FAQ - CONTRACTUAL ISSUES
A sub-page of Teaching ESL At Kuwait University
- My three year contract as Lecturer in English at School X will not be over until March 31. Does your school ever hire teachers to start during a summer term or will I have to wait until the fall for a possible position?
- Probably you're going to have to wait. University regs stipulate that instructors in summer courses must be instructors already on the payroll and not brought in specifically for the summer. But that may not be so bad. Maybe you could spend an inexpensive and interesting summer in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines. . .
- Did you start KU mid-year? If so, how did they arrange the "annual" air fare? i.e. did you have to wait a whole year to get it or could you go away in the summer?
- No, but one of my colleagues did. He was able to work something out and got a ticket home last summer.
- I've been nominated to the Language Centre, asked for a copy of my passport, etc. - should I give notice on my apartment yet?
- Well, that's a tough one. Given the slow moving nature of the administration, plus the fact that we're now in the month of Ramadan (during which Muslims fast during the day and work reduced hours - 9-2), it takes a while for the pencil pushers to move the paper through the system. They no doubt have good intentions to hire you, but quite frankly they're not at all concerned about your other obligations. So, if you really want the job, then give notice, move into a motel or with friends or family and wait them out. If you can't stand the uncertainty, pack it in and try and find something else.
- I tried sending Dr. Z an e-mail with questions and I faxed my acceptance to the Secretary General with a couple of questions, but so far nothing. If they want me there Feb. 15th, I've got to start making plans!!
- The different faculties are spread out all over town and so too are the language teachers. We don't always therefore know all the teachers or administrators in other departments. Have you been informed at which faculty you will be employed? If so, it might be useful to contact the English Dept. director there for more up-to-date information. On the other hand, language instructors are on vacation until 15 February, so you may not find anyone at home. The only reason I'm here is that I have plenty of packing and tying-up-loose-ends to do. 15 Feb is the start date of the next term, but classes don't actually begin until a couple of weeks later so you have a couple of weeks there where the university could still come through and you'd be here in time for classes. Have you talked with the folks at the Embassy in DC? The university has an office with the Cultural Affairs section that handles visas for university employees. I'm sorry I don't have the number with me, but directory service should be able to help.
- In their telegram to me, KU did not mention airfare, but it is included in their job descriptions. Did they not mention it because it is assumed? or because they might try to make me pay it? (in which case, I would definitely not show up).
- They will take care of the ticketing and the costs. Have you been in touch with the KU office attached to the embassy in DC? They will be handling your ticketing and visa. Sorry I don't have the number but it should be easy to find.
- How picky is Kuwait Airlines about the size and weight of luggage? I have two largish suitcases which I'd like to bring. Both together definitely exceed typical girth allowances for checked baggage. Each alone is fine. Wonder if I could pull that off.....
- I think their pickiness depends on how they feel that day and if their supervisor is around. Also, the number of passengers on the flight is a determiner - if there are few, then who cares if there is an extra bag or two? I personally haven't had any trouble, but I can't recall that I've ever exceeded the limits. Better, I think, to ship one of the bags as paying excess baggage is more expensive than cargo.
- Does the school provide funds to new teachers for shipping, etc.
- Not a penny. However, if you decide to ship personal effects at you own expense, the university will assist you in reclaiming your goods from customs (which is a procedural nightmare). A driver came in a truck, picked us up at out apartment, drove us out to the airport and ran around with us to get all the papers stamped and signed, then hauled us and our boxes back to our apartment.