New to teaching IB, new to Dubai – How I’m getting on
International school teacher Anthea talks about working and living in the UAE
Anthea Addison is from the Eastern Cape in South Africa. She is currently working at Greenfields Community School in Dubai as a University Counsellor. Here Anthea shares her experiences of living and working in Dubai:
This isn’t my first experience teaching internationally, so I am familiar with aspects of teaching overseas. I taught for eight years in Kuwait at a predominantly Kuwaiti School. In many ways however, this experience at Greenfields Community School feels entirely new. This is largely down to the students. The students in my previous school were nationals and we loosely followed a US curriculum. Greenfields Community School is different, it’s just about as ‘international’ as one can get. There are students here from over 80 different nationalities. It’s a global school that truly epitomises the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum.
New to the IB and more
It took me some time to settle in here. I’m new to the IB curriculum and the portals the school uses to organise school life have been difficult to get used to. It’s taken a while to adjust to being back overseas after more than a year in my home country - you have to ride out the probation period. My work colleagues have been very supportive. They regularly reach out to me and invite me to events they plan or are attending over the weekends. The school also has a social club that organises events and this helps with making new friends at school and growing friendships.
Life as an expat in Dubai
My social life is great. Getting involved in a local church and making friends with people within my school helped me to adjust. Fortunately, I also have a few good friends who live in Dubai and other parts of the UAE. I enjoy that Dubai has lots going on every day and every weekend. I’m particularly interested in music and have seen a great South African music group and a singer from South Africa perform. I’ve also enjoyed watching rugby at the annual Dubai Sevens.
I live in school accommodation and think this is the best part of living in Dubai. Our accommodation is great! We have a well-equipped gym, a gorgeous swimming pool and our common areas are well kept. We have a building manager and a helpful maintenance team to support us when needed.
My advice to others considering teaching overseas
Ask the school lots of questions during the recruitment process. Specifically, ask questions about what is expected within the school culture. If I could go back, I would have asked more questions about the other aspects of my role at the school. For example, during the interview I was asked to teach an aspect of the Careers Related Programme. I agreed to a very time consuming role without asking enough questions.
It’s also helpful to ask for a buddy in the school that you’re moving to, someone who you can contact before you move there. Once you’re at the school, my advice is to say ‘yes’ to invitations to do things with colleagues as this will help you to make friends.
Finally, find a reputable recruitment agency – if it had not been for TIC I would not be at a school I love, doing what I love, in an environment that provides me with resources and the support needed to serve students and families.
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