What to Know about Clothing as an ESL Teacher in UAE
ESL jobs in the UAE can primarily be found in:
- Public schools
- Private schools
- International schools
Like many of its regional neighbors, UAE adheres to Islamic Shariah law, though the lines can get blurred for expats, due to the country’s highly modern cities, infrastructure, über luxurious malls and marinas. In UAE, you’ll find impressive skyscrapers and high street brands, and you’ll be surrounded by expats and tourists dressed in western-style attire, and Emiratis dress in traditional local attire.
Let’s take a look at how ESL teachers are expected to dress at work.
Cultural Expectations for Expat ESL Teachers
Men must wear dress pants and long-sleeved dress shirts. Jeans and shorts are not acceptable. Expect to wear more formal attire, such as jackets, for business luncheons or ceremonial functions.
For both men and women, your clothing should not be tight-fitting. As well, you will need to wear dress shoes. Sneakers or sandals won’t be permitted.
It’s best to dress more conservatively during the first few days. Observe what other teachers at your school are wearing and adjust accordingly, though be sure to comply with the school’s dress code policy.
Be mindful of images and messages printed on your clothes, especially when it comes to politics, religion, profanity, and sex. You must be respectful of UAE culture and norms, and avoid any type of clothing bearing offensive imagery.
When thinking about what to wear, also consider your comfort. You will likely be animated when teaching, so you’ll want to wear clothing that allows you to move around comfortably.
Seasons and Climates
UAE has a climate that ranges from hot to very hot and humid. Located in the desert, this is a relatively small country, so climate doesn’t vary from one area to another.
The pleasant season in the UAE is winter, starting in October and continuing through to April. The weather is milder, and the evenings are often cool. Rain is infrequent in UAE, but you might experience light rain during the winter months.
In summer, temperatures rise very high with a great amount of humidity. Even at night, the climate doesn’t change much. During the summer, most UAE residents remain indoors in air-conditioned buildings.
Both men and women’s hair should be well-groomed.
Facial hair is acceptable for men in UAE. Again, facial hair should be well-groomed.
Tattoos are generally considered taboo in UAE. So, if you have any that are visible, be sure to cover them up.
Avoid wearing excessive jewelry, and particularly refrain from showing jewelry that displays religious symbols.