Sarah White - Doha British School, Qatar
Sarah White from Doha British School gives her insight into teaching in Qatar and recruiting with TIC
Doha British School started off as a little nursery school in a villa 15 years ago. It has grown year on year and now has almost 1,500 students aged from 3 to 13. There are 950 children in primary. We deliver a modified Montessori style of learning in nursery and early years, follow the National Curriculum for England up to Year 11, then the IGCSE and the IB.
20% of our students are British, 15% from Australia and New Zealand, 12% Qatari, 10% are mainland European, and the rest of our students are from other Arabic speaking countries. Our parents would say that the school is a very caring community and we strive for excellence in behaviour and achievement; that’s the appeal of the school to our local community. We have some of the best facilities in Doha including a pool and huge auditorium with professional lighting and sound. Outdoor sport is tricky for schools in Doha as there are no fields but we do have external synthetic areas for children of all ages to play and learn.
Teaching at Doha British School
Most of our teachers are British, as you would expect from a school with BSME Accreditation, but we do also have teachers from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. We believe this mix helps to provide very healthy diversity in our teaching best practice and a more international perspective for our students.
For our new recruits, we are looking for qualified teachers with British teaching experience. This means that they will need to have delivered a British curriculum or taught in the UK. Recent UK teaching experience is preferred. At the moment we are looking at making our curriculum more creative, thematic and exciting for children so we’re looking for teachers who can support us with this by delivering relevant and challenging learning. We also want teachers who work well in a collaborative learning environment as our teachers work together within their year groups.
In addition to strong teaching skills, Doha British School has a reputation for a staff of team players, both in and out of school. Our teachers help each other along, we all want to help the school grow and improve. Everyone is hard working and we’re very committed to meeting the needs of the school; we’re not just here for the sunshine! We are also looking for teachers who have a sensitivity to the local culture and a willingness to listen and accept advice about cultural requirements. This is as important as being a great teacher.
What teachers gain from working at Doha British School
The children in our school make it very, very special. The diverse cultural groups all get on extremely well together and there is a super atmosphere amongst the students. We work very closely with our parental groups to extend the message that we may be diverse but we share the same goal, which is to give all of our children the best experience.
The staff at Doha British School has a tremendous range of experience, so new recruits can gain enormously from this. We encourage observation between staff, sharing of ideas and best practice, and strong teamwork. This is hugely beneficial. There’s a real passion for growth here; we’re all working very hard, everyone at every level, to make it one of the best schools in Doha.
Living in Doha
Most of the teachers from Doha British School live in apartment blocks located near the central area of Doha. For new recruits, this living environment provides a ready-made social circle. The apartment blocks are about 20 minutes drive from school and many teachers share lifts to and from school. There are basic amenities just a walk away. Teachers also receive a small allowance to join a gym or a pool. We encourage new recruits to get out and socialise as much as they can.
Several of our teachers are here in Doha with their families. A few have young families. We will consider partners for roles within school, such as TAs, if they have suitable skills.
The great thing about Doha is that it is safe and the people are charming. I love the fact that it’s a growing, developing place. In my spare time I enjoy the outdoor life and there are many opportunities to travel.
Why Doha British School is a great place to work
From my own experience I feel that I’m constantly learning from my colleagues, the children, from the parents and from the Qatari culture. It’s fascinating living and learning in such a vibrant place. I moved here almost three years ago from a school in Kent, UK. I wanted leadership experience and thought I had what the school needed. Without a doubt I’ve learnt a lot about leading a school and in particular an international school. I’ll be able to take back a wealth of knowledge about other cultures and religions, and experience of working with diversity.
Working with Teachers International Consultancy
The school is successful and we’re expanding quickly. Last year we were overwhelmed with applications from teachers wanting to work here and TIC has enabled us to provide a professional response to everyone by ensuring that all applications are checked and sorted before our selection process begins The teachers we selected from TIC in September have all worked out really well.
Advice for teachers moving overseas
My advice to teachers who are considering working internationally is to find out all you can about the country of your choice before you start applying. Make sure you are aware of, and that you respect, the customs and beliefs of the country. It’s a good idea to be a part of some social groups away from the school community. Remember to budget for flights home; there will be times when you want to go home. Take advantage of where you’re living. For example living here in Doha is so well placed for travelling to such countries as Africa, India and Asia. If you don’t take the opportunity, you’ll miss it once you leave.
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