No, this isn’t a blog about Frank Zappa. Or Supergrass. This entry is about how TEFL can make you money. TEFL isn’t an industry that will make you a millionaire, but in these times of financial hardship, it’s a comfortable earner. So, how are you going to get the green stuff?
Where to go
First of all, look at the basic salary for teachers of English in various countries.
Korea – 2,000,000 Won (around 1000GBP currently)
Taiwan – 50,000 NT$ (around 1000GBP currently)
China – 7000 RMB (around 700GBP currently)
Japan – 250,000 Yen (around 1500GBP currently)
Mexico – 8000 Pesos (around 400GBP currently)
Saudi Arabia – 6000 SAR (around 1000GBP currently)
These salaries are typical, and it’s important to note that there is a lot of variation within countries and regions. Also, the exchange rate can be deceptive and varies massively so read with caution.
It’s easy to see the most money can be made in Asia and the Middle East, especially when you consider that these countries have a lower cost of living than many European countries. South Korea is particularly well known for high salaries and low expenses. Meanwhile, some Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have no income tax so what you earn is what you take home.
Your basic salary in most countries as a teacher will have you living comfortably, possibly with some money to spare, but the big bucks come through supplementing your teaching with private lessons. I’m going to insert a caveat right here: this is either illegal or frowned upon by some employers in some countries, so check your visa and your work contract before teaching privately. Don’t go getting thrown out of the country, or worse, in prison.
One way to teach privately is by using online methods. Some teachers use Skype to teach English to students living in other areas. Networking is another way to increase your number of private lessons. Advertise yourself as a teacher, and the demand for English skills will soon bring you some students.
Training in order to specialize in a certain area of English teaching, such as business English, or English for young learners, is another way to increase your marketability and possibly your salary. Certainly, if you have studied an MA or PhD in TEFL or a related subject your starting salary will be higher than that of less-qualified candidates.
So pack your bags for Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Korea or Taiwan, get set up as a teacher, and let the money roll in.