Egypt is a country so rich in history it attracts a lot of tourists every year. Think Cleopatra, an early leader of now-Egypt and whose story has been adapted to film. Think hieroglyphics, the ancient form of Egyptian writing that is now depicted in many books, films and literature. A culture based in family and kinship. It is a very welcoming place and you might want to teach English in Egypt.
The late 19th century saw the British control Egypt, which led to the importation of the English language. Once Egypt gained independence in 1952, it returned to its Islamic roots and spent time ensuring Arabic was the first language. English, however, is still taught in most schools and is widely used. Thus, foreign ESL teachers are welcomed into the country and teaching English in Egypt became quite popular.
Many people list Egypt as a place they’d love to travel to in their lifetime. As an ESL teacher, you have the incredible opportunity to explore your country of work when you travel abroad. Egypt is an opportunity for you to explore early and exciting relics of early civilization.
Teaching ESL in Egypt
English was integrated further into Egyptian culture when the British controlled the country from the 1880’s to 1952. During that time, formal teaching of languages did not exist, and thus a market for ESL teachers did not exist. Since then, a growing number of Egyptians wish to learn the English language, and has become a popular country to teach ESL in.
Although you are likely to earn a salary amongst the median of world salary for ESL teachers, cost of living is moderately low and will allow you to enjoy your time there. You’re likely to earn more in metropolitan areas, and less in rural areas. Remember, if you are being paid more, the cost of living for the area is likely more.
As an Arab nation, classrooms are rather formal and students are to respect their teachers. If you are Jackie, they will greet you as “Mrs Jackie”. Life outside the classroom is also a different cultural experience than Western culture, so you need to be prepared for a change of pace.
Does teaching ESL in Egypt intrigue you? Keep reading along for all the details you need to know about teaching jobs in Egypt!
Requirements for teaching English in Egypt
If you want to teach in Egypt, the qualifications aren’t too stringent. That doesn’t mean you should rush to Egypt if you don’t have a lot of experience or qualifications. It is simply an option. Like any other teaching market, salaries typically reflect on your experience and qualifications. So what are the qualifications to teach English in Egypt?
- TEFL Certificate;
- Native English speaker;
- Some teaching experience.
A BA/BS, Masters or PhD will help you stand out amongst a crowd of prospective teachers. More years of experience will as well. It is possible, however, to find a job without years and years of education. For example, many internship programs will set you up in a TEFL certification course and then give you a placement.
Jobs offered by the Government require you to take a four-year pre-service course, so these are usually filled by locals. Unless you plan on settling down in Egypt, this is not a great option for foreign ESL teachers.
Salary and Benefits for Teaching Jobs in Egypt
Egypt is strategically located between Africa and the Middle East. In terms of salaries, Egypt is usually on the lower side of the Middle East, while it is on the higher side of Africa. This means that you can expect a modest salary if you teach ESL here. However, the cost of living in Egypt is low. This will allow you to live a decently comfortable life with the possibility of saving some money.
- Public schools: Up to $800USD per month;
- Language schools: $1200-$1600USD per month;
- International schools: $1500-$2000USD per month;
- Private tutoring: Up to $20USD per hour, depending on experience.
Should you find yourself tutoring students, note that you can only teach members of the same sex.
Benefits in Egypt strongly vary between schools. Some of the benefits that may be offered to you are:
- Accommodation or housing stipend;
- Airfare to and from Egypt;
- Health insurance;
- Visa assistance;
- End of contract bonus.
When you are researching schools, it’s best to note what the salary + benefits are. This will help you determine where your optimal level of comfort will be according to your salary and benefits. International private schools are most likely to provide the above benefits, while public schools will not provide any benefits.
Teaching Opportunities for ESL in Egypt
There are four teaching options in Egypt, but three of them are realistic. Public schools are improving, but are usually not worth your time in completing the four-year pre-service courses and end up being paid a minimal amount of money. If you want to find a teaching job in Egypt, here are the basic details you need to know.
Again, public schools are not a great option for foreign ESL teachers. They usually are taught in Arabic and are not paid well. There has been much criticism of the public school system for its lack of teacher and student support. You should stick to the below opportunities in your job search.
These schools are achievable for most foreign ESL teachers. There is a wide variety of schools that match the low, middle, and high-income nature of the economy. They are mostly run by private companies and usually run well. For those with little experience looking to grow their resume, language schools are a great option.
International schools are the “cream of the crop” in the Egyptian schooling system. Most schools cost a fair amount in tuition, and therefore pay their ESL teachers well. You can expect these schools to be much more formal, as members of the higher class send their children to these schools. Benefits in international schools can also be great, offering housing, flights and other benefits in many institutions.
Private tutoring is a popular activity for ESL teachers, as most students from international schools seek private tutoring. Even if you don’t work in an international school, students will often try to retain your services. Offering tutoring usually works best in high-populated cities, such as Cairo, Alexandria and Giza.
Things to consider for teaching English in Egypt
Teaching ESL in Egypt is extremely fascinating. You also need to consider other things as you apply for jobs.
- Women teach women, and men teach men. Sexes are segregated.
- As an Islamic state, Egypt is quite conservative. Women should dress appropriately (cover head, where long sleeves and pants below the knees) and avoid eye contact with men;
- Although a generally safe country, women are at risk of physical and verbal assault;
- Benefits can be confusing between schools, so be sure to clarify with the school you are applying to;
- If you are a member of the LGBTQ community, it is best to be extremely cautious;
- If you catch yourself nearby a demonstration or protest, remove yourself from the area immediately and return home to avoid any trouble with local authorities.
As always, visit your country’s government website for travel advice. The advice they provide will help guide you for any countries in which there can be rapidly changing circumstances.
FAQs for teaching ESL in Egypt
There are a number of things to keep in mind if you want to teach in this amazing country. Here are some of the most popular questions.
How much do English teachers earn in Egypt?
English teachers can earn over $2000USD per month in Egypt, but realistically will earn around $1400-$1700USD per month. You will earn a higher salary in an international school than a language school, but look out for private tutoring opportunities if you need a few extra dollars in your pocket.
What kind of school is my best option to teach ESL in Egypt?
Language schools are the most popular schools for foreign ESL teachers, as they require the least amount of education and offer a decent salary. However, those with higher qualifications should consider private international schools. These schools offer the best salary, plus benefits. Either type of school is a great option. Avoid the public school system.
Can I save money while teaching English in Egypt?
It’s possible to save money while teaching ESL in Egypt. Although you may need to arrive with some start-up money, a modest lifestyle can allow you to replace that money and save more. As in every other country, it is harder to save in urban centres, but not impossible.
What is the cost of living in Egypt?
The cost of living in Egypt is lower than its nearby countries of Saudi Arabia and Israel. While the cost of living in Egypt is around $500-$1000USD depending on region and lifestyle, countries to its east are much higher. Schools that offer housing and return flights will help you save more money and focus on your experience in the country.
Is it safe in Egypt?
Life is generally safe in Egypt. The country borders Libya, Sudan and the West Bank, so it is best to avoid those borders. However, safety is otherwise higher than other African and Middle Eastern countries. Egypt has a reputation to uphold as a tourist nation. That being said, there has been political unrest in the past and it may happen again. Avoid any demonstrations or protests and check your government’s travel advice before arriving.
It is also important to note that Egypt is generally segregated by sex. If you are female, always dress conservatively with a head covering, covered shoulders and shorts below the knees. This will help you avoid harassment in public. Men and women are not often seen alone together, so be wary if you want to get together with other teachers off-campus.
Is it hard to teach ESL in Egypt?
Egyptians are very hospitable, but also very formal. In the classroom, you will find students are well-behaved and kind to teachers. International and language schools will have set curriculum for you, while public schools require much more work. Always be sure to build a relationship with the staff at your school in order to have a good support system to go back on.
Have your Say about Teaching English in Egypt
What are your thoughts about teaching English in this amazing country? Is it the right option for you, or are you considering teaching in another country like Saudi Arabia? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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