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.”