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Teaching in a Nordic country (Denmark, Sweden, Norway) - any advice?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by amciubotaru, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Hi, I would greatly appreciate any input on living and teaching in a Scandinavian country. What are the schools like, the students, the pay scale, etc. Any advice for an ESL teacher who is not a native speaker, preparing for a job interview? Thanks a bunch.
  2. Hi, and many thanks for the advice. I would have to admit, though, that I found Danish school principals a bit more flexible and more polite in their reply to my applications than the Swedish ones. I'm still not decided yet which to choose, so' I'll just wait and see how the interview goes and what other advice I get.
    Again, thanks a lot.
  3. Hi I am teaching in Denmark. Pay is good but of course tax is high. The working hours are reasonable and the union is very strong to protect them...I find the behaviour much better than in the UK but I am at a private school.
    Good luck!
  4. Hi, actually I was thinking of Denmark myself so any input on the students, colleagues and/or principals would be greatly appreciated. Would they prefer only native speakers? I am applying for ESL jobs but I'am not a native speaker so it's a bit difficult, though I did finally get an interview. Any advice for that? Thanks.
    And, by the way, how do you find Denmark?
  5. purpleapple

    purpleapple New commenter

    Hi again! I lived in denmark for a year, so can give you some information. I have no idea about the ESL, but I can answer about "how do you find Denmark" (assuming you don't want - "at the top of germany and to the rleft of sweden" as a stupid answer). The Danes are a funny bunch. They can be really nice and kind, or awkard is the best way that I can describe them. They are insular, apart from when drinking beer, and like to stick to themselves. It was usual when I was there for them to conduct conversations completely ignoring the one or two people who couldn't speak danish. Also it is a difficult language to learn. But Denmark can be brilliant fun and very efficient. It is a great place to live in the summer. I live in Sweden now and love to visit Denmark as it is so quirky and fun in comparison to sweden, but on the whole I prefer the niceness of sweden. You know where you stand here.
  6. Tigger1962

    Tigger1962 New commenter

    If you wish to work as a teacher in Sweden you will need to register with the Swedish Teacher Registration Agency which requires a full teaching qualification such as PGCE plus A-level standard Swedish (either an A level or a pass in the TISUS test)
    Teaching in Sweden is not as well paid as it is in Britain with classroom salaries usually in the range of 21,000-25,000 SEK/monthand taxes are a little higher - an average classroom teacher pays about 25% net tax overall. However there are some benefits such as the 9-10 week summer holidays and if you have kids generous parental leave/subsidised nursery
    If you are thinking more about ESL/TEFL then this is often not so well paid although there can be some lucrative business teaching in major cities if you have experience to be hired by big providers. However generally TEFL work can be hard to get as Swedes study English at school for 10-12 years. I had a friend who had TEFL work when she first moved to Sweden which sounded well paid at around £30-35 per teaching hour - but there was a lot of unpaid time as she was expected to drive between appointments - sometimes 50-100km
  7. jennifermd25

    jennifermd25 New commenter

    Hey, I am about to move to Denmark to teach in Copenhagen and I would love to hear more advice from you. The pay is good but the taxes are crazy and the VAT tax on everything. How does a gal save money? My rental was arranged through the school and that is way more expensive than I expected per month as well, although my Danish friend says it is still a pretty good deal in the current housing market for the location. I'd love to hear if you had any tips on getting to know people there, what to expect with workload, best way to find a bike to get around on, anything really.
    I am doing learning support so it may be a bit different than what most are posting about here.
  8. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    Although amciubotaru's post dates back 3 years I'm interested how they got on. I am sure TEFL would be extremely extremely difficult in Scandinavia. Would love to teach TEFL in somewhere like Sweden, even in a small town, but think it's not feasible.

    jennifermd25, I only went there on holiday but loved it. It's great for walking around, exploring the city, going around the coastal areas and there are some decent museums to visit.

    Yes, accommodation is very expensive and so is food and transport but it's a clean and safe country. I heard if you work there you get free Danish lessons which is good to encourage you to learn their language in spite of the fact that most people speak excellent English.

    A Finn once told me the Danes are the most relaxed out of the Nordic people. Oh and if you haven't, why not start watching Bron or The Killing?!
  9. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    My simple advice would be, Get the hell out of any country even close to being in the Euro. You will be amazed what you get, and therefore save once you look further afield
  10. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    Pack some jumpers and thick socks
  11. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    I thought I saw a TV programme once saying Swedish teachers were highly paid, ie more than £50,000 a year. 25,000 SEK is only £2290 a month before tax.
  12. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

  13. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    Like Spanish teachers earn an average of $41000??? No way do they earn more than the UK on average. The table must be wrong. Also it doesn't take into consideration the tax rate of each country so you know what the NET salaries are. Tax is high in Germany for example.
  14. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    So the average teacher in the UK takes home £1624 a month after tax and NI (£19487 pa)..... oh im sooooo glad i left the UK
    fsmc likes this.
  15. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    Yes, and you know, recently I was looking teaching jobs in Taiwan and I could get almost the same salary there doing TEFL as an NQT would get in UK. As you can imagine cost of living in Taiwan is much much lower than UK which means that salary is a lot better. It's a bad sign if Taiwan, which isn't a very rich country, can offer me more or less the same for a mere TEFL post (granted for this particular job you do need a PGCE but still).
  16. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Its no wonder so many people are leaving the profession in the UK. Apart from when i was in Spain, i have always earned significantly more than that in my other 3 international schools.

    Oh well, just add yet another reason why im never going back :)
  17. fsmc

    fsmc Occasional commenter

    Let's not forget there's tons of reasons not to live in the UK besides the awful salary.
  18. Alldone

    Alldone Senior commenter

    Agree - that is just pathetic, for all the **** teachers have to put up with in the UK. I retired last year and my teachers pension is more than that - for doing nothing.
  19. vickilew

    vickilew New commenter

    I work in an international school in Sweden and my take home pay per month is approximately the equivalent of 2400 Euros. My rent for a family home was approx 1400 Euros. We have not been able to save a penny!
  20. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    You don't get an international school teacher's package then in Sweden I take it if you have to pay for your own accommodation. I thought international schools paid for accommodation as part of the package? confused.

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