Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My first few weeks in the Emirates

September 21, 2016

I wanted to write to you and tell you that the past two weeks of induction with the MOE has been incredible.  I have taught in 3 other countries and no other job has been remotely as welcoming and generous as this one has been. We have been treated like royalty!

I arrived at the airport in Dubai and was met by a man who helped me immediately set up my phone and exchange money.  I was then driven to a 5-star hotel where about 5 other new teachers were checking in.  We were all pretty tired from traveling so retired to our luxurious rooms and slept.

The breakfast buffet in the morning was incredible—eggs and waffles and salads and muesli and yogurt.  We met other teachers and exchanged stories.  I ran into 3 other teachers from my last job at King Saud University in Riyadh who have also changed over to this job.  There are many teachers here who have come over from Saudi so it was interesting to exchange information about what happened there. All of us Saudi teachers are pinching ourselves at how much different this treatment is from what we have just come from.

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Breakfast!

After breakfast, Yaseer brought us for our medical exam and Emirates ID.  Yaseer was so organized and helpful and all 20 of us were finished in an hour.  My friend and I then went out and hung out at the beautiful rooftop pool for an hour before we got on the bus to Dubai.

In Dubai—surprise!  Another 5-star luxury hotel!  We checked into our rooms and then met in the vast lobby to listen to the pianist. In the morning, another full-spread breakfast and then off for an overview of the program at the MOE building.  Everything was extremely organized and efficiently presented.  The MOE had invited local banks so that we could set up our accounts.  In 3 minutes I had my account set up.  I don’t want to bore you with the days of hassle I went through in Saudi trying to do the same.  It reduced so much “new country” stress to have my phone and bank account set up.  This can be very confusing to do when you are in a new culture.

We also got our locations.  I was thrilled because I wanted to be up near the mountains in Ras Al Khaimah and I got it!  My friend loves Dubai so she was very happy to be placed there.

What I didn’t realize about the area is how close the cities are to each other.  The bus from Dubai to Ras al Khaimah is only an hour and a half and costs 20 dr so it is easy to get from one place to another. A group of us who live in different cities are going to meet up in Sharjah this week and see the art museum. So most of the teachers are really happy with their postings and know they can travel into the city or out to the mountains very easily for the weekend.

We spent the week training in Sharjah—cross-cultural understanding, google docs, a CLIL workshop.  We were all given new free laptops (!) and had help logging into the portal where all the course books and resources are stored. Again, beautiful catered lunches were provided.

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Getting my new laptop

We were all driven into training from our respective locations.  The MOE has provided hotels for us for the week so that we have a secure base to set ourselves up in with housing. A few of the teachers in Ras Al Khaimah have found places at Al Hamra village for 30-40,000 per year.  I found a traditional house in my small community in Rams for 35,000/year. One of the teachers has chosen to stay in this hotel.  I think he pays around 45,000—pool and gym on location.

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Luch during training

After we do our errands and house hunting we meet at the Hilton beach resort which the MOE has ALSO generously provided.  Our most stressful decision is whether to sit by the pool or walk down to the beach chairs.

School starts on Sunday so it will be great to meet our new students and colleagues. As one of the trainers said, this is the pilot year for the program so there is a lot of excitement about being a part of such a bold enterprise. The sheik who has spearheaded this education reform is Harvard-educated and has envisioned an international education for the UAE children.  It is very exciting to be here and part of this mission. In induction we were given an overview of the work that the UAE has been doing with Cambridge to create the curriculum. The sheik’s vision is to have every highs school student score a 6.5 on the IELTS before graduating. They are working hard on clear goals for the English program.

my-school-in-rams

My school in Rams

My friend and I were sitting by the pool and talking about everything that has happened in the past few weeks.  She said, “I feel blessed to be here.”  Me too. When work starts, there will certainly be challenges to implementing a new curriculum and negotiating different teaching cultures but, as foreign teachers, we could not have had more help setting up the logistics of our job to be well-prepared for our teaching.

Please pass on my huge thanks to the organizers of this program for the truly first-class treatment I and my other teacher friends have received.  It is an incredible part of the Arab culture to be so welcoming and generous to guests.  I’m very grateful for this welcome to the UAE.

Leann Wiley

teachers-apartment-in-al-hamra-village

Teachers apartment in Al Hamra village

rams-where-i-live-on-the-border-with-oman

Local houses in Rams – On the border with Oman

 

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Be careful when choosing the right recruitment company…

October 31, 2014

I am sure you are aware but there is a skills shortage within education and therefore recruitment companies are clamouring over themselves to work with qualified language teachers and fill ever increasing vacancies. This may sound like heaven as you will be inundated with jobs, but is the recruiter all that they seem?

broken promises

Be wary.

After 15 years in the recruitment sector I am fully aware that there are a large number of unscrupulous organisations out there that proceed to ruin the reputation of the ethical recruitment firms simply by being in the same sector. Remember, anyone can have a fantastic website built, but is there any substance behind it?

How can you tell if your recruiter is worth dealing with?

Well, firstly, don’t believe everything you read on the forums. It is very rare that anyone will post a positive review of a recruitment company, forums breed negativity and therefore you cannot obtain a true picture from just reading the thoughts of a few teachers. There are always two sides to every story.

Ask other teachers for a referral. Check the company out on Linked In, are their consultants listed and how many recommendations do they have? How long has the company been in operation? Do they operate from a fixed address or just a mobile? Is their website updated regularly, how proactive are they? By looking deeper into a company you can begin to build up a good profile of them.

Demand for money

Remember that recruitment firms make their money through the placement of teachers. However, the ‘fee’ is paid by the hiring company, not the individual. So, tip number one, if you are EVER asked to part with any money by the recruiter, run for the hills. No professional recruitment organisation will ask for money from you, if they say it is for visa and medical fees, again, resist. You should ONLY pay this money to the visa agent directly.

Offers without interviews

I assume you will have uploaded your CV onto several job sites as well as applying for a number of roles with a number of recruiters. If you receive an offer by email without having had an interview or having discussed the role in detail, alarm bells need to ring. Ethical recruitment companies will NEVER ever simply present a contract of employment to you without having had an in depth conversation to discuss the role, location and organisation you will be working for. Obviously I cannot prevent you from accepting such an offer but I cannot understand why anyone would move countries / jobs on the whim of an email.

Lack of communication

Even if you have a conversation about a job, make sure all lines of communication remain open and the recruiter exhibits complete transparency at all times. If you get the impression they are winging it or being evasive, walk away. A good recruiter will know everything about the role, mobilisation process, package, location and start dates. Unfortunately there are too many companies that have the opinion that once the teacher has accepted the job, their work is done. Nothing is further from the truth. You should be in close contact with the recruiter up to mobilisation, after all, they are supposed to be your confidant and support mechanism. If this breaks down I would seriously question whether the role is all that is seems.

Be realistic

Of course, even the best recruitment company in the world cannot legislate for its clients or external factors that may hinder the offer and / or mobilisation process. If I can be so bold, don’t have unrealistic expectations and try not to become impatient if the process isn’t going as quickly as you would like. As I stated earlier, a recruiter makes their money by getting teachers jobs, so why on earth would they knowingly slow down the process? If you antagonise the recruiter, they may not prioritise your application, so play fair too.

Teachers are not perfect either!

Securing a new role via a recruiter is a two way process. The recruiter will expect you to be professional, communicative and react to reasonable requests too. Remember, if you are dragging your feet during the offer or visa process, the hirer may become concerned about your commitment and rescind the offer. You need to be open and honest with your recruiter, the world of education recruitment is not as big as you may think and burning bridges is never a good idea. Recruiters are not naïve enough to think that you are not applying for other roles and will then consider all offers, but if you accept a role, tell them. Don’t just vanish off the face of the earth, we do have very good memories…

In conclusion, once you are happy with your recruiter, stick with them and work together as a team. Build a good relationship and this will stand you in good stead for future positions and contracts.

How do I know this? Well, as Managing Director of m2r Education, we haven’t won 5 international business awards and received numerous glowing references plus recognition from the British government for nothing you know….

Kuala Lumpur – Now the fun begins

July 2, 2014

Day 5

After a few days in KL I suppose it was only fitting that I did some proper work, after all that was the reason I was there in the first place. I had spent one day at an Education Fair which was good for contacts but The Training Gateway had arranged a packed program for us all and I needed to showcase my new name badge anyway…

A bit of a disclaimer here. If you find my account of the actual trade mission tiring then I would advise you not to bother going on one. I have been on trips with people who are not ready for such an ordeal and I can tell you, it is grating. Only commit if you have the energy, drive and enthusiasm required for such a trip. This isn’t a holiday (honestly!).

After I had packed away my lilo and water wings (joke) the serious business of showcasing m2r Education began. As with all missions, an introduction into the market / country is essential and as usual, we started with a visit to the British Embassy. Above a bank. In a coach with a tour guide. I didn’t realise I had booked onto a women’s institute holiday to South East Asia. But at least I know where Michael Jackson stayed now. Shame he had no idea where the meetings were though.

I like visiting British soil when I am away, just to get a decent cup of tea mainly. However, as this was a new country for me, I went into the first set of meetings with my eyes open, the same cannot be said for other members of the group however… The information presented was very informative and certainly gave me tremendous enthusiasm for the rest of the time in KL. The facts and figures relating to Malaysia were mind blowing and the educational blueprint is certainly worth a look.

After what seemed like an eternity the initial briefings came to a close. Don’t get me wrong, they were very good, especially the one who decided to present 73 slides to an audience of rather drowsy delegates (hot, stuffy room) in a rather monotone voice…. Seriously, they were good.

Two further meetings followed, with organisations specifically aimed at the training and education sector. I am not going to bore you (any further) my dissecting every single meeting, suffice to say the company and audience were well matched. Just a shame that jet lag was following most of us around and there was a lot of head nodding to be seen…. Someone needs to make a little crane that is attached to eyelids to keep them open. Hence my point earlier, missions are tough, do not think you can breeze through them.

From my perspective, the final meeting of the day was the best. Obviously I am on a trade mission mainly for selfish reasons and therefore I am looking for recruitment related opportunities. Meeting an organisation who represented 500 international schools and were happy to push our details to them was music to my ears. One of the Directors was a guy I originally met at the education fair on the previous Saturday, he was happy to see me again and of course, cemented the fact that I represented a serious and committed organisation. Take note, on a mission always look to see what other events are happening around it and make sure you attend.

Today was also the first day the group was together for work related purposes, no cliques were developing (unlike last time…) and everyone was getting on really well. When tiredness is setting in, having a good bunch of people around you helps. It also means that we can take snaps of those who decide to catch flies at inopportune moments too…..

On all trade missions, one of the great benefits is the networking. Not just between the group but also at organised events. This was no different. So after a very quick turnaround it was out for an evening of meeting all those great and good within the world of education in KL and further afield. Slight issue though, our brilliant tour guide, yet again, had no idea where he was going. I suspect his guided tours are of his own house and even then he gets lost.

Our bus. Not lost for once.

Our bus. Not lost for once.

After 500 years we made it to the networking reception, a very nice rooftop terrace owned by the Director of UKTI in Kuala Lumpur. It is always good to be fashionably late… By 2 hours. These events are always good, if you make the most of the occasion. There have been too many times when I have witnessed people at these events just chatting to their mates and then complaining that it was a poor turnout. I am not a massive fan of networking but so far, no one has shouted at me, punched me or even been slightly rude. Just get out there, have a go and see what happens. I left with some great contacts and have never seen so many sweaty people in one place in my life. No I don’t frequent those types of places thank you.

All in all a very good first ‘proper’ day in KL. Made some good contacts, got a good overview of the landscape, only nodded off once (honest) and sweated more that I actually intended to. Thanks heavens for hotel laundry. We may have gone out to relax after an action packed day but if you think I am going to blog that, then you have another thing coming…. One more full business day in KL to follow plus a rather interesting experience at the airport en route to Jakarta to come next!! Until next time folks…

A warm welcome

A warm welcome

Kuala Lumpur. Part 2. Better do some work…

June 29, 2014

The storm is approaching……

After an epic trip, a very interesting first day, it was almost time to meet my colleagues that would / could either make or break the trip. It is so critical to be part of a dynamic, enthusiastic group when being part of a trade mission.  The days are very long and a good strong group can drag you along when quite frankly, all you want to do is sleep. I’ll put you all out of your misery straight away, the group turned out to be……

Fantastic.

Initially only one turned up. Once the pleasantries had been done it was onto far more serious matters of a trip to China Town for even more great and cheap food followed by a few hours of haggling to buy things we wanted, not necessarily needed. Amazing experience and one I would heartily recommend. It is a vibrant area of KL, great for people watching and buying umpteen handbags. A good way to end the first day and certainly meant an air of positivity was already surrounding me.

China Town Kuala Lumpur

China Town Kuala Lumpur

China Town entrance Kuala Lumpur

China Town entrance Kuala Lumpur

Day 3

The reason I decided to come early to KL was not to blag a few days holiday, it was to attend the Education Fair which was taking place over the weekend prior to the mission. As we are an education recruitment company, it was perfect timing and gave me an opportunity to meet potential clients under one roof. The exhibition was pretty well attended with international universities, schools and technical vocational training centres present. It still amazes me how organisations who want to work overseas try to generate business over email and phone, If you are genuinely committed to a market, go and meet your potential clients face to face. Having said that, I am glad that we are in a minority and long may that continue! I received a very good reception and companies were certainly keen to discuss their requirements with me.

Malaysia is driving towards a common goal, Vision 2020. By this date, the country aims to be classed as a developed nation and to achieve this, one of the main areas is education, As a company we have great experience of upskilling and providing quality educators to allow a country to achieve its dream. Hopefully we can help Malaysia too.

33rd Malaysian Education Fair

33rd Malaysian Education Fair

This was my first ever foray into the education sector in Malaysia and I left filled with optimism and very enthused about the trade mission.

Day 4

I had planned (honest!) to spend 2 full days at the Education Fair but I managed to see all the exhibitors in one day. So, ‘annoyingly’ I had the day off. My justification was that I had already generated some great leads from the previous day, all emailed and some invited to the forthcoming trade reception. So, with absolutely no sense of guilt I turned into a tourist for the day. I heartily recommend going on the tour to the top of the Petronas Towers, the views are stunning. Again, now I have been I can confidently discuss roles in KL which will automatically elevate us over our ‘competitors’ who have never been.

View from the top of the Petronas Towers 2

From the top of the Petronas Towers

That evening was the first opportunity to meet the rest of the delegation. Now I have been on numerous missions over the years and meeting a new group is always a nervous affair, what if we don’t get on? We are all stuck with each other. Thankfully, nothing is further from the truth and yes, I do observe the bribery act. Great bunch, really focussed, some more sleepy than others, but everyone sharing the common goal of winning business. Brilliant. As usual no names mentioned!

This was shaping up to be a very good trip……….

 

27hrs to Kuala Lumpur. Just another crazy trip in the life of m2r…

June 28, 2014

The calm before the storm…

It is rare that a blog starts with an apology, unless you are a member of the current England football team. I am not and never will be. Thankfully. Anyway, apologies. This blog post is 2 weeks overdue but read all the following posts and you will understand why.

On the 11th June I embarked on our most ambitious business trip yet. A mere 6000 mile ‘hop’ to Kuala Lumpur, crossing the Equator via Jakarta on the way. The journey would last 27 hours. The same time it will take to read these series of posts (joke). To be fair, this didn’t phase me, mainly because I had not done such a journey for over 10 years and that was to Oz for a holiday. So, I had no recollection of what to expect and although I was warned about the humidity, again, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to face.

This trip was another trade mission, organised by the marvelous Training Gateway and UKTI. If you recall, I was part of a delegation to Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi in December of last year. If you have no idea what on earth I am going on about, search the blog. If you are already bored, then go make a sandwich.

This trade mission would last for 10 days, span the hemispheres, be mentally and physically taxing but ultimately spawn new clients and a new network of friends.

Day 1

After 25 hours via Dubai, I landed in Jakarta, along with the trade mission leader. Within a millisecond of clearing immigration I looked as if I had my own comedy rain cloud following me. It was not pleasant or easy on the nose. My traveling companion on the other hand, looked no different, as if she was walking around in permanent air con. It cost $25USD to sweat profusely in Jakarta for all of 2 hours. Well worth it. Following an uneventful if slightly niffy Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur and therefore crossing the Equator for the second time in 4 hours, the epic journey was over. Just the matter of a 90min drive to the hotel. In air con thankfully.

We stayed at the Grand Millennium Hotel in KL, lovely spot for 6 days. Slap bang in the middle of everything which is great, unless you want to sleep. Luckily I was jet lagged to high heaven and therefore sleep, unfortunately, was not on the agenda.

Day 2

After all of 3 hours, I awoke to a brand new view in my quest to develop overseas education for m2r Education.

The view of Kuala Lumpur from my hotel room

The view of Kuala Lumpur from my hotel room

As we are in the business of expatriation, it is very important that I get a good vibe as we, as a business, need to be confident that our teachers will enjoy their new surroundings. So far, so good. I arrived in KL 1 day before I had to do any actual work and 3 days before the actual mission was due to start. I used the time to get a good feel for the city, basically a fact finding mission. It also gave me some time to acclimatise, essential when about to embark on a packed programme which lasts from morning til night, every day. As you know from my posts, no names mentioned, but I suspect certain people will follow my lead next time and not arrive the evening before the mission begins, especially when the journey and time difference can be your enemy. You know who you are!!!

KL is a very interesting city and I was very impressed with how they look after the walking community. There are air conditioned, covered walkways which make crossing some parts of the city an absolute doddle. Generally when I travel overseas for work, I cannot walk anywhere for too long due to the heat, but here, there were no issues. Which was good because I had visions of resembling the witch from Wizard of Oz. You know, the ‘I’m melting scene…..’ I was advised to go to the Petronas Towers. When I arrived, I understood why. Simply stunning.

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers

To take this photo, go the Traders Hotel at night, obviously. Watch out for the pool when you get out of the lift…..

I had the pleasure of using KL’s very good monorail system, it is pretty straightforward to use but for some reason, a 15 min trip to Little India for lunch turned into scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Still, not complaining as I got to see more of the city which all helps in my line of work.

KL certainly is a melting pot and I never felt uneasy at any point. Everyone was very friendly, the city is clean and food, well, stunning and incredible value for money. I was certainly confident of being able to promote the city to would be Teachers and Trainers looking for jobs in Malaysia.

anana Leaf Curry in Little India. £2 and stunning.

Banana Leaf Curry in Little India. £2 and stunning.

At this point the rest of the 28 person delegation had yet to arrive but that would change pretty soon…….

Teach English in Saudi Arabia

May 2, 2014

Teach English in Saudi Arabia

Min 3yrs exp, BA and CELTA. Various locations.

Teach English in China! Open start dates.

May 2, 2014

Teach English in China! Open start dates.

Want an ESL job in China?

Proud to support the Institute of Supply Chain Management

April 25, 2014

The Institute of Supply Chain Management represents the interests of the Supply Chain Industry across the world and has developed a suite of supply chain qualifications and more specialised qualifications that seek to train and support individuals engaged within the supply chain industry and sub sectors:

 

Supply Chain Management

•             Logistics and Transport

•             Purchasing

•             Manufacturing

•             Freight Transport

•             Shipping

•             Warehousing

•             Management

IoSCM

IoSCM

Exciting new ESL roles in Saudi Arabia! Teach in brand new colleges, August 2014 start dates.

April 24, 2014

If you approach life with energy, an enquiring mind and a sense of adventure then you’re what we’re looking for.

We have ESL teaching jobs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with roles available in both Al’Quwaiiyah (male & female) & Dammam (female).

The hiring company are a UK consortium company, made up of leading suppliers of vocational skills and employment programmes in the UK. They have been awarded a five year contract to provide training services for the esteemed Colleges of Excellence in Saudi Arabia delivering English and vocational curriculum across three colleges.

A teaching job with them offers you the chance to enjoy so much more than just work. The opportunity to explore the wealth of activities on offer as well as discovering a new country and rich cultural history are just some of the benefits of joining us in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

Landing a job in Saudi Arabia will provide you with adventures and experiences you never imagined, giving you the opportunity to tell stories back home that your friends and family will never tire of hearing.

This is an incredible opportunity for anyone seeking the chance of a life-time, whether you’re based in a desert town or large city setting, this will be an experience like no other!

All Tutors will provide high quality teaching and access to learning, teaching English Language to students within the college group.

It is expected that the post holders will contribute to course design, development and review of the English Language programmes, sharing best practice and ideas for improvement where these are identified. They have staggered contract start dates throughout the summer, including July and early August 2014.

Team work is critical to their success, so upon joining the team a full induction will take place in the UK before you depart, which will be followed by a local induction taking place upon arrival in KSA.

This will be built around understanding the business, your role and the new environment you will be working and living in, whilst providing the opportunity to make some friends within the wider team.

The minimum requirements to apply for the role are as follows:

  • A minimum of three years’ teaching experience, preferably in an adult environment.
  • Where you are not a native English speaker, have an IELTS 7.5 or equivalent. You will be required to provide evidence of this prior to your interview.
  • Bachelor’s degree in English Language or Literature, TESOL, Applied Linguistics or education.
  • Hold a minimum of a CELTA qualification or equivalent. A DELTA qualification (or equivalent) being desirable.
  • Evidence of dynamic and innovative teaching practice.
  • Knowledge & ability to demonstrate an understanding of course structures, lesson planning, along with different learning styles and teaching methods.
  • Excellent communication and organisation skills.
  • A passion for people and the challenge of taking them on a journey.
  • Excellent ICT skills, an ICT qualification would be advantageous.

The package includes the following:

  • Salary of £24,000 – £32,000pa (Tax Free), depending on skills, experience and competence.
  • Flights to Saudi Arabia, with a return flight at the end of your contract;
  • Accommodation will be provided, along with transport to and from the college;
  • Health Insurance;
  • Visa;
  • End of Contract gratuity payment;
  • Mobile phone with credit, upon arrival to ensure that you can stay connected with the important people in your life.
  • Competitive holiday allowance.

Where applications are received from people outside of the UK, web based assessments will be utilised to assess competence, skills and experience. Possible assessment centres will be arranged in Saudi Arabia too.

The Assessment Centres will require the candidates to prepare a Micro Teach session, complete a competency based interview and participate in a group activity.

We are currently planning to hold assessments in the following locations:

London: 3 & 4th May 2014

(Further locations will be added when sufficient candidates are available)

Due to the high volumes of applications, only applicants short-listed for interview will be contacted.

Go to www.m2rglobal.com to apply.

Teach ESL in Riyadh. Get offered the job in London.

April 1, 2014

ESL job fairs in London!
26th, 27th, 28th April, Hilton Kensington
Offers on the day!!!

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m2r are seeking applications from qualified ESL Teachers who wish to work at a major university in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Contracts are one year renewable and positions are open to both male and female Teachers. Start date will be August 2014, ready for the new academic year.

Package includes visa, tax free basic salary dependent upon your qualifications and experience, accommodation and transportation to and from work, Class A medical insurance, return flights, visa and mobile phone + SIM card. Full orientation is provided too.

Minimum criteria to apply: 2yrs full time classroom based ESL experience, BA degree plus a CELTA / MA TESOL.

If you meet the minimum criteria then please contact us ASAP for an interview and more information. You are also more than welcome to drop by on the day, but please remember to bring hard copies of your CV, passport and qualifications otherwise an offer cannot be made.

Please mention ‘m2r interviews’ when you arrive at the venue.

For a confirmed interview, contact us now!

We look forward to hearing from you.