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Live ok on 25 hrs teaching. Possible in Europe?
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Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 792
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've lived in Asia (Korea and HK) for 13 years now and would love to return to Europe (I'm from UK), but it's difficult when you've become used to "Asian" standards of work and pay.

I've known perhaps a dozen people who tried returning to Europe after TEFLing in Asia, only to come back here with tails between their legs when they realised it wasn't going to work, either for lack of work, low pay or just the fact that making a living there can be so damned hard after Asia. In fact I only know of one guy who "succeeded" in making the transition back to Europe (Spain), and that was because he had enough to retire.
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Joined: 18 Jan 2010
Posts: 262
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've moved backwards and forwards between East Asia and West Europe many times. It certainly can be done, but it is much easier finding work in East Asia.

In Portugal, where I am now, I had to contact over 50 schools to find one that was looking for teachers. The pay here is higher than in Taiwan, but so is the cost of living.
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Teacher in Rome

Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1286

PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in theory you could do it in Italy, though you'd need a fair amount of luck and be in the right place at the right time for it to work.

The bare minimum you need to live on is 1000 net per month, assuming 500 pcm rent and at least 100 per week living costs, the odd beer and pizza, trip to the beach, etc.

But the catch is you can only really assume work for 9 months of the year, with all the holidays etc. On the vast majority of teaching contracts you won't get holiday or sick pay, so let's assume you have 9 months to earn 12,000 per year, which works out at 1333 net per month. If you teach 100 hours per month that means you need to earn 13 net per hour, working 25 hours for four weeks of that month.

It's possible, unless my maths is completely wrong, but it would be hard. In a city like Rome or Milan you'd spend a lot of time travelling from lesson to lesson, and you'd probably be working for more than one school. Students regularly cancel, which means you'd have gaps you couldn't fill. You'd need to be flexible, prepared to work early ams and late pms / evenings. How long would you want to do all this for? Unless the regs have changed, you're not eligible for a state pension until you work FT for 37 years. You could be slogging it out on the Rome metro until you were 79...

I'm no longer in Rome, but from what I know, hourly rates are higher than 13 net per hour. Many teachers supplement their income in other ways (summer camps for kids, private students, translation work, etc). If you were thinking of Italy, I'd recommend that you contact high-paying schools (such as the British Council, though they have very little freelance work available), concentrate on either Business English or YL, or start making contacts directly with the state schools, where you can earn higher hourly rates from Sept - March, if you're lucky. To really make it work you need good Italian language skills, to get the contacts and build relationships.
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Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 751
Location: Panama City, Panama

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, maybe I'm the exception but the year just gone I was working 37-40 clock hours a week at 15 euro per hour so there were several months when I easily cleared 2000 a month. That was entirely with adults - no kiddies which was also a bonus. I've been here five years so have lots of contacts and very little competition as most teachers head for sunnier shores or give up on Latvia after a year or two of cold winters and poor initial returns.

Permanently exhausted? Not really though it was a bit tiring and I could only do it because I've been teaching for 7 years, have lots of lesson plans and most importantly, a girlfriend who doesn't work and therefore takes care of all the housework, shopping and doubles as a kind of secretary, making many of my copies for me. In addition working mostly for home with the rest block hours in language centres 20 minutes walk away meant little in the way of travelling.

Given all that, I doubt it's possible in most places. You need special circumstances: live in the centre of a medium sized city in one of the less popular places (definitely no sunny mediterranean countries!), stay there a few years to build up contacts (my first two years here were a disaster financially), then if you can cram the hours in due to a supportive partner and it can be done. In my case I have the additional advantages of having no credits to pay, no rent to pay and no car to pay for. I really wouldn't fancy ekeing out a living in some more expensive place like Italy on 1300 a month and if I was faced with that prospect, I'd probably jack it in and find a different job.
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