Is the Middle East a Good Option for Female ESL Teachers

Many nondual teacher are recruiting teachers at a fevered pace. A major issue faced by English teachers in the region is people’s attitudes towards female ESL teachers. Some countries are not tolerant towards women working. Therefore, if you are a female ESL teacher and want to teach in the Middle East, you should do your research on the countries and schools that have hospitable environments for female teachers. Saudi Arabia, for example, employs many female teachers, but many female teachers find religious rules and regulations extremely restricting and a tough place to get adjusted to. Bahrain, which is geographically near Saudi Arabia, is quite liberal and tolerant and have an accommodating environment for women. However, there are also countries like Israel where they do not accept foreign teachers at all, male or female.

In the Middle East, regardless of degree of liberalism, men are employed to teach males, and women are employed to teach females. Women can also find work at International schools, where the children of the foreign consulates study, or at Universities that are teaching women. There is also the option of being hired as a private tutor by a rich family, but this is not recommended because Universities and schools tend to have an organized program and curriculum for teachers.

Additionally, be careful of what your contract terms. Contracts tend to be 12 months, however, many employers are liberal about allowing an unhappy teacher return home. There is sometime the issue of residency visas. Generally, in Saudi Arabia, applicants are brought in on a visit or business visa. After one or two months, a residency visa is processed for the applicant. This means that, during that time period, the teacher’s passport is held with the school and it is impossible for the teacher to leave the country. Therefore, it is very important to reach out to former teachers of that respective school and ask about their negative experiences teaching at that particular institution.

With that said, the Middle East, understanding its low desirability for females, tends to pay the most competitive wages for ESL teachers. Typically, a female teacher with no experience, is paid $40,000 tax free in the Middle East. With experience, these teachers are paid upwards of $50,000 or more. It is important to note that a teacher who has taught in the Middle East in the past, might not be looked favorably upon. There will be questions about past performances with their previous employers.

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