Posted on July 3, 2019 | By Alexa Randell
All Things TEFL
29th May 2019
“You’ll never be rich Teaching English as a Foreign Language”.
Throughout your TEFL career, you may hear this quote being said by many teachers and managers working in the ESL industry. In lots of cases, this belief comes from the idea that having the privilege of living and working in a foreign country comes with the sacrifice of never earning well.
Alternatively, teachers may compare their teaching wage to the salary they could earn at home. However, it’s important to note that although the wage you earn as a TEFL teacher may be less than what you could earn in your home country in some cases, it could be a very generous salary in the country that you’re working. In fact, you may well be able to live a very comfortable lifestyle and put away some money into savings too!
So, when researching countries to teach in and their salaries, always take into consideration the cost of living. In this blog, we’re going to explore the top places to earn more and the top activities to do outside of your main job to make some extra cash.
Choose a teaching location that pays well
Hong Kong has one of the highest monthly wages in the ESL industry, where you can earn up to $7,400 a month. The ESL job market is quite competitive, and you’ll be expected to have good qualifications, incredible English, and teaching experience. Though if you have all these, you will come across excellent job opportunities, long term contracts and great benefits.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
With an average wage of between $2,400 to $5,500 per month, teaching in the United Arab Emirates has become one of the most attractive places to Teach English as a Foreign Language. Salaries also tend to be tax free and teachers often receive added benefits such as housing and health insurance.
Teachers in Saudi Arabia can expect to earn a tax-free salary of between $3,000 to $4,500 per month depending on their qualifications and experience. In addition to your wage, it’s usual to receive flights, accommodation (or an accommodation allowance), health insurance and a contract completion bonus. With the added incentive that living costs are quite low here, you can save quite well as a teacher here.
Like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, teaching in Kuwait is also tax free with an average monthly wage of $2,600 to $4,000 per month. Contracts also usually include return flights, accommodation and health insurance.
Consider other ways of making money as an English teacher abroad
As many teaching contracts in the majority of countries have a maximum of 24 hours teaching time, a lot of teachers substitute their wage by doing different things in the industry. Have a look below to find some ways to boost your monthly income.
Some teachers deliver private classes in their free time. With teaching privately, you can set your own hourly rate, choose your own hours and deliver classes from your preferred location, be it from your own home, the student’s home or in a neutral place, such as a café.
In the same way as teaching private classes, you can top up your wage by teaching online. The added bonus to teaching online is that you can widen your market as you’re able to deliver classes to students in any location. In addition, you are able to do all this from the comfort of your home, still wearing your slippers!
In the countries where learning English is becoming increasingly popular, you’ll normally find students taking English exams in order to gain a certificate by a reputable examination body. Companies such as Cambridge, Trinity, IELTS and TOEFL provide the most prestigious certificates in English as a Foreign Language and therefore hold regular exams throughout the year. As a result, they are always looking for invigilators to help the exams run smoothly. It may be possible that you have to attend a couple of training days to become an invigilator, but in return, the job normally pays a good hourly rate. Being an invigilator, you can expect to help set up the exam room, follow a given seating plan, check candidates’ IDs, handout and collect pencils and examination papers, and most importantly, make sure the candidates are not talking or cheating!
Once you have gained a few years’ experience teaching English, you can apply to become an oral examiner. Sometimes it can be tricky to get into and is easier if you work for a school that is also an accredited examination centre. However, if you can get into to it, the hourly rate is very good. You’ll be expected to attend certification training each year for each level you examine for.
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