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Thoughts on teaching in KSA

 
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 181
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:09 am    Post subject: Thoughts on teaching in KSA Reply with quote

Well, my contract offers good pay (12,000 SR per month) transportation, and shared accommodations. The students are friendly, and some actually prefer me as a teacher.

The downside is that I am in the middle of Saudi Arabia. I have no car and there is a 3 mi. walk to the nearest shopping mall. There's no transportation to the mall (and there's a reason for that).

You see, I arranged with my Saudi liaison to get a car to transport me to the nearest bank to cash my check. When the women on the compound heard that I got a driver, they put on their abayas and wrangled the driver to drive them around too (yeah, there's women on my compound, it's a long story and they look better with abayas on). then the south africans (men) got involved and they wanted a ride to the mall, too. South Africans are easy to spot because they have a sense of entitlement and are lacking in teaching qualifications. the poor driver had to chauffeur women, men, and travel with a contingent of other teachers following behind in another car. I actually heard one slob say, "I haven't been shopping for 2 whole days!" Well, the liaison had enough for one day and he canceled our taxi service for the rest of Eid-ul Adha. It's a 2 week holiday, by the way. I'm looking forward to working.

Moral of story: You can be in control of your employer and where you teach, but you can't control the scumbags you work with. Choose accordingly. Wink
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St. George



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 108
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject: BIKE Reply with quote

Aadvark,

Get yourself a bike but remember to chain it up, whenever you leave it, otherwise it will get nicked. Take it into the accommodation at night, otherwise they will carry it off. You will need a parcel rack on the back and a cardboard box into which you can load your shopping from the mall.

Happy cycling and no punctures

Trust no one.

St. G
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St. George



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 108
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject: WARNING Reply with quote

Just a word of warning.

Your emails and telephone calls may be monitored and there may be spies in your classroom, so do not discuss anything about Islam or Saudi Arabia, Indeed be very careful what you say. Don't let them catch you drinking alcohol, homemade or not and keep away from the native women, no matter how much they may encourage you, otherwise you may end up in the desert with your throat cut

St. G
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 181
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice. I don't talk about Islam or Saudi Arabia. I have the suspicion that a spy is in the class, so I try to keep things light and friendly.
Actually, the Dean of the school came by (before I moved in) and told the teachers there is a spy among the teachers who reports to the dean (and the suspicions were cast upon the muslim teachers). So teachers ppretty much stick to ethnic/national ties.

I came to KSA with the idea that I would be celibate. Saudis share religious beliefs that are in line with Christian fundamentalists: no booze, no premarital sex, and pray for forgiveness.
I wasn't prepared for the "me first" attitude of the teachers and their lack of consideration. Remember, this is "winter" and the hot weather has gone away. When it returns, tempers will flare. There's a saying: "Hard times don't build character, but they certainly reveal it." I get a feeling I will get a good look at national character. Mr. Green
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St. George



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 108
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:10 am    Post subject: ISLAM Reply with quote

Islam is the law of the land but there is a lot that goes on behind closed doors, which doesn't follow the law. I thought they were something special; praying five time a day but I'm afraid most of them are hypocrites.

Wait 'till Ramadan...
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JamesAtRealize



Joined: 09 Sep 2010
Posts: 118
Location: Kobe, Sanomiya, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sounds both hilarious and stressful!

I'd opt for teaching in a place where you aren't getting spied on, that's just nonsense!
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 181
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:43 pm    Post subject: Spring break in KSA!! Reply with quote

I am typing this after doing 5 days of marking writing exams and proctoring exams (both paper and online). The final exam process at a Saudi university can be kinda stressful.....My department believes in redundancy, so we mark exams twice, and the first time does not count.....it may seem like an exercise in futility, but the first time marking gives us a "sense" for marking the exam. The second time we mark allows us to see how the first teacher did in grading.
however, my superiors forgot that I still teach a course for graduate students which still continues during the final exam period. Apparently, I am supposed to mark exams and teach students at the same time. These professors are Indian and not at all sympathetic to Western teachers. Rolling Eyes
The good news is that most of the hard work is done........the bad news is that there are a few loose admin. details that need to be ironed out. Attendance reports, copies of essay assignments given, etc......
True, I'm a university instructor, but there seems to be a lot of pettiness to put up with....... Mad

Setting up a bank account here is a major hurdle, because some banks do not want to deal with Westerners. It seems your employer has to have a "connection" w/ a Saudi bank before they'll gladly take your money. In addition, you must have an IBAN no. which is generated by you once you get an account no. Normally, an American bank supplies you with an account no. and routing no. to transfer money. China operated in a similar fashion. Saudi ways remain a mystery, still...................
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mr.joel



Joined: 22 Feb 2012
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: WARNING Reply with quote

Quote:
"St. George"]Just a word of warning.

Your emails and telephone calls may be monitored and there may be spies in your classroom, so do not discuss anything about Islam or Saudi Arabia, Indeed be very careful what you say.




Quote:
Joanne Rosen wrote:


we've been paid on time

have not seen or heard of "secret police" in our classrooms.

.Teachers tend to stay here, so they must be doing something right.


I re-posted this from another thread as it seems more appropriate here:


Some students are loosely affiliated with the police in some schools. They are told to report any immoral behavior, teaching, etc.. They get a "junior 'G'-man" badge, an ID card. I was shown this and threatened by a student once after a heated disagreement. I obviously couldn't have read it anyways, it could have been his library card for all I know. I laughed in his face, told him I'd be more than happy to be standing tall before the Man if he were able to make that happen. If he could have I've no doubt he would have had me deported...but alas, as is too often in the KSA, it turned out it to be a bluff. I have sincere doubts that this clown was a member of any real police organization, other than their equivalent of the McGruff Crime Squad.

I've worked in three different schools in the kingdom, I've found that many leave or are fired easily at two of them. After a year working at King Saud University PYP only 25% of the forty or so teachers I started with were still there. About half split, and half were fired. A year later only three were still there. The place was ran by a metaphorical combination of The Wizard of Oz , you would NEVER see, talk to, or even know of whoever makes and is accountable for decisions. Blame shirking is the Saudi national martial art. The classic strike being an index finger pointed to the left or right, whichever sends you aimlessly searching on a wild goose chase the longest. Then there was the Queen of Hearts ("Off with his head!"), firing on a dime for everything from possibly being homosexual to openly disagreeing with (in one case laughing at) management. So, two years later we have a whopping 6% retention rate from this batch. Considering the salary at that time was minimum US$3000 a month, I say with impunity they are definitely doing SOMETHING wrong. Notice the constant ads here from several contractors for jobs there.

Although my current employer has taken my passport, as is the usual policy, I must say the difference between them and KSUPY is like night and day. The admin and staff are helpful and friendly, and while not a well oiled machine it does function on a level that surpasses anything I had thought possible in the kingdom. My boss is educated and easygoing, a gem not often found. The students are hardworking and diligent in their studies, and challenge my scope of knowledge on a regular basis. Likely it's because many of them have lived in the west as kids and speak quite well. The classes are small and discipline is not a problem. These factors make the passport issue trivial for me personally, this time around anyways.

Why do you think it is common practice to take your passport upon receipt of your iqama (residence permit)? The answer is, they know they're jerks, and want to continue being so, your ability to leave inhibits that. The government also only issues a specified number of iqamas of any given nationality annually at each school. If too many teachers split, it could theoretically shut a school down, depending the owner's wasta (influence). Taking your passport enables them to continue their behavior, which can vary between utterly incompetent, unabashedly lazy, to passive aggressively malicious at times. Sadly, some of them all of the time.

This is a fact of life is clearly evidenced by this practice. Sure, you could get a new passport. Then, there is the exit visa which you could buy yourself at immigration. You cannot however, buy the stamp without the entry stamp from the confiscated passport, hence you're not leaving. If it comes to it, which is unlikely, your counter is your embassy and the press. Saudi employers downplay this but are generally deathly afraid of these things IF you're a Westerner. The (American) embassy will harass them as well if prompted which usually makes them panic and give it up immediately, I've seen that in action with others. Remember, your passport is your government's property, not returning it (and it shouldn't be taken in the first place) could open Pandora's box for them.

I suspect taking anyone's passport would be a violation of international law, however I really don't know for sure. Even if it is, it apparently isn't enforced which would be testament to the tangibility of international law. I do remember reading a newspaper article in which King Abdullah himself decreed to all Saudis to never give their passports to anyone for any reason while in a foreign country. So if your employer tells you it's their culture or some such nonsense, it's a load of bollocks. Quite clearly they see how outrageous this practice is when it's their turn.

My advice to you is avoid contractors (middlemen) whenever possible, this is usually the source of the problem of late pay and other dodgy practices. There are some decent ones, but more often than not they're scum of the lowest order and have severe lead deficiency of the cranium. Direct hire pays more, and since cash is why you came in the first place, why are you selling yourself short? This may not be possible for your first year, and of course your finances may dictate otherwise forcing you to having to deal with a contractor/agent/pimp.
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Gazoo1000



Joined: 30 Mar 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:39 pm    Post subject: KSUPY Reply with quote

Thanks for all the info in the above post.

Does KSUPY require a masters degree? Do they ever hire people with only BAs?

Gazoo
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mr.joel



Joined: 22 Feb 2012
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, you don't need one. You get a whopping 500 SAR ($135) extra per month for having one. Most do not have one.
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colassal



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:39 pm    Post subject: KSA is not a great country to work in... Reply with quote

...a lot of litter and trash on the streets is very common to a sickening degree. It is easy to get fired for unclear reasons. Students are whiny with poor study habits and even vindictive toward teachers for utilizing the most common and widely accepted learning tools--to the point of pointedly contributing to a teacher being let go. A lot of backstabbing and fibbing is going on. Basically, the conditions are miserable, you are constantly surrounded by unhappy colleagues either complaining about appalling conditions or who are busy trying to placate students so they don't get fired because students threatened to go to the dean with complaints about things like having had to read a passage from the textbook and answer comprehension questions instead of being let out of class an hour and a half early. It's not worth the effort when there are more interesting countries to teach in without the restrictions or other difficulties. I have not seen any country with more complaints about students, administrations, or living conditions. It is bewildering why anyone would teach in KSA after reading reports which actually are not even exaggerations.
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mr.joel



Joined: 22 Feb 2012
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Re: KSA is not a great country to work in... Reply with quote

colassal wrote:
...a lot of litter and trash on the streets is very common to a sickening degree. It is easy to get fired for unclear reasons. Students are whiny with poor study habits and even vindictive toward teachers for utilizing the most common and widely accepted learning tools--to the point of pointedly contributing to a teacher being let go. A lot of backstabbing and fibbing is going on. Basically, the conditions are miserable, you are constantly surrounded by unhappy colleagues either complaining about appalling conditions or who are busy trying to placate students so they don't get fired because students threatened to go to the dean with complaints about things like having had to read a passage from the textbook and answer comprehension questions instead of being let out of class an hour and a half early. It's not worth the effort when there are more interesting countries to teach in without the restrictions or other difficulties. I have not seen any country with more complaints about students, administrations, or living conditions. It is bewildering why anyone would teach in KSA after reading reports which actually are not even exaggerations.


This is no exaggeration, indeed. You should be advised as these things are all very real and can range from difficult to impossible to cope with. Be clear that you come here for the money, not the nightlife (or any semblance of life). Saudis will have no problem reminding you of this as well. They seem to embrace your financial needs as an avenue to venerate their perceived superiority. It is also true I have never lived in any other country (and there's been a few) where the entire expat community universally hates it. There are very few exceptions, and those that are are almost always male and wear a beard.

I would add (in case it wasn't abundantly clear already) that if you are a qualified teacher, this is probably not for you. Also, this country is a living, breathing example of "money isn't everything." If you are not in dire straights I'd advise going elsewhere.
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 181
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an Arab saying, "If a man does not learn from pain the first time, he deserves it the second time...."

Put me in that category. I didn't learn the first time....but I'll take the money... Mr. Green
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Abdul Al-Qahtani



Joined: 16 Dec 2012
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject: Saudi is like heaven for everyone! Reply with quote

I worked in Riyadh for 5 years. It was one of the best experiences ever. The taxi drivers make about $50,000 US per year and pay no taxes. The cost of living is subsidized, so everyone only spends about $200 US a month on food and rent. They really love Christians and other non-Muslims. Alcohol is not officially sold in the Kingdom, but it can be bought in any quantity at small convenient stores. It is also easy to find good quality marijuana and cocaine throughout the Kingdom. The Kingdom is simply just a big oil party, and working in it is like being given free money. Homosexuality is accepted throughout the region, and everyone is extremely wealthy and intelligent. They pay is so high, and no one ever works. It is like paradise. I married a new woman each year I lived in the Kingdom, and Arab women are the best. They have been notoriously sexually repressed, and they love foreigners.
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