scorecardI tutor the children of some of Dubai's richest people. One of them paid me $3,000 to do his homework.
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I tutor the children of some of Dubai's richest people. One of them paid me $3,000 to do his homework.

Cameron Manley   

I tutor the children of some of Dubai's richest people. One of them paid me $3,000 to do his homework.
EducationEducation3 min read
  • A 25-year-old private tutor told BI about his experiences working in the UAE.
  • He said he had taught the children of some of Dubai's richest people.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with a 25-year-old private tutor and academic governor in Dubai. They were granted anonymity to speak freely about their experiences. This essay has been edited for length and clarity. The names of children have been removed to protect their identity.

I moved to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2020 to work for an international tutoring agency.

I've since taught children from some of Dubai's most elite families — millionaires and billionaires who had made their money from oil investments, tech startups, and other entrepreneurial ventures.

One of the families I taught lived in one of Dubai's most expensive apartments, which boasted an art room, a massage room, a gym, and a cinema. It was spread over five floors and also had a private elevator and guard dogs on the door.

Families like these often had dozens of staff, including security, maids, drivers, cooks, nannies, and, of course, tutors.

The parents often weren't around, but those I did encounter were almost always friendly to me.

I had most contact with the nannies, who were at the children's beck and call.

They would cook me dinner and bring me drinks, and I almost felt like I was a part of the family, sort of like a big brother.

One of my younger pupils had his own bespoke classroom in the family house — it was better equipped than anything you'd ever see in a normal school.

Having finished an arts and crafts class with him one time, I said we needed to clean up the mess.

"Absolutely not," he said. "I do not pay you to clean. I pay her to clean," as he pointed at the nanny.

With another child, who was around seven at the time, we had been studying birds in biology and he demanded we get an owl to observe it.

The next time I went to the house, an owl was perched on the kitchen counter.

Another student was told by his brother to "not bother doing any work" because "Dad would sort it out." He then paid me $3,000 to do his homework for him.

But this was normal behavior in Dubai, as the kids were used to extreme wealth.

The families would give me with gifts

These sorts of financial "incentives" were by no means rare.

Sometimes, the parents would go to great lengths to start a bidding war with one another.

If they knew I would be at one client's house at a time they wanted, they would offer to pay double, triple, or even more to convince me to come to them instead.

And each time I thought I'd seen it all, the job would find new ways of surprising me.

One time, my car broke down, and I turned up late for a lesson with one of my regular pupils. I told the mother the reason I was late, and the next time I had a class with that child, she gave me $7,000 in cash to pay for repairs.

The same family gave me a huge tip of more than $20,000 at the end of the year.

I spent the summer sailing the Italian coast on a yacht

Last summer, I was hired to look after two brothers, who were four and six years old. Their family had planned a trip on their private yacht and were looking to sail along the Italian coast for two months.

A few weeks after signing the contract, I found myself in a speedboat heading across the Mediterranean toward a superyacht the size of a ferry.

As I joined my new employers on the deck, uniformed staff offered Champagne (although I was not allowed to drink while working), and I spent the next few months jet-skiing, paddle-boarding, touring vineyards, and eating expensive foods.

This family was from Russia, and there was a marked difference in the way they treated me, often wanting to keep me out of sight.

While they partied on the upper levels, I was told to stay below deck.

They had hired me to be a kind of glorified babysitter for their kids, playing with them and keeping them entertained while speaking English to them.

For the Russian elite, having someone who speaks English with a native accent is a big boasting point.

Perhaps one of the funnier moments was when we returned to their villa on the south coast of France. On either side of the front door were two stone busts of the father's face.




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