Discover the Surprising Salaries of International Teachers in Dubai

If you go to Dubai, the life of an international teacher is pretty amazing: great weather, good pay and lots of travel! Ever since my husband and I moved to Dubai, our lives have changed for the better. We have more money, do lots of nice things together and the weather is always great.

As we were kind of desperate to go abroad – I was so sick of the UK, we settled for Dubai. It wasn’t my first choice and I wasn’t excited about this destination until the contract got signed.

You have the brunches, the many travel destinations and the overload of British expats that makes this into a favourite destination for many international teachers.

But what about the pay? How much do you earn as an international teacher in Dubai? And do you get to take a lot of money home?

First of all – How do you get paid

When working in Dubai you will most likely receive a UAE bank account on which your school will deposit your complete pay. Where other international schools might deposit half of your pay on your local bank account and half of the pay on your UK bank account, in the UAE most often your whole wage will be paid in Dirham on your local bank account. 

But what if you are saving? What if you want to easily transfer money from the UAE to the UK? 

Quite a few people would clear their bank account at the end of the academic year and head to a bureau de change (exchange counter) to exchange their Dirham into Pounds. Now, this posed a couple of problems. First of all – depending on how much you saved – you would be travelling with a couple of thousand of pounds in your bag which means your bag will probably be searched in the airport as the sniffer dogs are also trained to sniff out money. Additionally, the rates at the bureau de change are BAD. You will literally lose hundreds of pounds exchanging your money in Dubai. 

My husband and I would always use Transferwise – now Wise in order to transfer money from our UAE bank account to our UK bank account. This way our money would be on the account within 2 hours (sometimes even a couple of minutes) and at a rate that could not be beat by bank nor exchange office. 

I would highly recommend signing up to Wise – even when you are not going abroad to teach, just because it is in my opinion the best way to make international payments. You can click here to sign up or to check the exchange rate they are offering. 

There are many private schools in Dubai, choose the right one

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When I say that “there are many private schools in Dubai” I literally mean that there is one on every corner. My husband and I live in Al Nahda 2 which is about the size of a sheet of toilet paper – maybe 3 square kilometres – and there are 4 (!!) private schools.

But before you rejoice at the high probability that you will be able to get a job in Dubai easily (which is true), you need to know that there is a massive difference in schools, the packages you are likely to get and the workload you can expect. You need to choose a school that is right for you and your expectations. Otherwise you are very likely to break your contract early or do a “runner”.

Negotiating your contract never hurts

When you initially receive your contract, you might want to negotiate your salary. As a first-time international teacher, you may expect anything from 9500 AED to 12.000 AED. Anything under that salary you need to renegotiate – when you received an offer on the low end of that you might want to try to het some more. If you are a head of department I would not accept anything under 13.000 AED as there are classroom teachers out there who earn more than that. When taking on extra responsibilities such as being a head of year – ask for at least 1000 AED extra. 

When my husband received an offer for the school, he is at now we were told the salary was non-negotiable. He has a masters from the Uni of Cambridge and studied at UCL – one of the best (if not the best) education institutions in the UK, and still he needed to take a pay cut from his London teaching salary when moving to Dubai. We asked the recruiter whether or not we would be able to renegotiate (I was a bit angry as it was not the promised great Dubai Salary we were expecting) but the school did not even want to talk about this. I would have understood if there was a pay scale in place – but almost everyone was on a different salary which would sometimes mean that people with less experience took home more pay. 

In fact, the worst part was that some classroom teachers – even though they had less experience, were on a higher pay than my husband who was a head of department. Many schools have strict rules about not discussing pay with colleagues, but I would recommend you do. Use this information (without naming people ofcourse) to leverage a better contract. In fact: before signing the contract I would try and reach out to existing teachers in that school via LinkedIn or other professional forums and ask them what pay they are on. Most will be more than happy to share.

Whether the school is open for negotiation or not (especially when you know they are lowballing you) might tell you a lot about school and management culture. So keep this in mind before signing a contract!

Your first contract as a teacher in Dubai will always be your worst

As a classroom teacher – and sometimes even as a middle leader: your first contract teaching in Dubai will always be your worst. The times that teachers can go to Dubai for a year or two and come back with a down payment for a house are gone. (Maybe if you live up North you still can)

More and more teachers are going international. As you might have read in my other post about acing your international teacher interview there is a shitload of competition. Depending on what school you are going for, there can be 500 other candidates applying!

Teachers who stay in Dubai for longer than 2 years however, are gold dust. Your second contract at the same school – or at a new (and better) school will often be a lot better and you will earn a lot more! If not – you are not valued and you should get out as soon as possible! 

Dubai is also a great step on the ladder of being an international teacher. It can help you to get some international teaching experience which you can use as an advantage to get into other and better schools all over the world as international experience is a great plus!

When your contract is over you need to renegotiate hard

Whether you have a one year or a two-year contract – you need to renegotiate your contract! Depending on if you are ready to move on or if you want to stay at the school you go in hard or soft, but keep in mind that the money most private schools receive in tuitions is crazy high in relation to teacher wages. In fact, for the academic year of 2017-2018 Dubai schools received a whooping 7.8 BILLION AED. That’s almost 2 billion pounds. But teacher pay went down or was stagnant at best.

There’s a lot of money going around in private and international schools and the rule is that if you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. Yes – some schools might have pay scales, but trust me: a lot of them don’t. Could be that your colleague with less experience is actually earning more. Why? Because there were less (good) applicants for their role. I hate this part about Dubai private schools – but I am sure that unless you are employed by a big chain or a COBIS school, this might be the case in loads of different destinations all over the Middle East.

Anyway, renegotiate your contract after 2 years. Good teachers that stay in Dubai after 2 years are like gold dust. A lot of teachers leave after (or even during!) their first year and a majority will want to move on after their second (we did, and I am much happier in Nepal to be fair). If you want to stay at the school you are currently teaching, ask for a 20% to 25% raise and settle for anything over 15% (even though that means they are cheapskates). If you are looking to earn more money you might also look at another school and think about what you realistically want to earn.  You can use your current salary to negotiate with new schools in Dubai. Some schools pay more than Dhs 20K + 17k per month housing for head of departments depending on where you are and how big the school is. There’s always room for a wiggle or a move!

Are you leaving? The school might want to put in an offer anyway. Think about what you need to stay. Better accommodation? Better end of year bonus? Better pay? Put everything on email and throw it out there. See what happens. Worst case scenario they say no and you can be on your way to another great country to teach at!

Great pay comes with great responsibilities and no personal life

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Although you might be starstruck by the amount of money you can earn in Dubai (or not – depending on where in the UK you thought) , keep in mind that many of the expensive schools – who pay teachers very well, also require you to work hard. And with working hard I mean – they work you to the bone.

Three formal observations per week, work until 6pm – sometimes even 8pm at night. Working on Saturdays… I have heard so many stories of teachers who make great (amazing even) money, but who need to work so hard that they don’t have any time for their kids or partners.

You will need to make that decision for yourself – do you want a shitload of money and no personal life? Or are you looking for a better balance between your personal life and work life? When researching the school you are looking to apply to, take an extra look at their work culture. When you are already in Dubai and looking to move schools, use your network to talk to teachers who are currently teaching at the school.

You won’t easily get those 50k or 60k salaries in Dubai anymore as a classroom teacher

Let’s stop spreading the myth that you can easily earn £50k or even £60k a year tax free as a classroom teacher in Dubai. That *might* have been the case some time ago, but it definitely is not true anymore. Because of the massive influx of teachers looking for a position in Dubai and the fact that schools can easily pay Indian or local teacher half the salary a British or American teacher, you should be happy with anything north of £25k as a minimum.

Yes… that’s quite a pay cut if you come from London. But keep in mind that housing is included and that kids are (often) a lot better behaved than in inner London schools and that the overall quality of life in Dubai is much better than in the UK – think of the weather alone!

So where do you still get the big money? In KSA. But then you will need to actually want to live in Saudi Arabia. And I am sure not many couples or women will want to. Teachers in KSA live on compounds and there are strict rules for going out. When teaching in KSA you are literally exchanging 2 years (or more) of your life for a ton of money.

Can you negotiate on accommodation

First of all I would say that you should never ever accept a contract in Dubai without accommodation or with shared accommodation (where you have to share a flat with another teacher). Almost all schools offer accommodation and if they don’t they are cheapskates and this will be felt in their day to day workings and work culture.

But if they do offer accommodation, the quality of the accommodation varies. Schools often have two or even three buildings they rent or own apartments in. This can not only mean a difference in space and cleanliness (think cockroaches!) but also in whether you have access to a pool, a gym or public transport.

You might want to research accommodation for the school you are applying to as there are massive differences not only between buildings but also between schools. Maybe ask the school for the name of the building or for pictures of your apartment so you can make up your mind whether you want to take the accommodation provided or the allowance.

Also make sure not to accept any shared accommodation in Dubai. It is just the school wanting to cheap out on you. It is a sign that the school does not respect you and your application. In a city where so much real estate is sat empty, it is a goddamn common curtesy to at least provide you with private accommodation!

If you are not happy with the pictures, the building or the location of the accommodation provided by the school you are always allowed to take up an allowance. I know in our case that the allowance was a bit of a pisstake and wouldn’t get us anything more than a cramped studio. We were happy with the pictures we have seen and decided to go with the accommodation provided.

Before rejecting the accommodation and accepting the housing allowance I would research rental prices in the area of the school – or within a reasonable drive. This will not only give you an idea of what is available, but you will also have a stronger point to negotiate from. If they would, for instance, only provide you with Dhs 36000 and you see that you won’t be able to rent anything that looks remotely like a 1 bed apartment, you should negotiate.

They failed you in providing good accommodation in the first place, they shouldn’t fail you in the housing allowance as well!

Personal note: Even if the pictures of your apartment look okay, reality might be far from. This sadly was the case for us where the pictures looked fine but where our kitchen was covered in grease from top to bottom, our bed was broken, we were given the most uncomfortable sofa in the history of sofas, and most of the furniture was broken or on the verge of breaking. We had cleaners in every week but the apartment just stayed very grimey and only two of our hobs were working. I was never able to really get our kitchen sink to look clean, and don’t get me started on the smell coming from the washing machine. In fact, everyone in the two blocks our school rented had massive problems with cockroaches in winter. No matter how clean you kept your apartment, these buggers came under the door into the apartment. They often lived near or in the thrash shute, so if you were the apartment next to the shute, you were in trouble.

Luckily the school changed hands and management going into our second year after which we were put into a much better and nicer, new accommodation. My tip would be that if you enter your apartment and you are not happy with anything, you need to be sending emails about things that are broken or dirty or just not up to scratch in the first week. I remember our school basically saying it wasn’t their problem after the first month of us moving in which was incredibly frustrating because they were the ones that provided us with broken furniture in the first place.

Differences in Packages

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Before you accept the job, you should also have a look at the package that is offered. Most – if not all, schools offer you a yearly flight from and to Dubai. They will also (have to) pay for your visa and for your medical insurance. And this is where a school will show you whether they take care of their staff or not. 

Medical insurance is incredibly important in Dubai as you need it to be able to get your residence visa. Bad schools will offer you bad insurance. It is as simple as that. It is not uncommon for teachers at bad schools to have to shell out a lot of money if they get ill or want tests done. The insurance offered by good schools covers blood tests and scans. Check if the insurance is international insurance. Again: bad schools won’t want to pay for your international insurance while better ones will want you to be healthy and will pay a premium to get you great insurance which will almost always be an international one. 

Example: Our school in Nepal is incredibly good. They offer incredibly comprehensive insurance for the whole family (wife, husband and up to 2 children) worldwide (!) including maternity. I literally went to Bumrungrad (best hospital in Asia) in Bangkok for some check ups and everything was covered. We could only have dreamt about this when living in Dubai!

Does the school pay you back the visa costs for your spouse and kids? That’s an important one as a visa for 2 years can cost more than 750 pounds! Good schools will; bad schools… well, I guess you see where I’m going.

Another thing to think about when choosing schools is whether or not your kids will have a free spot at the school. Good schools will offer you spaces for your kids (most of the time up to two kids) throughout foundation, primary and secondary. We decided to move away to Nepal because the school in Dubai would not offer me and our future kids health insurance, flights home or repay our visa costs while the school in Nepal does. It makes a massive financial difference when you have a spouse or a family!

If schools say ”no school in Dubai offers visa fees or flights for kids and spouse or free spaces for kids” they are lying through their teeth. It is true that a school cannot sponsor your spouse and kids – but at least they can pay the visa costs and send someone with you to get your visa arranged for you! Trust me, it is a lot of hassle and it would be great to have someone with you who has gone through this process before!

Another one to look out for is Internet and Dewa costs. Almost all schools you want to teach at (AKA good schools) will pay for your internet and water and electricity costs. We paid 87 pounds for our internet (just internet) and 60 to 70 pounds for water and electricity (even for months we are not in Dubai!!!) while friends of ours at premium schools like Kings get their utilities, internet and tv for free. 

When enquiring about your apartment it is also important to ask how electricity is arranged. I remember that in out second apartment, all tenants shared the cost of water and electricity. So if you would go home over the summer, you would still have to pay sky high electricity bills for those months (even though you were not there) as you are subsidising the bills of heavy users. It’s always better to have your own meter if possible!

Personal note: In other countries they might not pay for internet and utilities either. They don’t in Nepal. But utilities here are super cheap and most teachers save 60 to 75% of their wage so it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. We pay about 10 pounds a month for ultra fast internet, 13 pounds a month for electricity, and 30 pounds a year for cooking gas. That kind of money is not going to make a difference. In Dubai, on the other hand, we were paying almost 150 GBP per month for utilities in 2018. So this would actually make a big difference, especially since it is not always easy to save in Dubai!

Another question to ask is what kind of furniture and utensils are included? When we moved in into our grotty Dubai apartment we got 1 cup, 1 plate, 1 knife, 1 fork, 1 bowl, 1 pillow, and a 1 person duvet (even though they KNEW we were coming as a couple!). Some schools will offer their staff free pots and pans, complete sets of cutlery, an Ikea sofa or even spending money to OR ship stuff over OR buy new furniture in Dubai. Choose wisely because you don’t want to be out of pocket when you get there. Have a look at the countless Youtube Videos about teacher accommodation to get a sense of what to expect and what schools will offer their teachers. If you want to read more on what to expect from teacher accommodation, you can read up on my blog post about teacher accommodation

I would also say working 1 or 2 weeks for free is a big no-no. When you are asked to head to Dubai early for induction, this induction needs to be paid – it is not a holiday. If a school is not paying you for induction, I would run away as far and as fast as you can because it means they are tight and don’t care about staff!

23 thoughts on “Discover the Surprising Salaries of International Teachers in Dubai”

    1. Hi Deon!
      I know of some French and Italian teachers at British and American curriculum schools in Dubai – so it is definitely possible.
      I think most will depend on what kind of teaching qualification you have in Germany (so for instance whether you have a bachelor in a non-teaching related field + a postgraduate in teaching) or whether you studied teaching as a bachelor. If you want to teach in Dubai, I would honestly apply to all and every job you see coming up in Dubai in your field – you never know if they will hire you or not! Good luck!

    1. Hi Kathryn!
      Some schools will get back to you the day after with a request for an interview – others wait until the ad has been closed to contact applicants.
      If you are hoping to hear back from an interview, I would give it +- a week. If you haven’t heard back then, please do follow up. Most schools will let you know whether or not you were successful. It is always good to learn WHY you weren’t successful as this helps you prepare for other interviews. Hope this helps!

  1. Really informative thank you for sharing 🙂 I’m thinking of going to Dubai to teach. I have 3 years UK teaching experience, is there a scale over there they use to set pay? Or what should I expect to be earning as a rough guide?

    1. Hi Lauren!
      Dubai is a great place to teach, but as said before: it is not the 50k pounds a year place it used to be. With 3 years of experience I would take anything above 10k Dirham a month + flights + visum + private accommodation for English and Sciences ( no idea what you teach) and 9K a month + flights + visum + private accommodation for all other classroom teacher postings. If you are a head of subject go for 12K minimum. I don’t really have an idea about primary but I would say anything over 9k a month on your first posting as an international teacher is good. When applying or even getting an email from a recruiter, please do look up the KHDA report for the school you will be applying for. Anything below “Good” I would stay away from and I would try to aim for “Very Good” schools. So, for instance, you can have a group of schools that has Outstanding schools but just as well “acceptable ones”. Definitely stay away from the acceptable ones and look up the report of every single school separately. Sometimes the primary part of a school can be acceptable (stay away) while the secondary can be very good (good to work there) which means it averages out on a good.
      Also stay away from any schools ran by the ministery as I have only heard horror stories from friends who work(ed) there – form being moved to another emirate in a month’s notice to being beaten up by kids.
      Teaching in (good) private schools is very very easy as kids are incredibly nice and very eager to learn!

    2. Hi Lauren!
      Dubai is a great place to teach, but as said before: it is not the 50k pounds a year place it used to be. With 3 years of experience I would take anything above 10k Dirham a month + flights + visum + private accommodation for English and Sciences ( no idea what you teach) and 9K a month + flights + visum + private accommodation for all other classroom teacher postings. If you are a head of subject go for 12K minimum. I don’t really have an idea about primary but I would say anything over 9k a month on your first posting as an international teacher is good. When applying or even getting an email from a recruiter, please do look up the KHDA report for the school you will be applying for. Anything below “Good” I would stay away from and I would try to aim for “Very Good” schools. So, for instance, you can have a group of schools that has Outstanding schools but just as well “acceptable ones”. Definitely stay away from the acceptable ones and look up the report of every single school separately. Sometimes the primary part of a school can be acceptable (stay away) while the secondary can be very good (good to work there) which means it averages out on a good.
      Also stay away from any schools ran by the ministry as I have only heard horror stories from friends who work(ed) there – form being moved to another emirate in a month’s notice to being beaten up by kids.
      Teaching in (good) private schools is very very easy as kids are incredibly nice and very eager to learn!

      1. Hi Lieze,

        Thank you sooo much for this information 🙏it’s really helpful. I teach business. The jobs I’ve looked at are mainly in private schools but I’ve came across a few public ones over the weekend. I did notice the KHDA report on a few school websites, which I’m thinking may be similar to our OFSTED reports in the UK. Oh my, ministry run schools sound awful🤭will avoid

        1. Business! Nice! Business is a very important subject in the Middle East. You won’t have a lot of problems finding a good school. I would also say that if you see not-for-profit schools that you should apply. They re-invest all their income into resources, better facilities, school trips, teacher salaries and living standards etc… it is overall a very nice way of running a school. My husband and I are moving to Nepal next year where he has a job at a not-for-profit school and we can already notice the difference.

    1. Hi Amber!
      Yes! They are definitely hiring.
      From what I have noticed a lot of schools are struggling to fill positions. If you want to start your career as an international teacher, now is a good time. A lot less people will be applying which means you have more chance of landing a spot at a premium school (better accommodation and more pay).

  2. Hi! Would love your thoughts! My husband had just been offered a primary teacher position. We are a family of four and happy with the salary offered but abit shocked that they aren’t offering flights, relocation allowance and their accommodation offer is 2 bed unfurnished apartment (I have a 1 year old baby girl and 4 year old boy.) We are definitely hoping they will atleast nego to a 3 bed apartment but is expecting flights and or moving allowance not realistic? We thought they were a ‘good school’ so a little surprised. We’re UK/US expats moving from Oman where flights are pretty standard in an offer so I don’t know if it’s the norm to have them included in Dubai. Also they mentioned if we take housing allowance its 60,000 for family of 4. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sara!
      Sorry to hear about that.
      Most schools in Dubai do not offer flights nor health insurance nor visas for dependents. I know of a few that do but they are very sought after because they take care of their staff.
      60.000 however is a good allowance for your home. My husband only had 32.000 as a head of department. You can easily rent somewhere in Dubai with 3 bedrooms.
      If you want good packages Oman is the only country in the Middle East that offers those. Great packages are hard to come by and are mostly found in Asia these days. The package we have in Nepal is 10 times better than the one we had in Dubai and most seasoned international teachers we meet try to stay clear of the Middle East just because of those packages. Most schools in Dubai are staffed with young teachers for whom Dubai is their first destination or people who are doing their NQT year.

      1. Hi Lieze. I just wanted to ask, what are your thoughts on moving to the middle east to do ones NQT year. What are the pros and cons and what would be your final decision?

        1. Hi Ibrahim!
          Honestly, it is best to do your NQT in the UK. You will only have to stay in the UK for one extra year but it will make your life a bit easier in the future.

          Pros: It is easier to do your NQT in an international school as there is no (or hardly any) behaviour management.

          1. Not all schools in the ME that allow you to do your NQT will be able to legally accredit you with QTS – even though they say they can (you are just a cheap hire in their eyes). There are schools that I know of that hired people to do their NQT year only for it then to turn out that the schools were not in order with their paperwork and could not legally accredit your QTS – happened to a couple of friends of ours and it was a big, awkward mess. It’s honestly just one year longer in the UK but at least everything will be in order and above board when you have your QTS. If you still want to do your NQT year abroad, there are lots of schools in Asia that are fully certified and are happy to have you. From what I heard, it is overall ”safer” to do your NQT year further into Asia. A bit pointer is to have a look at whether or not the school is part of COBIS.

          2. Depending on what you want to do or where you want to end up doing your NQT year abroad can also hamper your abilities to progress. Schools in the UK know that doing your NQT abroad is easier and if you would ever want to go back to the UK to progress in your career (especially if you would like to become SLT further down the road), it might be harder after having been abroad, especially when you do not have any UK experience. It is not uncommon for people who have been SLT members abroad to have to start as classroom teachers or Middle Leaders once they are back in the UK. This has to do with the fact that international schools are ran differently, that there is less scrutiny (no Ofsted – unless the school requests an inspection themselves) and that overall the daily challenges of an international school are very different than those of a school in the UK. So unless you are very sure that you want to ride out your career abroad, I would do it in the UK.
          Additionally – if you want to move from the Middle East to high-paying countries where there is a lot of competition, chances are that they will prefer someone that did their NQT in the UK and not abroad – because again: it is easier to do your NQT abroad.

          Hope that helped!

    1. Hi Shiro
      English teachers, maths teachers and science teachers will often be able to negotiate a better contract or wage because these teachers are in high demand.
      Your wage and package will sadly also depend on the passport you hold.

  3. Hi Lieze,

    Thanks for all the information – its very useful! My wife is actually planning to find work as a Foundation Teacher in Dubai…we are currently UK based, but plan to move early January 2022 – she plans to make some applications from the U.K but we think it would be more fruitful if she was actually Dubai….I was surprised to see the salaries are so low! I was expecting £40k per year…she has 15 years teaching experience…all UK experience – and to be honest it doesn’t seem to be worth the move for 11k Dirhams (roughly £25K) as she can make the same in the U.K….welll thanks for the info -if you have any thoughts on my comments would be great to hear- thanks again

    1. Hi!
      Most schools with UK curriculum expect people to be either in the UK or teaching at another international school. If you are already in Dubai some schools might feel that they can short-change your wife by offering her a ”local” contract which means she won’t have any of the benefits and about 1/3rd of the pay other teachers receive (happened to the wife of a colleague, our friend was teaching at the school and they tried to give his wife – SEN coordinator, a local contract because she was already in the country – even though she flew out with him to Dubai for his job just 3 weeks earlier).

      There are still a couple of schools that pay very well in Dubai, but they require their teachers to work incredibly hard. Moving during the school year (Jan 2022) instead of moving at the start of the school year might also be hard as not that many jobs will be open at that time and especially in Dubai it is true that if a job has not been filled before the start of the school year, it might say something about the school. I would always recommend people to start applying for jobs in October to get a post at a good school in August/September.

      It might honestly be better if you and your family moved to Asia instead. At least there partners + up to 2 kids will get amazing world-wide medical coverage, and one flight home per year. In Dubai partners and kids would get nothing meaning we were out of pocket 700 pounds pp for a 2 year visa, 400 pounds PP for the absolute worst medical coverage and of course all the flights in summer and Christmas. For you and lets say 2 kids that is at least 3300 pounds just for medical coverage (which is required for your visa) and your visa – not even counting the flights there and the flights over holidays or in summers. In almost all schools in Asia (so Nepal, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia etc) that is all taken care off by the school.

      We are currently living in Nepal and most teachers here have families and live a great life while still saving almost half their salary a month on their UK account. Same goes for teachers all over Asia – Dubai just isn’t all that anymore when it comes to benefits and money for international teachers. I don’t think I would move back to Dubai with a family unless my husband is a principal – we just would not be able to afford it!

  4. Hi Lieze,
    I got an offer of 25K/ month all inclusive + health insurance + 50% fees for my two daughters tuitions.
    We are a family of two daughters and parents.
    The position is an international school principal.
    Would you please advise me?
    To tell you the truth, I didn’t find it interesting, I expected with my 15 years experience, PhD in engineering, and MA in education I would get much better salary and benefits, would you agree?
    It is my first ever job in Middle East, so I am still learning.
    Thank you in advance.
    Have a great time.

    1. Hi!
      I just did some research. 25K is not all that much for a principal (Head of secondary or head of primary would be fine). Teachers do not get paid very much in the UAE because they are 5 a penny, but when it comes to principals they often need very experienced leaders. The past few positions put online for international school principals all started at 30K a month tax free. You might want to head to TES or contact some recruitment agencies, print out job ads and use those to pressure the school into paying you more.

      Also have a look at the housing allowance. My husband’s school did not pay their teachers very well, but the housing allowance of SLT members allowed them to live comfortably near Dubai Mall (principal lived in The Address Dubai Mall) or in Business Bay. When you know the housing allowance, look on websites such as Bayut what you will be able to afford and then make a decision whether it is enough or not.

      As for insurance: it is box standard for insurance to be included in your package as an international teacher. In fact, the insurance we have now in Nepal is just about 1000 times better than the insurance we had in the UAE. Also make sure that the school pays for the insurance and visas of your whole family. Otherwise it can get very very expensive. (Cheapest insurance for me was about 800 GBP per year but the coverage was abysmal).

      50% fees for your two daughters is appalling. Honestly. In other countries your package will include 2 kids free and all other kids at 50% fees and that is the minimum you should expect and accept. If not, just go to a country where they actually value your time, your expertise and look out for your family.

      The biggest problem is just that educators want to move to the UAE at all and any cost, taking packages that are way too which means that current packages in the Middle East are a race to the bottom.

      This has been a problem for a few years now and I had hoped that the current shortage in international teachers would have meant private and international schools in the UAE would have sorted out their packages and pay but… seems like they didn’t.

      Edit: There are some with good pay: (34k a month) while a VP on that same website would get about 25K

  5. Hi Lieze,

    I want to move to Dubai to teach Mathematics. Last year I finished my NQT year and so I’m currently in the middle of my NQT+1 year. Any tips or pointers in regards to good schools?
    I am struggling to find the names of some credible schools to look for positions and also I don’t know where to begin to look.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Marcus

      First of all I would have a look at KHDA reports for the schools you might want to apply to. These reports are not necessarily useful to see how good the actual school is, but it is a great tool to weed out schools that are truly bad. I would not go for any school with a KHDA score of less than ”good”.
      Second, I would do my research online. Head to Linkedin and see if you can contact the person that currently holds the job you are applying for. Send them a message of see if you can find other social media to get into contact with them. They will probably be quite honest with you.
      Third, there are Facebook Groups for International teachers. ”International Teachers” and ”International Teachers Community” come to mind where you can ask questions about schools. Schools in The Middle East have a high turn-over. This doesn’t always mean the school is bad. Many teachers heading to Dubai just want to be abroad for a couple of years before going back to teaching in the UK. This does mean, however, that there will be many people in such groups that can give you an insight into these schools. Schools to take a look at are Nordanglia and NLC (but you might need a bit more experience as they often ask 3 years of experience, might have changed in the pandemic though). Kings is good as well, I know a few people there and they are happy. Heard some good things about Desc as well. For Gems you will want to be in the flagship school – or you will need to do research as outlined earlier before signing a contract.

      I would honestly just apply to schools, see what (package-wise) or who (what schools) comes back to you, and then after your first interview you can start contacting people.

      Hope that helped!

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