a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures
As a TEFL teacher, one of my dreams has always been to teach for the British Council. Over the years I have applied for numerous jobs with them with no success. I don’t think I really understand their recruitment process, to be honest, because I definitely have the experience and qualifications and sometimes I don’t even make it to the interview stage.
Teaching in Doha
Anyway, last year I finally managed to get myself a BC position as a Young Learner specialist (which always makes me giggle – YLs are far from my favourite things and I definitely don’t consider myself an expert) and so I found myself in Doha, Qatar for 3 months. In summer.
The teaching itself was pretty chilled. Because it was summer holidays (and Ramadan for a month) we worked only 4 or 5 days a week, 3 to 4.5 hours a day. I taught a few classes of 10 year-olds (which was excruciating) and a couple of teen classes (which saved my sanity).
The only difficult thing about the teaching was the few cultural considerations I had to negotiate. With the very YLS, the boys and girls were in the same class but were not allowed to talk to each other (!), which made for some interesting game arrangements. The materials we used had to be very strictly assessed to make sure nothing inappropriate popped in. When using materials from mainstream coursebooks, this turned out to be more challenging than I thought; I found myself tippexing out drinks and any mention of ‘boyfriend’ or girlfriend’ and I found it quite difficult to find suitable youtube videos.
Living in Doha
Besides the teaching, what an experience! The heat was something I’ve never experienced before. I used to go for walks along the Corniche before sunrise because that was the only time it was cool enough to be outside. On some days while I was standing outside waiting for a taxi I swear my eyeballs were sweating.
I’ll be honest, there’s not much to do in Doha, especially when it’s ridiculously hot, which is most of the time. There’s really good shopping if that’s your vibe and if your bank account can afford it. Nothing is cheap. The food is phenomenal, though, no matter where you eat.
It’s a dry country, meaning that you can’t be seen drinking unless in specific places, but it’s very acceptable for the expat community to go to these places even though they tend to be dark and/or underground. What I ended up doing for most of my weekends was hang out in the pools or private beaches of the fancy hotels. That was a definite winner.
And topping off a day at the pool with drinks in a fancy sky bar wasn’t too shabby either.
A visit to Souq Waqif was always a good idea too.
The one thing I’d definitely recommend if you spend any time there is a visit to the Inland Sea, or Khor Al Daid. A 4×4 rollercoaster trip through the dunes will take you to this body of water which magically appears as if out of nowhere. It’s actually not a sea but it looks just like one and as you float in the (really warm) water you can look across to Saudi Arabia. This is another pre-sunrise excursion so the views you get of the sunrise are simply breathtaking.
Would I recommend living in Doha? Probably not. But it’s a great place for a quick little adventure – or if you want to go earn some good cash. Just maybe don’t go in summer.