ESL Jobs - ESL, EFL, TEFL, TESOL Teaching Jobs
  • FREE Weekly ESL Jobs
  • ESL, EFL, TESL, TEFL -- Get weekly updates of the Hottest New Jobs direct to your inbox as well as easily apply to new openings!
  • Enter your Email:

ESL Jobs Forum
"Where New and Seasoned ESL Professionals Come Together To Network . . . Share. Listen. Learn."

 FAQIndex    FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups      RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

With Regards to Getting "Paid" to Teach English

Post new topic   Reply to topic    ESL Jobs Forum Forum Index -> Open ESL Expert Discussion...
View previous topic :: View next topic  

Are You Being Paid Enough to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages?
Why yes, absolutely. It's a fair exchange!
 40%  [ 4 ]
Hmm, well I hear about other teachers getting paid better than me. Maybe I should get a raise!
 30%  [ 3 ]
You know, I could really care less. Easy come, easy go.
 0%  [ 0 ]
I know I don't get paid a lot but there are other benefits to this job.
 20%  [ 2 ]
I had no idea things would be this bad! This is practically slave-labor. Help!
 10%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 10

Author Message
Lee Hobbs
Site Admin

Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 141
Location: TheGulfCoast

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:37 am    Post subject: With Regards to Getting "Paid" to Teach English Reply with quote

Teaching Veterans,

There is a really heated discussion going on lately regarding the terms of pay for the TEFL / TESL occupation right now. For example, How much is too little? Should there be a teachers' union to guarantee fair treatment when overseas? Should the pay for teachers be performance based, i.e. based on results? Should this mostly be volunteer work for the poor and underdeveloped? And so forth!

From the ESL-School blog:

Patricia Dean wrote:
. . . I have seldom met an ESL teacher who believed his or her pay was adequate. Yet you probably need to have run your own language to school to understand just how tight the financial situation usually is . . .

From the ESL-Lesson-Plan web log:

Michelle wrote:
. . . If you're like many teachers, you simply accept the salary that a school is offering, and then promise yourself that next year, you'll ask for a raise, or look for a position that pays better . . .

From [the] English-Blog [.com]:

Michael wrote:
. . . So are salaries too low? No. Because the truth is that a great many ESL teachers here from foreign countries are untrained and are poor teachers. They are basically migrant workers, unskilled . . .


Mark wrote:
. . . [in Taiwan] I have a couple of former co-workers who, after about 5 years of teaching at the same school, are earning in excess of $10,000USD a month . . .

Folks, these opinions go on and on; there's just far to many to make a blockquote for them all.

To see what they're saying and join the debate, the best thing to do is to go right to the entry HERE.

Let's see what our faithful ESL-Jobs-Forum commenters here have to contribute to this dialogue.

See you there!



Lee's blog is still available, however, here:
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Guy Courchesne

Joined: 05 Jun 2004
Posts: 263
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are too many different types of teaching situations out there to properly answer this question. For those with the right qualifications and an affinity for desert heat, you can earn quite well in the Middle East.

Those who start in lower paid markets, like parts of Asia or Latin America, would have to either continue to upgrade their education or put in a lot of time at the bottom rungs before opportunity for good money comes in.

The 'backpacking' class, and I don't say that derisively, is caught in a bit of a revolving door situation. High turnover because of low pay or high turnover because the backpack doesn't like sitting unused in the closet?

I'm tempted to say supply and demand is the invisible hand behind low pay, but then you look at a place like China that has continual high demand but low wages and it doesn't make sense. Maybe we just expect too much if we come from the richer countries.

Input here on the Euro market would be welcome.
Life is a verb, not a noun - Now Bloggin' and Working Hard
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 15
Location: INDIA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:17 pm    Post subject: Your students make the difference Reply with quote

I have turned down continuing at a job in Saudi for $5800/month for a job in Russia for $600. Russia was much more fun. Also, the absolute BEST job I have ever had was in Kazakhstan for $300/month.

AT present, i need CASH and I'm going back to Saudi. It's what's important to you at that time in your life. If you want good students and a good time, take the low pay. But, if you need cash, take the heat.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 4:04 pm    Post subject: Unions and the World Social Forum Reply with quote

This matter is a multi-headed monster.

I for one think we need an international body that negotiates with countries on a global level.

I've been thinking about this ever since I got into ESL. My first overseas job was with a really bad - and I mean REALLY BAD - British summer school. So bad, the accomodations flunked the British Council inspection while the teachers were applauded for being able to live in the bad situation and deliver such high quality lessons.

The DOS at that school was fantastic!

That was followed - thankfully - by a great experience with an adults only immersion style school in Cambridge.

Then I came to Hungary and started to experience abuse and exploitation of native speaker teachers in a way that drove me out of the schools into working independently. This had not been my ambition when I got into ESL. I had hoped to enter into a new career where there would be collaboration with colleagues, the sharing of ideas, and opprtunities for professional growth and development.

In Canada, I had had good experiences with the schools I worked with. I felt valued and respected, and treated with respect.

I started my career in Budapest working for no less than 7 schools simultaneusly and left one after another. At one interview early in the game, the woman who interviewed told me that there used to be alot of native speaker teachers in Hungary but they had all left and she didn't know why...


When I discussed the situation with other native speaker teachers who had set up their own schools here, I found a general malaise.

One of the things I found most demoralising when working for schools was that I was always being asked to 'pay my dues' over and over - as if I were perpetually 20 years old and fresh out of school. My life experience and maturity seemed of little value in that regard, yet when I was in the teaching situation, those were the things my students valued most about me.


Is it a wonder I eventually gave up on all the schools?

But there are a myriad of problems that an independent teacher encounters as well....

I believe we need some kind of global body that will standardize accreditation, and negotiate with countries to recognise an accredited native speaker as a type of global citizen, and thereby permit that person to work in signed countries and pay taxes in their home, or 'native' country.

If large multi-national corporations - who benefit from the language skills we develop in the individuals they eventually hire - can have a kind of global citizen status - we should be able to as well.

I invite you to consider the words of that great linguist Noam Chomsky.

From "Fight the Power" interviewed by Ian Rappel, in the Socialist Review, July, 2005:

There is a technical meaning of globalisation. It means international integration. This can take all sorts of forms. In fact, if we use globalisation in this neutral technical sense of international integration, then the leading proponents of globalisation historically have been the workersí movements and the labour movement. Thatís why every union is called an International. Of course they arenít Internationals but thatís what they strove to be. There were several failed attempts to develop Internationals through history, but the idea of international integration at the level of people - thatís the ideal of the left and the workersí movements from their origin.

Interestingly now, for the first time in years, there are actual seeds of what could be the first meaningful globalisation in history - namely the World Social Forum and its regional and local offshoots, and the various local and regional movements that partially integrate themselves in that framework - I mean, thatís real globalisation. It brings together people from many different countries, mostly the South, where most of the activism and vitality is, but increasingly the North as well - working people, environmentalists, feminists, the anti-war movement - a wide range of interests and a broad variety of people.

Another person who is putting forward related ideas is Canadian politician Lloyd Axworthy. I recently heard him speak in Hungary and one of the things he touched on in his talk "The Responsibility to Protect" was the kind of citzenless status that migrant people arrive at, and the need to protect their rights in an increasingly globalised world. This citizenless status is in many ways what happens to the most migrant of native speaker English teachers.

What do you think about organising to present our case at the next World Social Forum which will be held January, 2006 in India.
Look at some art
Read some poetry
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Scooby *Scott* Doo

Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the teachers need to take more stake in letting the language school owners make money. We need to get off this thing about "money is your problem; you collect it from the students and just pay my salary, I'll teach". Granted personally, I could never do that; I hate talking about money, but the reality is, most language school owners need that money to come in, or they will go bye bye, and not pay you. The teachers are the authorities for the students, and they will listen. We are in a commercial world and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. We can still enjoy poetry and what not.
Hey Scrappy, quit bitin' my leg, ya' runt...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 23
Location: Not of this world

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:54 am    Post subject: For ESL Teachers Who Do This Just For Kicks Reply with quote

Scooby *Scott* Doo wrote:
. . . We need to get off this thing about "money is your problem . . .

Snoop doggy-dog? Git yo'self a jobby-job (now gimee five dollah).

What in the god-awful heck are they puttin in your kibbles-n-bits man? Dogs can't eat cat-nip, bro don'tchu know that?

Money ain't no problem for you? Well, la-dee-da. While the rest of us are eating' ole rotting kim-chee out of decrepit rain-barrels? What kind of ESL program are you teaching for anyway holmes, one of them kind that gives free ESL lessons in exchange for religious propaganda first? I bet you got a badge that says "elder scoob."

Ok, ya'll ESL union organizers. I put non-membership status for scooby on the table. You gonna bust up our picket line?


"You might be a redneck if you spent more money on your pickup truck than on your education." --Joe Foxworthy.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 46
Location: China / Chile

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:53 pm    Post subject: Salary Package In China Reply with quote

I get a salary package at a university in
China, which includes the following:

* A good local monthly salary,
* Free accommodation,
* Annual return international flights,
* Free computer & internet access,
* Visa & residence permit arranged,
* Medical treatment,
* Cheap meals on-campus, &
* Domestic travel allowance in China.

I can not complain at all. It is a pretty
sweet life working for the government.
Si hoc legere scis, nimium erudtionis habes
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 81
Location: Southeast Asia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a salary is an individual matter between the teacher and the employer that depends, as Guy points out, on numerous factors. Are you teaching at a private kindergarten, refugees for an NGO or at a government university?

I don't think an international union or even unions at the national level would be beneficial or practical. Nor do I think that they are necessary. I think that most teachers prefer to be a free agent in a free market. And most countries have labor laws in place to protect workers to some degree, including foreign workers. One just needs to research them.

I do think that schools and governments in most countries need to rethink their approach to EFL teachers and generally improve pay and conditions or face a growing shortage of experienced native-English speaking teachers.

Unfortunately many school owners/administrators and government officials don't seem to understand simple cause and effect as illustrated by these two quotes from above:

At one interview early in the game, the woman who interviewed told me that there used to be alot of native speaker teachers in Hungary but they had all left and she didn't know why...


I'm tempted to say supply and demand is the invisible hand behind low pay, but then you look at a place like China that has continual high demand but low wages and it doesn't make sense.

It doesn't make sense and this seems to be obvious to us, but those on the other end don't seem to get it. Reminds me of the phrase 'conspiracy of dunces"... Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    ESL Jobs Forum Forum Index -> Open ESL Expert Discussion... All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Protected by Anti-Spam ACP

Contact Us | About Us | ESL Jobs Newsletter | ESL Lesson Plan | ESL Online