Sam Murdoch

Graduated in 2011 with a BA in Child and Youth Studies from Inverness College UHI

My Past and My present

Since graduation I have been working at an International School in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. I am the class teacher for 18 Grade 1 boys (segregated education is normal here). I teach them English, science, social studies, art and PE. Maths, Arabic and Islamic studies are taught by other teachers and the school is hoping to employ a science teacher soon. I supervise their breakfast and play time also.

I came here because I answered an advertisement in one of the many online sites for teaching abroad. I also hold both a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching Adults) and a CELTYL (Young Learners) both of which are ratified by Cambridge University. I am what is termed an “old hand” in the Middle East because prior to coming here I had taught in China, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi and Spain.

The process for interview is straight forward. Usually you are contacted by phone for an initial interview where your suitability for the position is assessed. If successful, this is followed by an interview on Skype or in person depending on the company and where the job is located. Then an offer of employment is made and this is often negotiable. I always try to negotiate single accommodation and more money if possible. Then there are usually health checks to be carried out and a full medical is often required but this also depends on the country. Then, if required by the country, visas are applied for and issued, this can take from 1 week to 6 weeks. The company usually will pay your airfare but sometimes it is refunded on arrival.

When I started teaching many countries did not require you to hold a degree but that has changed. I am now able to work in countries that had previously been closed to me i.e. Japan, Oman, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
My current employer was impressed by the range of topics covered on the BACYS course. In particular he liked the concept of studying ethics, acquisition of language and legislation.

My Future

I hope to be running programmes in schools in education reform and change management. I worked for 3.5 years on an education reform programme in Abu Dhabi and it was the job I enjoyed the most. However, I will need to upgrade my qualifications first to a Masters and possibly a PhD. It’s going to be a busy few years.

My Advice

Find out what employers require and what will give you the edge over other candidates. Be confident in dealing with them and don’t be afraid to ask for what you really want when negotiating a contract. If progression in your field is your aim then investigate what further training and qualifications are required. Most importantly – Don’t give up even when it seems hopeless, there will always be a way through.