As the expatriate population in Dubai advances, so too does the number of international schools in the emirate. These schools are opening to cope with the demand from international students, and the vast majority of international schools follow the British or American curricula. Naturally this means that if you’re a teacher in Britain or America, or you have trained or have experience in either nation, you stand the best chance of getting jobs teaching in Dubai.
There is a relatively high turnover of staff across the emirate’s many international schools as teachers often take a posting for a fixed period of 2 or 3 years for example. This allows them to save intensively over that period before returning to their old life. It also allows more expatriate teachers the chance to find work in Dubai of course!
If you’re interested in teaching in Dubai, in this article we discuss the qualifications and experience you need, how to find jobs and the type of lifestyle you can enjoy in the UAE as well. If you’re seriously contemplating making a move to Dubai and you’re a professionally qualified teacher, read on.
There are more international schools opening in the emirate of Dubai every single year, what’s more, those that are already established often use the long summer break to extend their facilities and therefore their services and even their teaching staff. This all adds up to an extremely strong level of opportunity for would-be expat teachers from around the world. Whilst the majority of schools and institutions follow the British or American curricula, that’s not to say that jobs are limited to those with British or American qualifications – although if you do have skills or certification from either nation that is most certainly a massive plus! As long as your level of spoken and written English is fluent and you are a professional teacher who can have their qualifications attested by a public notary in your home nation, and then have that notary attested by your embassy, you will stand as good a chance as any of getting a job teaching in Dubai.
We could list the international pre-school, primary, secondary, specialist and tertiary institutions here – however the list would be long and also incomplete almost from the moment we post this article! As stated, this is because the number of schools in Dubai that employ international teachers changes all the time. Instead, allow us to direct you to the websites where the names and details of schools are more dynamically listed: –
You can try the Educational Services Overseas Limited website, GEMS schools site, Council of British International Schools, Select Education, British Schools in the Middle East or any number of expat forums or websites dedicated to working and living in Dubai. Please note we do not necessarily endorse any of these external sites nor can we comment on the accuracy or objectivity of the information that they provide – but if you’re looking to access a list of all the schools in the emirate, they are a good place to start your search. Expat forums also give you a chance to read what parents and other teachers think of a given school if you’re thinking of applying for a job there!
One of the very best ways to find out about teaching posts in Dubai is through visiting each school’s website. Vacancies are almost always listed, and contact details are certainly always provided. What this means is that even if there is not a suitable vacancy listed that you would like to apply for, you can contact the school with a very well written cover letter, together with details of your skills, qualifications and a resume. Follow up any such speculative contact with a phone call ideally, or an email or letter if you cannot get through to the right person, and find out what your chances are of securing work. You may need to be very proactive – and think about when you apply, most staff change overs happen during the summer vacation, with Dubai following the same sort of school year pattern as the UK and USA. This doesn’t mean you should leave it until the summer holidays to apply however, as this leaves limited time for interviews and arranging everything from flights to visas to accommodation! Think about applying from January of the year you want to move to Dubai.
The government requires that all foreign teachers coming to live and teach in the emirate have their qualifications attested. What this means is that you have to take all your certificates to a public notary in your home country before you leave for Dubai, and they have to officially swear in the form of a document that they sign and stamp with their seal, that the qualifications are original and real! Whilst most notaries can do this for you, when it comes to the next stage you may struggle! You have to have your government or embassy validate the legitimacy of the attesting notary! It is possible that your embassy in Dubai is happy to do this for you and totally familiar with the process, and they are certainly the ones that we suggest you contact first, even before you move to the emirate. Ask them if they are familiar with having teaching qualifications attested, and what the process is for nationals of your country. Chances are they can tell you as they may have helped others in a similar situation. If not, then get on the forums and ask!
You may be invited to Dubai to attend interviews, if so your expenses should be paid for you. Alternatively, you may want to travel to Dubai and arrange to visit a number of schools independently off your own back. This will give you the chance to see what Dubai’s like and what many of the schools are like too – it will also show the schools you visit that you are proactive, independent, capable and serious about your relocation. This could bode well for you! Also, any visit to the emirate before you relocate is very valuable as life in Dubai is extremely different! Even if you have worked in the Middle East before, Dubai is unique! So do try and spend some time visiting the emirate to get a feel for it.
Many teaching jobs that are directly offered to overseas candidates come with a remuneration and support package rather than just a simple salary offering. This is especially true for singletons and almost always the case for single women teachers. You may very well be offered accommodation in an apartment block populated with other international teachers. This apartment complex will probably be far more attractive and appealing than it sounds, and many come with shared amenities such as a swimming pool etc. You may receive a settling in allowance, an annual flight home, a certain contribution towards essential utilities and health insurance, as well as transport to and from your school. On top of this a handsome salary is usually all part of the package! Most people who end up teaching in Dubai find that their disposable income is far greater than that they received ‘back home,’ and that this allows them to save intensively over their fixed contract term. You will often find that the teachers you work with are saving to get on the property ladder back home, or to pay off university debts for example!
Having said that, international teachers in Dubai also tend to play hard as well as working hard! There is far less paperwork to contend with for a start, less time needs to be spent filing reports for various government statistics or preparing for more pointless tests! So there is more free and leisure time to enjoy life in Dubai. A great deal of socialising goes on in the accommodation blocks, and naturally as a new teacher entering a school where everyone else understands how nerve wracking and strange it can be moving to live and work in another country, you will quickly find you’re taken under the wing of one or two people and all of a sudden you have a whole new network of friends. Use these people’s knowledge of what there is to do, see and experience in Dubai, and you will be getting the best out of the city and your new life abroad in no time at all!