Some expat teachers in the Middle East work at public (or government) schools while other teach at private schools (or international schools). Both types of schools recruit Western-trained teachers (e.g. British, Irish, American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, etc.) and both types teach their curriculum through English, so you may be asking yourself:

  • What’s the difference between them?
  • And what does all that mean for me as a teacher?

As an expat teacher in the Middle East, we can work at:


Click here for my new 10 ways to find your ideal teaching job in Dubai and the UAE checklist.

Keep reading  to see where you can find jobs in these schools!

So what are GOVERNMENT/ PUBLIC SCHOOLS in the Middle East?

Government schools are also known as public schools. These schools are in the process of educational reform. They are changing their education system from Arabic to English as the medium of instruction/ teaching.


Ministry of Education (MOE) tend to recruit for primary and secondary schools in Dubai while Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) tend to recruit for primary and secondary schools in Abu Dhabi. A few years ago, ADEC and MOE united as one educational ministry, so you can find their jobs advertised here.

Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI), Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) & Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI) are more for post-16 Further Education (FE) roles. Find out more in my article on FE institutions in the Middle East.

As they’re changing from Arabic to English, the majority of students will be local and Arabic-speakers. This is a very unique opportunity to experience the culture firsthand and learn so much about local traditions and customs. Consider your teaching skills because in most cases, you will be a language teacher first and a subject teacher second. Does this suit your teaching style, strengths, & priorities? Remember that there will be pupils with varying levels of English in the one class. You may need to adapt your teaching to:

  • teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in addition to your subject
  • include strategies to keep up motivation among students
  • use behaviour management and positive reinforcement techniques, as these students are studying a brand new topic in their second language, so some may they may not even know these new words in Arabic. This may cause some of them to become distracted and misbehave.
  • with the MOE, you will most likely NOT know your school location until you arrive to the UAE.
  • the package may not suit teachers with children, as their children can’t get a free place at those Arabic-medium schools. Check to see if the MOE and ADEC offer help with school fees at other schools. If they don’t, it may be not financially viable to come here.

If you want more tips when teaching local students, check out my post on “8 general guidelines when teaching local students in the Middle East. “

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