I wholeheartedly recommend exploring opportunities to work abroad. This experience will broaden your perspective, introducing you to incredible places and amazing people.
What motivated you to apply for your role at your current international setting?
I have always loved to travel and experience different cultures and this opportunity allows me to indulge in this love while pursuing a fulfilling career. The school I work at is globally renowned, ranking among the largest in the world. The amount of highly skilled educators not only fosters my professional growth, especially during my ECT years, but also provides invaluable personal support.
Please provide a brief outline of your role including the key stage that you teach.
I am currently in Year 5, UKS2, overseeing a class of 31 children in the UAE. The educational structure here differs slightly from the UK, as I primarily handle subjects such as math, English, science, history, geography, and PSHE. Specialised teachers manage the remaining subjects. Being in a private school, I am also tasked with ensuring parent satisfaction and maintaining effective communication with them.
What are the highlights of your role?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is witnessing the progress and pride each child takes in their achievements. Additionally, I appreciate the incredible team I work with. The curriculum is exceptional, and I thoroughly enjoy immersing myself in the exploration of their culture. Another perk is the half-day Fridays, a result of the UAE’s four-and-a-half-day working week, which I particularly love.
What are the challenges of your role (if any) and how do you overcome these?
The main challenges in my role involve managing various pressures. Given the high ranking of the school, there’s a constant pressure to ensure smooth operations, including completing lesson plans 2 weeks ahead, handling administrative tasks, ensuring positive assessments, uploading data, facilitating effective learning for the children, maintaining consistent communication with parents, and providing additional opportunities for the students. I deal with this by having a ‘To do list’ and a ‘Today’ list. This approach makes my workload more manageable, ensuring that I stay organized and never overlook any tasks.
Another challenge stems from the school’s size, with 11 Year 5 classes, there must be a commitment to consistency across the entire year group, as discrepancies between classes can lead to parental complaints. To tackle this challenge, we implement a strategy of daily meetings and maintain constant communication through our Year 5 group chats. We make it a practice to inform one another before sending out whole class communications, fostering a collaborative and coordinated approach among the Year 5 teaching team.
What has been the most memorable moment of your international teaching experience?
One of the standout moments in my teaching career was undoubtedly the teachers’ conference held at Atlantis The Palm. The experience was extraordinary. Engaging with a diverse group of teachers allowed us to foster connections, share innovative ideas, and participate in a variety of enriching workshops. The event featured captivating performances from numerous schools, adding an extra layer of inspiration.
This conference not only elevated my professional development but also emphasized the value placed on teachers in Dubai. The combination of networking, learning, and unexpected rewards made it an unforgettable experience, contributing positively to my teaching journey.
Has this experience enhanced your employability or led to further opportunities for you?
Although I’ve just completed one term in my current position, it hasn’t yet opened doors to additional opportunities. Nevertheless, it has significantly enriched my professional profile by providing valuable experience within a large team and at a globally ranked school. Looking ahead, I am optimistic about potential future opportunities for promotions and the assumption of additional responsibilities. The school often considers internal candidates for various advancement roles, and I look forward to exploring these possibilities as my tenure progresses.
What are your future career aspirations and how will your current employment help you achieve these?
My plan is to remain at this school for a few years and subsequently explore living in a different country to immerse myself in a new culture. I am confident that the school will actively support my professional development during my time here and keep me informed about any opportunities for advancement to more senior positions.
Would you recommend your experience of either your overseas opportunity while studying, or working at an international school overseas (or both) to Edge Hill University students and what advice would you give?
I wholeheartedly recommend exploring opportunities to work abroad. This experience will broaden your perspective, introducing you to incredible places and amazing people. It’s similar to a continuous holiday, offering a blend of adventure as well as personal growth. I also find myself so much happier. There are also lots of people who will be sharing a similar journey, ensuring you’re never alone. With nothing to lose, the option to return home is always available if it doesn’t suit you. Plus, family and friends are always a call or a plane journey away. The overseas work experience is truly amazing, and words alone cannot describe it —you simply have to experience it yourself. Embrace the world as your oyster, and go explore its wonders.