The Middle East and Arriving on the Right Foot
Oct 29, 2010 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) 5042 Views
You’re well traveled and accustomed to working in places with differing customs, cultures and traditions. Now you have accepted your first job in the Middle East region and wonder how different can the Middle East be from Asia, Africa or South America, for example? Is it really that different? Depending on which country you may be going to work as an English teacher in the Middle East, the differences may make you feel like you have landed on a different planet rather than a different country.
For example, a female ESL teacher has freedoms and the ability to drive and explore in Asia, Africa and South America. Yet depending on which country she has accepted her teaching position, her life will be much different. If she has accepted a position in Saudi Arabia she will no longer be able to drive herself around since women are prohibited by law to drive. She would also be expected to wear the long black robe known as an abaya which covers her body from her neck to her ankles when she is out in public places. On the other hand, if she has accepted an ESL job in Dubai or Beirut she may feel like she is in Paris where women drive, wear what they please and many sport the latest runway fashions.
Therefore, it is just as essential for an ESL teacher to prepare for the next country of work as it is to prepare for each and every ESL lesson. The countries which comprise the Middle East region are as diverse in customs, cultures and traditions as the individual students taught.
Some general tips prior to arrival for a new position in the Middle East is to first have a basic understanding of the Arabic language. There’s nothing more endearing than to greet nationals of the host country in their own language. Have some small gifts which are typical and traditional to your own country which you can give at appropriate times with those you will frequently interact in your new position. Dress appropriately for the country in which you are working. Last but not least, stay positive and look upon your journey not only as an opportunity of teaching English to new students but a time for continued growth for yourself as well. For more information you could visit http://www.teachmideast.com