Challenges faced by novice Emirati teachers
The first years of teaching are well known as being the most challenging of new graduates’ careers, corresponding to the highest attrition rates. Numbers of novice teachers leaving the profession during the first three years are universally high. The challenges faced by novice teachers vary from struggling with classroom management issues to coping with lesson planning, to name just two. In Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, novice Emirati teachers face additional dimensions to these challenges, in that they are joining public schools which are undergoing substantial educational reform. They are also in the minority as Emirati English medium teachers, working among mainly Western teaching staff. We interviewed a group of Emirati primary school teachers during their first year of teaching. It was found that they had faced multiple challenges, some of which are universal among novice teachers, such as managing student behavior and learning to cope with their new workload. However, they also faced additional unique challenges, such as navigating inter-cultural relationships with colleagues, and balancing their new working lives with their demanding home lives.