correspondance on this web site.

I (26) shall be moving out to Oman in October with my girlfriend (22) who is in much the same position as yourself. She is hoping to be accepted onto the CELTA course at the British Council in March but will have no teaching experience.

I hope to pluck some of the more positive responses from the replies I read and make the most of what appeared a beautiful city when I recently visited.

On a slight tangent our worries are more on a social level. I hope both my girlfriend and I are able to integrate as a couple on what will be a un-lawful partnership. I also hope this does not effect her job prospects.

Anyway I am looking forward to meeting people such as yourself and enjoying what social scene there may be. In essence a nightlife is only as good as the people you are with.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon,

Are you aware that it is a crime for an unmarried couple to live together in the Middle East? I assume that you have a job there. If not, you will not be able to stay without a residence visa. Nor will she be able to stay without a residence visa. She can not get one without a job and you can not get her one based on your visa.

Although I do know couples who did live together, both of them were employed - in professional positions - and both of them had legitimate flats provided by their employers or rented with their housing allowance. Both of them 'pretended' to live in their own flats, and this is a culture where everyone watches what you are doing.

If you are both Westerners, you may not end up in jail (although I do know of some western couples who did end up there for this crime). If one of you is not Western, you will be in much more danger of jail. Best case is deportation.

As to a social life, Oman is a bit quiet and particularly short of Westerners in their 20s. If a 'nightlife' is important to you, you should be considering Dubai. Muscat is small and its nightlife is smaller - within a month, you will probably be bored with it - same faces, same places. And I doubt the people in this thread are in Muscat at all.

Perhaps you need to read a bit about this culture before you start importing yours. Yes, Muscat is a lovely little city and a wonderful place to visit and live. But, you have to live by their rules. If you wish your girlfriend to be considered more than a 'prostitute' and possibly jailed, you'd better marry her before taking her to Oman.

VS
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MindTraveller



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 89
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2004 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sooo glad to have left Oman, now that I hear they couldn't get the well-educated and trained Tunisians, they're hiring the no-experienced Westerners.

As a professional TEFLer, I wouldn't want as a colleague the the no-experienced, haven't lived or worked abroad teacher - no offense. At least not more than one at a college. They need LOTS of encouragement and training. They need to be taught to stop complaining, to learn about Arabic local customs, grade curves, etc.

It's not an easy place to live - in the rural areas where the Higher Colleges of EDUCATION - teacher training colleges are. One school, we had to make tests that 75% of the students got As and Bs (and 24% Cs and only one or so Ds - no Fs.) Quite a few teachers made themselves look good by teaching the test.

At another school, practically no one got As. And the writing teacher in the Intensive program, a Saddem Hussein former Iraqi henchman and head of the Dept., gave most of the studdents 65% and 75%. I don't think the students couldn't write - I think the teacher couldn't teach. His final test was soooo hard, I wouldn't have gotten a B in the darn course either.

Be careful if he's your boss. He tries to run Americans out of town. If you start getting anonymous phonecalls after you put your phone number on the teacher's list, do what I did. Go to the police station. Tell them. Get a tap on your phone (or caller id) and tell the Iraqi what you did. It immediately stopped the phonecalls.

He succeeded with an American before me who went complaining to the USA embassy which did nothing. I just went into his office, when the Omani teacher was there, and told the *beep* I wanted the phonecaller out of the COUNTRY, out of the college, etc. I was very aggressive..... and lasted 4 years in Oman, and didn't get cheated out of my 4 year bonus - as he was trying to get me to quit.

So beware. Teaching in Oman is not very rewarding because of all the rigged testing and the non-native vs. native speaking jealousy and the dim-witted Westernerns keeping their jobs by covering for the locals and other Arabs..... or typing the boss's memos. Yep, non-experienced new teachers may fit right in with the other leftovers.

Glad I'm with experienced teachers where I'm at now.
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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2004 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MindTraveller,

I am certainly not doubting your story here, but I find it a bit excessive to damn the whole country because of your obviously incompetent employer. Smile There are some good employers and good jobs, but they are almost all in the capital area. Finding a job in EFL can be like walking in a mine field - lots of shady employers and more of them every day. Whatever your field, wherever you are, there are plenty of bad administrators. And, as more and more of the private colleges are starting up all over the Gulf, things are certainly getting worse in our field.

Personally I wouldn't take a job anywhere that I wasn't able to communicate beforehand with people currently teaching there or had just left. (but then you have the problem of places that are so new that they have little history yet.)

VS
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