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Teach Away/Abu Dhabi
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mimi_intheworld



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 167
Location: UAE

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:49 am    Post subject: Teach Away/Abu Dhabi Reply with quote

I feel like I've posted *newbie* questions somewhere in this thread, but I just spent 15 minutes searching and couldn't find it. So, mods, please feel free to delete, merge, etc, whatever.

There. That said, on to the questions. So I (finally, after 2 months hemming and hawing) followed VS's advice and sent my CV to Teach Away on Tuesday afternoon. Today, Thursday, they called/emailed me saying they'd like to consider me for a post in Abu Dhabi (public school, not uni). For January.

Okay, I'm a grown-up, and I went through all of this waiting and hoping and seeing and filling out forms and waiting and hoping some more a couple of years ago when I decided to teach in the UK. This time, though, I didn't even have time to wait or hope, and I kind of can't believe it.

[/childish glee]

So now I wonder, what sort of interview should I prepare for? If they're looking for teachers for a January start, what does that say about the position? I've worked in alternative schools, and in a failing school. I am not terribly eager to work in another failing school...but I suppose I learned from my last failing school and can use that knowledge in another one.

I've heard good things about Teach Away, but I'd like to hear more. Has anyone else worked with this placement agency? What have you heard/has been your experience? What should I expect?

And finally, what next? I'm a leaper-ahead and tend to think 4-6 months in the future, so now I've moved on to: What should I pack? Talking of money, what do I need (I'm good at being a hermit) to set up and pay bills until I get my first paycheck? With 4 years of classroom experience and 2 years of substituting/tutoring/informal teaching, what sort of pay should I expect?

...Will I really need to buy a car?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16003
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since we're an ESL/EFL board and Teachaway is hiring for K-12 public schools, we don't have many Teachaway posters here. You might want to go over to Facebook and do a search. They have a big group with tons of posts. Most of your questions are probably found over there... especially as to what to pack, what materials to bring if any, if you need start-up money from home... etc... (I would have ATM access to an account with at least enough money to pay my way back home in an emergency.)

From what I have read here and on Facebook, it seems that how good or bad your working conditions turn out is luck of the draw. There are not any "failing schools" though there is a variation in how much support you get and how welcome you are. You need to be pretty flexible, but nearly all of the teachers have been happy with their pay/benefits... and housing. The problem seems to come in where some school faculties are not happy with the invasion of native speaker foreigners. Laughing You know what happens when an administration is trying to change the system.

As to a car... you will probably be arriving when it is cool, so using taxis isn't quite the nightmare that it is when you have to stand out there for 20 minutes in the 120/49 degree heat... and humidity. By the time it is getting hot, you can rent or lease for a few months and see. Just be sure to bring a driving license from home with a couple years to expiration.

VS
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mimi_intheworld



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 167
Location: UAE

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VS, thanks for your input.

I had noticed that ESL Cafe is primarily tertiary-level EFL teaching, but I'll be doing EFL in the public schools so thought I'd ask for advice here. Even if there's not a lot of info on Teach Away here, I always glean some new information.

Good to know there are no failing schools, as such. And that I won't *absolutely* need a car - at least not straightaway. I'm pretty excited about the possibility of teaching in Abu Dhabi & have started researching more, now that I finally have a (relatively) definite direction.

I've joined the facebook group for Teach Away and will keep dropping in here to find out more about my next adventure.
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Sunny Dawn



Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:48 am    Post subject: Mimi - here's your info... Reply with quote

Hope your interview goes well. If you're a certified teacher, and can answer their questions based on recent experience in a classroom, it should go fine, because my sense is that this is a cattle call, if you catch my meaning.

They are telling you to bring $3000. A lot of people are bringing less. You won't be paid until the end of the month, and it may take that long to get the furnishing allowance, so you need to budget accordingly. You will have to pay for utilities set-up at an apartment before getting paid, for example.

If you need a car, you will have to rent one for at least the first three months. After this, you get a letter from your employer that permits you to take out a four year car loan.

With four years of classroom teaching experience, you are considered a beginning teacher - salary around $3500.00 a month.

Depending on where you live, you will need to buy a car. Teach Away is being very upfront about this, so noone can say they were misled. At 2000 AED a month for an inexpensive rental and insurance, this is nearly 20% of a beginning teacher's take-home pay. This is why a lot of people are trying to arrange a car-share with one other person.

Hope this helps...
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mimi_intheworld



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 167
Location: UAE

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunny - a cattle call is kind of the feeling I got too. Still exciting for me, but then, I'm a nerd. And an open call is how I got my last international post, so I'll take it!

Four years is beginning teacher status? Okay. How much experience does it take to move up the pay scale?

And thanks for the details about car, expenses, and pay. And it's recommended to come with $3000? Hm. THAT will be a challenge, to say the very least. But I'll see what I can do. I moved to England with less than that, so I think I'll probably be able to make do. On the other hand, I didn't have to buy a car in the UK.

Speaking of cars, a car share sounds like a brilliant brilliant brilliant idea. Because I really hate the idea of owning a car again.
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Sunny Dawn



Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:54 pm    Post subject: Hey, Mimi... Reply with quote

You move up with eight years of documented full-time teaching.

I need to check on how/if this changes with a master's degree. TeachAway doesn't include salary info on any of their printed or web material - my info is from another, less successful recruiter who did.

Hearsay is that some effort has been made to assign higher paid teachers to more challenging, difficult classrooms, but this is just hearsay. If true, it means all these retired teachers that are taking these jobs are really going to have to put their experience to use.

RE: the car. I think the challenge is going to be finding the compatible person who is assigned to the same area, finding them fast, and being flexible and accomodating on use of car. Also, I get the feeling that nobody really wants to have the car in their name, but one person is going to have to actually buy it. I wouldn't attempt a car share with more than one person - insuring it will be difficult.

If you get a January departure, things may be more relaxed. But you are still under pressure to find a place to live and settle the car issue very soon after arrival.

The nice thing about a cattle call is that a sense of camaraderie hopefully develops, and there may be less backstabbing from your expat LT colleagues.

The drawbacks about ADEC in general: more time spent in the classroom than if tertiary, and some of it is likely to be baby-sitting, although you will be doing your professional best to make it appear as if it isn't.

My sense it that a lot of people really like their lifestyle in UAE, once they get settled, and are willing to put up with less-than-ideal but not awful teaching jobs in order to enjoy the experience of living there. Good luck!
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vancouver_syndicate



Joined: 09 Sep 2004
Posts: 46
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking about applying to teach in UAE through Teach Away also.

Does Teach Away help you find accommodations?

I can't remember but I thought I read somewhere they place all the teachers at the same school near each other. Perhaps car pooling with the other teachers would work.

How are the students in general? Will there be serious discipline problems?
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Never Ceased To Be Amazed



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 3500
Location: Shhh...don't talk to me...I'm playin' dead...

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vancouver_syndicate wrote:
Will there be serious discipline problems?
Exclamation

NCTBA
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bje



Joined: 19 Jun 2005
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never Ceased To Be Amazed wrote:
vancouver_syndicate wrote:
Will there be serious discipline problems?
Exclamation

NCTBA


Yes, most definitely.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16003
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again this answer would probably be better found from a variety of Teachaway teachers on their Facebook page.

From what I have read here and there, the answer varies... by school and grade level.

VS
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Sunny Dawn



Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:30 pm    Post subject: Boys are more of a discipline problem than girls... Reply with quote

Boys are a big discipline problem because of the culture. From what I understand, female teachers who say they do not want to have to teach boys during the interview are having that wish respected.

We are not anonymous on the FB forum the way we can be on here, so expect to see a few more posts from time to time on a forum that provides anonymitiy. It can be useful for certain topics.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16003
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Boys are more of a discipline problem than girls... Reply with quote

Sunny Dawn wrote:
We are not anonymous on the FB forum the way we can be on here, so expect to see a few more posts from time to time on a forum that provides anonymitiy. It can be useful for certain topics.

You do realize that you can use a fake name on Facebook? Laughing

Unfortunately, we don't have very many TeachAway teachers show up to answer questions though. Those who wish to get something posted here without being connected to it can send me a PM.

VS
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MsParker



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:53 am    Post subject: TeachAway Reply with quote

First off, this IS an EFL question. And no, not everyone on here is in tertiary institutions.

As a recruiter, Teachaway does a pretty good job.... just keep in mind that they are only the recruiter and NOT the employer.

You can expect 30 TEACHING hours per week. This does not include prep time.
You will have discipline issues. You will have language barrier issues. Last year, it took over 2 months for the teachers to receive their first paycheques.
In the high schools, the students/principals/parents expect that the students' report cards will be solid A+, whether or not he/she (at 17 years of age) can even spell his/her name, let alone write an essay!

You will have nice accommodation (all the ADEC teachers are housed in the same apartment blocks - some will even have a maid service and internet provided). You will get a good furniture allowance, but I also knew of some teachers who spent a while sleeping on the floor, waiting for it to come through.

It's really a crap-shoot. Most of the ADEC teachers I knew there were gritting their teeth through the experience and just doing it for the money.

Don't forget: Abu Dhabi is the name of the city, and also of the Emirate. You may not be placed in Abu Dhabi City, but in a school where the children are only a generation or two away from being Bedu. The boys are violent with each other, and it seems that 80% of the teacher's time is spent on getting them to stop hitting each other. Some of the girls will be married as soon as they graduate.

I was never an ADEC teacher, and I actually told close friends NOT to apply for it.

You won't find many people writing about their experiences on here - as it's understood that there isn't total anonymity here - even in their closed Facebook group, they won't be 100% forthcoming.

I can be a bit more open -- I don't live in the UAE anymore. I've heard that things have gotten better (last year was the first year)... but it is still something that I would approach with caution.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16003
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post on the good, bad, and the ugly msparker.

In the last couple years, most of the Teachaway teachers have been hired as like K-3 grade teachers, so I wouldn't consider them EFL teachers though I hear it would have been helpful for most of them if they had some experience and/or training (and certification) in it beforehand. There was talk both here and on Facebook about how many of them arrived lacking these skills. It sounded like the teachers hired for 12th grade were mostly ESL teachers. I'd assume that they have had the most difficult time meeting the goals of the program. We all know how unrealistic the goals of the Ministries tend to be... few of us have that crucial degree in miracle working.

Knowing how these kids are, I wouldn't want to try to deal with them. I stuck to university because this is the age when they start to mature and although first year Foundations was a big learning curve for them, most of them straightened out by the time they started their coursework. The boys were the ones who really improved in this area. It was amazing how some of my worst discipline problems in Foundations English turned into my best students in my content courses. Dealing with them from K-12 takes an experienced teacher!!

MsParker (or anyone)... do you know what the attrition rate for these teachers is? I wonder how many last out their contracts or wash out after the first year.

VS
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vancouver_syndicate



Joined: 09 Sep 2004
Posts: 46
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed on the facebook page that most of the people going over are middle aged and with families.

What's the social life for for younger singles?
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