Travel & Teach - Germany
There is a strong demand in Germany for learning English, so if you are interested in teaching general and business English to adults, Germany is the place to go. There is already a high standard of language teaching in the state sector so that few children need to study privately.
But the German government gives incentives to companies to invest in training their work force and while many may opt for computer training, others offer courses in English, which means there are many well paid positions in the business and commercial sector for EFL teachers.
As you may expect in Germany, the pay is good and the standard of living is high. However, the competition for jobs is fairly strong. Learning from a native speaker is not as highly prized as it is elsewhere and there is a well-established trend amongst German learners of travelling abroad for native speaker exposure. There is also a network of qualified and experienced local teachers with an excellent command of English.
If you wish to teach more of a ‘mixed bag’ (and do not mind being paid less) you may want to try the eastern cities where a whole host of new agencies and schools have appeared in recent years to meet the demand. Otherwise, if you are applying form the UK, are under 30 and are a graduate or undergraduate, you can try the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges who help to arrange placements as classroom assistants at German secondary schools.
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Germany: http://www.britishcouncil.de/
German Embassy UK: http://www.germanembassy.co.uk/index.htm
German Embassy USA: http://www.germany-info.org/relaunch/index.html
German National Tourist Office: www.germany-tourism.de
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Cosmopolitan Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city. Filled with many parks and trees and very diverse in culture, Hamburg is an excellent place to consider living. Being a port city, the shipping industry has attracted many nationalities, including English. By looking at the website of your consulate, you are sure to find many activities within the English speaking community, which can all help you settle in.
Admittedly, unemployment is Germany’s biggest problem to date but the need for English in jobs is growing and with it the demand for learning the language. Plenty of English language schools are dotted around central Hamburg. This is probably the best place to start in the search for a job as many Volkshochschulen and other schools require quite some experience. Classes are probably crowded and the will to learn English is probably not so great. However the language schools have many advantages. The classes are much smaller and therefore perfect for a first job, especially if you aren’t so confident. They also require native speakers, whereas in the schools, qualified Germans might be also applying for the job. By looking at the individual websites, you should be able to see the latest job offers. Vacancies aren’t to be found in newspapers here very often and probably not so much abroad either. You can use www.gelbeseiten.de to find out the names of the schools first.
I have been working for a short time now at Wall Street Institute. It is my first teaching job and I am thoroughly enjoying it. The team I work with are very laid back and supportive yet very professional. It’s a pleasure to be able to work in a predominantly English speaking environment. The lessons are, in most cases if not all, already prepared, which saves you a lot of time and planning.
Wall Street is a very successful institute, with many schools worldwide. It attracts mainly working adults but there are also teenagers enrolled in the courses. I teach everyday English mostly, but business English is also available. English is learnt through individual work with a CD Rom, working from a text book, and lessons with the teacher. Communication classes are also widely offered in order to focus on speaking and fluency.
You are more likely to find work if you look at the bigger cities. Your chance is also greater if you are flexible about where you want to go. The language schools should offer some training first so you can get used to the new environment without feeling that you have been thrown in at the deep end.
To those of you considering teaching in Germany, I can only say give it a go. Germany is situated at the heart of central Europe, great for travelling. Depending on where you are, you can reach countries like Belgium, France, Holland, Austria, Switzerland or Czechoslovakia in only a few hours drive. Germany itself is very cultural, hosting festivals like the October Festival in Munich or the Love Parade in Berlin and a host of Trade Exhibitions. Towns like Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Koblenz, and areas like the Harz, Bavaria and the Black Forest, offer great sightseeing.
As for me I've been in Germany since 1987 and to date haven't considered returning to the UK. I now live near Cologne. I've had about 1.5 years teaching experience, teaching part-time, on a free-lance basis, at a private English language school just south of Frankfurt. At the time of starting I hadn't had any teaching experience at all. I was given a crash course by the owner and thrown in at the deep end! I taught elementary, pre-intermediate and intermediate adult students. Most of the students required English for their jobs. Towards the end I ran weekend seminars for Meetings/Negotiating and Telephoning. I stopped after 1.5 years because it began interfering with my main job which was the source of my main income at the time.
I found teaching very rewarding and very enjoyable and had great fun with my students at the time. I have recently done the a TESOL course with Business with Global English in order to go back into teaching English because it has been the most rewarding job that I have ever done.
What to expect? There are loads of English schools scattered all around Germany, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a job. It's just a question of targeting a number of schools and getting your CV sent off to them. Most schools have business students, so be prepared to teach business English. Some schools just concentrate on teaching children. You will find that most lessons are of 1.5 hours duration, some starting as early as 7 am. You will be required to teach groups within company locations, so be prepared to travel a little bit. (You will find that most classes have up to a maximum of 4 students.) A good school will provide you with a company car for these lessons. There is usually a lull in the teaching day from around 11 am to around 4 pm after which lessons start again going on until around 9 or 10 pm. I think the average teacher will have about a 22 - 25 hour week. Most schools will employ you only on a freelance basis to keep costs low. Very few schools will employ you on a fixed salary. Very few schools are open on Saturdays.
You will find most of your students keen and eager to learn. Get to know your students before you start having a laugh and a joke! The German mentality is different to ours. I found many Germans very serious and sensitive at first. They don't understand sarcasm and our sense of humour the way we do! But don't worry - once you've broken the ice and they gain confidence in you, you'll have bags of fun.
A few tips:
If you choose a big town to work in you'll have lots of fun in Germany. Most big towns like Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt are very multi-cultural, you'll meet many Brits, Americans and Australians, also from the teaching profession. You will no doubt find that you have a lot in common and have a good laugh. You could even ring up the British Embassy to find out where your nearest Overseas or English Club is. You may laugh, but it's the best way to meet people and feel at home.
The cheapest offers at the moment are Easy Jet, London to Cologne/Bonn or Ryan Air which flies to just outside of Frankfurt to an airport called Frankfurt-Haan. Obviously if you need to get to Munich or Stuttgart for example, you will need a different carrier.
Finding companies: If you haven't got local German paper, look in the German Yellow Pages you will find so many companies you can contact.
where it says "Was/wen suchen Sie?" - type in sprachenunterricht
where it says "Wo suchen sie? - type in the town of your choice e.g. Frankfurt
then click onto 'suche starten' to start your search.
Just wanted to let you know that having a certificate has been a big boost for me.
Apart from freelancing for language schools, I now teach one course a week in Business Studies at the Technical University in Braunschweig where I live. It's a new challenge for me as the classes are bigger (20 students) than what I have been used to (up to eight) until now and I am not familiar with the syllabus. However, there are some basics that apply to all classes, I guess, such as how to bring out the quiet ones, making students work in groups, getting them participate, etc.
I am always referring or telling friends about the Global English course when I am asked how I got into teaching Business English. Without a qualification from you, I'd be lost.
I am a year 12 student in Australia at the moment and I have just returned from a 3 month exchange to Germany. I absolutely loved it and I'm looking to go back as soon as I possibly can.
I'm interested in teaching English in Germany but I have a few problems. Is it easy enough to get a full-time job with little teaching experience but a TEFL degree? Or a bachelor of Arts degree? Also, how easy is it to get to a school in a small town?
How does everybody cope with not being with their families? I find this challenging, to think that I might not see my family for a couple years or so. I am really interested in studying German at university, but I don't know of any jobs at the end of a bachelor or Arts course. Any suggestions?
Hello Kelsey - a TEFL degree is not usually required but a TEFL certificate is - you can do your TESOL training online with us, for example from anywhere in the world: http://www.global-english.com/courses/-tesol-training-tefl-training-tefl-courses-accredited-tesol-tefl. There may be an issue with your age if you are trying to get work before your degree (although you may be able to freelance if you are there) and many of the positions with private language schools offer you work on a freelance basis rather than employ you direct but as you can see from above, teachers can make it work. Hope this helps
Travel and Teach
Although advertisements for German EFL positions do sometimes appear in the Guardian on Tuesdays, the Times Educational Supplement on Fridays and the EL Gazette (all UK), German employers will normally want to see you before offering any form of contract. This obviously favours the teacher who is prepared to travel and apply for jobs on spec. The nature of the EFL market place in Germany also means that employers generally favour commercial experience over academic credentials alone. It is strongly recommended that you take the Global English Level 2 TESOL with business as this will open up more opportunities. Although you are unlikely to be teaching beginners, some knowledge of German will help your application, as will a driving licence. At interview, it is imperative that you ‘dress for business’ and ensure you have a professionally prepared and presented CV that highlights your contact, however minimal, with the commercial world. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here.
If arriving on spec, try the Yellow pages in the big cities and the British Council offices. Also see the advice of one of our former students in the Student Comments section.
The school term starts in September/October. However, Germany is unusual in that courses start all year round due to the predominance of business English. Outside of the private sector, you may want to try teaching at one of the adult education and community colleges (Volkshochschule), although you will normally need to have some teaching experience in order to do this. EU country residents are able to work in Germany without too much difficulty. There is still a fair amount of bureaucracy involved with working legally in Germany, which begins with registering with the local authority for an ID card. This should be done upon arrival or as soon as possible thereafter.
Many teachers do not have a contract that guarantees a fixed number of hours per week. Instead, they work freelance for a variety of schools with the teaching day fitted in around business hours. For many this means teaching mornings and evening with big gaps in between. However it can be lucrative with some teachers earning up to €40 per hour.
Some freelance teachers advertise for private students but such work can be difficult to arrange unless you are established locally. You can expect to pay a good proportion of your salary in tax but bear in mind that you’ll need to sort this out yourself if you are working freelance. If you have been working in Germany for under two years you may be able to claim tax back.