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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 16th, 2009, 09:22 am
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Default Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

A strange spam thread enticed me to post this, but, ...

Do you feel you make enough money in ESl as a career?

I've had this discussion with many people before, but not here.

In Japan, teaching English is really seen as a temporary position. School boards hire teachers on year-to-year contracts and often with no raise for employees they keep on. Even most universities hire teachers on a year-to-year 4 year non-renewable contract.

I often feel like a mercenary.

I'm in a little different situation than the average teacher. I run my own school. Right now, it seems I can make a career out of teaching English here, but how about everybody else?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 16th, 2009, 01:14 pm
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

Wow, I thought I posted a long response here but it didn't show up. What follows is the shortened version: the company I work for in Germany does pay alright, and there are raises. I don't think it's an especially ethical company, but I suppose I can't complain: they do give me money.

Some teachers here are making a 'career' or teaching English, but most of us didn't 'choose' English, it chose us. . . because there aren't many other white-collar jobs for foreigners in Germany. (Well, not without a math degree.) Still, the money is okay, but because freelance work is the norm, it's not regular. That means I make a bunch one month, not so much the next.

The next problem is that I'm not paying into a retirement system in Germany or the U.S., and that's going to bite me in the *** if I don't do something.

Still, I don't have any plans to change jobs and it does complement my wife's income well. And we do live alright, though not like my parents do.

Let me ask a counter question: how much money is 'enough for a career?'
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 16th, 2009, 05:56 pm
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

That is a pretty vague question...in the sence that it depends on your needs and your living conditions and lots of other aspects.

Right now I am not making much...but in Madrid I was making really good money (for me!)

I think money depends on you. What do you need to live and survive on? If you make a great deal more than that, then you could say you are making a lot.

What does everyone else think?
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 16th, 2009, 07:12 pm
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

Yeah, 'how much is enough' is a hard number to pin down. If you are single you can better than get by on less, but if you're married and you've got 3 kids, you're going to need more.

I feel 'enough' is a salary that allows you to live at the 'standard' of living for the place you are in and also provides you with enough for some savings. Whether you choose to save or spend is really up to you.

In Japan the average English teacher working for a school or company will earn around $30k/year. That's great money for a young/single person, but not enough to support (long-term) a family of 4 or 5, unless your spouse also works. You could definitely do it on $30k/year, but I know it would wear me down living month to month for that long, especially with no job security

In a country with less expensive daily necessities, teachers could reach that goal of standard of living + some savings for less.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 18th, 2009, 12:29 am
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Cool Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

it all depends how far you are from your origin
I guess, you could make enough money in Mexico.
Or in some arabic country, but that would always depend on how good you really are. The better you are, the more hours you'll get. You can even get a raise or be entitled to ask for one.
But to get there, you need to invest some time, and yes, you must study thouroughly,lol, did I spell that right??!!
I support a family of 3 kids + a money starving wife, seems to me that wives never have enough money, lol.
Anyway, yes, you can make a decent living out of this.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 18th, 2009, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

Well, I guess I can agree with lestatantoigne (That's not that easy to type!) that it depends on what you want. But I do think you have to remember that it's a pretty harsh business--the money side of it--and I think that most of the companies I'm aware of in Germany basically exploit the teachers.

Sure, many of the teachers in my school are living only from their pay. But they're living more student lifestyles than 'young professional' lifestyles.

But, when you factor in that we get to live in Germany, yeah, that helps I guess!
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread May 1st, 2009, 10:04 am
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

I earn a decent salary in China, it might not be as much as you guys are earning in Japan and Germany but the cost of living is a lot cheaper here. I think ESL teaching has a lot has to do with how good a teacher you are! My salary is about 1,000 pounds sterling(UK) for 20 teaching hours per week. I live very comfortably on about 20% of my salary as I have free accommodation with all bills paid. I also get a paid return flight to the UK every year. So I can quite honestly say, Yes I make enough money. I don't even bother teaching private classes as I like my free time.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread May 1st, 2009, 10:17 am
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

Quote:
Quote antony View Post
So I can quite honestly say, Yes I make enough money.
But could you do this as a career in China? Could you see yourself staying there forever?

Would you be able to make enough in the long run to cover retirement?
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread May 1st, 2009, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

I don't have to worry a lot about retirement as I am British and get a goverment pension and free health care. I will stay here as long as I am enjoying what I am doing.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread May 1st, 2009, 09:02 pm
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

Hey everyone,

This is a great thread. I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts. I'll share my story as well.

I work in South Korea. I make a lot more than what I need to survive here, so, I guess you can say that I make more than enough money here. Also, my wife is here so that really does help, double income you know?

Here's the thing: Korea is probably the best place in the East-Asian region to land a job when comparing overall packages. In general, you work less here and make A LOT more money. In general, it is a nice place if you have the ability to adapt to a new culture and a new way of doing things.

There are many bad places in Korea where teachers do not want to work. One would have to do his homework before just taking any job.

I work in a university, so I am definitely in the minority. However, in general, this country is a great place to work in.

P.S. Did I mention that we will be hiring soon at our university? I also know of another place that is hiring that offers a decent package. I work there part-time as well. If any of you are interested, I am happy to help you find a job in one of these two places. If you send me your resume, I can go from there (I am not a recruiter. Just trying to help out some fellow ESL'ers).

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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread May 1st, 2009, 09:08 pm
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

Quote:
Quote mesmark View Post
But could you do this as a career in China? Could you see yourself staying there forever?

Would you be able to make enough in the long run to cover retirement?
Good point. In Korea, you can. I wasn't going to post what I make here, but I've noticed that someone else has. So here it goes:

3 million won a month (about 2500USD a month)
Free apartment walking distance to work
3 months paid vacation
12 hours a week during fall and spring semesters/10 hours a week during summer and winter semesters.

I pick up extra work at the University's academy, 8 hours a week, and earn an extra 1.5 million Won a month (1,200 a month)

So, in total, 20 hours a week and I earn 3,700USD a month. My wife is the same, but without the academy work.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 18th, 2011, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

Quote:
Quote teachingenglishmadeeasy View Post
Hey everyone,

This is a great thread. I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts. I'll share my story as well.

I work in South Korea. I make a lot more than what I need to survive here, so, I guess you can say that I make more than enough money here. Also, my wife is here so that really does help, double income you know?

Here's the thing: Korea is probably the best place in the East-Asian region to land a job when comparing overall packages. In general, you work less here and make A LOT more money. In general, it is a nice place if you have the ability to adapt to a new culture and a new way of doing things.

There are many bad places in Korea where teachers do not want to work. One would have to do his homework before just taking any job.

I work in a university, so I am definitely in the minority. However, in general, this country is a great place to work in.

P.S. Did I mention that we will be hiring soon at our university? I also know of another place that is hiring that offers a decent package. I work there part-time as well. If any of you are interested, I am happy to help you find a job in one of these two places. If you send me your resume, I can go from there (I am not a recruiter. Just trying to help out some fellow ESL'ers).

Ralph
Hi,
I am considering doing the TESL in Canada then applying to jobs teaching English in Korea and I wondered if you would mind sending me a list of reputable schools or places that need people to teach English?!
Thanks so much -Ceri cw45213@gmail.com
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  #13 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 19th, 2011, 09:08 pm
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

I guess I'm sort of an exception here in China.

With the school I teach at I have been promoted to teaching manager and I have been given a two year contract. I make a great living (by local standards) and have most of my necessities paid for (housing, some bills, visa, insurance). I also have the option of signing up for another two year contract when my current one expires. If I sign up for the next two years I will get a substantial raise plus a bonus of an entire month's salary.

I know this is sort of an exception but I made it very clear from the beginning that I was interested in staying long term (I am living in my wife's hometown in a wealthy part of China).

In answer to your question, I think I do make enough money in ESL. I get to save enough every month and I'm not living in poverty or anything. With how much turmoil the world's economy is in right now and with how many people are jobless...I feel lucky. I really enjoy my work and honestly can't see myself doing anything else!

Now, I do want to add that I'm living comfortably in China. The cost of living is quite low. From what I read about SK sounds fantastic but I don't think I could convince my wife to make that transition. Plus, I really do enjoy my school (high tech smart boards, 12 teaching hours a week, great people).

As far as making a career out of ESL....try to move up the ladder if you can. Don't just aspire to being a teacher if you want to make a career out of this. A lot of schools would love to have an experienced FT training their other teachers. At least, that's how China is. Schools (and parents) want everything to have that foreign imprint on it. Think about becoming a manager or starting your own school. I don't think being paid by your classes is good for job security. Also, being a private tutor is also not usually good for job security (tho, this can really depend on the city, country, and price).
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Last edited by chokosaki : Aug 19th, 2011 at 10:25 pm.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 22nd, 2011, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?

I'm in Indonesia, a place called BSD in Tangerang. It souds exotic but in reality its actually a southwestern suburb of Jakarta.
I've been in esl teaching for about 10 years now, so I guess it's become a career. The first couple of years (in Spain and China) were a bit rough financially. I came into this with virtually nothing to my name, and pretty much just kept my head above water. After a few years of hard work, though, I began to see steady improvement in my financial situation. I have never signed a contract that did not include a substantial pay rise over the last one, and have managed to work my way into a position of responsibility.
I am single with no kids, so it is a bit easier for me, but I can tell you that I lay out about 5% of my income for housing, and less than that for food and drink. I am able to save a large chunk of my salary every month, but can still afford to buy the odd goodies and enjoy relatively luxurious holidays. Like a lot of people here, I don't contribute anything to a pension plan, so I am taking care of that on my own by saving as much as possible now.
I don't want to give the impression that being single is the only way to do it. I have a lot of friends in the Jakarta area who are married (either to local people or other expats) and have children and are still doing fine. With the right qualifications there are some very good jobs in this area, and a lot of people choose to stay here for the long term.
I guess for me the bottom line is that the salary and living standards are there for those willing to work for them.
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