Known for its extensive and scenic coastline, Oman is not just another oil-rich gulf state in the Middle East. The Sultanate of Oman has an astounding adult literacy rate, ever since the government placed a high priority on education after a change in leadership in 1970. The Omani government is focused on diversifying the Omani workforce (with less of a dependency on its oil revenue), which has led to a strong support for education. It’s clear that now is the time to teach abroad in Oman, as there is a high demand for international teachers and it is widely recognized that teaching in Oman is a great way to experience life in a rapidly developing region of the Middle East.
With a tropical climate and mostly humid weather year-round, Oman is ideal for any sun-loving teacher hoping to escape the cooler climates of the West.
Muscat. With a population of about 1.2 million people, Muscat is the capital and largest city in Oman. The city has recently experienced a rapid growth in its economy, and in its diverse population. As a major trading hub for the country, Muscat puts a high importance on learning English, as a major skill needed to remain competitive in the international marketplace and maintain economic growth. Schools in Muscat, therefore, also have a high focus on English learning to prepare students for future jobs. It comes as no surprise that Muscat holds the most opportunities for teaching jobs in Oman.
Salalah is the capital city of Oman’s southern province of Dhofar and the second largest city in Oman. Those who are in to sports should look no further than teaching in Salalah; the city is home to four of the major soccer teams in Oman as well as two major sports stadiums. One thing to know about the city prior to teaching there is that it is home to monsoons during the months of July to September; despite this unpredictable weather, many travel to Salalah specifically during this season to embrace the tropical greenery that becomes especially lush with consistent rainfall.
Seeb is a coastal city northwest of Muscat, known for an abundance of fishing carried out along the shore. Those looking to experience a typical Omani town that rarely sees tourists, should consider teaching abroad in Seeb. Fortunately, Seeb is also a 20 minute drive northwest of Muscat, so the city is still in arms reach. Those who choose to teach in Seeb should be sure to visit the city’s beaches as well as the markets, which line the streets with textiles, hats, and local sweets.
Oman has made education a vital and important part of their economic and social development for the foreseeable future. Therefore, international teachers are indispensable in Oman as a whole. Those who decide to teach abroad in Oman usually find the Omani people to be extremely hospitable, and English teachers, along with English language skills, are held in high regard in Omani society. This is illustrated by English being taught as early as fourth grade.
Due to the prevalence and importance of English language skills in Oman, there is a very strong and consistent need for qualified English language teachers not only in private schools and universities, but also in specialized language centers.
Private Schools. Most private schools provide students with mixed gender learning environments, compared to public schools which are usually single sex. Private schools in Oman often limit their enrollment of certain nationalities, usually because of the school’s main objective and target student population. For example, an American government funded school in Oman only allows American citizens to enroll. There is usually a high turnover rate at private schools, as most teachers are on short-term contracts.
To teach in Oman at many of the higher education institutions Arabic is not usually necessary, since university level courses are generally designed for more advanced English-speaking students. International teachers are needed from all over the world to teach courses in various specialties, although teaching English is the most common type of teaching job in Oman.
On the other hand, teaching jobs in Oman at elementary and secondary schools may require teachers to have knowledge of the Arabic language, in order to teach students who have limited English language skills. Omani state-run schools are usually only attended by local children and the curriculum typically has a high focus on Islamic teachings.
English Language Schools. There are various language schools located throughout Oman that offer job opportunities for English teachers. The English Language Education Services (ELES) Center, for example, regularly hires native English speakers who are qualified to teach English as a foreign language.However, it is important to mention that teaching in Oman at language schools can require long hours and teaching classes that take place after normal business working hours, since students are often adults.
General Information. Before teaching abroad in Oman, teachers should understand that the work culture and student-teacher relationships vary greatly from the Western world. Although the typical school year and working schedule varies, the school year in Oman is usually split into two semesters; the first half is from September to January, and the second half is from February to May. Those who choose to teach abroad in Oman will be provided with holidays and breaks throughout the school year. Many of the holidays in Oman are based on Islamic traditions, as it is the official religion of Oman. For example, although the work week at each individual institution or school varies, since Friday is considered an Islamic day of prayer, the work week usually begins on Sunday and ends on Thursday. The peak hiring times for teaching jobs in Oman are in August and September, although recruitment is semi-annual.
Since ESL teachers are highly desired, the majority of teaching jobs in Oman are paid positions. Those who teach in Oman can expect to make anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 a month. Teachers can expect the average cost of living to be at around $400 to $900 a month. It is possible to live an affordable lifestyle while teaching in Oman, and as some may say, thrive as a teacher in Oman. Being able to budget and save really depends on the type of lifestyle you hope to have while teaching in Oman.
With a high demand and respect for skilled and experienced English teachers in Oman, many employers look for individuals who have bachelor’s degrees and TEFL or TESOL certification. Some teaching programs in Oman even provide TEFL certification in combination with job placement services, but these type of programs usually cost $1,350 to $2,095. In addition, universities seeking international teachers require applicants to have two or more years of relevant teaching experience or a master’s degree for most teaching jobs in Oman.
If you are looking for certain perks and benefits along with your teaching job in Oman, be sure to look closely at what the job description offers. Some teaching jobs in Oman include airfare, health insurance, paid vacation time off, and additional allowances for commuting costs, but others do not.
With an increase in infrastructural development over the years, there are no limits to affordable housing in many of the larger cities of Oman. Those looking to teach abroad in Oman are provided with the freedom to live and rent their own apartments in the city where they are teaching, although some schools will provide housing for teachers in specific complexes or neighborhoods. In larger cities, such as Muscat and Salalah, furnished accommodations are widely available for rent; however, furnished housing may not be available smaller cities and towns, like Saab. With an incredibly hot climate, it is vital for teachers to ensure their accommodation is equipped with air conditioning, which will be used constantly during warmer months (which is basically year round).
Although it is not difficult to obtain a visa to teach abroad in Oman, it is important to plan ahead to ensure proper visa requirements and paperwork are completed. Information on visas for teaching in Oman can be found through Omani embassies or consulates in your home country. All individuals who want to teach in oman are required to have a valid passport and visa for entry into Oman. However, the length of the required visa will vary based on the specifics of each teaching job in Oman.
Societal Focus. The Omani economy has historically been dependent on the production and export of oil and natural gas reserve, however the government is making significant efforts to diversify their economy and create room for more social and educational opportunities. With the government’s support, Oman has been able to develop a strong education system and create a more employment-ready population.
Culture. It is necessary to be mindful of the cultural and behavioral differences in and out of the workplace while teaching in Oman. Locals in Oman typically dress conservatively and wear loose fitting clothing, and the same is recommended for both men and women who decide to teach in Oman. The appropriate dress code for teachers is as follows: men should wear pants with a shirt and a tie and women should wear dresses or skirts that fall below the knee with long or short-sleeved blouses covering their shoulders.
With a high demand and eagerness to increase their English language skills, the people of Oman look forward to being taught by highly skilled, educated teachers with a passion for teaching and interest in learning about a very traditional Middle Eastern culture.