Teaching: The Day Job that Brought Me Across the World

You may have noticed that I don’t address my actual job on here a lot. Some of that is due to my school’s policy on social media and some of that is due to my own privacy and that of my students.

However, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the school I work at, and I understand that. It is the whole reason that I moved here. So far, this has been a really cool experience and if I can get more people to consider teaching abroad by sharing some information, then that is a good thing. At the very least it will help people get a better understanding of what life is actually like here.

There are many similarities between teaching here, as it is an American school, and some differences as well. For example, in the states, we had to have a separate plan for student dismissal on rainy days. Here, we have a plan for student dismissal during sandstorms.

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Channeling Bane during sandstorm dismissal 

 

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View from the front of the school during the sandstorm
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The same view on a regular day for comparison

 

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View from the classroom during a “minor” sandstorm

Here are some frequently asked questions which I will answer with as much detail as possible. If you don’t get any questions answered that you have about teaching in Kuwait, leave a comment below and I will respond.

Do your kids speak English?

Yes. Almost all of them speak both Arabic and English fluently. I have one student who is new to Kuwait and isn’t from an English or Arabic speaking country, but having English Language Learners in the classroom is something I am used to from my time in the states as well. I also have students from the US and Canada who speak fluent English but no Arabic. Most of the daily instruction is done in English. The kids take almost an hour of Arabic class a day. Students are divided into native speaking classes and AFL (Arabic as a foreign language). Instruction is done by the Arabic Language Department and they are amazing.

What kind of school do you teach in?

It is an American, private school. Many schools here are private and either follow a British or American curriculum. I was offered a job at two American schools and one British school. I took the job at my current school because I got a good gut feeling when I did my research and because their support with getting into the country/getting my visa seemed seamless. I was right. Our HR and onboarding teams ROCK.

What classes/specials do they have?

Kids have all the regular subjects, plus daily Arabic as I told you earlier. Additionally, they get Media/Library, Art, Music, PE, and Informational Technology once a week. Three times a week the students who are Muslim take Islamic Studies class and the students who are not have enrichment activities. Islamic Studies classes are also divided up further based on whether or not the students speak Arabic fluently or not.

What standards do you teach?

American Common Core State Standards

How many kids are in your class?

18. I really love my class this year. I have students from Kuwait, Egypt, Canada, the United States, Azerbaijian, and Venezuela.

How are kids there different from kids in the United States?

Well, my students in America were young humans coming from a lot of different places in the world and from various backgrounds. They like music by Justin Beiber and love watching Disney’s Descendants. They enjoy video games and any kind of technology they can get their hands on. My kids in Kuwait are young humans coming from a lot of different places in the world and from various backgrounds.They like music by Justin Beiber and love watching Disney’s Descendants. They enjoy video games and any kind of technology they can get their hands on.

Honestly, the main difference I have noticed is that my current group of students is, for the most part, more well traveled than even I am. When your students ask if you have been to the Duomo or discuss that the Maldives is their dream vacation spot, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. I think it’s cool though. It is fun talking to them and it makes my travel bucket list even longer.

My students that come from outside Kuwait are usually here because their parents work in oil, contracting, engineering, or work at the Embassy. They tend to move around a lot, which I can definitely relate to.

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Some of my kids watching Disney’s Descendants during “Terrific Thursday” (a weekly free choice time students can earn).

 

 

 

How much money do you make?

Haha, nice try. Nope.

I will say, though, that my school gives me an apartment for free, utilities free, and transportation to and from work. They also take us to the mall/grocery store once a week on the weekends. I consider myself very fortunate that maybe for the first time in my life, I will hopefully save and become debt free in two years. A lot of that is due to the support from the school.

What are your school hours/days?

My work week is Sunday through Thursday. Kinda takes the whole concept of Sunday Funday off the table since Sunday is actually the new Monday, and there ain’t nothin’ fun about Mondays. Friday is the religious day here. Whether you go to the Mosque to pray or a Christian church, the day for worship is Friday.

During the work week I have a choice of the early bus, which leaves at 5:55 or the “late bus,” which is actually the on-time bus, that leaves at 6:15. I live in the housing the farthest from the school, so we leave a little earlier than other buildings. On Sundays, we have staff meetings until 4:30, so the bus brings us home afterwards, and I get home around 5:15. Every other day of the week, the bus leaves school around 3:45. I do tutor twice a week in the evenings at a student’s home, so I take a taxi for that.

What resources do your students have?

Chromebooks! We use Google Classroom for pretty much everything and it’s pretty nice to not have to make copies for lessons, but can also be challenging designing lessons done mostly on the computer.

What do you students wear?

There is a school uniform. They have sweats they can wear on PE days and formal uniforms with blazers they wear on school trips (which we do 4 times a year). They have everyday uniform outfits as well including skirts, dresses, and pants. Sometimes we have free dress days and the kids wear the exact same outfits kids in the states would wear.

Here is a quick video of my classroom:

 

Leave any more questions you have about teaching abroad below, and I would be happy to answer you!

<3 Erin

4 thoughts on “Teaching: The Day Job that Brought Me Across the World

  1. Another great blog! Don’t think I will be going over to teach so want to hear more about local customs , food, thing so to do and see. More please!

  2. Erin. Sooooo interesting! Thank you for sharing your experience! I salute you for having the courage to teach overseas! Enjoy 😉

  3. I am quite jealous! I tried once to get a job abroad and it didn’t work out. I think I may try again. The teaching supplies that are in your room…are those provided for you?

    1. Most of them were yes. I only brought over a few of my own resources/workbooks and bought a couple things here but not too much! I say, go for it! I used the free site Teach Away. Search Associates is another great site, but it costs money to create a profile.

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