Monday, September 7, 2015

1st Day Back to School Party

Asalamu Alaykom,

You know how tired kids are the first day back to school?  Well, I've got an exhausted 5th grader.  It's 9:30 at night and there's a one-night disco right under his window.  No joke!  Someone is having a wedding and they needed to make some noise. 

This is how loud it sounds in my living room.  

The party is going until 11 pm.  We've both got to be ready by 6:30 am.  I'm not that good at math but I don't think we're getting a lot of sleep.

Only in Egypt.

My husband just walked in like a dancing fool.  He knows I'm mad at this crazy amount of decibels.  He tells me the Egyptian cure-all, "Malish."  

Then he tells me it's only one day and it will be over at 12.  

What?!  12?!!!!!


Hannsh said...

Salam Yosra, sorry to hear about the downstairs party but one of the many perks of living in Egypt I guess! Lol. I had a teaching question if you don't mind. I'm considering getting my MA tesol, do you think that would prepare me to teach school age children in Middle East? I have exp teaching children already and my undergrad is in early childhood dev. Would it also make me hirable in your opinion? Thx!

Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam Hannsh,

Hmmmmm...I know this seems like a simple question you've asked but there are many twists and turns to the answer. You ready?

"Middle East" is a big area. Each country has its own issues.

Egypt, for instance, isn't allowing foreign teachers in like it used to. There are restrictions now for work visas---which I don't worry about because I'm here as a spouse (alhumdulillah). The teacher wanting to work here now has to have a degree in whatever they are coming here to teach, i.e., if the degree is in history then that is the ONLY thing you can teach here. In addition, the schools want native speakers.

Morocco doesn't pay enough. I don't know about Algeria and Tunisia. Libya is unstable. That is it for North Africa.

The countries on the Arabian peninsula have gotten pretty demanding. I was just reading that Saudi wants 120 hours of TESOL/TEFL which not every accredited program has. Oman is also tough to get into with their high standards and I hear Qatar and UAE is the same--meaning that they want the WHOLE PACKAGE in one person (MA, TEFL, years of experience, native speaker). They do pay well. I could make twice as much there as I make here.

Some years ago, I was offered a job in Kuwait. They were going to pay me more than here (not double but a good increase). I did some research. First of all, the climate is SO FREAKIN' HOT and that really scared me because where I am is hot enough. Second, there isn't that much to do there except going to the mall. The kicker was when they told me the rules regarding families. I would have to go alone initially and gain residency status. Then, I would have to apply for my husband and son to follow me as dependents. I was NOT ready to do that. Funny how the principal neglected to tell me this and it was only after I asked to speak to an employee that I found this out.

I didn't cover Turkey---which is actually very anti-Islam in its classrooms, Iran or Iraq. You can get hired in Iraq easily (but would you want to go there?!).

Okay, so that's the overview. Where does that leave you? I think you've really got to narrow down your dream location/situation. Figure out what school jobs are available for you. Write to some people. Check out which is where I go to see if the grass is greener on the other side of my school. Find out requirements where you want to go. It's kind of pointless to get a lot more schooling if you don't need it.

I did find that my TEFL certification was helpful. I took eight graduate credits over the summer when I was reeling from getting fired (for wearing hijab). I do think it helped fill in some gaps in my understanding and boosted my abilities. It also is proof that I've paid my dues. I would NOT have prevented me from being hired in Egypt if I had not gotten it.

However, see how requirements change in a heartbeat? A new Minister of Education can come into the job and make a demand that leaves you out of the picture. It's reasonable to require teachers to be certified.

I am not licensed. This has not stopped me from working for the majority of the schools here BUT there are a few international schools which won't even talk to me. If you really want to do the full deal then get licensed too.

Keep in mind that the ONLY schools you would be trying for are international schools. They are the only ones that pay well and have high standards. This can often mean that Islam is not an intricate part of the plan. If you are looking for an Islamic experience, then you will have to do without as much money and organization (I've never worked at an Islamic school that is organized).

Let me know if you have further questions. Tell me what you decide. I'm rooting for you!

My Best Wishes for Your Future :)

Hannsh said...

Wow, Jazak Allah Khair for the long reply. I should have given you more info. Im Egyptian American. I can't teach in Egypt though (long story). As far as Kuwait goes I think you made the right decision. I lived in The Gulf for 4 years and knew many teachers from Kuwait who hated it! Quality of life seems to be better in Egypt to me vs the gulf states, you may more money in the gulf states but believe me there is nothing like like living in Egypt. My last question for you is do you think it is better to get a certificate 120 TESOL or a The M.Ed. in English as a Second Language without a license? In your opinion of course?

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom,

You're welcome. It's a little weird you can't teach in Egypt. Is there any way you can change that? You don't have to reply but think it over. It does sound like you value this country and that goes a long way to teaching the NOISIEST CHILDREN ON THE PLANET. God bless them :)

The TESOL is enough for teaching most places in the K-12. If money and time aren't an issue, AND you want to get that Masters, then go for it. For me, I can't do it all and stay sane and afloat financially. Masters are good for teaching in Saudi Peninsula at at the university level anywhere else. Licensing is good for American and British schools on the international level.

Decide FIRST where you want to be and then research what that place requires. Have you read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? "Begin with the goal in mind".

Best Wishes :)