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British teacher with kids moving to UAE

British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Old Aug 10th 2018, 6:56 pm
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Default British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Hi all, I am new to this forum. I am considering moving to Fujairah with my kids aged 9 and 6. I have an offer from an American international school where 20% children and 55% teachers are foreigners. My worry is they teach Arabic, Islamic studies and social studies in Arabic. If you have children, how did they cope with this? Did they have any cultural shock or problems with communicating with local kids? My older child is preparing for 11 plus exam. Some people have said that the standard in UAE schools is much lower than the UK schools. I don't want to make a wrong decision that may affect my children's education. Please share your experiences. Thank you.
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Old Aug 11th 2018, 3:18 pm
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

20% foreign means 80% Emirati. Are you sure this is a good idea ?
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Old Aug 12th 2018, 1:07 am
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

I have no idea the school involved, but I would not even contemplate enrolling my children there based on the circumstances you described.

If the vast majority of students are local and "some" subjects are going to be taught in Arabic - you should assume other subjects beyond those published will be as well, including some core subjects if you have a teacher from Egypt/Jordan etc with those vast majority of Arabic students, even if "officially" they are supposed to be in English. Do not assume that "55% foreign teachers" means "from the UK and USA."

"55% foreign teachers" may also mean "untrained teacher" (not many countries outside the West have a system of Teacher Education or teacher training) and use of behaviour management techniques that would be considered wholly unacceptable in the UK. Corporal punishment is very, very common throughout the Middle East.

My advice would be to put your kids in a British curriculum school where everything is taught only in English for a year, until you have a year under your belt at the school you are going to be working at, which will allow you to scope it out. Don't just accept verbal assurances from admin and the teacher (if it's a non-Westerner) that classes are taught in English - stand outside the doors during your planning periods and listen to what is going on inside the classrooms.

On a side note - you also need to approach this as a year-to-year move you are making, and not as a wholesale life change. The shelf life of teachers in the Middle East is short and most have gone back to their home countries after just a few years, if even that long. It's a very, very small minority who are there 5 years or longer. Don't sell your house or make long-term irreversible changes based on the idea that you're going to be spending a decade or longer in the UAE.

Good luck.
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Old Aug 12th 2018, 7:21 pm
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Thank you carcajou for your advice. The principal assured that Arabic is the only subject taught in Arabic, that also separately for foreigners (Arabic for non-Arabs). All other subjects including Islamic studies, Social studies and moral education will be taught in English for foreign kids. As I have never worked in the middle east, I will have to see it to believe it. That's why I asked for help from other parents. I am planning to come back before my DC starts GCSE. I will be renting out the house.
If you have children who goes to school in the middle east, do you think they are doing better than in the UK or worse? Teaching standards at different schools can vary. I can't afford to send my kids to tier 1 school where fee for one child is 60k AED. Not easy to find a job there as schools prefer teachers with no dependents or teaching couples.
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Old Aug 13th 2018, 4:10 am
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Originally Posted by freebird18 View Post
Thank you carcajou for your advice. The principal assured that Arabic is the only subject taught in Arabic, that also separately for foreigners (Arabic for non-Arabs). All other subjects including Islamic studies, Social studies and moral education will be taught in English for foreign kids. As I have never worked in the middle east, I will have to see it to believe it. That's why I asked for help from other parents. I am planning to come back before my DC starts GCSE. I will be renting out the house.
If you have children who goes to school in the middle east, do you think they are doing better than in the UK or worse? Teaching standards at different schools can vary. I can't afford to send my kids to tier 1 school where fee for one child is 60k AED. Not easy to find a job there as schools prefer teachers with no dependents or teaching couples.
It depends on the schools and of course the child. I have had friends whose children went to the top schools in Dubai and have gone on to some of the best UK universities. The schools they attended were Dubai College and Repton
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Old Aug 13th 2018, 7:30 am
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Originally Posted by freebird18 View Post
Thank you carcajou for your advice. The principal assured that Arabic is the only subject taught in Arabic, that also separately for foreigners (Arabic for non-Arabs). All other subjects including Islamic studies, Social studies and moral education will be taught in English for foreign kids. As I have never worked in the middle east, I will have to see it to believe it. That's why I asked for help from other parents. I am planning to come back before my DC starts GCSE. I will be renting out the house.
If you have children who goes to school in the middle east, do you think they are doing better than in the UK or worse? Teaching standards at different schools can vary. I can't afford to send my kids to tier 1 school where fee for one child is 60k AED. Not easy to find a job there as schools prefer teachers with no dependents or teaching couples.
I'm tempted to say if you can't afford 60k AED for school fees or have access to places at the better British schools then don't come to the UAE. 60k is on the cheap side for the better schools.... then again it's a moot point as I don't think there are any decent schools in Fujairah. It's a dusty mini-boom town although it's changed a lot in recent years so who knows how valid my views are. But it is not Dubai, which is increasingly in the category of a world class city with the amenities (and prices) to match, and this includes top notch international schools. The expat population in Fujairah will be very small and you're likely to have a more "local" experience than most Brits do in the UAE. It really is provincial UAE.

But if you take this as a 1-2 year stint with full knowledge that you're returning to the UK while your children are still young enough then perhaps it could work. I'd follow their education very closely, however, and address any gaps identified (and there will be plenty of those, I doubt this school will come close to a bog standard primary or comp).

Just be aware that Fujairah will probably start feeling old and limited very soon.
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Old Aug 13th 2018, 7:44 am
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
I'm tempted to say if you can't afford 60k AED for school fees or have access to places at the better British schools then don't come to the UAE. 60k is on the cheap side for the better schools.... then again it's a moot point as I don't think there are any decent schools in Fujairah. It's a dusty mini-boom town although it's changed a lot in recent years so who knows how valid my views are. But it is not Dubai, which is increasingly in the category of a world class city with the amenities (and prices) to match, and this includes top notch international schools. The expat population in Fujairah will be very small and you're likely to have a more "local" experience than most Brits do in the UAE. It really is provincial UAE.

But if you take this as a 1-2 year stint with full knowledge that you're returning to the UK while your children are still young enough then perhaps it could work. I'd follow their education very closely, however, and address any gaps identified (and there will be plenty of those, I doubt this school will come close to a bog standard primary or comp).

Just be aware that Fujairah will probably start feeling old and limited very soon.
It is a nice place to visit but i would feel isolated living there. I would say it still is a very remote town and more locals than expats. A friend worked there as a Teacher in a boys school but she left after a few months
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Old Aug 13th 2018, 9:56 am
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

The ''English'' used for most subjects will not be as you know it in UK schools. Your young children's English language skills may deteriorate as they are being taught ( I presume) by Middle East trained non-English speakers. They may not even understand what is being said.
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Old Aug 15th 2018, 5:56 am
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

I visit Fujairah often (once a week) for work and occasionally for the odd weekend a way, but unless I was being offered a serious bump or if I decided to move over to save cash there's no way I would move over to live. If I were you i'd keep looking. The school sounds pish!
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Old Aug 15th 2018, 11:40 am
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Thanks everyone for your input. I have turned down the offer and is now looking for a job in a proper international school with international students.
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Old Aug 21st 2018, 2:54 pm
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Originally Posted by freebird18 View Post
Hi all, I am new to this forum. I am considering moving to Fujairah with my kids aged 9 and 6. I have an offer from an American international school where 20% children and 55% teachers are foreigners. My worry is they teach Arabic, Islamic studies and social studies in Arabic. If you have children, how did they cope with this? Did they have any cultural shock or problems with communicating with local kids? My older child is preparing for 11 plus exam. Some people have said that the standard in UAE schools is much lower than the UK schools. I don't want to make a wrong decision that may affect my children's education. Please share your experiences. Thank you.
Welcome to the forums!

The first thing I noticed was 20% of the children are foreign. That measn 80% Emirati. I have been in the country for 18 years and have met a lot of teachers in my time....few have good things to say about teaching Emirati children, especially those under 18.

I put my son through a UK curriculum school that cost around 60K per year or thereabouts in Dubai...over 75% British teachers and pupils. I would never consider putting children in any other school except perhaps a German or Swiss school if they spoke the lingo.

The standards are much lower than UK schools - the UK curriculum schools here are usually ok and don't suffer most of the discripline, drug and similar issues a lot of UK schools face. Depending on where you are in the UK some of the schools here are better....but lack the full British cultural experience of course.

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Old Aug 22nd 2018, 4:37 am
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

That's the good bit

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Old Aug 22nd 2018, 4:24 pm
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Default Re: British teacher with kids moving to UAE

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
That's the good bit
Well these days having anything remotely traditionally British is verboten in Britain - here I found my son learning more about Britain than some of his cousins in England....who couldn't even tell me some of the people on our bank notes like Churchill and Newton.

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