Archive for April, 2016

Tales of hard lessons learnt by an English teacher at a National University in Saudi Arabia:

A question of professionalism and ethics…


Teaching here in Saud Arabia is often quite an eye opener. The international and widely accepted concepts such as professionalism, integrity, honesty and academic rigor are sadly absent within many higher education institutions

Below is a list of observations during a term at a National University in the English department…

Being given no induction, orientation or welcome tour on arrival at university – sitting on my own for the first week before even being introduced to my manager or meeting the team

When requesting appropriate teaching material for relevant classes I was given used, riped, second-hand books and told to make do. When challenging this saying it was not acceptable to give me thrown out, hand me downs and was advised ‘if you don’t like it then quit’

Management inability to respond or take direct responsibility for a given situation, preferring to give excuses and delegate rather than solve the problem or give solutions. Often being sent to a subordinate who refers inquirer back to said manager

Being given classes to teach with no notice whatsoever, no attendance register or back ground information as to their current level, ability of expected outcomes/goals – clearly having little or no understanding of the planning and time it take to plan and produce academically suitable and content engaging lessons. It appears management have little or no back ground in education/teaching from their ill thought out decisions and unrealistic expectations

Management handing out duties and responsibilities to staff who are unable to perform said tasks e.g. informs teacher to update online attendance register but with no log on details, access or knowledge of the operating system/software

Being given mutiple/conflicting timetables with no explaination and then being blamed for missing lessons and student absenteeism

Producing and photocopying exam material moments before the exam – totally slap dash and unprofessional. Rather than discussing issues and problems about examination weeks before students sit exams, heads of depart bursting into exams that are in progress conducting polls and asking students when they would like to sit said papers. Allowing some to remain, some to delay and some to decide later

English exams strewn with grammatical and language errors – even after being checked and agreed by departmentals heads, thus undermining the entire examination system on which they solely rely

Key members of staff never in their office and rarely available to deal with issues – relying on WhatsApp to run their departments. As teachers were are expected to start work at 8am and finish at 3 or 5pm – 5 days a week. Aforementioned people arriving anytime between 10 and 11.30am leaving well before 3pm – usually around 2pm. This having been witnessed by various teachers virtually everyday

Everything is filthy with cleaners spending vast amounts of time sat round on Facebook – no oversight that teaching facilities are being maintained and cleaned meaning teachers are forced to work in filthy surroundings. When teachers ask for a clean room being advised to clean it myself or resign

Discussing next terms teaching material amongst themselves and students without consulting the teachers who have used said materials in earlier postings

Managers assigning overtime duties to staff then fraudulently applying for these hours themselves, when they haven’t even satisfied their contractual hourly work obligations

Welcome to the world of incompetence, unprofessionalism and fraud


King Khalid University

Posted: April 14, 2016 in Still Saudi Arabia

My new job…


KKU located in Southern Saudi Arabia in the province of Asir. The city is perched in the mountainous region along the Saudi/Yemen border at an altitude of 2200 metres above sea level

The city is unlike anything I have experienced in Saudi so far. Green mountains, fertile farmland and lots and lots or rain/showers/hail storms! Coming from the sand it is quite a shock.