Comprised of two separate areas, the West Bank and Gaza, Palestine in an area ripe with culture and history. Despite its shaky relationship with Israel, Palestine has much more to offer than its mentions in the news suggest. The area boasts beautiful beaches, a whole slew of ancient sites, and ornate mosques and churches, not to mention lots of delicious hummus!
Education is valued quite highly in Palestine, with education made highly accessible by government and outside organizations. There has recently been an upsurge in IT education in Palestine, and many of the teachers are hired from abroad.
So if you’re a techie, your job prospects are quite high. English is less commonly taught in schools, though there are several private organizations that hire English teachers for their programs.Photo credit: jmerelo
There are three types of schools in Palestine: those run by the Palestinian Authority government (which serve 75% of students), those run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA, these are refugee schools), and independent public and private schools. These last two types serve the remaining 25% of students.
Though rare, you might be able to find a job teaching with a school in Palestine. This is relatively uncommon compared to the number of people who find work with private organizations (see below).
There are quite a few private organizations that hire volunteers to teach in Palestine. These classes are often for English instruction in after school clubs, but can also be for arts and crafts teachers, sports coaches, and other positions. Other common volunteer placements are teaching children in refugee camps.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
If you are going through an organization separate from the school system, most of these accept applicants year round.
Qualifications will depend on which type of job you choose, but TEFL certification is rarely required. Some organizations will require experience teaching non-English speakers and a bachelor’s degree in English, while others will only hire college graduates, and some will only require that you be 18 years old or older. It is best to check the requirements with each specific program, as requirements vary both between programs and within programs for different positions.
Salary & Cost of Living:
Overall the cost of living is average in the Palestinian territories--it is not high, but it is also by no means a bargain. A 1 bedroom apartment in the city center will run you about $220 a month (a 3 bedroom is about $400 a month), utilities add up to a whopping $150 a month with internet, and groceries are about $100 a month (groceries are cheapest at the small outdoor marketplaces).
Most of the English teaching opportunities in Palestine are volunteer, so do not expect an income if this is where you will be teaching. However, many of these programs provide you with a host family, lowering your monthly costs considerably.
Classroom & Work Culture:
- Student-teacher relationship: Discipline is often strict in Palestinian schools. There are a few schools that try to foster a more casual relationship, like that of friends, between students and teachers. This is pretty rare, though. In most places, the relationship is formal and students call their teachers “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Regardless, respect for teachers is high.
- Dress Code: Dress is quite conservative, especially for women. Do not bare your shoulders or upper arms and avoid wearing anything too revealing of any other body part.
- Greetings: The typical Arabic greeting is "Salaam Alaykum". A handshake is generally an acceptable greeting. Some Muslim people also do not touch people of the opposite sex (except family and husbands/wives), so to avoid offending anyone, it is best to go with the flow of however the other person greets you.