ESL Teaching Guide - Germany

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Miss H - May 2004

Currently teaching in Northern Bavaria. Positive aspects: being self employed. I know many teachers who are working for companies/schools. The constraints are enormous and the wages low.

Negative aspects: being self employed and that I must not only teach but do my own marketing etc. This is not difficult or something I cannot do but it is time consuming. Starting out is not so easy.

Wages: variable - average for work at Chamber of Commerce or similar organizations 25- 32 Euro per hour. (Schools eg. Euroschule are at 15 - 21 Euro " been there, done that") Private contract with large business can exceed 40 - 60 Euro but this is dependent on level and subject and how much preparation or student support time is required. I do a lot of business and technical English.

Germany in general: The situation with tax and government pension requirements are difficult particularly for young teachers starting out. Regulations are complex and the cost is set as a percentage of ones earned income. If you have a good year it goes up and bad year it goes down, but not so easy to change mid-year. One is required to be registered in the place of residence and penalties are stiff if one doesn't do that - exception is when one is here for 3 months or less or can prove place of residence in other country - and they do check up these days.

Interested in going and living/working in Germany??

Useful books on living and working in Germany...

Mr. I - May 2004

I am teaching English and Turkish in a Turkish institute in Germany at the moment. I have been appointed by the Turkish government and paid by the government. I get 1.700 Euro a month. No accommodation support. The standard of living is quite high. The positive sides of teaching here is that I have the opportunity to improve my German, meet different people from other cultures, live in a foreign country, teach English sometimes through a foreign language, which is German, in a multi-lingual environment. I am also writing my master's thesis in Translating and Interpretation, and hope to do my PhD Degree here in Germany, which will help me improve my academic career a lot more.

Andrea MacLeod - April 2002

Linda is slightly mistaken in regards to the work permit. No EU members do not need a work permit if they are self-employed. You still need a resident's permit, but on this resident's permit, it will state that you do not need a work permit if you are self-employed as a ________ (English trainer). To get this, I had to provide qualifications, show past bank statements earning money as such, health care AND a pension plan! But, it is still easier than getting a work permit.

Most schools do not want to hire you on a full-time basis. Freelance contracts is the way nearly everyone is employed as an English teacher. Some of the schools mentioned by Linda have a poor reputation in teaching circles, so do some investigating before you sign up for 35 hours a week with one.

Linda McClellan - January 2002

Work permits are required for all non-EU citizens and requires one to deal with the German Bureaucracy...power moguls working in dead-end mindless jobs, but you are at their mercy! Most companies will provide a little bit of assistance in getting your work permit since teachers are a valued commodity.

A strong union insures equal treatment for all employees. Although I only teach one class a week (see insurance below)I was still "required" to take vacation.

All the major firms are represented here and it is fairly easy to get a teaching job with a college degree (in anything). Inlingua, Berlitz and American School of English all have branches throughout Germany. International Schools: With a degree in a teaching you can work at one of the International Schools located in the major cities. These pay higher wages and ample vacation time is given.

Insurance: if you earn more than 630DM (about 315 euros) per month you must "buy into" the German social welfare system. In addition to having to pay taxes on what you earn (Americans are also liable to pay USA taxes), you must also buy into a health insurance plan. (Again IF you earn more than 315 euros per month)I am covered under my husband's plan but this doesn't matter to the German bureaucracy so I opted to teach only one 2 hr. class per week to keep my earnings below the limit. Expect to pay at the minimum 100 euros for a simple health plan that covers one individual. The German health system and social service net is vast and you receive excellent care, but you pay for this service in a high tax base and insurance premiums.


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