TEFL Interview – What Do Saudi Employers Look For?

TEFL job interview Saudi ArabiaThere are numerous steps to follow before one’s quest to teach English in Saudi Arabia becomes a reality. Don’t be surprised if some of the biggest challenges are encountered during the job interview. All your prior leg-work may be for naught, if you stumble seriously at this all-important stage.

 Stand out! – TEFL Interview Saudi Arabia

A friend once told me this after his interview: “I told them the opposite of what I thought they expected to hear.” While his approach was rather extreme, I do see a novelty to it – and he did make the cut! My point here is this: rather than giving the same tried-and-true answer to a standard interview question, you may want to try something a bit different; say something that will make the interviewer (or perhaps an entire committee) remember you as a fresh thinker.

Understand Their Concerns – TEFL Interview Saudi Arabia

So what exactly might a Saudi employer be looking for in an English teacher? First off might be, “will he or she stay, once hired?” The female teacher undoubtedly has it harder in Saudi Arabia, in terms of lifestyle change, as there are many limitations on the personal freedoms of the expatriate woman in the Kingdom. I once overheard a female teacher being asked this question: “Do you like your position in Saudi Arabia?” “‘Like’ is a strong word,” she replied. But she then added: “I like what it does for my career.” On the other hand, there may be numerous female expatriate teachers in Saudi Arabia who willingly “go with the flow.”

The male teacher faces cultural challenges as well, especially a bachelor; his teaching contract may specify “no dating”, for example. Rarely seeing the face of a female may seem a bit strange, but he may get used to this eventually. Men living on a secure compound may have an easier time adapting, as there are often expatriate women living there as well. Besides encountering the occasional female teacher, he may find himself chatting with an off-duty nurse, as many of the nurses who work in Saudi hospitals are natives of the Philippines, and they often live in compounds.

Highlight Your Achievements – TEFL Interview Saudi Arabia

Saudi employers will ask you about your career goals, your achievements, favourite TESOL material, and some may even ask you to write a lesson plan. You probably would not get as far as the interview without an advanced TESOL certification and solid teaching experience, but they want to know as much about your skills as your commitment to teaching in the Kingdom. Teaching English in Saudi Arabia is not the average ESL assignment, but depending on your personality, it can be a very rewarding experience.

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