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Couple questions about finding jobs in Germany (with tl;dr!)

 
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pglaser52



Joined: 20 Oct 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:16 am    Post subject: Couple questions about finding jobs in Germany (with tl;dr!) Reply with quote

Hello all. I wanted to ask a couple of questions about the German English teaching job market. As a little background: I'm a 23 year old American with a BA in German/Linguistics currently teaching English in China and earning a TESOL diploma through my employer that certifies 500 hours of teaching. On to the questions:

Firstly, I've been attempting to research and assess the German job situation online, however, I'm finding that there is a severe lack of information about or listings for any jobs out there. Is this because there are no jobs, or is it because all of the hiring is done on a personal basis? From reading some of the other posts on this board, I've gathered that most of you have gotten jobs in German by just showing up and handing in a resume. Is this the only way to do it or might I have luck by making contacts while I'm outside of the country?

Secondly, I wanted to ask a question to inform my long term plans. I'm interested in teaching English in Germany in a full-time capacity at either a Gymnasium or university. If anybody could shed some light on the qualifications necessary, I would appreciate it. I'm currently considering whether or not to go for an MATESOL back in the states, but would like to know how useful an investment it would be in furthering me towards attaining my ideal teaching position in Germany.

I also have a question dealing with attitudes towards learning English in Germany if anyone would like to field it. I wonder how German students (i.e. those in public schools) approach English. Do they approach it as another skill to be written on their resume (like I'm finding most Chinese students do), or do they have interest in learning English beyond its career benefits? I guess the question that I'm asking is, will I have intrinsically motivated students if I teach in Germany (as opposed to extrinsically motivated ones)?

Thanks for reading and let me know if I need to fill in any explanatory gaps in order to get a better answer.

tl;dr: Why are there no job listings online? What qualifications are necessary to teach in a German Gymnasium or university?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9486
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've taught for years at a university on the border with Germany; 80% roughly of our students are German. I have umpteen friends and work colleagues who work in Germany. (all this so that you know where my info is coming from; I cannot speak to the issue of getting a work visa in Germany, but other aspects of what you've asked, yes).

You will not be very likely at all to find any job from abroad. There are lots of teachers around and schools do not need to take chances on anyone sight-unseen. Your current qualifications are very unlikely to get you a university job.

In fact, a TESOL cert earned through a Chinese employer won't go very far here at all; you are likely to need to re-certify with a CELTA or equivalent; this in order to qualify for private language school jobs.

By far the bulk of English language teaching at gymnasium level is done by qualified locals. There are lots of qualified locals. It would be pretty rare to find such a job as a foreigner.

International schools require actual certification plus some experience in your home country, and DOD jobs give first dibs to spouses of military personnel.
Basically, there are few niches, and unlike Asia, little turnover in the job market; most teachers from abroad who get good jobs here stay long-term; it's not a place where teachers turn over every couple of years.

University teaching is a different kettle of fish. Again, openings are fairly rare, but do go to native speakers at least sometimes. All the unis I know have a mix of native and German English teachers. To get such a job you would need either (and preferably both) related MA/teaching license.

Your experience teaching in China won't help much; as you've sort of noted, it's a very different experience - the students, expectations, motivations...really comparing apples and oranges. One notable difference is that in Europe you will deal with a far higher percentage of high-level learners; the gymnasium teachers do a good job overall.
Yes, you would find mostly intrinsically motivated students here, particularly at university level; Germans actually use English far more often and readily than Chinese do in general. Holidays, business, study abroad are much more common.

Basically, I think your most likely 'in' here:
come over and pay dues locally on a freelance basis, cobbling together enough work to sustain yourself via private language schools. This will help you build local contacts and reputation and when the relatively rare better jobs come up, you'll be in position.

NB My friend in Frankfurt notes that the last time a university position came up, they received 30+ GOOD CVs (not the throwaway ones) from candidates with related MA + European experience. Most schools will automatically go with UK/EU teachers, given a chance; no visa hassles for the school.

It's do-able, but I think you'll need to expect to start with private schools, and to put in some considerable time and energy to work your way up to university or other 'better' jobs. There simply aren't that many around, and there's lots of competition. It's extremely different to the Asian job market.
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pglaser52



Joined: 20 Oct 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks alot for such a thorough overview of the process. I understand that my current qualifications are minimal and suitable only for those areas that are more desperate for teachers. I just wanted to get an idea of what lengths I'd have to go through to get a job. A Master's is something I'll probably get regardless of where I choose to go.

I see that I'll have to really pay my dues before I get a chance at a university job. That sits alright with me though, because Germany is a place I enjoy living in. Thanks again.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9486
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you're willing (and likely able) to work your way into something over time; of course there is always a chance that you'll have great good luck and find something sooner. In either case, (ultimate) success to you!
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chica88



Joined: 28 Dec 2012
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pglaser52 wrote:
Thanks alot for such a thorough overview of the process. I understand that my current qualifications are minimal and suitable only for those areas that are more desperate for teachers. I just wanted to get an idea of what lengths I'd have to go through to get a job. A Master's is something I'll probably get regardless of where I choose to go.

I see that I'll have to really pay my dues before I get a chance at a university job. That sits alright with me though, because Germany is a place I enjoy living in. Thanks again.


There is a new web site with free information on it with a list of schools in Germany. The site is still under construction. Anyway - many of the schools I find want teaching credentials, for example if they are American schools. I think you will be able to spot the American ones. But, many schools on the list are private language schools and you are therefore qualified to work at those. Either way here is the link:

http://www.fueraeslconsulting.info/resources/schools/europe-schools/germany-schools/
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