This week, we chat to Mari about her experiences as a teacher in Abu Dhabi.
What did you do for the first few days in Abu Dhabi?
I arrived a little later than I should have, because my flights were delayed so I had only one day to settle in before the induction at school started to prepare us for the year. They are so helpful here. If you get here earlier, you meet the people that you share a villa with and do some fun activities with them.
What was the school’s orientation program like? Did you find it helpful?
It was really helpful!! I had no experience of the American Common core curriculum. We received a program of what exactly we will do each day of the induction. We worked through teacher guides and had practical examples. They also had sessions that covered everything from class management to parent communication system and the amazing resources that we have to use online in the classroom. After the induction I felt a little overwhelmed, but really excited about this new journey.
How are the students different to the students in SA?
They are completely different. You would have to experience it for yourself. They grow up differently which makes them different. They are witty and bright. They know what they want. I have no shy students in my class! They are born with a voice and they’re not afraid to use it. Strong individuals who learn good morals and values from a very young age.
What do you do after school every day and on weekends?
I will not even sugar coat this: I either stay after school or go home and work further at home. That is what you have to do in order to get things done. But believe me, it’s SO worth it! If teaching is your passion that won’t bother you PLUS when the weekend comes, there are really nice things you can do to relax after the week of hard work. Then it’s well deserved.
Have you made friends from other countries?
Yes. Definitely. You make all kinds of friends when you’re staying at the singles villas. The villas are all together so it’s really nice to meet new people that either work with you or at another school/campus. That way you’ll stay in the loop and you can go and enjoy some time off with them. It’s also great to catch lifts from each other to school.
Any advice for future teachers thinking of going overseas?
Don’t have any expectations. You can’t prepare yourself for this experience. It’s amazing. It’s like a rollercoaster ride. There’s never a dull moment. Also, try and get your driver’s license as soon as possible and rent a car. Taxi’s can get expensive. They are great for when you want to go out or you might need them now and then.
How was your experience with SA-Recruitment?
It was fantastic! From day one Nicole Miller was so supportive and answered all my questions patiently. I really admire her work ethic. She is quick to respond to emails. She made the whole process feel like a walk in the park. She provided me with all the documents to support me with the interview and also made sure I was fine before the interview. She is an excellent recruitment agent and she knows exactly what she’s doing!