Padraig Adventures in Qatar

Tell us about your path to teaching abroad – did you always know you’d end up in Qatar?

 My path to teaching in Qatar was pretty straightforward. When I was in college at Mary Immaculate, I met with several different agencies. They provided me with offers from schools worldwide. Choosing Qatar was relatively easy, as, at the time of applying for the job, the World Cup was five years away, and I had viewed the five-year mark as my target before returning home to Ireland. I have now met a target. It doesn’t seem like I will be moving home just yet. 

Tell us about yourself! We’d love to know more about your background, what drew you to teaching abroad and more!

I am a former world handball champion whose love of the sport led me to travel and teach simultaneously. My family were obsessed with teaching people about handball, and I feel that it was my first exposure, outside of school, to teaching. I was drawn to teaching abroad because the idea of travelling to new parts of the world and instruction was too appealing to turn down. Furthermore, I also run the travel account @1foot_4ward on Instagram. I have always loved documenting my travels, this account has been my way of sharing my travels with the world. 

Have you worked with the same school/ company during your entire stint as an English teacher in Qatar?

Yes, I have been working in my school for five years and have moved through the ranks to hold a lead teacher position. 

Tell us about your career path in Qatar and if it has varied over time. 

Teaching in Qatar has provided me with many career opportunities. I began working in Qatar as a class teacher andI became part of the STEAM working party. However, as the years went by, I was promoted to Lead Teacher of Year 3. 

What is your favourite age group to work with, and why? Would you consider teaching other age groups ?

My favourite age group to teach would be 8-9-year-olds because they are right in the middle of their school experience. They are still young enough to get excited about the most minor things in class but mature enough to show independence with their learning and throughout the wider school community. 

 What were three things about your experience in Qatar that you did not anticipate?

The hospitality and kindness of the locals. When I moved to Qatar, few people were aware of the reality of life there. Since moving to Qatar, I have made friends for life outside of teaching.

The opportunities for progression in my career have been very motivating. One of the many benefits of teaching abroad is a constant movement of staff, whether it be too different positions/ moving countries. 3. I did not anticipate how teaching in Qatar would provide me with the ideal work-life balance.

What is one thing about the life of teaching abroad that you never expected/ weren’t prepared for?

 I was nowhere near ready for the culture of working and travelling confidently whenever possible. Working in Qatar has opened up the opportunity to see countries that some people would only see on their honeymoons, the same places that a group of teachers would go during their mid-term break.


What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher abroad?

I was seeing the implementation of projects and strategies of teaching, which I learned in college in Ireland, being adapted and used successfully in the English curriculum. For example, the performance of a STEAM-based approach to learning within various areas of the curriculum. 

What were the best parts of your experience – both inside and outside the classroom?

 Inside the classroom, it has to be seeing the children progress over the year. Seeing children realize they have mastered a skill they previously were not capable of is very rewarding. Outside of the classroom, it would have to be seen how Qatar has prepared for hosting the world cup over the past five years. 

What advice do you have for someone on the fence about whether to teach or not?

Whether teaching at home or abroad, it is the most rewarding job you can do. If I was to give one bit of advice, and I may be biased here, teaching abroad has opened the world up to me like never before. Since moving abroad, not only have I taught children from different countries/ cultures, but I have also been fortunate enough to visit these countries and experience what life is like there. Without teaching, I doubt that I would have ever dreamed of doing such a thing.

In general, you don’t need a degree to teach English abroad or online. Our certification stands alone and you can get employment without pairing it with a degree. However, some TEFL employers do prefer their teachers to have a degree. More importantly, for some countries, it’s a visa requirement. This means you can’t obtain a work permit without a bachelor’s degree or higher. Some of these countries include China, Japan, UAE and Vietnam. 

Our advice is if you have your sights set on a certain country, look into the visa requirements first before putting time and effort into finding a job there. This will save you time and disappointment. If it’s a school preferability, and not a visa requirement, there’s sometimes some leeway. 

You do not need any prior teaching degrees or experience to teach abroad. Once you have your TEFL certificate, you can secure work as a TEFL teacher. A BA in Education would enhance your CV, but it’s not a necessity. Completing a TEFL course that includes teaching practice, like our Hybrid TEFL Courses, will also help your CV.

If you want to experience different cultures and see the world, teaching English abroad is for you. Not only will you get to explore new places, you’ll also meet new people and get the chance to make a difference to the lives of language learners. A TEFL certification lasts a lifetime. So, you can dip in and out of teaching abroad whenever you feel like it. 

It is not necessary to speak any other languages. You’ll be able to find a job and work comfortably without knowing the language spoken in your chosen country. Of course, it is always an advantage, even if it’s just the basics. We recommend learning a few phrases before you move abroad like hi, thank you, goodbye and sorry.

You’re never too old to gain new qualifications! Some TEFL employers do have age restrictions, but there are ample opportunities for more mature teachers. There are also the options to teach English from home as a private tutor or online tutor.

We recommend one of our Hybrid TEFL Courses if you would like to teach English in Europe. These hybrid courses give you the best of both worlds. You’ll get the training and certification you need, as well as teaching practice through the 10 Hour Virtual TEFL Course. 

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