Once a barely known outpost on the Persian Gulf, Qatar is now a bustling, metropolitan country, with large numbers of expats residing in its capital, Doha. It has numerous connections to the Middle East and Europe, making it a perfect spot to base yourself for travel throughout the region.
Teaching in Qatar can give you the opportunity to gain valuable international teaching experience, and the salaries paid to ex-pats are high. In exchange for a lucrative salary package, you'll be expected to give your all to the teaching job, and will likely be teaching a multicultural group of students with a range of skills and abilities.
While Qatar doesn't live up to the flashiness of some of its other Middle Eastern neighbors, it is a safe and comfortable destination to live and work in, with plenty of culture to enjoy. If you are interested in learning Arabic, it's an excellent language learning destination, as well -- not to mention you can spend your time outside of the classroom lazing on the Qatari sands.
Private International Schools
Due to a constant influx of new ex-pats, there is an ongoing need for qualified, experienced teachers at private international schools. These schools are semi-regulated, so you may find the standard of teaching, or teaching methods, a little different from back home. Even so, there are a number of quality schools, and they typically offer the best package for international teachers who are degree-qualified.
Working as a personal tutor, you may have more flexibility in your hours worked, and work on a smaller group (or 1:1) basis. However, you will need to ensure that you are sponsored by a company, or by a family, to remain in the country legally. Whatever you do -- don’t try to freelance as a tutor without a permit to work! This is highly illegal, and you could face deportation, or worse, jail time.
English Language Schools
With local Qatari people wishing to expand their English language skills, and non-English speaking ex-pats also look to develop their skills, opportunities in English Language Schools are becoming more common. While these are not as high-paying as the private international schools, they generally offer shorter teaching days, more flexibility, and evening lessons.
Finding a Job
While there are lots of opportunities available in Qatar, it isn't always clear just what the application process for these jobs is. You can get started on your big move by preparing your documentation, which will be needed several months prior to your departure.
When to Apply for Jobs in Qatar
You need to start your job search at least six months before you plan to move to Qatar. The government process for visa approval can be very slow, and there is a range of documentation requirements (such as having your marriage certificate or degree attested multiple times) that are time-consuming.
Where to Apply for Jobs in Qatar
GoOverseas has a number of teaching job opportunities available in Qatar, based mainly in Doha. Whether you want to work at a high school with Teaching Nomad, work at a private American International School with Teach Away, or teaching English with Smart Learning, there are many different jobs for you to consider.
Average Salary of Teaching Jobs in Qatar
Salaries are generally high in Qatar, ranging from 9,000 to 16,300 Qatari Rial per month ($2,400 to $4,500) for a degree-qualified teacher at a private international school. Your salary will be tax-free, but many other costs in the country are taxed. English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)/English as a Second Language (ESOL) teachers can expect to be paid a bit less.
When considering a salary, you should also be mindful of the package you are offered. The best packages include accommodation or housing allowances, and some even include a transport allowance. In a country with poor public transport, you will be required to drive or taxi everywhere, so a transport allowance can make a big difference.
To teach at an International Private School, you must be teaching-degree qualified to at least Bachelors level, and ideally, have 2-3 years of relevant teaching experience. To teach at an English Language School, you must hold a TEFL/ESOL certification, and again, experience is preferred (but not always necessary).
Need to Know
Teaching in Dubai's lesser-known cousin offers a great deal of opportunity, for both your bank account and your career. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you make the leap to the Middle East.
Popular Destinations to Teach in Qatar
The main destination for teaching jobs is Doha. The capital city of Qatar, with a population of 1.5 million people, is fairly sleepy by international standards. However, it is a safe and comfortable, if quiet, destination. If you’re a party animal, it might not be for you -- alcohol can only be consumed (with permission) at home or in hotels -- but during the winter, there is an abundance of outdoor activities available. With a small-town feel, there are also lots of ex-pat clubs and groups, for activities such as yoga, running, sailing, and hiking. It's also great for families, and some contracts will include an education allowance.
Visas & Sponsorship
Your employer is required to sponsor your visa. You will be tied to your employer for the period of your visa, which you will need to remember if you want to change jobs while in the country. You may be required to request permission from the government, or your former employer, to change jobs. As your sponsor, there are certain requirements your employer needs to meet, which may include the promise of an annual flight to your home country, an education allowance, and health insurance.
Teacher Work Culture in Qatar
In exchange for a handsome salary package, teachers in Qatar work hard. Hours can be long, and you will be required to deal with parents and children of all different cultures, which can be a challenge. However, schools are generally very well resourced, and provide excellent teaching facilities. As schools are able to set their own curricula, a teaching job in Qatar also gives you the freedom to possibly develop your own teaching curriculum, and evaluate its effectiveness.
Classroom Etiquette in Qatar
Classes typically start at around 6:30 or 7:00 AM in the morning, when the temperature is cooler, with students leaving between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM. You are likely to be accompanied in the classroom by a Teacher Aide or Teacher's Assistant, and some classrooms even have a "Class Mother." The Class Mother will be in charge of coordinating some administrative activities for you. All children are required to learn Arabic, and an Arabic teacher will be allocated for this purpose if you do not speak the language.
Health & Safety
Qatar is an extremely safe country, and Doha is a safe city. However, you will need to brush up on Arabic customs and be prepared to respect local rules and traditions. For example, you will be required to apply to the government to exit Qatar -- which might not be to everyone’s liking. The country does also experience some fairly hot temperatures -- up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more! While you will be working in air-conditioning most of the time, you need to prepare yourself for the sticky summers. The flipside is that winter has a much more pleasant average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for beach-club lazing.