Although the national curriculum of Saudi Arabia requires English to be taught as a second language, native English-speakers are rarely found in the state education system, cultural differences accounting for this. There is, however, a constant demand for English teachers in the region, as English is the lingua franca between locals and expatriates, and staff in hotels, airports, hospitals and other service businesses are required to speak English. Jobs are usually advertised in the teaching profession’s publications and national newspaper supplements.
There’s a large number of private schools in Saudi Arabia, catering mainly for the needs of the expatriate population. English is generally the language used for all lessons. There are some French schools, which hold lessons in that language, but these usually also teach English.
As well as being popular with Saudi Arabia nationals, private language schools are sometimes used by expatriate workers from various countries to improve their English. If you choose to work in one, remember that the hours can be long and anti-social because the schools are teaching pupils who can only attend after their working day. Foreign international language schools, such as Berlitz and Linguarama, have branches in Saudi Arabia. They often require that their teachers attend their own teacher training courses to learn the particular teaching methods of that language school.
Private English lessons are popular in Saudi Arabia and therefore a significant source of employment. Many of the teachers offering them are ‘moonlighting’ from their full-time employment in schools and colleges, private lessons being a lucrative way to supplement their income. The demand for private English lessons is to some extent seasonal, more people wanting them in the run-up to the examination season. There’s another peak of demand when exam results are published, from those who have failed and need to improve their skills for exam retakes. Study advertisements for tutors in local newspapers, the yellow pages and on notice boards in clubs and sporting institutions, or post advertisements yourself.
The British Council
The British Council recruits English language teachers for placement in its centres. It requires a recognised qualification, such as an RSA diploma or PGCE in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), and also a minimum of two years’ teaching experience for most of its positions. For more senior jobs and those with managerial responsibilities, postgraduate qualifications and a minimum of five years’ experience are required.
For further information, contact The British Council Recruitment Section, Central Management of Direct Teaching, 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN, UK (Tel. 020-7389 4931). The British Council also recruits English teachers and teachers of other subjects for British International Schools. For information, contact The Overseas Educational Appointments Department, British Council, 65 Davies Street, London W1Y 2AA, UK (Tel. 020-7389 7660). The free publication Teaching Overseas is also produced by the Council.
Translators & Interpreters
Those who are fluent in Arabic and English can find work as translators and interpreters. Translation work is particularly required for legal and contractual documentation, and technical papers. Interpreters are often needed at seminars and on management training courses. Both types of work are usually part-time or short-term.