We understand everyone wanting to obtain a teaching job in Abu Dhabi, UAE has many questions. Our recruiting team gets a lot of questions from teachers ranging from "how will I be housed" to "can I drink the water" to "can I bring my dog". Many questions have been asked before by other teachers in Abu Dhabi, so to make things easier for you we've collected some of the most common questions applicants ask us. We know moving abroad for a teaching job in Abu Dhabi, UAE is stressful and coming prepared is half the work. We've tried to answer everything as complete as possible. If you have questions not covered in this FAQ, our recruiting team will gladly help you out!
Section 1 - Teaching FAQs
Q: What will I be teaching?
A: Teachers in Abu Dhabi will be teaching core subjects in English. You could be teaching science, math, history and yes, English.
Q: How many hours will I teach per week?
A: It varies from school to school but you can expect to teach around 30 hours per week.
Q: Is there planning time?
A: Teachers in Abu Dhabi are usually given 1 planning period per day
Q: Will I be expected to supervise extra-curricular activities?
A: No, if you wish to set up an afterschool activity you can, however, this is not expected of you.
Q: Will I be working with other ex-pat teachers?
A: In most cases yes. There are some schools that will have only one EMT (English Medium Teacher) but the vast majority of schools will have numerous EMT’s on staff.
Q: What is included with the contract?
A: The contract includes;
Q: How much vacation time will I receive?
A: 8 weeks in total. 3 For Christmas, 2 for Easter, 3 weeks in the summer.
Q: What qualifications do I need?
A: You need to have a recognized current state or provincial teaching certification/licence or qualified teacher status. Unfortunately a substitute or provisional teachers licence will not suffice. Also, if your teachers licence has ever been revoked you will not be accepted.
Q: How much experience do I need?
A: You need at the very least 2 years of post-certification teaching experience at an accredited school.
Q: What kind of experience counts?
A: Full Time Classroom experience; Substitute Teaching experience (must have records of employment from school board); International School Experience (Must be North American or British Curriculum); Experience in public schools in other countries, ie EPIK or JET
Q: What kind of experience does not count?
A: The following types of experience will not be considered by ADEC:
- Special Education (Unless it was with a full class, 15 or more students)
- One to one tutoring
- Private Language Schools
- University, College or Adult Teaching
- Student Teaching (Practicum)
- Corporate Training
- Music Teaching
- Phys. Ed
Q: What are the students like?
A: As in every class there will be students who are great and students who misbehave. It will be your job as a teacher to maintain control of your class and alter your classroom management techniques as necessary. It is important to keep in mind that you will be the first “Western” teacher for many of your students. You will have to earn their respect and they yours. It is also important to remember that you are a guest in their country. If you are going into this experience thinking that you will make the students adapt to your way of life this is not the job for you. In order to manage the students effectively you must understand their culture and use that understanding to your advantage. You will have the support of your Principal/Vice-principal as well your Head of Faculty and school social workers to deal with any behavioural issues.
Q: How big are the classes?
A: It depends on the school. Some classes will have as little as 15 students while others could have as many as 30.
Q: Will I work with a co-teacher?
A: If you are teaching a Kindergarten class yes, for all others no. This does not mean you will not have support. Students are taught in both Arabic and English. You will work alongside a staff of Arabic teachers as well as the other EMT’s. It is up to you to build relationships with the rest of the staff. Effective teachers are the ones that build these relationships and use them to their advantage.
Q: Is there continual professional development?
A: Yes, teachers will take part in weekly PD sessions.
Q: Are there opportunities for advancement?
A: Yes, if you show leadership and excel at your job you could be promoted to Head of Faculty.
Q: Is my contract extendable?
A: Yes, many teachers complete consecutive contracts.
Q: How long is the contract?
A: The contracts are 2 years in duration.
Q: What type of curriculum will I be teaching?
A: You will be working within the New School Model framework developed by ADEC. This model of teaching emphasizes a holistic, student centered approach to teaching. You will be given a set of learning outcomes for each class. It will be up to you to ensure that the students meet those outcomes. You will be able to draw on the experience of your Head of Faculty, Principal, Vice Principal and colleagues to achieve this goal.
Q: Will I have to submit lesson plans?
A: Yes, at some point you will be asked to submit lesson plans.
Q: Will I be observed?
A: Yes, you will be observed at the beginning of your contract and throughout your contract at various points.
Section 2 - Life in Abu Dhabi FAQs
Q: What is life like in Abu Dhabi?
A: It depends on where you are in the country. Abu Dhabi is the largest of seven emirates that make up the UAE. As such, life can be drastically different depending on where you are located in the country. Abu Dhabi the city is a vast metropolis where you will have access to all the modern amenities that you are used to in the west. Al-Ain, a city of over 200,000 people is the traditional summer retreat for Emiratis due to its cooler climate and laid back lifestyle. The western region is the outback of the UAE. Life can be hard here but if you have an adventurous spirit this is the location for you. Wherever you end up in Abu Dhabi you can expect to be greeted with warmth and traditional Arabic hospitality. The important thing to remember about Abu Dhabi is that wherever you are in the Emirate, you are no more than 3 hours from the capital.
Q: Where will I be placed?
A: Wherever you are needed. Flexibility is a key requirement for this job. If you are only willing to work in Abu Dhabi city and will not consider working in the western region this job is not for you. This is not to say that you will be placed in the Western Region for certain, but you should be aware that it is a possibility. Have a real good think about it before continuing on with the process. If you are not willing to work anywhere in the Emirate do yourself a favour and withdraw now. Better to end the process at this stage then to land in Abu Dhabi with cold feet.
Q: Where is Abu Dhabi?
A: Abu Dhabi is located in the Persian Gulf region. It borders Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Q: I’m a woman; do I have to wear an Abaya?
A: It really depends on what school you are working at and how traditional your principal is. You might be asked to cover your hair or you might not. If this will be an issue for you it would be best to withdraw your application at this point.
Q: Should I be worried about my safety?
A: Abu Dhabi is very safe. That being said we always recommend that teachers exercise caution while teaching abroad. It’s really the same as any location, if you go looking for trouble you will find it. If you follow the rules of the law you will have no issues. Crime is very rare in Abu Dhabi.
Q: Should I buy extra insurance?
A: We always advise teachers to take our supplemental insurance. The national plan in your contract is good, but it never hurts to have a little extra. Plus additional insurance covers things like emergency repatriation. These extras are not usually covered by the national plans.
Q: I have a wedding/family event to attend during my contract, what should I do?
A: Simple, either don’t go to the wedding or don’t go to Abu Dhabi. Of course emergency leave is permitted for things like a death in the family however, if you know that you have a commitment during the school year that will require your attendance please hold off on this opportunity.
Q: Can I take on private students to make some extra money?
A: No. Your contract is with the Abu Dhabi Education Council. If you are caught you can be deported.
Q: Can I bring a pet?
A: Yes, but we don’t recommend it. Depending on what country you are bringing your pet from it may need to be quarantined. This can take up to 4 months during which time your pet is held at immigration. It can be a traumatic experience for your animal. Regulations change per country, and it may be possible to take your pet with few problems. Making arrangements for your pet and preparing the paperwork is your sole responsibility - to learn more about importing pets to the UAE, please check with the UAE Ministry of Environment & Water.
Q: Why do I need a drivers licence?
A: Many of the schools are outside of Abu Dhabi and it is your responsibility to get to and from work. Abu Dhabi truly has a car culture. You will at some point during your contract be expected to drive.
Q: Can I bring my family?
A: Yes, but there are few things to be considered.
- It is better to bring your family after you are settled. This is due to the visa process involved in bringing over dependants as well as the stress of your own relocation. The first few weeks will be hectic for you as you will be dealing with moving into your accommodation, settling in to your school and finalizing administrative details with your contract. ADEC will help out with bringing your family over, however, any visa penalty fees associated with the process that could be incurred from not having your families visa processed in time will be your responsibility. This program is over 4 years old at this point and from teachers prior experience it is much easier to bring your family over after you are settled.
- There is no education allowance provided for your children. You are responsible for the education of your children while in Abu Dhabi and international schools are expensive.
We hope this answers most if not all your questions. If you still have questions after reading this FAQ our recruiting team is here to help you.