TEFL Tips – Expectations

I’ve posted this sort of info before, but it was a while ago, and worth expanding on. I’ve posted a few tips to give an idea of what is involved in being a TEFL teacher, but this one is a key one for Business English teachers! How much work, how much pay? Expectations are often higher than reality. Obviously if you choose to work in a school, this won’t apply quite so much. But for a teacher who chooses to go from company to company plying his or her trade, it can take a while to build up a full set of classes, and even longer before you build up a full set near your home at a rate of pay that you (learn to!) like. I got there after about 18 months I guess. I could have gotten there earlier, but I was largely happy bumbling along. A few hard facts though – when you start out, you’ll have to take any job you can get. Right now I’m not interested in travelling anywhere that’s more than 30 minutes from home, for anything less than 180 pesos an hour. Preferably 200 pesos or more. When I started (and if my circumstances change tomorrow…) I took jobs that involved travelling 2 hours there, 90 minutes of class and 2 hours back – for 90 pesos an hour. I think most jobs should pay 120 pesos an hour now though. But that was hard work. Having so much time taken up in travelling also meant I could only do the one class in the evening. You’ve also got to accept that your classes are going to mean early mornings (7am to 9am) and fairly late evenings (5pm to 8pm). So no, it doesn’t always help you keep an active weekday social life!

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I keep an office document which calculates a load of data regards my work and pay, and fills out a monthly chart for me. If you want to know what is possible, with a little time, a little networking, and a little luck, here it is. January was pretty good for me, considering I has no classes at all for the first week. A total of 68 hours earned me 11,409 pesos – an hourly rate of 168 pesos. That hourly rate is a little low this month, because I have 2 classes I don’t charge so much for. They had no cancellations, the high payers had plenty! I lost about 20% of my earnings to cancellations and spent 118 hours travelling.

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