“If you like teaching, Germany is a really satisfying and dynamic environment to work in,” said Dale Coulter, Chair of The English Language Teachers' Association Berlin-Brandenburg. “You have so much control over what you teach, what hours you want to work and what materials you're developing for your learners.”
“It’s a whole different environment from teaching in a state school where you have lots of syllabi to have to deliver. There's so much more freedom and dynamism in this industry.”
Deborah Cohen an American ex-pat who has been teaching English in Berlin since 1992 and now runs her own English and German Language school in Berlin, Sprachwerk, likes the flexibility that teaching English has provided.
“I could always develop my own materials. The first 14 years I was teaching English for the Abitur and there was no set curriculum,” she told The Local.
“It's important to find your own niche in that large market of English teaching in Germany and to try to find something that suits your own personality and skills,” she added.
Big Business equals Big Opportunities
Germany offers a myriad of English teaching opportunities, from working in a major language school like Berlitz or the Wall Street Institute to teaching children part-time in Kindergartens.
Coulter said: “If you want to get into professional English training or business English training, come to Germany. The country has so many big companies like Siemens, Mercedes and BMW and they all take English training very seriously.”
Aside from major companies, Germany is home to many international companies with staff in need of training. “Many of their departments are willing to pay serious money for English training,” he added.
It Pays to be Qualified
Coulter, who also runs the HR department of an English teaching agency, recommended prospective teachers be CELTA or TESL certified before they begin the job search.
“Make sure that the qualification course you do has an observed teaching practice unit. I don't even look at applications which don’t have an initial qualification of 120 hours,” he said.
And those coming from a specialized background can use that to their advantage when seeking lucrative full-time teaching positions with large businesses.
“If you've worked in finance or marketing, for example, that increases your employability and the chances of being taken on directly by a company as an in-house English trainer,” Coulter said.
He said that as a business English trainer in Berlin, one can expect to earn between €15 and €40 for teaching a 45 minute class.
“Full-time positions are like gold dust in Germany,” said the expert, while noting that most newcomers should expect to begin teaching on a freelance basis.
“Those who do land a full-time gig as an in house trainer can expect to earn a whole lot more, perhaps between €1,500 and €4,500 per month, with the latter figure representing those who are extremely qualified,” he said.
While Germany's capital is known for its opportunities in Kindergarten English teaching work, according to Coulter, finding well-paying jobs can be a challenge. “In Berlin, there are hundreds of potential teachers competing for the same jobs,” he said.
He advised looking to other big cities like Frankfurt or Munich, or smaller towns. “Research a small town, and if you know there's industry around there that’s brilliant because you might be one of the only trained language teachers in the area.”
By Sarah Hucal
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