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Teaching English in Germany

Posted by on July 27, 2007

Sorry I have not had much to say of late that has not been spurred on by a financial contribution to get the creative juices flowing. Or not so creative depending on who you are. ;-) BUT in truth I have not much to say that is not along the lines of I teach, I come home and I blog. 2 weeks of unpaid training and then trying to work in the evening leaves me with no stories to share and weekends asleep. This weekend I am off to visit Janine in Dortmund. It promises to be a great time, and I am sure I will have some humiliating pictures to post afterwards for your viewing pleasure.

I have been asked of late however how easy is it to teach in Germany. In truth it is dead easy, to get the job and permit anyway. Though most schools prefer that you have a degree, really all will take you with nothing other than the ability to speak English. Some schools train you and others will throw you to the wolves much in the same way that happens in Asia, key difference is that in Asia they pay you well so you can afford to attend to your wounds rather than merely lick them in the corner. :-P

Though it is true you get to see Europe, unlike in other countries where ESL teachers are paid more than the local population, in Germany it just does not happen. There are schools that pay well and you can get into them, but for those schools you have to first put in your due at the crap paying schools. I have been doing better with my privates than with a school, BUT privates go on vacation and cancel. So going with a school is just better for security. Ideally you do both, or get on with the schools that pay. So I am working like a mad woman (and not paying rent just groceries) to save enough for the motorcycle course and the 4 weeks we are taking off the Ukraine. Next week I will be putting in hours that start with a school at 8 am, I finish at 12:30, and then I start with my privates and another school at 4 and I go till 9. For me the month of hell will be worth it for a month off and to finally have the license. Plus I honestly enjoy the work. (at least my privates I love, and the work for a school is 50/50). For others the sacrifice may or may not be worth it.

Germany 148
So here is a summary of an email I just wrote for someone looking for info. For anyone else thinking of coming I hope it helps you as well. I have been honest, even if at times it is a little brutally so. If it was not for Patrick I would not be here. I may still be in Europe teaching, but chances are it would be Prague or Estonia, or I would be in Asia again.

First off let me say that Germany is an awesome country, and if you are coming for love, be it for a person or for the land/language, then yes come to Germany. Most schools will arrange the visa for you (but beware as you are then tied to that school, and it may be better to pay the extra money so that you have a visa of your own) and there is plenty of work here to be had. Now for the bad news, the pay is often crap. My partner’s Oma’s cleaner is paid more per hour than I am with a school. I also teach privates which pays more and on that I can have a comfortable living. But they are unsteady as they can cancel. I like for them to book lessons upfront and offer a discount, but that does not always happen.

You will also find your standard of living will change, especially if you are not living with a German partner who makes more than you and can cover your share of rent. Unlike Asia where you are paid a fair amount and given an apartment, here you are paid enough to pay rent, eat, and maybe go for beer. You will have to save to take those trips to other cities, and if your only here because you want to see Europe, take a job in eastern Europe where the pay is about the same, they give you an apartment and a metro pass, and the cost of living is much lower. That way you can go visit other countries at least once a month, you can have your daily life unchanged except for the awesome scenery, and you don’t have to live like a student.

That is my advice on teaching in Germany. I personally do not like being a sponge, but if I take a pay cut to be here, than Patrick can pay the rent until I can afford to do so and still be able to travel at the same time. I am not so mad that I think it is a good idea that I sacrifice everything just to be here and not have a life of travel as well. So I am willing to be a little bit of a sponge so I can still have my life. ;-)

2 Responses to Teaching English in Germany

  1. Becky

    I didn’t realize you were also a teacher–cool:)

    ~Becky

  2. Sherrie

    yes I am, on and off for over 5 years. ;-) I sympathize with loving and hating the little the munchkins. :-)

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