Teaching in Qatar International Schools, My Experience

Education & teaching in Qatar international schools to educate Qatari & foreign children guidance. Teaching jobs in Qatar schools offer nursery, primary, secondary and specialist education roles. Kindergarten to high school vacancies in Qatar from classroom teacher to management positions can be obtained with appropriate experience and qualifications.

Teaching in Qatar schools

Teaching in Qatar International Schools, My Experience

There are international schools from Al Khor, Doha and other areas where students come from different cultures and nationalities where parents require paying school fees to enroll all children as it’s no free.

How do international schools work and what are they like? Each school decides to offer a curriculum from a specific country such as UK, USA, Canada, India or a mixed of local and international learning. A general international curriculum based on IGCSE & baccalaureate (IB) studies qualifications are offered in a few schools.

All schools are split according to age from nursery (3-5), primary (5-11) and secondary (11-18) levels. School leaving age in Qatar is 16 or 18.

School children must be taught certain subjects including: Arabic, Islamic studies, mathematics, and physical education.

In a British curriculum school for example students take their final examinations at 16 years old if they have studied International General Certificate in Education (IGCSE) qualifications or A levels at 18.

The language of teaching is mostly English at international schools in the Qatar. School day is from 7 am to 2 – 2.30 pm Sunday – Thursday each week and teachers & students get Friday & Saturday off.

Careers in schools in Qatar are for single teachers or relocate and choose teaching in Qatar with family for 5 or 10 years. Independent school vacancies you will see are for qualified educators to start in August to June the following year.

Qatar international school teacher salary & benefits package

International school teaching jobs salary packages as a classroom teacher earn around 9,500 – 17,000 QR tax free per month. Pay depends on experience, qualifications and level as a classroom teacher and possibly country of origin. A leadership role as a school principal means you’ll be paid a similar wage tax free to western school salaries.

Qatar teacher salary also includes a benefits package:
  • Free return flight to home country & baggage allowance
  • Paid accommodation & utilities or allowance
  • Settling in allowance first month advance payment
  • Health care insurance plan (Not all schools)
  • Gratuity at contract end date 21 days to one month salary payment for each year worked
  • Free school place for 1 or more children

What is a good salary in Qatar for an experienced teacher? In 2022 with 5 years experience around 14,000 QR per month.

Pension contribution is only paid by a very small amount of international schools, something you miss out on compared to UK, USA, Canada, USA, Australia Schools.

Be aware that some schools do not offer a full international salary package if locally recruited, as with being hired from you’re home country.

The school I taught at, no teacher or staff received a pay slip. Not all schools in Qatar provide a wage slip with monthly salary paid into a local bank, something you require to ask for as evidence of salary for mortgage, student loans or bank requirements.

Teacher requirements for schools in Qatar

How can I become a teacher in Qatar? As long as you are fully qualified from your home country and the following:

Teacher requirements for schools in Qatar

Qualifications to teach at international schools Qatar and work visa/permit:

  • Qualified teacher for nursery, primary or secondary age you will teach
  • Police clearance certificate from your home country with no criminal record
  • Good general health to pass a medical in Qatar and get a work visa/permit and residency
  • 2 or more years of teaching experience, some schools like you to have 5 years plus experience
  • Sign a contract to teach between 1 to 3 years, probably with a company that owns the school
  • At least a BA, BSc, BEd undergraduate degree, PGDE, PGCE teaching qualification
  • Degree in the subject that you’ll teach
  • You can complete an NQT year at a British school in Qatar

Qatar school teacher vacancies at times are available to newly qualified teachers. Schools are also in a competition to attract suitable classroom teachers, hence jobs are offered to new educators with 1 year class teaching experience.

Online and distance learning qualifications are not accepted for work and residency permit in Qatar as a school teacher.

2022 international schools advertising & stating age limits less than 50 years old for a work permit. Qatar law.  Maximum age under 60 to meet visa regulation requirements and residency permit. 

As a western trained teacher and citizenship, the above requirements are standard. 

All documents must be legalised and authenticated for school, work permit, visa and residency requirements.

My class school teacher job experience in Doha

Having travelled abroad for months at a time in my younger days and taught in Kuwait previously I decided to go abroad again to become a teacher in Doha. Qatar.

For some reason I seen a Business Studies teacher job with a recruitment agency in the UK, usually I apply direct to schools. After a quick interview with the recruiter a scheduled telephone interview was arranged with the international school principal, which was fairly standard.

Teacher Job Experience in Doha. Qatar

I was sent an open return flight ticket up front and when I arrived in Doha a driver was at the airport to take me to my apartment accommodation.

All paperwork including work visa and residency was started to be processed a couple of days after I arrived.

What’s it like as a school teacher in Doha. Qatar?

As a business & economics teacher my school teaching experience was more relaxed compared to UK secondary schools, as there was not so much student data collection and recording.

No constant UK education department initiatives and generally more relaxing as a teacher, especially work and life balance compared to the teaching in UK schools.

I like all other teachers did have some challenges, stress and deadlines to meet, although not something that worried me as I already had a number of years experience as a teacher to cope.

Expectations on teaching standards, enforcing school rules and good examination grades were high.

Class sizes were up to 30 students per class, although many classes had fewer than 24 students. Nationality of school pupils were spread over 60 countries in various age groups, with parents employed locally by companies in Qatar.

Heat in the day time in was Qatar can rise to 40º C; just as well the school had modern air condition areas and classrooms.

International schools in Qatar foreign teachers wear western clothing: Females skirt or trousers and blouse, male teacher’s trousers and shirt with or without a tie or a suit, well that was the dress code at my school.

Contract was 2 years renewable.

Holidays were the standard including 6 weeks off at summer, 2 weeks new year.

School day for me in Qatar

There was school transport for teachers although I mostly preferred to walk the 15 minutes to school.

Prepared lessons for the day including handouts/worksheets and lesson plans I mostly prepared for at school or in evenings, all this was expected by the school.

I arrived at school at 06.30 signed in and setup my class for the first lesson. Other teachers had a tutor class, but not me, and for some reason no assembly at my school. Classrooms in Qatar are generally well resources with smart boards and other teaching technology which I utilized to show tables, graphs and lesson instruction with the whiteboard.

Normal western teaching methods and routines worked well from group or pairs work, instruction, questions & answers. You require being mindful that the majority of students in class are not native English speakers, so use visual aids, pictures and examples to reinforces learning.

My teaching workload as a secondary teacher at school per week was 28 lessons and any cover required 5 days a week, which was not often compared to teachers taking so many days off in UK schools, with at least one free period daily,

Resources such as marker pens, printing, specialist paper and books were rationed too much for my liking and at times I paid for worksheet printing myself at a local print shop.

Students at the school

Students from South East Asia and Egypt were more attentive, motivated and determined in my classes compared to local Qatari or western school pupils.

You must have a range of teaching strategies, methods and instructional techniques to deliver an effective lesson for students to clearly understand and grasp concepts. Why?

Student in my classes were taught differently from UK western methods, although they all understood enough English some struggled with independent thinking and analysis.

Building a good rapport with students in school was especially important, being mindful of cultural differences to gain respect and the best class work out of students.

Pro’s and con’s deciding to teach in Doha

Pros Teacher in DohaCons Teacher in Doha
Well resourced class and schoolLess organised teacher development courses transferable
Students more keen to learn in private educationExpensive school fee’s for teaching in Doha with family
Good career advancement opportunity as teachers stay in Qatar less timePublic transportation outside Doha city area less frequent
Tax free salary and employment packageNo teacher pension contributions
Doha and Qatar has many national & international sport or culture eventsDoha is a fairly expensive city on a teacher salary

What I didn’t like about the school

CPD I arranged and decided myself and teacher development training for class teachers at school there was nothing, seemed like they relied on past experience a teacher already had.

Student assessments or test were every 3 weeks at the school that contributed towards an overall grade standard of teaching we all have to meet.

Teacher observations were also frequent, once a month by the head of department, too much for my liking.

Work visa & residency permit for Qatar

Best way, if you have the time is to apply for and obtain a work visa from the embassy in your home country. Allow at least 2-3 months before moving overseas.

Read for yourself what the Embassy requires for each document from their official embassy services website.

Everything including criminal check, medical (£270 +), document processing, postage before apply for a Qatari work visa at the embassy will cost you £780 + doing it yourself as a single person.

When you are in Qatar to teach

  • Hand over all documents required including teaching & qualification certificates, birth certificate, marriage license if applicable and copies
  • You’re employer takes your passport and gains permission from the labour department for you to teach in Qatar schools
  • You are taken for a medical including blood tests and chest x-ray
  • Also, you go for your fingerprints to be taken by the police

Finally, after a lot of paperwork between 5-8 weeks you’ll get your passport back with a residency permit stuck on one page.

You also receive an id card with you’re details on it. Carry the ID card everywhere you go; it is a requirement by law.  

You’re employer should also issue you with a medical insurance card.

Can you go to Qatar without a work visa?

Employers can apply to exchange a current visit visa for a valid Qatar work visa for you. Takes time and you must have all document already processed and authenticated. So you arrive on a 30 day visitor visa (if you can) instead of applying for a work visa in your home country.

What do international schools look for in teachers?

  • 2 or more years experience teaching the subject and age level.
  • Track record of strong effective teaching for good test and examination result.
  • You always look to develop as a person & teacher.
  • Fluent English speaker who is clear and understandable.
  • Wide range of positive teaching & learning strategies.
  • Highly effective behaviour and learning strategies & methods.
  • Qualified teacher status.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Strong in-depth knowledge of the subject you teach and syllabus.
  • Committed to the teaching profession.
  • Willing to take part in extra curricula activities.
  • Calm, helpful and approachable.
  • Well organised, good time keeper.
  • Team player.

Language schools in Qatar

Children and adults attend language schools to learn English and other languages. They are not the same as international schools as they offer a different curriculum and different age group and can decide to attend or not.

Language school teachers tend to work daytime, evenings and or at weekends teaching English.

Can I teach English in Qatar without a degree? Very unlikely. You require at a least a relevant Bachelor’s Degree CELTA, TEFL or MA with class teaching experience to obtain a work permit.

How do teachers prepare for private school interviews?

Research the school and country culture. What looks good on a teaching resume? Submit an up to date CV tailored for the job position with all relevant teaching experience and what you offer to the school.

Turn up to an interview prepared and well presented.

Think about why you want to teach in an international school in Qatar and at the school you apply. The interviewer may possibly ask at the interview or part of your application to state what makes you a good candidate for teaching that age and subject at the school?

Teaching jobs in Qatar

Teaching jobs in Qatar

Looking to teach overseas? The busy hiring time is 5-6 months before you start in August. Teaching vacancies in Qatar are advertised by schools and recruitment companies throughout the year.

Almost all schools will advertise directly themselves, and possibly use recruitment agents, education and high traffic job boards.

Is it easy to get a job in Qatar as a teacher in 2022? Yes, school job vacancies are advertised in all subjects from teacher to school principal, if you are qualified and have the right skills and meet other requirements then you can find a teaching position.

Interviews for locally hired teachers in Qatar are in person at the school. Overseas hired teachers are interviewed at recruitment fairs face to face or online through Skype.

Teach in Qatar with family

Experienced teachers are welcomed in Qatar and in some cases encouraged as you could be a teaching couple or more likely to stay longer than a single teacher as you could have a more stable personal life.

Not all international schools are willing and able to sponsor teacher’s dependents. It costs the school a lot more to employ you from larger accommodation, flights and subsidised school place for children.

Teachers with families that taught at the same school informed me there were pros & cons of bringing family to Qatar.

Pros: Children learn another language, experience another culture, travel.
Cons: Paid for additional medical insurance, flight tickets, expensive schools fees for children. Start up costs for marriage and dependent birth certificates.

Qatar cultural norms and laws

Can unmarried couples live together in Qatar?  Couples must be legally married to stay and live together like other Muslim countries according to Qatar law. Friends or flatmates are not allowed to share accommodation if they are male and female.

Dating in Qatar: As a westerner you are not allowed to do or participate in what you did in your home country. Expect to have a very limited pool of eligible partners to choose from. Maybe that is why Qatar has many single expats working in the country,

Can you hold hands in Qatar?  Husband & wife holding hands in no problem. Anything else like kissing, hugs, body gestures in public is not acceptable.

Can I wear shorts in Doha?  Longer shorts and skirts are acceptable; you can also wear something underneath like leggings.

Is tutoring illegal in Qatar?  A teacher work permit is provided to you for the school and job title on the work permit. Private tutoring outside licensed schools is illegal in Qatar: Law 23 of 2015 in relation to provision of educational services.

Drinking alcohol in Qatar? Apply for an alcohol permit or drink at a hotel or restaurant where drinks are much more expensive.

Does Qatar give citizenship? Extremely difficult. Only a very small amount of people are offered Qatari citizenship for contribution to the country.

What is the main religion in Qatar? Muslim.

Good idea to look at some of the cultural norms accepted in Qatar so you do not offend or break laws which you think is acceptable. You require carrying identification with you at all times.

Accommodation in Qatar

International school teachers in Qatar are given a furnished apartment or villa that is single, shared or a living allowance depending on the employer and contract with all utilities paid.

Private rented accommodation in Qatar can be expensive. How much is rent in Qatar? A single apartment in a good area costs from 9.000 Riyals rental per month.

Apartment blocks usually have a service maintenance man that can assist with bottle gas, furniture removal and rubbish disposal. Basically, the person is there should you have any service issues with your apartment, including any electrical faults.

Remember school assembly starts early at 7am and public transport can be difficult to access at this time.

About State of Qatar as a country

Located near Saudi Arabia & United Arab Emirates, Qatar attracts almost 3 million visitors per year.

Sporting, business and cultural events as well as many tourists are attracted by what the country offers.

As a teacher in Qatar you benefit from knowing English is widely spoken by locals and some of the expat community, although workers making a living in Qatar from the Asian continent generally speak they’re own languages.

The country is a safe place and welcoming to many nationalities.  Personally I was safe during my time living in Qatar as a teacher and other people informed me they feel safe.

As one of the liberal countries in the region, Qatar laws allow people a lot of freedom, although be respectful of local culture and customs.

Is it expensive to live in Qatar? Can be a lot of a teachers salary per month dining out and leasing a car as Doha is one of the more expensive cities in the world to live. See here for average prices for Qatar cost of living 2022.

Country facts of Qatar

Capital: Doha

Area size: 11, 437 sq km

Population: 813,000

Currency: Qatari Riyal (QAR)

Languages: Arabic, although English widely spoken

Climate: hot, humid summers, mild winters

International dialing code: 974

Time zone: GMT +3

Electricity: 220V 50Hz 2 pin round plug or 3 pin plugs

3rd September Independence Day   18th December National Day.

Qatar exit permit

Educators in Qatar should ask if an employee is required to obtain an exit permit before leaving Qatar. Amendment to Law No. 21 of 2015 Qatar means in 2022 migrant workers only require to give an employer 72 hours notice before leaving the country, or you can apply yourself for an exist permit at the relevant government office.

Check yourself on Ministry of Interior website if you need an exit permit by inputting your Qatar ID number.

Not all schools issue multiple permits for some reason. Foreign teachers/person that has been sponsored can not leave Qatar without this permit, although in 2022 most foreign workers do no require an exist permit to leave Qatar.

My own experience was easy. I handed the sheet of paper to the customs officer when leaving Qatar that my Qatari sponsor arranged.

Travel & transport in Qatar

Travel & transport in Qatar

You can drive on your own countries license for the first two weeks after arriving in Doha, & Qatar.

Once you receive a residency permit you must obtain a Qatari license to legally drive, as you are now a resident in the country.

You’ll require all the documents you processed in your home country, license, degree and a host of other bits of paper, including an eye test to apply for a Qatar driver’s license.

A modern fleet of air-conditioned buses travel around many parts of Doha, and other areas, such as out to Al Khor. Public transport buses are infrequent and it’s not easy to travel to the suburbs of Doha and other areas especially early in the morning or late at night.

There are many private taxis in Qatar between white cars or limousines (Basically a car). Taxis are one of the main sources of public transport within Doha.

What you’ll find is that if you stand at the side of the street, or indeed the road, a taxi will stop and ask if you wish to go shopping, work or another place.

Qatar Metro Rail is an option to get around Doha to certain parts of the city of facilities.

Qatar leisure, sport & cultural facilities

As a teacher it is not just about lesson planning and marking. The country has good sporting, leisure and cultural attractions.

Qatar sponsor and hosts major sporting events including:

  • Tennis
  • Badminton and squash
  • Horse racing and endurance
  • Motorcycle and bike races

Excellent facilities for leisure sports fans will find the following:

  • Full-size golf course
  • Good quality thoroughbred horse racing at Racing and Equestrian Club (REC)
  • Good selection of private exercise and gyms
  • Horse riding stables
  • Yacht club and pleasure boat ride in the bay
  • A range of clubs to join or to go along as a spectator

Cultural attractions include Qatar museum, old town streets, buildings & modern art exhibitions.

What about shopping malls and shops?  Yes, there are good shopping malls in Doha and around Qatar that have high-class shops for luxury items and people on a working person budget.

Visit the Souq Waqif in the downtown area of Doha for an authentic experience of what Qatar offers.  The smell of the fresh fish, dates, spices, and food items is a great experience for a first time visitor.

You’ll find a selection of good quality cafes and shops side by side with market traders.

Image credit: Abdulla Almesleh, Jameel Riaz

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