5 Must-Haves for a Teacher in the Middle East


“Ohhh, you’re a teacher! Ya ba7’tik you get three months in the summer.” That’s the first thing people say whenever I introduce myself for the first time. Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side. Rarely do people acknowledge the turmoil we face with children over the course of the school day.

At some point, every female I came across wanted to be a teacher, thinking it’s the easy way out to sustain a healthy marriage. After all, being a teacher means short working days, vacations and a discount for your children’s education once you have them.

In reality, being a teacher isn’t about filling your time with a steady job you can manage next to being married. It takes commitment, dedication and a lot of patience. Here are the five must-haves to be a teacher in the Middle East:

1. Multiple Personality Disorder (infsam fel sha7’sya): You read it right. In order to be a teacher you MUST have at least four personalities. One to be able to reach and teach the children. One to be able to deal with the parents (and most of them are also suffering from personality disorders). One to put up with the neuroses of the management or owner of the school. Finally, you need one more personality to keep you sane from having so many personalities.

2. Preach what you don’t practice: These kids literally idealize their teachers. Every move you make, the way you talk and whatever you wear. You are constantly under the spotlight and every word you say Counts.

3. A chain smoker: Let’s face it, if it wasn’t for cigarettes, most teachers would end up beating the students. As a teacher, you have a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack at some point, so you might as well enjoy it.

4. Be deaf – at least in one ear: Having to put up with shit from parents who think that their children are God’s gift to humanity and you are the stupid ignorant nanny that they pay for – as they say “el erd fi 3ein omo ghazal“.

5. Lose your social identity: No more parties! No staying up late. You have NO life. You must sleep early because at the crack of dawn, you should be ready to entertain those little monsters.

There you have it. If you fit those criteria you will make a wonderful teacher. Ahh, one more thing for those single ladies who think that they might meet someone at work: Forget about it. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than meeting any suitable male.

As for those who think we are so lucky that we get three months in the summer, we don’t! It barely adds up to a month and a half, but we also get spring break and Christmas… BURRRRN 🙂


WE SAID THIS: Welcome to the Empire, May! Stay tuned for more of her writing.