Teaching Overseas: Is It For You?

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Gina Pearson

Gina trained as an English Teacher ten years ago as part of a Graduate Teacher Programme in Co. Durham and moved on to the Middle East after four years. She currently work at a large British International School in Dubai and prides herself on building...
Read more about Gina Pearson

Does teaching overseas appeal to you?

If I hadn’t left the UK, I’m certain I would no longer be a classroom teacher! When I made the move to the Middle East over 5 years ago, there were a lot of people who thought I was totally mad.

Responses were typical: “What do you want to go there for?” and “It’s so restrictive; what will you wear?!” Honestly, they needn’t have worried. I can genuinely say that moving to Dubai was the best decision I have ever made.

Top 5 Reasons

If you are considering leaving the profession, I would suggest seriously considering a change of scenery rather than a change of career. So, is teaching overseas for you?

1. The weather

This alone makes tough days at work more bearable. Year-round sunshine, free beaches and outdoor living make the evenings and weekends accessible again. No driving to and from work in icy-pitch darkness for 50% of the year. Hurrah!

2. The pay

Most schools in Dubai offer above the average U.K. teaching salary – factor in the tax-free salary and housing which is provided (as well as many other benefits), and you’re no longer scrambling to make ends meet and will actually have some savings to boot!

3. The students

Whilst I’m sure the students at your current school are lovely, I have genuinely never experienced the level of drive the students have here in Dubai. Maybe it’s because it’s a fee-paying environment or something cultural and international – I don’t know – but whatever it is, they’re lovely! I no longer have to firefight and troubleshoot. I spend my days actually teaching.

4. The ethos

In my school, I am valued. Me; Gina. I matter. There is a big drive in the United Arab Emirates on community, kindness and wellbeing and this is reflected in the schools. I feel cared for and looked after, and, whilst I am not naïve enough to believe this will be the case in all schools, it is certainly the case in mine.

5. It’s not forever!

If you don’t like teaching overseas, you can go home. A move abroad is not a prison sentence, and if it’s not for you, you can leave. Most overseas contracts are 1 or 2 years in length, but you can leave at any point if you give your school notice and honour this period.

And finally…

Life in the Middle East may not be for everyone but if you’re one of those sitting on the fence, wondering how much longer you can cope with the pressures of the day-to-day grind in the U.K., you might as well give it a go! If you want to teach overseas but feel unsure, go on, I dare you to excel and create some new memories.

One thought on “Teaching Overseas: Is It For You?

  1. I took up my 1st international post in Zhuhai, China in Jan 2019.
    I can not recommend it enough.
    I actually get to teach.
    Best decision i ever made.

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