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Average Salary - Asian International Schools?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Spintop0101, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. Spintop0101

    Spintop0101 New commenter

    What is the average salary for a PGCE qualified English Teacher at an International School in Asia? Of course it depends on experience, but could you give a range? From junior just hired to senior?

    Generally speaking, does this career path (English Teacher in International Schools) afford a comfortable life? Looking at salaries for teachers in the UK they are extremely low so is it really true that working in an international school can provide a significantly better lifestyle than in the UK?
  2. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    this is a "how long is a piece of string" question. there is no definitive answer. anything from bad to amazing. UK teachers are badly paid, and you only need to be earning in the lower ranges of international teaching to be taking home more than a UK teacher. anything with a take home salary in the low $30 000 plus all the usual benefits and you will be making more than anyone on the main pay scale in the UK.

    Join Search associates as they give the salary ranges of all their schools....something TES continually forgets to include. i can not tell you how useful it is when looking at potential jobs, and the lengthy application process.
  3. snitzelvonkrumm

    snitzelvonkrumm Occasional commenter

    A true average might be misleading. There is a huge variety within Asia from close to double a UK salary to a small fraction of a UK salary. You need to take the cost of living and the many possible benefits into consideration.
    If you are moderately selective you will have a very comfortable lifestyle.
    Take care, there are schools offering attractive packages but are best avoided due to management issues that make for a difficult time. You need to research beyond the basic salary if you want to have a positive experience.
    576 likes this.
  4. theintlteacher

    theintlteacher New commenter

    Totally agree with dumbbells. Just got my Search profile back up and running. Yes, they require a lot of information up front - and it takes time - but it is really worthwhile. To a certain extent it is a good idea to triangulate with reviews on ***.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some very wise advice has already been given by dumbbells66 and snitzelvonkrumm. Yes, I would definitely agree with all of the points they have made. Here are one or two other factors that you might like to take into account.
    (1) "Accommodation" means different things in different schools. The school might only provide you with an apartment or else give you an accommodation allowance which may (or may not!) cover the cost of renting your own place. In Qatar, Mr and Mrs Hippo were always in flats provided by the school, whereas in China we rented our own place and the school gave us quite a generous allowance.
    (2) Transport can be a major expense. A job in a school that pays only a modest salary might actually be better for your wallet than a better-paid position in a school where you need to buy a car. In Qatar, we had to have TWO cars and that cost a lot of money, whereas in China I just walked to school each day. Buying a car and keeping it on the road was also a big expense in Kenya.
    (3) Gratuities are sometimes not worth much, but they can be a significant boost to your savings.
    (4) Private tuition is sometimes forbidden in your contract. On the other hand, I have heard of teachers who have doubled their income through private tuition.
    (5) Holidays can take a big bite out of your savings. If you really must go back to the UK at every possible opportunity, then you are going to have a big hole in your pocket. If you can have some nice holidays without leaving the country where you are teaching, then you won't spend nearly so much. (Egypt was great in this respect, whereas the UAE meant lots of great camping holidays in Oman.)
    (6) Getting married can be a financial disaster or a huge boost to your bank balance.
    (7) Having children might mean school fees. Yes, in theory most international schools are supposed to provide "free" education for the offspring of the teaching staff, but in reality this does not always happen. Sometimes you will get the first one free, but not the second. Also do not forget those extras... and more extras...and school uniforms.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  6. Spintop0101

    Spintop0101 New commenter

    Very helpful replies. To explain more, I'm a career changer and currently have a very good salary. Making the jump to being a teacher only makes sense if it comes with a comfortable lifestyle meaning having solid disposable income for travel, going out etc. Poverty is real misery so I just want to be sure that working in an international school doesn't mean I will be poor.
  7. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Choose the right school and you can be very comfortable indeed. If you want to avoid poverty then dont ever consider working in Spain or the other sunny southern european countries
    yasf likes this.
  8. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    Making the jump only makes sense if you are suited to teaching and to working on the international circuit.

    If the first questions you ask on the forum are about money then this may not be the jump for you.
    576 likes this.
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, your "lifestyle" might mean a lot more than your cashflow, Spintop0101. All the cash in the world might not be adequate compensation for hating your job. Perhaps "poor" is a relative and a rather meaningless term. An old schoolfriend recently told me that he felt like a pauper at his son's school in LA, as most of the children in the class had billionaires for dads, whereas he is just a poor millionaire.

    For many people, their biggest "lifestyle choice" might be whether or not to get married. When I first met the future Mrs Hippopotamus, she was singing in a choir and earning about 40 dollars a month (sometimes she was not paid at all). Well, that was twenty-three years ago and we are still together. Yesterday we went kayaking on Lake Iskar, just south of Sofia. That was priceless.
    zimbo, Helen-Back, yasf and 3 others like this.
  10. Spintop0101

    Spintop0101 New commenter

    I mean I've been poor and I know how awful it is. Looking at salaries for UK teachers I am shocked by how low they are. How a NQ teacher can survive on 20 something K in London for example is beyond me and this is exactly the type of situation I want to avoid. Thus I wrote to confirm that the situation in the UK is exceptional and that if I was to work as a teacher at a good international school abroad I would not have to worry about how I was going to pay the rent. I would expect to have sufficient income to save money, go travelling, make investments etc. It sounds like that is the case.
  11. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    To be honest, Spintop010, the salaries for most UK teachers are not really the problem. The real issue is the absurdly high cost of living, especially the crazy house prices. When you include all of the taxes that you have to pay in order to live in "Rip Off Britain", then it is not surprising that a lot of teachers in the UK are fed up and struggling to make ends meet. I have a lot of respect for teachers in the UK who soldier on and try to do a good job for their students.

    Having taught in the UK, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Romania, the UAE, Qatar and most recently China, I would say to you that it simply is not the case that most teachers in international schools are paid significantly more than teachers in the UK. They are probably paid about the same or even less. Well, that is my overall impression. Neverthless, teachers in international schools can still manage to save some money each month. Most international schools will provide you with flights, medical insurance and a rent-free apartment. If your living costs are low and you can rent out a house or flat in the UK, then of course your overall "balance of payments" is going to be much better when you are teaching overseas.

    Yes, Spintop010, of course it is true that NQTs in the UK are badly paid. I do not think anyone would argue about that one. Nevertheless, the interesting thing is that if you read what NQTs have actually written on the TES forum for NQTs, then you will see that they usually do not mention their lousy salaries. Yes, they are badly paid, but there are more serious and stressful things when you are an NQT. For example, your SLT might be totally useless, you might not have a job at all or else you might be about to fail your NQT year. (And have you never heard of something called OFSTED?) And if you are a teacher, then being poor just means that you do not have much money. A malicious accusation from a child or a parent, on the other hand, might mean the end of your career, mental illness or even suicide.

    Most teachers do not go into the profession because they want to become rich. They do, however, want to do something called "teaching" and, in most schools in the UK, teaching is becoming more and more difficult. In international schools, most teachers can get on with their teaching and that is probably the main reason why they prefer it to the UK.
    tb9605 likes this.
  12. miranda-s

    miranda-s Occasional commenter

    Bear in mind that most international schools would want you to have a couple of years experience teaching in the UK, and that there are a lot of experienced English teachers out there. You may not get a job in a school that pays high salaries if you're right at the beginning of your teaching career, so you'd need to be prepared to work in the UK for a while and/or accept a lower paid international job initially.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  13. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Not sure what you consider a good salary in the UK, but i know of people taking home in excess of £4500 a month in this region, easily. And then having the usual benefits like free accommodation, flights, medical, tuition etc on top of that. Obviously this would be a wage for an experienced intetnational teacher. Someone with none or limited experience would earn a lot less.
  14. Dramakween

    Dramakween Occasional commenter

    I have to say, I’ve never met anyone who went into teaching for the money! Yes, you might at some point get a job in an international school that gives you the opportunity to save and have a comfortable standard of living, but you should be aware that you’d very likely have to get a couple of years’ experience in the UK first, on UK wages. As has already been said, a quick read through these forums will show you that income as a teacher in the UK is low down on the list of worries. There are many more things to bother you!
    sparklesparkle likes this.
  15. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I have seen jobs advertised in Shanghai this week with a salary of 12k rmb and others at 33k rmb.

    Difficult to define average!
  16. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Again, the need to be properly qualified and have relevant experience is paramount. Competition is fierce for good jobs in Asia.
  17. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As usual, my old mate gulfers has made a good point. Yes, you will probably be coining it if you an experienced Physics teacher at a top notch school, but mere mortals (like the rest of us) may not be so lucky. When this fat and smelly beast was teaching in Qatar, there were always plenty of jobs at the scummy schools, such as the rotten apples. The better schools tend to have fewer vacancies because the teachers stay there for years and years, as they realize that they are on to a good things, so competition for good jobs is going to be very tough.
  18. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    OP, instead of asking what's in it for you, you should be asking why a school would pay you the big bucks. If you're applying as an NQT, it's very unlikely they would do so unless your qualifications come from a top university, you have previous overseas experience and/or you have prior teaching experience, such as EFL or the IB. Are any of these the case?
  19. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    I was offered $6k per month + housing, flights etc in a school in Asia. I don’t think that it was the top of their scale either (about 2/3rds up?)
  20. 576

    576 Established commenter

    You really do have to look at the cosat of living.
    My pay isn't great looking by itself, (which is fine as I do this for the experience and the travel opportunities) but when you realise that even with a/c running most of the time I'm home my monthly electric bill. Is about £4 (it was more like 100 when I was in the Caribbean) that a litre of petrol is less than 50p and that the school pays for my 4 bedroomed house (space for guests!) I can live day to day on half my salary and save the other half as penson / holiday fund.

    Maybe peruse this for inspiration

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