Temporary vs permanent teaching roles: which is best for you?

Is your teaching role permanent or temporary? Have you ever considered how a contract change might boost your career? Depending on your long-term goals or life stage, a short-term teaching role may suit your needs better than a permanent position. Here’s how to decide which might be right for you.

4 mins read
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about 2 months ago

​Whether you’re just starting out on your teaching career or considering your options midway through, both temporary and permanent teaching roles have much to offer in terms of personal and professional development. The deciding factor for many is often concerned with the impact an individual hopes to make in their career – whether they see a long future at a particular school or are drawn to the rich experiences that may lie in a series of temporary or supply teaching roles at different schools.  

Temporary teaching roles: flexibility and exploration 

Temporary teaching roles offer educators flexibility and variety in their careers. Whether it be covering maternity leave, sabbaticals, or filling short-term vacancies, these roles provide opportunities to gain diverse experiences across different schools, age groups, and subjects. For those craving new challenges and exposure to various teaching methodologies, temporary teaching, cover teaching or supply teaching positions – just some of terms by which short-term teaching goes by – can be immensely rewarding. 

Temporary (or temp) roles enable teachers to test the waters before committing to a long-term position. They offer a glimpse into different school cultures, leadership styles, and student demographics, allowing educators to discern their preferences and strengths. This exploratory phase can be invaluable for early-career teachers seeking to refine their teaching approach and identify their niche within the education sector. 

It may even be said that everyone should try supply teaching at some point in their teaching career. Such roles can strengthen resilience and help teachers adapt to diverse environments, navigate unexpected challenges, and quickly establish a rapport with students and colleagues. These experiences enrich professional skill sets and cultivate a broader perspective on education. 

However, temp roles come with some uncertainties, such as job insecurity and lack of long-term stability. While it is highly unlikely in the current climate – unless you are inflexible when it comes to your working location – teachers may face periods of unemployment between assignments, necessitating financial planning and resilience to withstand potential gaps in income. The transient nature of temporary roles can impede the establishment of deep-rooted connections within school communities, potentially affecting professional networking and career advancement opportunities, unless working with a reputable teaching recruiter 

Permanent teaching roles: stability and long-term impact 

In contrast, permanent teaching roles offer greater stability and security, providing educators with the assurance of ongoing employment and consistent income. For individuals seeking to establish roots within a school community, build lasting relationships with students and colleagues, and contribute to long-term educational initiatives, permanent positions are conducive to professional growth. 

Permanent (or perm) roles afford teachers the opportunity to make a sustained impact on students’ lives, offering continuity and consistency in their educational journey. By immersing themselves in a specific school culture and curriculum, educators can develop deep connections with students and take on mentorship opportunities and leadership roles that contribute to the school community. 

Permanent roles often provide access to comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare, pension schemes, and professional development opportunities. These perks enhance job satisfaction and overall wellbeing, helping teachers feel valued and supported. A permanent contract often makes it easier for teachers to access opportunities for career progression and development. 

However, commitment to a permanent teaching role entails a long-term investment in a specific school or institution, therefore factors such as school ethos, leadership vision, and career prospects should be considered before committing to a permanent position. Conversely, such roles may limit opportunities for professional exploration and diversification, potentially stifling creativity and innovation in teaching practices. 

Deciding what's best for you: priorities and nice-to-haves 

Ultimately, the decision between temporary and permanent teaching roles hinges on individual priorities, aspirations, and circumstances. Here’s how to guide your decision-making process: 

Reflect on your career goals:

Take time to assess your long-term career aspirations, values, and priorities. Consider whether you prioritise stability and continuity or crave variety and exploration in your professional journey. 

Evaluate your personal circumstances:

Consider factors such as financial obligations, family commitments, and lifestyle preferences when weighing the pros and cons of supply and permanent roles. Could you cope with long commutes for example, or be ready to move time and again? Determine how each option aligns with your personal circumstances and desired work-life balance.  

Seek mentorship and advice:

Reach out to experienced educators, mentors, and career advisors for guidance and insights. Their perspectives can offer valuable guidance when it comes to the nuances of temporary and permanent teaching roles and help you make an informed decision. 

Flexibility and adaptability:

Remain open to new opportunities and embrace the flexibility inherent in both temporary and permanent roles. Your career journey may evolve over time, and being adaptable to change is essential for growth and fulfilment. 

Choosing between temporary and permanent teaching roles is a deeply personal decision that is best decided by evaluating professional aspirations and personal circumstances. While teachers all have the same goal in educating and inspiring the next generation, the way they achieve this may be through various routes – making a difference to the lives of many in one or more schools. 

Looking for your next teaching role? Get in touch with our specialist education recruiters today for temporary and permanent teaching opportunities.

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Relocating to the Middle East as a teacher: A comprehensive guide
7 mins read
  1. Article

Relocating to the Middle East as a teacher: A comprehensive guide

​Why consider relocating to the Middle East?

The Middle East offers a plethora of teaching opportunities, particularly in Dubai, in both public and private schools across all subject areas. With attractive salaries and benefits such as relocation assistance, accommodation, flights, health insurance, and education allowances for dependents, teaching in the Middle East is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience abroad.

Teachers in the Middle East can immerse themselves in a rich cultural tapestry, experience a diverse and inclusive community, and contribute to the growth and development of students in a rapidly expanding education market.

Read our article: The Requirements to teach English in the UAE

Education market conditions in the UK vs the Middle East

While the number of teachers in state-funded schools in the UK has not kept pace with the number of pupils, the Middle East education market is booming.

The Middle East's commitment to investing in education, coupled with a growing demand for qualified educators, presents a promising landscape for teachers seeking professional growth and advancement in their careers.

Teachers in the Middle East have the opportunity to be part of a transformative educational journey and contribute to the development of future leaders in a dynamic and evolving environment.

Benefits of relocating to the Middle East

Teaching in the Middle East comes with a host of benefits that make it an attractive destination for educators looking to expand their horizons and enhance their careers. From competitive salaries and tax-free income to comprehensive healthcare coverage and accommodation allowances, teachers in the Middle East enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while making a meaningful impact on students' lives.

Schools often provide free housing or accommodation allowances, cover flights for teachers and their dependents, offer relocation allowances to ease the transition, and provide end-of-year bonuses - equivalent to one month's pay. Additionally, some schools waive or reduce school fees for teachers' children, making the Middle East an appealing choice for teachers looking to balance financial stability with professional growth and personal fulfilment.

FAQ – What you need to know about relocating to the Middle East as a teacher

Here are some of the most important questions answered:

Who applies for my employment visa?

Your employment visa will be sponsored and applied for by the school. They will cover the costs associated with the visa.

The goal is to initiate the visa application before your arrival. If all your documents are in order, the application process will commence prior to your travel.

You’ll receive a copy of your E-Visa before your departure. Detailed instructions will be provided closer to your exit date by the school HR officer.

Do I have to arrange for a medical examination?

Yes, the medical examination is a mandatory step in the visa process.

The school will handle the arrangements and cover the costs once you’re in the country.

The examination is straightforward and typically includes a blood test and a chest X-ray.

Do I have to book my own flight?

No, the school will take care of booking and covering the cost of your flight. Typically, you’ll fly over three or four days before your expected induction at the school.

Do I have to make my own way from the airport to the accommodation?

Generally, a team member from the school will meet you at the airport and accompany you to your new home.

Your transfer from the airport to your accommodation will be arranged and paid for by the school.

Do I get paid for my baggage?

Baggage allowances may vary among schools. The specifics will usually be outlined in your contract.

What can I expect to find in the accommodation?

Upon arrival, your new home will be fully furnished. As part of your contract, you’ll be provided with an apartment that includes:

  • Air conditioning: Ensuring comfort in the hot climate.

  • Basic furnishings: Equipping your living space with essential furniture.

  • Adequate storage: Both in the kitchen and bedrooms.

  • All utilities in your school-provided accommodation will already be connected before your arrival. Here are some details:

  • Electricity and water: You don’t need to take any action regarding these utilities except paying for them.

  • Teacher responsibility: Teachers are responsible for covering their own utility bills.

  • Water quality: The water is treated and drinkable, although individual preferences may vary.

  • Bottled water: Local bottled water is readily available.

Your monthly bill will encompass electricity, municipality charges, water, and sewage. This consolidated bill is managed by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

Do I have to arrange my own transportation from the apartment to the school?

Most schools provide transportation to and from the school during the initial two weeks. This grace period allows you to familiarize yourself with the area.

Is the salary paid over 12 months?

Salaries are denominated in the local currency and are directly deposited into your bank account.

Upon your arrival, and once your employment visa is issued, you’ll need to set up a bank account. Your salary will then be transferred to your account at the end of each month.

What documents do I need to get attested?

To process your employment visa and obtain approval from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), you’ll need to attest the following documents:

  • Educational certificates: This includes your degree, degree transcript, and PGCE (if you don’t hold a Bachelor of Education).

  • Marriage certificate: If you’re sponsoring your spouse or child, this certificate must also be legally translated into Arabic.

  • Children’s birth certificates: These need attestation as well.

  • Transfer certificates for school-aged children: Ensure that these certificates clearly state the child’s name, current year group, and the expected completion date of the school year.

Obtain the full attestation service for your documents, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stamp from both your home country and the country you’re moving to (e.g., UAE). This is a prerequisite for processing your employment visa and obtaining KHDA approval.

Remember that since April 2019, your marriage certificate must be legally translated into Arabic when sponsoring family members. You can arrange this translation through various typing centers upon your arrival in Dubai.

Complete the attestation process promptly after signing your contract. Approval from KHDA and visa application cannot proceed until your educational certificates are attested.

Download the documentation checklist

Cultural adaptation

Moving to the Middle East as a teacher involves more than just adjusting to a new job. It’s essential to understand and respect the local culture to ensure a smooth transition. Here are some tips for cultural adaptation:

Learn about local customs and traditions:

  • Take the time to research the customs, traditions, and social norms of the specific country you’ll be living in. Each Middle Eastern country has its unique cultural practices.

  • Understand the significance of greetings, dress codes, and appropriate behavior in public spaces. For example, modest clothing is generally expected, especially for women.

Language skills:

  • While English is widely spoken in many Middle Eastern countries, learning a few basic phrases in the local language (such as Arabic) can go a long way.

  • Consider taking language classes or using language-learning apps to improve your communication skills.

Respect religious practices:

  • The Middle East is home to various religions, including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Be respectful of religious practices and holidays.

  • Familiarize yourself with prayer times, fasting during Ramadan, and other religious observances.

Building relationships:

  • Middle Eastern societies place a strong emphasis on relationships and community. Take the time to build connections with colleagues, neighbors, and locals.

  • Attend social gatherings, participate in community events, and be open to invitations.

Gender roles and interactions:

  • Be aware of gender roles and interactions. In some Middle Eastern countries, there are strict guidelines regarding interactions between men and women.

  • Avoid behaviors that may be considered inappropriate or offensive.

Food and Dining Etiquette:

  • Food plays a significant role in Middle Eastern culture. Familiarize yourself with local dishes and dining customs.

  • Accept invitations to share meals with others—it’s a great way to bond and learn more about the culture.

Patience and Flexibility:

  • Cultural adaptation takes time. Be patient with yourself and others as you navigate the challenges of a new environment.

  • Embrace flexibility and adaptability—things may not always go as planned, but that’s part of the adventure.

Work with a Reed consultant

Are you looking for a new challenge in your teaching career? Search and apply for a role here.

Relocating to the Middle East as a teacher: Document checklist
less than one minute

Relocating to the Middle East as a teacher: Document checklist

The Middle East presents a wide range of teaching opportunities, especially in Dubai, covering various subjects in both public and private schools. These positions come with competitive salaries and an array of benefits such as relocation assistance, housing, airfare, health coverage, and educational subsidies for family members. Teaching in the Middle East provides an excellent chance to gain valuable international experience.

However, before embarking on this exciting journey, it's crucial to be well-prepared for the relocation process. Download our comprehensive documentation checklist designed specifically for teachers relocating to the Middle East. Additionally, be sure to read our in-depth guide "Relocating to the Middle East as a teacher: A comprehensive guide" for a detailed overview of the process.

Employee tenure: long-term relationship or short-term fling?
5 mins read
  1. Article

Employee tenure: long-term relationship or short-term fling?

We all want committed employees but is length of service a true indicator of engagement? Does simply staying around in an employment relationship mean you’re all in? Of course, there are no simple answers to these questions – each situation is as individual as the parties involved – but it is worth thinking about what benefits both short and long tenure bring – and not rushing to build assumptions (or recruitment practices) on one or the other. 

So, what is employee tenure? It is generally defined as the length of time an individual spends with the same organisation or working for the same employer. According to the CIPD, the most common length of service is between two and five years (22.4%) but employees with over five years’ service make up nearly 50% of the workforce (Jan-Dec 2022).  

Is a long-term relationship better? You can certainly be forgiven for thinking so, as our corporate landscape often places value on long service and actively engages with strategies to lengthen or reward employee tenure. But why? Here are some key benefits of both short- and long-term tenures:

Long-term employee tenure

Increased productivity

Tenured employees tend to have a clear understanding of their roles and company goals due to their experience and time with the organisation. This familiarity with processes and procedures can allow them to work efficiently and contribute positively to productivity, as they are able to navigate the idiosyncrasies inherent in all companies. Quite often, they will have developed practices that enable the most efficient use of time to achieve objectives and outputs; and are then able to influence wider practices to spread the word. 

Stability and commitment 

Tenured employees will often feel more secure in their positions and so, can demonstrate greater commitment to the company. Their loyalty contributes to a stable work environment, which can positively impact team dynamics and overall organisational success. My current HR team has an average tenure of around 10 years, and this contributes to a very supportive and effective working environment – although how they’ve put up with me over the years is still a mystery! 

Skill set and knowledge base

Over time, tenured employees accumulate valuable knowledge and skills specific to their roles. This expertise can not only be passed down to new hires, benefitting the organisation as a whole, but also help with integrating new technologies and processes, ensuring they work for the business. We all have a ‘go-to’ person in our companies who is the fount of all knowledge and can help give a perspective gained from years of experience and insight. 

Company ambassadors

A company that retains its workforce builds a reputation for employee satisfaction. In a world where Employee Value Proposition (EVP) plays an important role in both retention and attraction, having employees who are aligned with the company ethos and happy to talk about why they’ve stayed so long, is a real asset. Plus, they are able to share this insight with new hires, acting as mentors and imparting knowledge and enthusiasm for the company. 

Short-term employee tenure

So, if long tenured employees are the utopia, why does an interim market exist, I hear you ask? What about those contractors who enjoy short-term assignments or project-based roles? Well, as I mentioned earlier, there are benefits to both forms of tenure and while the above benefits can be true of long-term relationships, there is also a lot to be said for a short-term fling (from an employment perspective, I hasten to add): 

Career experience

Demonstrating experience in diverse roles can make employees more attractive to potential employers, not only for permanent positions but also where a specific skill set or experience is needed. Working in various short-terms roles can help to provide this and organisations then benefit from someone who can bring real-life examples from different workplaces. 

Versatility

Working across different organisations and/or industries means employees will have experience of adapting to new environments or taking on responsibilities they haven't had before. This can encourage a mindset that is open to new ideas, as well as sharing them, and so means organisations benefit from having a versatile employee who excels in new environments. 

Openness

By accepting that an individual is not planning on bedding down within the organisation, employers may find a level of openness and challenge that is not there in others. The short-termer will be happy to challenge the status quo and focus on meeting the objectives in hand, even if that means coming up with new ways of working or unsettling the cart. While this might not be comfortable for all involved, it will foster an environment where ‘this is how it’s always been done’ is no longer a mantra. 

Ambition and drive 

Employees who are prepared to leave a company to seek new challenges or career development that is not available to them if they stay, show a level of ambition that is likely to have benefitted the company during their employment. In addition, they could well be the individuals who return to the organisation as future leaders, and so allowing them the opportunity to gain new experiences, while leaving on good terms, is a no brainer. 

Final thoughts 

With benefits of both types of tenure, where does this leave you? Should you be looking for a serial monogamist or a more open relationship? Well, as with most things in life, there isn’t a simple answer. It’s primarily about striking the right balance within your workforce and accepting that people have different preferences and needs.

Of course, you should be looking to encourage retention and reward those who show loyalty to the company, but you should also embrace those who leave sooner than hoped as they may one day wish to return. Many people, having gained certain skills and experience elsewhere, will fondly remember their experience at an organisation and consider rejoining. Therefore, the main thing to remember is how all employees are treated and valued during their time with you. Who knows, you may rekindle a relationship with an old flame further down the line! 

Looking for your next great hire in the HR space, or looking for pastures new? Contact our specialist consultants to start the journey.