A rather ill defined but commonly used term, ‘the Middle East’ includes countries such as Turkey, the Gulf States, and Egypt. TEFL jobs are particularly common in such countries as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar.
One thing the Middle East has become known for in TEFL is high paying jobs. These can mainly be found in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries on the Persian Gulf. Along with high salaries come high demands, though, and an MA and years of teaching experience are often prerequisites when applying for jobs in these countries.
Turkey, Egypt and Morocco are perhaps the easiest way in for newbies. Employers often only require a university degree and a basic TEFL qualification.
Many employers in these regions offer housing along with the salary, which is particularly advantageous at first.
Culturally, many areas of the Middle East are as different to western culture as you can get. For example, many countries list there job vacancies along with gender classifications as female teachers may only teach female students, and male teachers can only teach male students.
This kind of culture extends beyond the classroom, too, affecting your daily life in numerous ways (such as some countries operating a no-alcohol policy). A flexible and dedicated person can thrive in such a culture, though, so if it is something you feel capable of coping with then it is nothing to balk at.
Finding a job involves a lot of research, mainly done from the comfort of your own home. Internet searches on sites such as ESL Employment, TEFL.com, and BAYT.com should throw some vacancies your way. Dave’s ESL Café is, as always, a mine of useful information.
Are you teaching in the Middle East? Want to share your experiences with us? Leave a comment below!