Teaching in Kuwait International Schools, My Life Experience

Teaching jobs in Kuwait are for foreign and local educators who teach children between 3 -18 year’s. Searching online I noticed teaching in Kuwait international schools provides something different that I was looking for to teach abroad.

A small country in the Middle East situated on the Arabian Gulf peninsula Kuwait education system continues to attract new and experienced teachers.

You can build a long term education career as a classroom teacher leading to leadership positions.

Nursery/kindergarten through to secondary school places are offered to students. You’ll find yourself teaching a class of students from many countries, as well as local Kuwaiti children.

Daily school teacher life in Kuwait

Teaching in Kuwait International Schools, My Life Experience

What was is it like being a teacher in Kuwait? Well, less burden of paperwork than teaching in the UK allowing a bit more spare time each week in life & work balance. More freedom to focus on teaching & learning and achievement in the classroom compared to previous UK schools.  

School business and mathematics department teaching day for me started when I would get up at 05.30 and get ready for the 15 minute walk to school, arriving in my classroom at 06.30.

I had 29 lessons per week split between the business department (14-18 year old) and some in mathematics teaching 11-16 year old’s to make up a full time teaching schedule.

The student’s school day ran from 7 am to 2 pm with half hour break for lunch and two 15 minute breaks.

I purposely would go out before & after class for 15 minutes to meet and talk to parents getting to know them, say hello.  This helped me sort out any issues with students in my class in respect to learning & achievement, also to give praise.

Whole school assembly each day started at 07.00 and lasted 15 minutes then students would have tutor time until 07.40, lucky me I had no tutor group.

Each teacher was given 26 classes to teach each week, with occasional cover lessons for absent teachers, although I never covered any class, as I already had extra classes. My 29 classes a week kept me busy with developing work sheets, marking and other admin tasks in between class teaching time.

Each of my maths and business classes was different to learning achievement & challenges to extending learning to academic gifted students. 

Each class of up to 24 mixed ability students consisted nationalities from at least 12 countries so I required using different vocabulary, teaching & learning strategies as the majority of students were second language English speakers. Mix of group work, set questions/answers and examples work well in lessons.

In the evenings or days off I would mark coursework, exercise books and prepare for future lessons with handouts and lesson plans required by all teachers before each lesson.

Building a rapport with students, respecting cultural, beliefs, teach in an appropriate way to the class of students and Ministry of Education expectations was very important in delivering effective lessons.

Also, you can’t give the same reading & classroom learning resources as in a UK, Australia or other western school as some words are scored out of books in the school library and I required using alternative words or examples to avoid culturally sensitive words.

Kuwait teaching salary package 

Kuwait teaching salary package 

International school class teachers get paid 1,100 – 1600 KWD in 2022 basic with 5 + years experience is good salary with other benefits. 750 KWD is for new teachers training or language instructors.

Your salary includes an international teacher hiring package:

  • Free return flight to Kuwait and baggage allowance
  • End of contract gratuity bonus, one month’s basic wage for each year of completed contract
  • Medical insurance cover
  • Utilities paid possibility
  • Discount or free child tuition (Up to 3, not all schools)
  • Free furnished apartment or villa depending on position employed, or allowance  (Most single, some employers provide shared accommodation)

Coordinator and head of department teaching salary in Kuwait is around 1500 – 1800 + KWD per month for the top schools.

Higher salaries for management and leadership roles are paid. Masters and PhD holders receive a bit extra each month, and you also receive more for each year of teaching experience, up to 20 years.

Salaries each month are paid in Kuwait Dinar into a local bank account.

School salary packages in Kuwait for teachers also depends on your home country where teachers with passports from lower income countries tend to be offered less, although not always.

Teaching assistants at nurseries and schools in Kuwait salary 380 KWD plus per month with a local hire contract.

For my job I accepted. In 2006 I signed a contract as a high school teacher with 5 years experience on a basic salary of 800 KWD plus other full benefits.

Negotiation of salary package for a classroom teacher is not always possible, depends on the school and if you are a stem teacher, such as maths or physics.

Good salary in Kuwait in 2022 depends on many factors, experience, subject shortage, school, although aim for 1,100 plus and other benefits each month for 3 years previous teaching.

1000 KWD is a good basic salary in Kuwait for a teacher with 1-2 years experience, single and no master’s degree.              

International schools pay employees well compared to other schools in Kuwait.

Classroom teacher requirements Kuwait

  • Undergraduate bachelor degree and above preferably in the subject to teach (Maths to teach maths, business for business teacher)
  • Nursery/primary teacher must have appropriate degree, and or a teaching qualification for early or elementary learners
  • Teaching qualification for the age of pupil to be taught
  • Native English speaker applying for teachers of English
  • Pass a medical, obtain a work and residency permit
  • Two school teaching references, one from present most recent headteacher
  • Criminal record background check from your country, such as a FBI check for USA citizens
  • 2-3 plus years of teaching experience, few schools may accept one year
  • Management & leadership positions mandate that you hold a masters of education, and or leadership in school management qualification

Age limit 58 year old or extreme work visa under 60 year’s old.  Minimum age to work in Kuwait 21 years old to obtain a work permit.

All medical, degree, police, teacher certificates need authenticated and then legalised by the Kuwait Embassy. £65-£80 per document.

Medical check, blood test is also required to apply for a work visa in your home country.

You require applying from where you are a citizen, i.e. the UK for UK citizens.

Total cost will be £750 (US $1150) + to apply and process your documents, criminal record check and doctors medical check just to apply for your work visa at the embassy.  Worth it once you are in Kuwait and teaching.

The Kuwait Embassy in the UK is in Knightsbridge, London.  My experience: All you do is walk in with all relevant paperwork to apply for a work visa before arriving in Kuwait. They’ll complete relevant checks and stick a work visa in your passport, all in about 10 minutes.

International British curriculum school I taught in Kuwait

International British school Kuwait

My school was co-educational female & males in all student classes from kindergarten to high school.

Making a success of my teaching career abroad I had an open mind and was expected to play a full part running a club or student activity, school daily duties and attend in school promotion & activities a few nights a year.

No two days were the same, although student, teacher and employees complete normal tasks each week with normal minor behaviour issues around school like the UK.

I arrived 7 days before the start of the school year to settle in and then 3 days of school & department induction.

Took 5 week’s to receive my residency and Kuwaiti ID after a blood test, chest x ray and finger printing.

Parents often told me every week they choose the school as it provides a well respected, established and recognised curriculum.

They’re children learned to speak English fluently with lessons delivered in English, except the Arabic department.

Nationalities of teachers depending on the curriculum offered. British curricular schools tend to look to recruit British teachers with experience of the syllabus, not always. 

Arabic speaking teachers taught in all departments, although they were the only teachers of Arabic & Islamic Studies.

Al school staff and teachers given Friday and Saturday off each week.

School holidays were one week in October, two weeks at New Year, one week for Easter, and 6 weeks in summer.

Teacher and school resources were good in the class with a new smart board and separate white board. 

3 challenges with teaching and school life in Kuwait

  1. Took me more time than normal learning pupil’s names in class and school.
  2. Encouraging homework completion for some students was a bit of a challenge, especially middle teens.
  3. Working hours teaching and preparation was normal, although other school events that teachers were required to attend clashed with lesson prep and marking.

Teaching in Kuwait schools

Teaching in Kuwait schools

Curricula from India, USA, UK, Canada and other countries for students are delivered, with teachers coming from Canada, South Africa, USA, India, UK and other countries that will be your colleagues.

International school teaching year in Kuwait runs from late August to the middle of June the following year for western curriculum schools, including, USA, UK, France.

You require arriving before the start of the school year for school induction and residency formalities.

Pupils at international schools are the son’s and daughters of local people and international expat community, where most pupils are keen to learn.

Subjects offered are not the same in all schools as a possible reduced course offering as the school has no space for facilities or no sports field.

All schools must offer Arabic & Islamic studies; you get science, history, geography, mathematics, music and other core subjects.  Few schools offer design & or food technology.

Answers to questions

  • Is being a Kuwait international school teacher a good career move? Yes, if you are moving medium to long term.
  • Teaching 5 – 10 years in Kuwait and returning to UK secondary or primary school education could be a bit of a challenge. Schools might see you as out of date with the UK school system of teaching.
  • Yes, you can complete an NQT year in a British curriculum Kuwait school that offers the training and assessment. This option is not advisable as you are in a totally new teaching and living environment and if things go wrong you loss the job, accommodation and chance to complete your training that year.
  • Teacher couples in Kuwait with a family are welcome as it’s good for the school as they are recruiting from one contact source. You would share the same apartment or villa as your family.
  • Not all employers offer or can sponsorship dependent visas for your partner and all children. You should specifically ask the school if they will and can sponsor your entire family before accepting a teaching role or relocate. 
  • Think about extra expenses of school fees and medical care if not covered by your salary package.

Kuwait job roles for international school teachers?

  • Newly qualified teacher
  • Qualified classroom teacher with experience
  • Head of year with teaching role
  • Head of department
  • Curriculum leader
  • Assistant head teacher
  • Head of primary or secondary
  • Head teacher or school principal

Each school is separated by age group: nursery/kindergarten, primary/elementary, secondary/high school.

Search and apply for jobs questions

Teachers in demand in Kuwait schools are experienced educators offering a good teaching & learning outcome towards better achievable grades. Specific subjects include: Mathematics, physics, IT/computing, chemistry, biology.

You can teach with QTS abroad in Kuwait as teacher from England requires this as part of their teaching qualification.     

It is not hard to get a job in Kuwait as a teacher. There are always jobs in every subject and seniority each school year.

How can I get job and become a teacher in a Kuwait international school? Search online job boards & websites or go with a recruitment agency. 

Have an up to date resume/cv, apply direct to a school advert that you meet the requirements of the job, visa & residency. Apply early, schools start advertising 6 -7 months before start date.

Obtaining a Kuwait work visa

Obtaining a Kuwait work visa

It easy to get a Kuwait work visa as long as you are a qualified teacher with the right qualifications and can get hold of the required documents.

Do you require a visa to go to Kuwait? Western teachers and many citizens from other countries can obtain a tourist visa on arrival. Get a work visa before you leave as it is must easier and you’d know that you are accepted.

Kuwait work visa can take 4-6 weeks to gather all the required documents first with final issuing of your visa at the Kuwait embassy takes under 10 minutes.

It easy to get a Kuwait work visa as long as you are a qualified teacher with the right qualifications and can get hold of the required documents.

Do you require a visa to go to Kuwait? Western teachers and many citizens from other countries can obtain a tourist visa on arrival. Get a work visa before you leave as it is must easier and you’d know that you are accepted.

Kuwait work visa can take 4-6 weeks to gather all the required documents first with final issuing of your visa at the Kuwait embassy takes under 10 minutes.

Embassy paperwork for Kuwait work visa:

  • Invitation letter from your employer, aka school
  • Basic summary contract from the school is sent to you (This is not the official contract you sign in Kuwait)
  • Reference letter/s from your last employer
  • Medical check document  (You pay)
  • Criminal record check      (You pay)
  • Teaching certificate and degree qualifications, yes originals they wanted to see
  • Passport

You can fly out to Kuwait and go through the process there, although the process is more complicated and time consuming. 

When arriving in Kuwait you’re school will take you for a finger prints check by the police, blood test and chest x-ray for residency document.

What is the best school in Kuwait? Good international schools

Does Kuwait have a good education system? What do you mean? Good for consist and increasing standards of teaching & learning, student grades, facilities offered and teacher wellbeing.

  • English School For Girls located in Salwa with an all female student enrolment.
  • Kuwait Bilingual School (KBS) offers a mix of English and Arabic learning to students.
  • English School Fahaheel co-educational fee paying school in Mangaf, Kuwait.
  • Universal American School Kuwait co-educational school offering a US curriculum.
  • American United School of Kuwait Kindergarten to K12 male/female student body.
  • Gulf English School for 3 to 18 year learner’s male & female co-educational teaching a British curriculum.
  • British School of Kuwait (BSK) co-educational offering UK school curriculum and examinations in Salwa, Kuwait.

Living in Kuwait

I would say from experience Kuwait is the safest place I have ever been. Woman will have no issue other than curiosity.

Remember where you are, dress moderately, and ladies leave your shorts at home as dress code restrictions apply.

Good idea to get you’re own transport for getting around as Kuwait City is well spread out.

Some students will have they’re own maid & driver to take them to school and around the city.

Normal lines at checkouts and slow moving traffic to and from work you’ll experience.

English language is widely spoken in government agencies, banks, major shops and shopping centres.

Is Kuwait a good place to live? Debatable, if you like a conservative culture, no alcohol and one small city then it’s for you.

Kuwait city is not a popular country for everyone as many leisure facilities, shopping and imported goods are expensive.

Moving around Kuwait by public transport take too much time.

Pros and cons of living in Kuwait City questions & answers

  • No exit permit required 
  • Driving licences fairly easy to obtain after an eye test and submitted documentation
  • Foreigners must have a local school sponsor for a work visa and residency.  
  • You can move school employer and transfer a work permit to a new sponsor fairy easy and quickly all completed by the new sponsor.

Females can drive in Kuwait with the same rights as male drivers.

Is Kuwait a safe country for females? Yes, although sensible percussions are required and dress in an appropriate manner for a Middle East culture. Woman walking around alone is not normal and you will receive cat calls from males walking or driving by.

Kuwait is not dangerous for people, indeed a very safe place for people.

Worst part is some drivers are careless and do not follow safe driving rules resulting in too many road collisions.

Kuwait is expensive to live. As teachers you will pay at least 60% of your salary on basic rent, if renting your own accommodation and extras for utilities & facilities.

Kuwait has no income tax or other deductions from your pay. No sales tax added either.

What you can do in Kuwait for leisure

Teaching jobs in Kuwait

Clubs from sailing, ruby, riding, driving, and cultural & social activities to take part or walk along the corniche or relax on the beach near the Kuwait Towers.

There are amusement parks big & small, and the famous Marina Mall frequented by many school pupils. People are friendly when you are out and about in your free time.

The malls around Kuwait are a welcome attraction in the middle of the day for shopping and air conditioning to get away from the heat of the day that gets over 40c.

There is generally a breeze relieving some of the heat wave in the desert. Sitting in an outside café watching the world go by or meeting with friends is a national pastime.

Sightseeing and travel in Kuwait

Visit an indoor aquarium, although you must pay for entrance which is fairly expensive.

Buses are cheap for getting around, safe and reliable, but infrequent travelling to outlying areas.

Teachers can apply for a Kuwaiti driving license swap.  You’ll need a fixer and a number of documents attested including your degree and teachers license.  Visiting several ministry buildings during weekday while you are teaching and an eye test will gain you a local driving license. Cost £280 (US $425) + for documents and for someone to run around to get them processed.

About Kuwait

A small country in the northern area of the gulf, Kuwait has a rich culture of social and architectural history that co-exists with modern life.

With an area size of 17,818 sq km the country is one of the smallest in the world with an abundance of oil & natural gas.

Although Arabic is the countries official language street signs & many shop displays are also in English.

Rain fall is seldom whereby 5-6 months can pass between down pours, with the majority of rain in September and the end of the calendar year.

Western dancing in public and places with music/live bands is not permitted.

Frequent spot checks on bus passengers & drivers to check residency and other regularly checks are carried out.

Kuwait facts and important telephone numbers

Expatriates outnumber locals 3:1Population: 3.5 million approximately
25th February National Day26th February Liberation Day
Capital: Kuwait CityDial Code: +965
Time: GMT + 3 Currency: Kuwait Dinar (KWD)
Climate: Hot and sunny, winter coolElectricity: 240 volts AC, 50Hz