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New job in Saudi Arabia

 
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 182
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:41 pm    Post subject: New job in Saudi Arabia Reply with quote

About 1 year ago, I interviewed for IPA in Riyadh. I got tired of snot-nosed Saudis coming in late and asking to be marked present.
I had a phone interview with an American teacher there in Jan. and I got the job right over the phone.
Fast forward 9 or 10 months and I arrived in Riyadh to thank the teacher who hired me. It turns out, he left along with 10-20 other teachers. This was very odd for direct hire teachers to bail out. Then I worked with the administration and I found out why all those teachers left. IPA subcontracts teaching with 2 other companies. If a student complains about anything (usually it's not being marked present) the teacher is gone tout suite.
In the last 2 months, this dump has released about 10-12 teachers. Mind you, contract teachers don't make as much as direct hires (about 2000-3000 SAR less per month) and they teach more class hours. For the contract teachers, it's a matter of economics: they don't make that much to put up with abuse. For the direct hires, it's a balancing act. Which will fill up faster? the bucket of s**t or the bucket of cash.
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St. George



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 109
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there

Glad to hear everything is going fine and that you are still enjoying life. I can recommend Cyprus for some R & R, if ever you feel the need. However, it is a 2 hour flight. I flew from Saudi to Larnaca, hired a car and drove down to Limassol and stayed at the Atlantica Miramare (Mermaid) Hotel on the beach. Lots to do at the hotel and plenty bars and cafes within walking distance. Drove around the island but not much to see, so better staying around the hotel. Nice rooms with terraced balcony. There is always Bahrain but it is full of Arabs!!!! Try to get into the expat clubs and you will feel that you are back home. I can recommend the Brit Club and the Dilmun Club.

Take it easy!
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 182
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi St. George. I'll look into Cyprus. This place thinks of teachers as so much labor to be abused but with all the attrition, I've got some job security. It reminds me of AC Kuwait in that respect. I came here wth the intention of lasting 5 or 6 years, but time will tell.
War might even break out and ruin my plans. There was a missile intercepted close to S. Riyadh and I heard the explosion. But that's normal for this part of the world, isnt' it? Cool
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 182
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 9:27 pm    Post subject: Stay away from IPA Reply with quote

Hey, I finished my year w/ IPA and the students really liked me. However, I knew I pissed off admin when I had problems with the sound system in the classroom. This feedback noise interrupted my speaking during the last 15 min. of class. So I dismissed the class early.
The dean came to the class and saw an empty classroom (Saudis like to do surprise inspections). He wasn't impressed with my story of defective sound equipment. He wanted to fire me, but since I was direct hire, he had to wait for the school year to end.
In addition. I got observed by a Jordanian who constantly saw everything wrong with the class. Some sstudents were looking at phones. Some students had no textbooks, etc. etc. Some students did not wear headgear.
Their shortcomings were my shortcomings because IPA expects teachers to know their names and write them up so the students don't get paid (yes, the students get money to study). Its' hard for me to tell Abdulrahman from Mohammed. So this Jordanian dude (Medhat the Asshat) wrote this stuff in his observations.
On top of this, the vice dean would not respond to my emails directly. He would send Medhat to respond to my emails by walking into my office to answer the questions. You know there is trouble when admin doesn't leave a paper trail (or even a cyber trail).
Even the contract teachers were fired left & right. ICEAT and EduGuide had a hard time keeping up with the staffing requirements. Many teachers were glad to leave IPA.
Finally, the grades came in and admin told the teachers to raise grades. Those students who scored between 50 and 59 were raised to 60 to promote the worthless. There were some really poorly behaved students who earned their low marks & they got rewarded. Every mark at 60 is suspect and employers should not hire Saudis with that score.
Now I gotta think about the next move.. . . . . .
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St. George



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 109
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 12:11 am    Post subject: Abu Dhabi Reply with quote

Hi Aardvark

Sometimes it is better the devil you know, so don’t make any hasty moves. I wish I could recommend somewhere but alas they are all the same.

I remember telling some of my students that unless they improved, they would be fired. “No teacher”, they said, “we will be fine, we will just see the Director”. Sure enough, at the end of the year, after I had failed them, they were reinstated by the Director.

You can only do your best with what you are given. Actually, I got on better with the students than the expats. Many of the expats were wasters and wouldn’t be able to get a job back home.

Abu Dhabi would be a good contract if you could get in there. I know the manager of a recruitment agency in Abu Dhabi, so I will pm you the details.

Take it easy

St. G.
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 182
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:26 am    Post subject: What it's REALLY like to work for Al Khaleej Reply with quote

So, I’ve been writing about my teaching experience in Saudi Arabia. It’s hit or miss, although I’ve had some success at Al Khaleej and their Qassim Uni project. At Qassim, you teach a strictly teacher-centered lecture style. All you have to do is read from the textbook (which is projected on the screen) and the students follow along. I added a few activities and games to the lecturing. I even added a web site on Edmodo.com, so the students could get extra practice. The students liked the supplemental material and they liked me.
However, the students were demanding in that they skipped classes and expected to be marked present. In the week before midterms and finals, they disappeared. There was also the monotony of living in Buraidah, which was possibly the dullest place in Saudi Arabia.
I left for a more exciting assignment at Institute of Public Administration, only to be let go after 1 year of teaching. So, I was looking to return for one more year at Saudi Arabia and I got an offer to return to Al Khaleej for the whopping sum of 12,000 sar per month. I told them I wanted 13,000 and they agreed to it and they promptly bought my air ticket to Riyadh.
Unfortunately, they wanted me to teach at King Fahad Medical Center, which was more of a communicative style place. Every teacher had to be vetted for the communicative style, which meant teachers had to be observed and pass the grade with the director, a Saudi woman. In fact, King Fahad was more “progressive” in that they had coed classes and male and female teachers were allowed to mingle.
I could not get their idea of how to make the lessons “communicative” so I got into a cycle of hating the students and them hating me. That lasted for about 2 weeks when Al Khaleej pulled me from the assignment and put me into a series of conversation classes with their subsidiary, Direct English. I finally learned what it’s like to work split shifts (hint: it sucks).
Before they shipped me to the Saudi version of Siberia, my bosses asked me what the problem was. I did well at Buraidah and I could not meet the requirements at King Fahad. I didn’t know the answer to it, but now I would say that it is the lack of training at Al Khaleej. At Buraidah, all a teacher had to do was read the lesson to the students and be somewhat entertaining and there were no problems. The students at King Fahad are spoiled and non-participative. They expect the lesson to be relevant to them when some are administrators, some are doctors, some are nurses and some are technicians. They know how the use the language to some degree, but they lose interest if they don’t see an immediate connection to health care. Teaching health care English is beyond my range. If Al Khaleej had invested in training at some point, I would have been able to cope. I got a CELTA certificate 7 years ago, but I passed with low marks and I paid for the training out of my own pocket. Al Khaleej is a strictly for-profit operation and they prefer to blame the teacher for not having proper training.
So now you know that ESL is in a state of collapse in Saudi Arabia. Salaries that used to be $3500 per month are going to $2500 and there is a greater expectation. I believe that the term was “all-singing, all dancing, monkeys” It’s not flattering, but it is true.
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St. George



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 109
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:44 pm    Post subject: Nothing new under the sun Reply with quote

Hi Aardvark

So, same same, then!

I think you are going to make the 5 years, as you seem to be weathering the storm.

I could only manage 3 years in Bahrain and it affected me so badly that I said I would never work again. Nevertheless, after one year of recharging my batteries I was ready for the onslaught once again and so, off I went to Saudi but with a different mind-set this time. I managed another six years; three years in Saudi and three years in Libya.

Just remember the following:

Don’t rock the boat
You can’t change their culture, so don’t try.
If you can’t hack it, get out while you are sane.
And above all, take it easy.

Cheers

St. George
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