Teach­ers feel val­ued abroad


SOUTH African mi­grant teach­ers work­ing in the UAE say they feel more val­ued, re­spected and ap­pre­ci­ated.

Af­ter spend­ing a year teach­ing at a gov­ern­ment school, earn­ing be­low min­i­mum wage, a Phoenix teacher de­cided to leave for Dubai.

The 22-year-old grad­u­ate from the Em­bury In­sti­tute for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, who has a de­gree in teach­ing and re­quested anonymity, said: “I worked for a year as a Grade 1 teacher in a School Gov­ern­ing Body (SGB) post. I left South Africa last month, be­cause, de­spite many ef­forts to try and ob­tain a gov­ern­ment po­si­tion, I was un­suc­cess­ful.

“I heard about teach­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in Dubai. I re­searched agen­cies for months un­til I found a good one. I was placed in a pri­vate school, teach­ing 25 pupils com­pared to South Africa where I taught 33. I also have a teacher aide.”

She works from 7am to 3.30pm and said that there were “sched­ules to fol­low with the learn­ers”.

“Plan­ning must be pre­cise and re­sources and set text­books must be utilised, while still main­tain­ing a well-or­gan­ised, bal­anced day for learn­ers. Ev­ery day re­quires les­sons to be taught in the most in­no­va­tive ways pos­si­ble.”

She said peo­ple as­sumed that teach­ers who worked abroad had it easy and re­ceived a fat salary.

“But you work hard for your money. I am earn­ing 20 times more. For younger teach­ers, you learn how to be in­de­pen­dent and self-re­liant.”

Her ac­com­mo­da­tion is paid for by the school and she re­ceives a free re­turn trip to SA dur­ing the year.

The only chal­lenge is the lan­guage bar­rier (they speak Ara­bic), the hu­mid weather and be­ing away from her fam­ily.

An­other teacher with 18 years of ex­pe­ri­ence left South Africa in 2014.

“I was also tired of the high lev­els of crime, the high cost of liv­ing, the poor in­fra­struc­ture and the gross cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment,” said the 39-year-old.

The woman, for­merly from Pine­town, is teach­ing in Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi.

“I teach math­e­mat­ics and am the head of the kinder­garten sec­tion. I have about 20 to 23 pupils in my class.

“Here, the teach­ers are val­ued and ap­pre­ci­ated. Vi­o­lence against teach­ers is un­heard of.”

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