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Examining Teacher Migration in K-12 Schools in the United Arab Emirates: Perceptions of African American Educators

This policy paper discusses teacher migration through the professional and personal experiences of African American Expatriate Educational Professionals (EEPs) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Evidence suggests that teacher migration is a strategy employed by some African American EEPs to remain in K-12 schools in the UAE. Recruitment efforts and benefits attracting EEPs to the UAE appear to be effective, whereas retention efforts appear to be a concern. School leaders, thus, face high rates of teacher turnover each year. Few studies have examined why educators leave and where they go when they leave. The data and analysis presented are derived from a more extensive qualitative study conducted from September 2019 to May 2020. The study examines teacher turnover through the experiences of 13 African American EEPs who left K-12 schools in the United States (US) for schools in the UAE. A critical theme that has emerged from this study is a nuanced understanding of teacher migration, which forms a key part of this policy paper’s discussion. The paper concludes with recommendations for implementing professional and personal development related to intercultural competencies and further studies to examine teacher turnover in the UAE.

Recommended citation: Smith, T. L. (2021). Examining teacher migration in K-12 schools in the United Arab Emirates: Perceptions of African American educators (Policy Paper No. 46). Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.

DOI: Forthcoming

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