Are you thinking of applying for a teaching job in Qatar? I’ve been there and done that I can tell you exactly what to expect and more importantly, why you should do it. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had and would do it again and again. They were great times and I made many friends. Some of these I am still friends with today.
I taught in Qatar and I think you should too.
I never heard much about Qatar at the time I went. A small peninsula off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, the place was tiny on a map. I had been to Saudi Arabia a couple of times so I knew the region quite well. Qatar certainly didn’t have the presence as it has today, especially after hosting the World Cup 2022.
When I lived there it was an amazing experience and now I believe the country is getting better and better. The country has grown rapidly since I was first there. Even when I left the country for a two week break, I’d come back and the place had changed. These changes are making a huge difference and I can honestly say that this is the time to experience teaching in Qatar.
If you feel like you need some reasons to teach abroad, here are three reasons why teaching in Qatar makes sense.
1. A tax-free salary
The offer was a tax-free salary that was higher than I would have earned teaching in the UK. Actually, even after many years of teaching and some TLR points thrown in, you are still probably not going to match the salary of a classroom teacher in Qatar.
However, it’s not just the extra income that will benefit you. The rules in Qatar state that workers must be given either free accommodation or money towards a place to live. The first place I lived was an apartment in an area called Najma. I actually quickly moved out of here because I wanted to share a house with some guys who I worked with at school. School didn’t mind. I found it better to share a large place because at least you had a bit of company.
So the main points here was that I was earning a tax-free income, more than I earned in the UK, and was living rent free. This meant my disposable income was much higher. If you do some small calculations, my income was around £2700 per month. If I would have had to pay rent, I’m assuming it would have been around £800 per month for a shared place. So you could look at this and say that in reality it was as if I was earning £3500. In the UK, you would have to be on around £58,000 to earn £3500 per month!
2. The climate in Qatar is wonderful (most of the time).
There’s no denying that if you live in a hot desert environment, the climate is going to be hot and dry. This is something you really need to weigh up. If you don’t like the sun and the heat, then maybe Qatar isn’t right for you.
I want to put some context into what it really is like to live in a climate like this.
Firstly, I want to talk about the UK summer of 2022. There were a few days where temperatures reached around 40 degrees Celsius. The UK really struggled with this but if you live in the Middle East, life is built to revolve around these temperatures. There is certainly more focus on air conditioning in Qatar. In fact, I find it is overused. So when I go to the supermarket, it feels like Arctic conditions.
Temperature ranges from the early twenties in the winter to around 45 degrees Celsius in the summer. Most of the year I found the Qatar climate very pleasant.
In the winter times, I found that the evenings felt much cooler than the day. I would say that you need to bring a piece of knitwear in case you do find it a bit too cold. I’m certainly not saying you need a coat. A light jacket may also be helpful. Nothing too big as these cool evenings don’t last long.
A friend of mine rang me from Manchester. He asked how I was getting on in Qatar. I asked him what he was up to. He said that he wasn’t doing much because it was raining so heavily. Now, if you have ever lived in Manchester, you will know what he means. At the time, I was sitting at the beach, marking some books. I said the weather was fantastic! One of the hard things about teaching in Qatar is that you do often feel like you are on holiday, but you mustn’t forget that you are actually there to work as well.
My favourite time of year is the Spring and Autumn periods. Although they don’t have these seasons, it’s these times of year e.g March and October. These days it is around 35 degrees Celsius. I will never forget driving along the Corniche in March. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect and Doha looked beautiful next to the sea.
As we move into the Summer months, the temperatures do rise. Schools actually accommodate for this by shortening the school days. Like in mainland Europe, Doha has a sort of siesta period, although not officially. In the heat of the afternoon, people would go home to relax. As the sun sets, people will then start to go back outside. Restaurants, cafe’s, shops etc will be open until late and because it’s warm, you feel like you are on a permanent vacation.
July and August can become too hot. Doha does suffer from high levels of humidity in the Summer months. As we get closer to the summer, you can feel the humidity creep closer and closer into Doha. Again, it’s about working around this. Evenings are the daytimes in the UK. There are lots of places to go to to avoid the heat and humidity.
3. Take this once in a lifetime experience.
I never had the chance to go on a gap year before starting university. I can imagine this would be an amazing experience, especially before going into debt as a student. I felt that once I finished university I wanted to get on the property ladder and start my career.
I thought the opportunity for long stay travel was over. I thought it would be weekend breaks for two weeks in a beach resort at best. However, teaching in Qatar gave me a second chance.
Teaching in Qatar was like taking a gap year. I was able to get the experience of travel but without the need to save up or having to go into more debt.
With some savings I had, some inheritance and a little help from family I was able to get onto the property ladder once I started my first teaching job. Even though I was tied into a mortgage, I was still able to take the opportunity of teaching in Qatar. When I moved to Qatar I put my apartment on rent. Luckily I had some excellent tenants who looked after the property and I never needed to worry about it.
This just goes to show that anytime is a good time to take this chance of teaching in Qatar.
When I taught in Qatar there were people from a range of ages and experience. I was in my late twenties however there were people there much older than me who brought their families with them. I even had one friend who had their first child born in Qatar.
Teaching jobs in Qatar are open to people who are single or married. With children or without. If you are bringing children of a school age, the school will provide free places for at least one of them and then a subsidised place for the others.
Teaching in Qatar is a fantastic opportunity for any UK teacher. There are a range of benefits, as well as challenges working in this country.
The benefits include;
- A tax-free salary which increases your income. Not only tax-free, but you also get free accommodation.
- A warmer climate which means no rainy days. Spend more time outside at the beach or the park. No matter what time of year it is.
- A fantastic opportunity which can be taken whether you have only been teaching for a couple of years or 40 years, whether you want to come by yourself or bring your family.
What should I do now?
Make sure you sign up to download our free decision making guide. This will help give you a little more insight into whether teaching in Qatar is the right decision to make. If you feel