“Do it, live for today and don’t worry about tomorrow!”

Published on 20th October, 2020 by Andrew Wigford. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

Auzair Collector is a teacher from Leicester, UK. After working in a broad range of teaching environments, he decided to teach overseas.

“I have deliberately chosen to take my teaching career into various different settings in order to understand how young people learn. It doesn’t matter what age a student is, they always respond well to being encouraged and empowered to take pride in being the best version of themselves they can be.”

Earlier this year, we helped Auzair get a job at a school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We recently caught up with him to see how he’s getting on with teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How has your experience in Riyadh been so far?

So far, my experience at this school has been amazing. Everyone has been so welcoming! The school is organized, flexible and always responds to feedback. It is very diverse and has a family feel. Regardless of job title, every person here helps one another and are always available for support. I have been here three months and I already feel at home.

My biggest achievement is that I initially started as an ESL support, however I now work with SEN students and have become a leader in the learning support department. I have also become a co-coordinator where I organise students visits to campus, virtual learning, organising student examinations and assisting after school activities. 

How did your school react to the pandemic?

I personally feel that the school has been very flexible. Students who are struggling with home education have been allowed to visit the school to get one to one support. The school have policies and procedures in place to maintain the safety of teachers and students.

The school have provided laptops, headphones, trackpads and wireless keyboards alongside specialist chairs to facilitate virtual teaching. The school have been magnificent; catered to everyone’s needs and resources have been at our disposal. 

How has your experience of online teaching been?

Keeping students engaged and interacting within online lessons has been difficult however we have various platforms to use. IXL, centurytech spelling city and readworks have been great for me to use with students. I have also incorporated games such as kahoot.

I use google classroom and google meet for my lessons. It allows me to set assignments, share live documents and resources which are easily accessible for students. It also gives real-time feedback to students during assignments and I can see what they are doing as close as you can get whilst online. 

How is your local area? Are there many rules/ restrictions?

The school have been really good with the accommodation they have provided. I currently stay in a western compound. There are no rules or regulations as such apart from the number of visitors you have.

There are gym facilities, music, restaurants, food etc all on my doorstep! I therefore don’t have much reason to leave the accommodation site. The compound itself is full of expats in various sectors so we all feel like we are on a resort on holiday; this makes it easy to make friends.

How different is Riyadh to the UK?

Riyadh is beautiful! It’s very energetic and it feels surreal being out here. There are so many places to explore; every corner has a coffee shop and the standard of living is so high. The people are so welcoming and friendly. Riyadh is a capital city therefore it’s always busy with so much to do from desert trips, golf, swimming, go karting and more.

There is always somewhere new to explore!

How different is the 'new normal' of teaching?

The biggest challenge is ensuring to still make a big difference and impact on students’ lives. I honestly miss the physical interaction.  In addition to this, with technology there is always something that can wrong, which can be frustrating. However, one to one support sessions with students helps keep everyone up to speed.

To people that are nervous to go overseas during the pandemic, what advice would you give?

You have a lot more free time compared to teaching in the UK. Your evenings and weekends won’t be spent marking or planning, you can live your life more!

Don’t be afraid to explore, have fun and broaden your horizon. 

Do it, live for today and don’t worry about tomorrow!

Thank you to TIC for providing me with this opportunity and supporting me. Especially Leisha who was absolutely amazing and faultless throughout the whole process given the circumstances. I will continue to recommend you guys. 

Pleasure working with you all!

If you were inspired by Auzair’s story, register with TIC Recruitment here for free. It’s quick and easy and gives you access to many international school jobs in reputable, accredited international schools, some that are not advertised anywhere else. Despite these uncertain times, TIC Recruitment are still recruiting and supporting many international teachers.

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Andrew Wigford

Andrew is Managing Director of TIC. He has been involved in international education both as a teacher and Headteacher for over 25 years and has worked in Germany, Colombia and Austria. He set up TIC recruitment in 2005 to help teachers find great jobs in great international schools.