An Interview with Anna at a school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
AR: I have always wanted to work in education but also loved to travel. I moved to Europe to complete my degree and began tutoring fellow students in ESL. As time progressed, I realized that teaching was a passion of mine and I went on to teach in Thailand, Morocco, and Cyprus. I have most recently accepted a two-year position teaching in Riyadh Saudi Arabia and I am excited to continue my journey here.
GS: Could you give some details about your dealings with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment?
AR: Gold Star TEFL Recruitment was a wonderful assistant in helping me find the right teaching position abroad. Jessica was always available and took the time to ensure that all my needs were met during the recruiting process. I would definitely recommend Gold Star to anyone who is considering teaching abroad.
GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in Saudi Arabia?
AR: If you are going to be interviewing for a position in Saudi Arabia I would say be ready to embrace many cultural changes and keep an open mind. Saudi Arabia is a wonderful city with lots to offer and people are very friendly. If you are a female, you will have to be covered everywhere you go but you will adjust to this very quickly and it will become your new normal.
GS: You are teaching in Riyadh at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
AR: Riyadh is a very nice city and is constantly becoming more developed. You will find many luxurious malls, restaurants, and women’s centers where you will have access to products, cuisines, and shops from around the world.
GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
AR: I really enjoy seeing my students master new concepts. I have seen such big improvements from my students in only a short period of time. This makes my heart happy!
GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
AR: Currently, I am teaching a class of preschoolers. They are absolutely adorable and are always making me laugh. Seeing them communicate with each other in English on the playground is such a good feeling because it shows me that they are really understanding my lessons and using what they are learning.
GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in Saudi Arabia.
AR: For my preschoolers, I use lots of games, songs, and worksheets to help them get the basic concepts.
We typically start our day with morning circle where we will sing and dance to lots of English songs. Next we will work on vocabulary and then work on crafts and play other games in the afternoon.
GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
AR: Our children have access to many helpful resources. We have smart boards in the classroom, a huge arts and crafts closet, and amazing playground facilities.
GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
AR: Right now I am at a very small school where it is myself and one other teacher. However, having such a small school can be nice because we can do more with our kids and plan together. We often have theme weeks where the students will be focusing on a new topic such as animals or clothing.
GS: Saudi Arabia is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
AR: I think the biggest “adventure” would be trying to do anything on a Friday. Friday is prayer day and so as I have learned the hard way, the entire country shuts down. Going to the mall or grocery store on a Friday and seeing that every store is shut down and you are the only person in the entire mall can be frustrating but can also led to a good laugh and story later on.