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Is TEFL getting better or worse as a career?
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1286

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think there's one way to test how the TEFL job market is standing just now. Go on to the job section of this website, or any of the TEFL job sites, scroll down the jobs, and count how many of those jobs would provide a living wage/benefits (rather than just a subsistence wage) for a single person. Now scroll through them again and count how many would provide a living wage/benefits for a sole-breadwinner with a family. Now scroll through them AGAIN, and count how many of those living-wage jobs are NOT in hell holes like Saudi Arabia.

I think you'll find there are not that many TEFL jobs where you can earn a respectable salary, and still have money left over for savings/future investments. If you exclude jobs where many people find the living environment/culture intolerable (such as Saudi) then the number drops even more dramatically.


These criteria are good - but they would also apply to many "mainstream" jobs in our countries of origin, too.

A primary school teacher in the UK can make around 35,000 for example. Take away living costs, childcare costs and so on, and someone like my sister (primary school teacher) has as little spare money as I do at the end of the month. Yet 35,000 is seen as a good wage - far above the poverty level. It still seems a struggle to her, though.

But something else is important, too. The well-paying ELT jobs (those where you don't have to scrimp and save, or live in "disagreeable" places) - like many others in different sectors - aren't always those that are advertised on job boards or forums. In fact, the advertised jobs are often entry-level, "volume" type posts. You want quality, you often have to go searching, or be recommended, or network in... Just like any other field.

Look at the posters here who rarely complain about their financial lot. They have experience, expertise, and rarity of skill. They get hired to the good jobs. They publish, they're active professionally, they know people, they get promoted from within. They don't need to apply for jobs advertised on job boards.

Or you can look at it from another way. For example, you can get hired by a company or school, then build your connections in that country. That's what happened to me in Italy. I now have more work than I need or want - more than enough in a few months to pay my entire living costs for a year. (The rest I earn from different sources, I have to say.) It is possible to work hard for one company and earn lots of money; or work a few months of the year as a freelancer and still go to the beach the whole of the summer, without giving up on life's little luxuries. The thing is, you've got to make it work for you - and that is never an "easy" option.
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A primary school teacher in the UK can make around 35,000 for example. Take away living costs, childcare costs and so on, and someone like my sister (primary school teacher) has as little spare money as I do at the end of the month. Yet 35,000 is seen as a good wage - far above the poverty level. It still seems a struggle to her, though.


Bear in mind as well that the above salary would be for a teacher with a good few years' experience behind them. Salaries for newly-qualified teachers start as low as GBP 21,588. This further reinforces TiR's point.

Ultimately, what you have to consider is what you would be earning and paying out back home if you weren't an EFL teacher. My take-home salary is approximately $1800 a month, and I doubt that whatever I'd be doing back in the UK would be paying me substantially more than that. However, the lower cost of living enables me to live far better than if I were back home, and still save 50% of the above.

I've said this before - many of the doom-mongerers seem to be under the illusion that if we weren't in EFL then we'd all be earning mega-bucks in our home countries. I wouldn't, nor would anyone I know so, for many of us, EFL isn't a bad option. Things may change, as they inevitably do, and if I ever find myself struggling financially in EFL then I'll have to reassess the situation. Of course, for those with overseas commitments (i.e. realtionships and families) upping sticks and going back home may not be a viable option.

The 'golden era' of EFL (if there ever was such a thing) may have come to an end, but the same can be said about a number of other professions and industries. Most gravy trains will, inevitably, shudder to a halt one day.
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Last edited by Tudor on Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Last edited by Tudor on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11523
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The well-paying ELT jobs (those where you don't have to scrimp and save, or live in "disagreeable" places) - like many others in different sectors - aren't always those that are advertised on job boards or forums. In fact, the advertised jobs are often entry-level, "volume" type posts. You want quality, you often have to go searching, or be recommended, or network in... Just like any other field
.

Quote:
Look at the posters here who rarely complain about their financial lot. They have experience, expertise, and rarity of skill. They get hired to the good jobs. They publish, they're active professionally, they know people, they get promoted from within. They don't need to apply for jobs advertised on job boards.

Or you can look at it from another way. For example, you can get hired by a company or school, then build your connections in that country. That's what happened to me in Italy. I now have more work than I need or want - more than enough in a few months to pay my entire living costs for a year. (The rest I earn from different sources, I have to say.) It is possible to work hard for one company and earn lots of money; or work a few months of the year as a freelancer and still go to the beach the whole of the summer, without giving up on life's little luxuries. The thing is, you've got to make it work for you - and that is never an "easy" option


Too bad we haven't got a 'like' button. Very Happy

We very often hear from people searching for jobs in the greater European region 'where are the jobs advertised??!!' Because, mostly, they aren't.

As TIR says, good jobs here go to people with strong quals, and local experience and reputation and contacts. Another factor for this region is that there is little turnover at the level of the better jobs. While the teachers with basic quals (CELTA) do turn over every year or two in many cases, people who get the better jobs usually stay long term, so there really are fewer openings out there.
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