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Long term career prospects

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  • Participant
    3 March, 2009 at 3:25
    • Total posts: 5

    I’m currently saving up to do a CELTA before getting my first job in teaching. I accept all of the usual points. I’m not doing it for the money. I’ll be on a good wage in the country I live in. It’s all relative, etc etc. But what about the more boring sensible things? I mean you can’t take the attitude of "I’m doing it for the lifestyle, not the money" for more than a few years in reality.

    There have to be some career teachers on here. What happens when you refrain from being a single 20-something bloke with no responsibilities outside himself? What happens when you have a family to support? Or you realise you need to be sensible and contribute to a pension? Or you want a proper house or a car? How can you save for your retirement in the UK or USA, when you’re working in a country where even your full wage would be a terrible pension back home? Is that the end of your EFL career? Do you have to do a masters? Does having a masters even increase your earning power significantly? Do you have to move to Western Europe so your wages are in line with back home and you can start saving for your future? Do you have to go into training other teachers instead?

    If you’re a middle-aged or older teacher, are you getting paid significantly more than someone with a couple of years experience? Because I’ve been researching this for a while now, and I’m still not absolutely clear as to how this can be something other than a short-term thing, after which you have to get a "proper job."

    If anyone would like to share experiences, I’d appreciate it.

    dan
    Moderator
    7 March, 2009 at 16:48
    • Total posts: 589

    Reply To: Long term career prospects

    I mean you can’t take the attitude of "I’m doing it for the lifestyle, not the money" for more than a few years in reality. There have to be some career teachers on here. What happens when you refrain from being a single 20-something bloke with no responsibilities outside himself?

    When you reach this day of reckoning, as most teachers do after a few years, I think it basically comes down to three main options:

    1. Change careers entirely.

    This is the path that a lot of teachers take, for just the reasons that you list.

    2. Accept life on a teacher’s salary and keep on going.

    I know many teachers who have chosen this path, in many different countries. Some are happy with the situation, others aren’t. Some are financially secure, others aren’t. Some have spouses whose salary compensates for their low teacher salary. Others are content to live well locally and never return to the UK/USA etc and the worry of pensions. In some countries and schools the pay is much better than in others. A job with the British Council, for example, usually comes with a decent salary, pension contributions, relocation allowance, etc etc.

    3. Get further into the profession.

    A further qualification such as the DELTA is one way forward. This opens doors to promotions and different avenues such as teacher training. This doesn’t automatically mean a huge pay rise though – in several places where I’ve worked, a Director of Studies level job pays only marginally more than a teaching position.

    To answer some of your other questions directly:

    Do you have to move to Western Europe so your wages are in line with back home and you can start saving for your future?

    Wages may not be in line with back home – teaching salaries in Western Europe are not usually great.

    If you’re a middle-aged or older teacher, are you getting paid significantly more than someone with a couple of years experience?

    No.

    Because I’ve been researching this for a while now, and I’m still not absolutely clear as to how this can be something other than a short-term thing, after which you have to get a "proper job."

    You’re never going to be rich as a TEFL teacher, or even as a Director of Studies or teacher trainer. There are ways to be comfortable financially that I’ve touched on above, but it’ll really come down to your personal choice in a few years time – how much do you want to carry on teaching? How big a house do you want? Do you want a new car or is a used one okay? Does your partner earn enough to support your children? Do you want to ever go back to the UK? …and so on…

    Hope that helps…

    Dan

    Participant
    14 March, 2009 at 4:56
    • Total posts: 5

    Reply To: Long term career prospects

    Thanks for that, it’s really useful. I think what I was getting at is can you at least get to the situation that a normal school teacher would be in in your home country? I guess the answer is no with a few exceptions.

    I think I’ll give it a few years and then assess the situation, and while I do it, take advantage of exotic locations to build up the portfolio and save the money that will get me into the only other industry that’s even more unstable than English teaching: filmmaking. :D My mother will be so happy.

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