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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 19th, 2010, 05:18 am
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Default Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

Hi, I'm new to the forums, I'm going to college in Texas with a major in English and a minor in Education. I have heard ESL Teachers don't get to retire. I've heard ESL Teachers don't make enough money to support a family. Then I've heard the ESL Teachers do make enough money to support a family. So which is it? I don't want to invest time and money in school towards a career that will put me in poverty. When I start a family I want them to not worry when their next meal is or if they will get presents for their birthday, etc. I don't want my family to be poor. Do ESL Teachers make good money or do the make barely enough to survive? I'm on Dave's ESL site and still I can't find an answer.

One country in particular I'm looking at living in and teaching in is China. If anyone can help me out, that would mean so much to me.

I know my English is bad on this post, so please don't nitpick it. It's 4:15am where I am so I'm pretty tired. I just want to know the truth. I love travel and want my family, when I start one, to be with me in my travels, but I don't want my family to suffer for my dream fulfillment.

Thank You
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 20th, 2010, 10:35 am
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

China is one of the lower paying countries to teach ESL in so yes it will be a struggle to raise a family on that salary alone. I believe it's under 1k a month. Japan pays the most but the living expenses there are also higher. South Korea seems to be the best place for saving money. The cost of living here in South Korea is very low and the pay is very good. I get about 2.3k a month and that's with free housing, just pay utilities (which are under 80$ a month) The money here is enough to raise a family as the difference between my salary and the Korean teachers salary is almost the same (ESL teacher might be higher even).

I think the only people who find the money to be tight here are the ones that go binge drinking every weekend or do more traveling then working. I've had no trouble saving up a nice down payment for a house when I go back home in 1 years worth of teaching.

The thing about retiring is I dunno how you'd support yourself afterwards...your not a native of the country so you don't really get any social benefits your just a temporary citizen who has to leave the country every year to reapply for a work visa. Most ESL teachers who go abroad stay for 1-5 years and then go back home and either become a teacher or get a different job they are interested in. Very few actually stay for the long haul. It's a good experience to open your eyes, earn some cash, and learn. I treat it like a job though and not a career. I know when my year is up I'll have to find a real career.

Last edited by PharoahKeS : Jun 20th, 2010 at 10:43 am. Reason: Added info.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 21st, 2010, 08:37 pm
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

If you want to work in the USA, you will need to do some research. You will need to find out how the school districts are doing, and if they are going through some devastating budget cuts (as is the case with some I know about). You need to decide if you want to teach in K-12 or adult education. Adult education in California is suffering greatly due to budget cuts. I heard about one adult school that closed completely. I heard about another, an adult school that once was huge, which has been almost eradicated. It has been forced to drop more than 80% of its ESL classes. An ESL teacher in adult education, just starting out, may only teach 10-12 hours a week.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 23rd, 2010, 07:36 am
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

Is it enough to raise a family? How much money is enough?

Are you going to live in the house on the hill, drive two new cars, vacation every summer, new flat screen just because it's new ... probably not. That is unless your spouse has a really good job.

If something like that is what you're imagining, you might want to look at some other options.

If teaching is something you love to do, if traveling and learning about other cultures, experiencing new worlds or learning other languages is what thrills you, then you're rich before you get your first paycheck abroad.

It's all how you look at it.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 23rd, 2010, 07:47 am
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

There was a previous discussion on this here
Do you make enough money in ESL as a career?
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 8th, 2010, 02:23 am
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

I live in China with my husband and daughter. I make more than enough for us to live. My husband is Chinese he makes 1/4 of what ESL teachers make. The cost of living is so low here you can save lots of money to retire. So if both of you work you'll be laughing. You can save half your salary and all of hers. Of course if you live in a big city in China you won't be able to do this.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 14th, 2010, 11:10 pm
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

Hello,

I am not sure what the pay is like in other countries, but in the US you can survive comfortably. I live in Austin, TX and I taught ESL for 8 years at a public middle school. You get paid the same salary that any other teacher in Texas gets paid. I believe most schools in Texas, at least in the Austin area, start first year teachers at $45,000. The other metropolitan areas are the same or more. You get summers off where you can tutor and make more money if need be. You won't get rich, but you won't be too poor

If you get a Master’s you can make a little more. I currently work as an adjunct professor teaching Spanish and ESL for a few different colleges in Austin and online. Full time I believe the community colleges start at $55,000. If you teach adjunct, like I do, you make $900 a credit hour. I have a family of 6 and we live on my salary. It can be done. You won't get rich, but if you do some tutoring in the summer you can make it happen. It is a very rewarding job. I hope this helps.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 17th, 2010, 08:17 pm
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

OK, I am supposed to be lesson planning for a private class in 2 hours so I will be quick.

My situation: I am an ESL teacher, and my Chinese wife has just got an admin job in a big multinational. She gets 1500 RMB a month, about 200 dollars. My last four jobs in China have netted me: 1400 dollars a month with a free flat, 1300 dollars including accommodation allowance, 1250 dollars, and 900 dollars for an 18 hour working week that allowed me to do a lot of private classes at 14 - 20 dollars an hour. At the moment I do 3 classes a week, and make about 400 dollars a month for only 16 hours extra work. (1 dollar = about 7 RMB)

Rental of a flat in a smaller city like Zhengzhou or Chengdu can be as low as 700 RMB a month, although 1500 RMB is a fair average. It is possible to live on 200 dollars a month, for 2 adults, if you cook for yourself.

Many Chinese families survive on 1500 - 2000 RMB per month AND they save up to buy a flat.

China is a good place to live and save up, if you can accept the culture shock and the bureaucracy, and it is still a seller's market from the point of view of the EFL teacher. BUT, the culture shock is extreme - I came here after 15 years experience as an EFL teacher in 5 other countries and I still haven't fully settled in even though I have been here over 2 years.

I recommend China, it's a blast!
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 17th, 2010, 03:48 pm
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

I think it depends what type of ESL job you are looking at.

In North America, you want to get into the public schools, and you can be making great money just like other teachers. However, working in a private language centre is going to start you at $15/hour and not go up too fast.

I think it is the same in international places like China, Japan, Korea, etc. If you work in the schools, you can get paid well, but private language centres probably pay less.

I would think about where you want to live and then decide if it is a good job. You don't want to be one of the many ESL teachers coming back from Asia after 7 years to no ESL jobs in North America. Trust me, I see them walk into my school every day looking for work.

I'm in Toronto, and the previous academic director left our school because it wasn't enough for his wife and two kids.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 19th, 2010, 02:36 am
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

Quote:
Quote Dave-B View Post
... You don't want to be one of the many ESL teachers coming back from Asia after 7 years to no ESL jobs in North America. Trust me, I see them walk into my school every day looking for work...
Well that's depressing
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 23rd, 2010, 10:46 am
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Default Re: Can I make enough money to support a family as an ESL Teacher?

Hi there,

The other thing that I don't thing has been mentioned on this post yet is that there is good money to be had in the business English sector, and also private tuition.

In England I found it hard to live on a language school's pay in London, where rent alone is astronomical and just stepping out of the door costs 50 quid. However in the country towns on the same pay it was much better.

What I did for a top up was private lessons for a reasonable hourly rate, and also group private lessons, even better financially!

All the best
Shelley
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