Let the distinct culture of invigorating Morocco put you on the map as a learning traveller as well as a teaching foreigner. Morocco is a booming destination within the tourism industry, constantly introducing new construction and businesses. The advancements being made in the industrial economy has Morocco promoting the English language country-wide, which has posted a sudden high demand on English teachers. Why not teach in a land where there is so much to learn.
The traveller’s journey is much different than the working environment in Morocco, which isn’t always a ‘walk on the beach,’ although you can do just that in between school days! The working week runs from Monday to Friday, typically commencing at around 9:00 in the morning and ending mid-afternoon.
If you so choose, there are opportunities for extra tutoring in the evening and/or weekends. Otherwise the extra time is for you to dedicate to the pulse of Morocco; set on a quest to enjoy the ancient culture, raw beauty of the land, and bask in the delightful company of the locals.Photo Credit: Danielle Ortiz-Geis
Across the decades, Arabic and French have been the focused languages taught in Morocco. Recently, the Moroccan economy has been making more and more advancements that call for the use of the English language. English is in high demand to be taught at all levels. This opportunity lends the potential English teacher abroad many different avenues to explore, each unique in their own way.
Private vs. Public (Government) Institutions
Teaching experiences in Morocco will differ from public sector to private sector. This variance is due to the administrations; in public, it is government rules that are published with consideration to all teachers, but in private, the rules are that of the owners which often leave teachers fighting for respect. Take heed, Morocco has teaching opportunities but it only works well with those who are really aware of the industry and understand that there will always be risks of questionable contracts and bad employers. It is your responsibility to explore your teaching abroad career opportunities, and make a choice that will best suit you.
By volunteering in Morocco, one gets to savor a different culture and to form bonds with people who genuinely need help and support. This experience is available to anyone with an interest in helping others to learn the English language; you do not need to have any previous teaching experience or qualifications.
Whether you want to volunteer during your gap year, career break or as a volunteer vacation, you will have an important role to play and your efforts will be greatly appreciated. Besides environmental work and community projects, volunteers are also required for teaching projects. You will enrich the lives of the local people, which is what volunteering is about.
- Teaching French, English or Spanish: Volunteers teach foreign languages to Moroccan children who come from very modest backgrounds. These children cannot afford to attend private language centers and the volunteer's presence gives them every chance to gain the vital skills necessary for a prosperous life.
- Working with Children and Young People: Volunteers will work with Moroccan youngsters, teaching and assisting them to learn crucial life skills that we often take for granted. For example, volunteers may teach languages, computer skills and mathematics.
- Women's Empowerment: Volunteers work directly with local women to support their pursuit of healthy and self-sustainable livelihoods. Among other things, volunteers will teach conversational English.
Tutoring and Personal Development
There may be opportunities to provide extra tutoring sessions to the students who require or desire the help. Additionally, due to Morocco’s growing economy, many professionals seeking growth in their career are looking for English tutors.
Any reputable school should be able to get you a working visa. If they are unable to help you acquire one, a red flag should go up immediately. You can still get a teaching position while visiting under a tourist visa, however you will have to leave the country upon expiration; a working visa will allow you to remain teaching in Morocco past 90 days. Furthermore, to teach legally in Morocco and to have a bank account that allows you to transfer money out of the country, you must have a BA degree and a proper certification. These are government requirements. If the school you apply to does not insist on these, they will not be able to get you a work/residence permit and are most likely a private institution.
When and Where to Look for Jobs
The best time to search for teaching positions, particularly English, is NOW. Morocco’s growing economy has placed high demand on English teachers. To assist you in making the best employment decisions, refer to entities such as the British Council, American Language Centres in Morocco, and AMIDEAST.
Certification earned from any of the following Global Colleges will recognize you as an international English teacher and will often help you to secure an overseas teaching job in the public sector.
- TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language
- TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language
- TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Many private institutions will hire teachers without any certification, however be careful when choosing a private school. The private schools are run on the rules of its owner who will often avoid signing an employment contract, pay much lower than the public institutions, or try to avoid paying all together.
Salary and Cost of Living
It is obvious that teaching English is not a job that will earn you a lot in Morocco in view of the economic situation. However, this charming country may offer you some other values apart from money. Establishing a balance between your financial expectations and the economical status of Morocco is in your hands.
Once you become a qualified professional here, expect to get paid anywhere from US $800.00 to $1000.00 per month; you can significantly increase your earnings by offering private tutoring lessons. The average cost of living will range from US $600.00 to $900.00 depending on the lifestyle you lead. If the teacher’s accommodation is not part of your salary, make sure to book your living quarters in advance; your menu includes holiday apartments, self-catering villas, cottages, hotels and hostels.
If you plan on teaching in Morocco be it English, French or any other subject for that matter. Be sure that you don't need to send money out of the country to pay your bills. As Western Union will inform you when you arrive with cash in hand "All transactions are inbound only."
The currency, the Moroccan dirham (MAD), cannot be exchanged outside the country, but can be reconverted to hard currency at the airport exchange counter upon departure. Exchange only as much money as needed. Credit cards and traveler's checks are accepted in certain stores and restaurants in urban centers, and in major hotels.
Classroom and Work Culture
- University classes may or may not start on time, depending on the professor, who sometimes won’t even show up.
- About half of the girls will choose to wear a veil while the rest choose not to cover their heads.
- At the university levels, grades follow the French system, which is based on 0-20, with 20 being perfect and nearly impossible to achieve. The average is around 12.
- The typical teaching style is lecture and the students take notes verbatim.
- Punctuality is not usually a virtue in Morocco, although some things do function on a strict time table, such as public schools.
- Interruption and interrupting someone is common practice.
- Moroccans are very careful and indirect in their communication style. Any direct confrontation with a Moroccan could cause a loss of face and hence shame for their family.
- It is considered better to express a criticism through a colleague or friend, rather than face to face. A Moroccan adage reminds one to “Praise your friend in public but reprimand him in private.”
Safety and Cultural Awareness
As a foreigner to any country, it is imperative to be aware of all local customs, laws, and safety precautions. Keep the following important notes in mind during your quest in Morocco:
- The use of drugs and public alcohol consumption is prohibited.
- Unauthorized importation of Bibles or other religious material is prohibited, except for personal use.
- Homosexual activity and all extramarital sexual relations are illegal.
- Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
- Photographing military or security interests can result in problems with authorities.
- Criticizing Moroccan institutions or the monarchy is a crime and may result in imprisonment.
- Women travelling alone may be subject to certain forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
- Islamic practices and beliefs are adhered to in the country’s customs, laws and regulations. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
- Carry your identification and vehicle documents at all times, as checkpoints are frequent.
- The border with Algeria is closed and crossing by land should not be attempted.
- While swimming conditions in tourist areas are generally safe and problem-free, public beaches in major cities are often polluted and unfit for swimming.
- Medical facilities are adequate for non-emergencies in Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakesh. Services may be limited elsewhere. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment.
- Drink bottled beverages and avoid drinking water from “water sellers.”