Every now and then I get asked by a prospective TEFL’er to be, to offer my opinions on Teachers Latin America, with whom I took my course back in 2005. Seems such a long time ago now. There’s always one burning question….how much money can be had? I guess motives range. Some want to know how much they can save up. Some want to know just how royally they’ll live. But the vast majority are just concerned about whether they’ll be earning enough to survive. The former two are in for a disappointment, the latter hasn’t too much to worry about really.
It’s often a taboo to reveal earnings, but I’m not earning enough to be considered a bit of a brag! So for the sake of answering the most asked question in the TEFL world, and perhaps the most important for many – "how much can a TEFL’er earn" I will today reveal my figures!
I’ve been using Zoho’s online spreadsheet which is incorporated into my Facebook as an app. Very handy, and in conjuction with a Facebook Calender app, I have all my facts and figures to hand wherever there is a PC switched onto the web. I have all the important info logged in, so I can see not just how many hours I’m working, but how many cancellations I get, how much I travel, what my hourly rate including travel is. I do Business English, so cancellations and travel time are big factors that don’t need to be given so much consideration if you’re working in a school. The chart above is for the monthly totals – I have a seperate sheet for individual classes etc. If I actually manage to take home MXN$17,000 in October it will be my best month yet – but you can write off at least a couple of thousand pesos in cancellations. Classes come and classes go – some students have good intentions but little time, so after about 3 months they’ll ‘postpone’ the class for a while – you can usually safely take a postponement as a terminal cancellation! But I have a core of long term classes that makes up about 60% of my income. Another important factor of course, are expenses. Rent will be about $2,000 to $3,500 a month. Maybe you can get bills thrown into that. Gas costs a couple of hundred pesos a month, electricity the same. Water is almost free! 100 pesos should see your Telcel mobile through a month unless you have serious chat problems. Fresh fruit, chicken and vegetables are cheap too. I spent 160 pesos today and came home with three carrier bags stuffed to bursting with a chicken, mangos, lettuce, apples et al. It’s when you start looking at electronics, which will cost substantially more thain in the US and UK, and flights that you start to feel poor!