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Teaching in Northern Europe

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by serafinanibs, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. serafinanibs

    serafinanibs New commenter

    Is there anyone teaching in Northern Europe who would be prepared to offer some tips on how I could make myself a more attractive candidate to schools there? :) I would like to target schools in France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Holland.
    I'm currently teaching at a reputable British international school in Asia and have two years' KS3-5 teaching experience, with good results for IGCSE and IB.
    Any advice would be gratefully received - thank you.
  2. karel

    karel Occasional commenter

    I am not currently in Northern Europe but have taught previously in Germany and the Netherlands. If you looking for another British curriculum school, then there a number of those in all the contries that you mention. Some of them run the IB diploma programme, others do A levels. The fact that you have been teaching IB Dip already is a good thing and would make you attractive to the non British curriculum schools too, many of which teach the other IB programmes in addition to the Dip. One thing to note about these countries, well for sure I know this applies to Germany and NL, you must have a degree in the subject that you teach. This is because your qualifications have to be approved by the authorities even though the schools are private. You also need to have a recognized teaching qualification and usually at least two years teaching experience is expected. Other than the things already mentioned applying for a job in Europe shouldn't be any different to applying anywhere else.
  3. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I too taught in Germany for several years. If you could be a little more specific about what you're after (i.e. type of school, large city, family-friendly etc.) and what you can offer already (subject?) we may be able to give a few more pointers. As a very general rule (although this depends on school and subject) the international schools in the countries you name are well-established and tend to attract lots of experienced candidates, although there obviously many caveats attached to this.
  4. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    Why go from Asia where tax is 4% (well it is where I am anyway) and where you get free studio apartments to Germany or Holland where you earn a similar salary to Asia ($50,000 or so) and pay more tax than in the UK, so over 25% AND you pay for your accommodation.
  5. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    Career development, family reasons, personal circumstances, interest, travel opportunities, language learning, security, education, establish a permanent home... not everyone is after an maximum cash for minimum effort.

    DIdn't you have to leave somewhere because of legal reasons?
  6. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

  7. serafinanibs

    serafinanibs New commenter

    Thanks for replying Clovis, Karel and Englishtt- I do have degrees (BA and PhD) in my subject (English) so that side is covered and I do anticipate stiff competition which is why I'm trying to think of ways to make myself stand out. I completed an online PGCE whilst already abroad, so my school teaching experience has just been international.
    British expat - Clovis is right - I'm looking for new horizons and career development rather than money at this point.
  8. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    I teach English too - in an international school in France. Feel free to send me a private message if you want to talk about France specifically. I'm guessing that your online PGCE did not confer QTS (correct me if I am wrong though!). Sadly, if so, there are a number of schools who will not consider you as they only accept qualified teachers...rightly or wrongly.
  9. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    Do they know if you have QTS abroad? A UK employer can check QTS status but I don't think overseas employers can check. how can you do a PGCE online by the way?
  10. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    I was going to teach EFL for a language school in Paris but they were only going to pay about 1700 Euros gross and no accommodation. After big French tax that would have taken a good 500 euros off and 500 minimum to rent a room leaving about 700 euros net. Their food is expensive too esp if you eat out a p lat du jour or something @ 15 to 20 euros. I hope your int school pay you more and give you free accommodation. I'd say 3000 euros a month is needed in France to save anything.
  11. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    Well, your doctorate can't hurt - 'Dr' is a lovely prefix on a CV, or on a school website! Hopefully it is subject-related? You may need a couple more years experience at the chalkface, though, for the well-established schools. I was offered a few jobs in Europe after teaching English in the UK for two years (with GCSE and A Level experience) at okay schools, but not the big league. Now, after a few more years under my belt and subject-leadership experience, I have been offered full time posts at some very good schools (phew!). QTS is a tricky one: as Angelii rightly points out. In Germany, if you want to work in the state schools, the country is federal so the requirements vary state by state; how they would see a PGCEi would be interesting (although their training tends to be very rigorous with a well-developed and length academic underpinning). For a while Bremen (which is a city state) was employing native-speaker, UK-trained teachers as language and literature specialists, but I haven't seen them advertise for a while. In terms of international schools, they may well not care if you can offer other things: get very involved with extra curricular events such as debating societies, develop online student resources (always looks good), get IB experience. If I was you, I would identify a handful of schools that you are very interested in, then send them a tailored, speculative missive explaining that you want to return to Europe, and what they would like to see you develop as a potential future candidate. It can't hurt and - you never know - you may get a nibble!
  12. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    You did this on my post too. Why do you think people want to go to Asia? Some people prefer Europe as it's more similar culturally to the likes of China or Korea, the languages are easier to learn and essentially it's closer to UK for trips back (e.g. for seeing ageing parents). Furthermore, TEFL is not that highly regarded in some countries in Asia, and look at the pollution in China! Who wants to live there? Not me. I'm not saying I'm not interested in Asia personally, just that there's no point pushing the "why not go to Asia" comments on people who might not want to go that far?

    Most people who do EFL in France do it because they genuinely want to live in France to experience the culture, language and/or country, unlike let's say you in Korea where you're probably there for the money. In other words if Korea offered rubbish money most people would be off like a shot whereas other countries like France can offer that money and still get the people. But, actually, while we mention that it's widely accepted that the golden days of TEFLing in Korea have gone, yes, it still offers good opportunities but if you go on TEFL forums you'll see people stating that Korea was a lot better 5 years ago.

    Furthermore, you're talking about EFL, not an international school. We cannot compare a proper international school salary and a TEFL one. Also, that poster never mentioned if it's Paris or somewhere else. Granted I imagine most big international schools will be based in or around Paris but we haven't been told where. It's like talking about London, it's a lot more expensive than the rest of the UK, just like in France Paris is considerably more expensive. Working in a medium sized city in France is not that expensive. And where are you getting 500 euros from? You've exaggerated the taxes on 1,700 euros a month by a considerable amount to suit your agenda.

    This is one example https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/education/study/pgcei/index.aspx
    sabrinakat and davidbowiefan like this.
  13. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    I said why does the OP want to leave Asia not go to Asia. TEFL is all over Asia what you talking about not highly regarded. I know what international school salaries are here as I have already checked them out and they're double what I'm currently earning. I will apply for a position once one comes up and seeing as I'm already here, I hope to get the position. The point I was making is why should TEFL teachers in Paris only get 1700 a month It's an expensive city to live in. Why don't they pay them a reasonable amount of money so they can afford to live there? It's terribly expensive Franc is what you talking about not that expensive? The only way to do TEFL in France is to go freelance where an hourly rate of 50 or even60 euros is not unheard of. 15 hours a week of that sort of rate and you're well ahead of an international teacher or at least on a par with the best paid ones. Trouble is setting up as a freelancer takes time and money. The OP is welcome to go to France if he wants but I doubt he'll be better off.
  14. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    Let’s not bury our heads in the sand, seriously. I’m sure you are like me and serious about teaching but the reality is that many people do TEFL for a couple of years, don’t take it that seriously, go home and get what they would label “a real job”. This can have a knock-on effect on the perception of foreign EFL teachers in that they have no real skills apart from their native tongue being English. If you don't agree, fine.


    I remember on a forum someone said he lied when asked about his job in Japan as he was ashamed to say he was an EFL teacher. I’m not saying I would ever in a million years lie about my job mind you as that's not my kind of thing, I’m just saying this guy did.

    I understand the point you were making but please let’s not exaggerate figures to make your point seem more valid by increasing tax rate by 50% of the actual amount. Tax in France indeed becomes ridiculous at 30% after a certain salary; however, before that it’s 14%. You said tax was 500euros on 1,700 when it’s not, it’s 238 euros.

    I agree TEFL salaries in Paris (and France in general) aren’t good at all, but let’s be honest, France (and Paris especially) for many people has an appeal and essentially companies are offering those salaries because they are getting people to take them. If Korean schools could offer this kind of French salary vs cost of living they would do. It’s basic economics. Someone once mentioned a sh*tscale for TEFL jobs, i.e. the better the place the worse the salary and vice versa. Like I have an interest in Nordic countries and if I could get a TEFL job in Sweden on a pretty meagre salary I’d take it, but wouldn’t do the same for let’s say Czech Republic.

    Have you actually lived in France?
    davidbowiefan likes this.
  15. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    No more than he has lived in any country about which he dispenses advice.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  16. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    Depends which school you're at. I am at an adult academy and the students pay good money for lessons 2 or 3 times a week. As for a "real job", what jobs are there that are real? Builders, plumbers and gas men are the only real jobs I can think of. Everything else is just bureaucratic in nature. That's why people do teaching. It's not bureaucratic. Yes, you have admin to do but the job itself is a satisfying one. That's why so many people are teachers I suppose. For the job satisfaction you can't get anywhere else. Teaching adults English is better than teaching a kid how to play 5 finger exercises on the piano. I've done my time doing all that. I'm actually a concert pianist by training but I don't practise much nowadays and so can't play as I once did. That was the best job in the world for me. Sadly, you have to earn money and so EFL is a way of making ends meet and maybe saving a bit. The American I am working with at the moment has been here for 8 years and he is an actor by training. Can't he get a job acting in America then?

    Yes I checked too. However let's not forget you have to pay for your own accommodation in France which is 500 euros or more per month in Paris for a room in a flat share. Just look on AirBnB if you don't believe me.

    No, but I have visited it several times, stayed in hostels there and eaten in restaurants.
  17. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    A hagwon?

    Regarding TEFLing the reason for some (not me) that it’s not deemed a real job is many people do it with next to no skills except for their native tongue; in other words native English speaker = EFL teacher and many of those people do it for a few years then go home. It’s a way of seeing the world have some fun then go home for people like that and they don't all take it seriously.

    So instead of just admitting you were wrong miscalculating tax by 50% you mention accommodation? In most TEFL jobs in HK, Japan, Singapore and basically most of Europe you need to also pay your own accommodation. Europe in general is worse for TEFLing but some people prefer it for several reasons.

    Like I have already told you Paris is like London and not representative of rental prices in the rest of the country. I'm not arguing that you can save big bucks in France btw but it can be reasonable for prices for certain things (I repeat France in general, NOT Paris ;))
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  18. Britishexpat

    Britishexpat New commenter

    Yep, a hagwon. There aren't many adult hagwons where I am and we're centrally situated and the hagwon has a good reputation. I'vr just come back from a Saturday social with some of the students. English rules pool followed by dinner at an indian restaurant. The students are great. Mainly university students or professional workers who need to improve their English skills. I just got paid this week actually so business is going ok at the moment. $30 tax. I couldn't believe it. That's why TEFL in France and Germany sucks and in Asia it doesn't ;)

    Only in Europe for certain employers can people teach EFL just being a native speaker with no formal qualifications. A well-known company beginning with B hire unqualified native speakers for their contracts in Europe for example. The rest of the world, you need a minimum of a BA degree or equivalent. Some countries require a CELTA as well, or at least they prefer them. You are correct about having to pay accommodation in HK, Japan and Singapore. That's why I'm not there rather in a neighbouring country where you DO get free accommodation.

    You won't get me tefling in Europe again. I did Italy for a month for that company beginning with B, got fired after 3 weeks as my lessons weren't at the "expected level", which is a load of codswallop as their lesson plans are already made. You just have to follow their lesson plans and teach the content in each unit. It simple. Where I am now, I have to plan my own lessons which is much better as I can't follow other people's lesson plans. They were rubbish plans anyway. all over the place teaching a bit of this and a bit of that during a unit. No consistency whatsoever. Anyway, to get back to what I was saying, the money these company's offer in Europe is rubbish. It's "just get by" money. The contract that I did for 3 weeks in Italy wasn't full time 12 months like they suggested it was when hiring me, they only pay you for work done, you don't get paid during the holidays, you pay your own accommodation, they taxed me a whopping 25%, and they have weeks off at the end of a course before starting another one which you don't get paid for either.

    As for me, I have my eye on a foreign school where I am which pays almost double what I am presently earning. Thanks but no thanks to TEFL in Europe anymore.
  19. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    I thought you might be a music teecher.

    For some reason they are easy to spot.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  20. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    Comedy genius.

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