Sunday 11 December 2011

Hot Topic: Slave Wages in TEFL

Unfortunately since it's pretty easy to get a job teaching English these days, employers are at an advantage and can pay teacher very little. With promises of a low cost of living they often lure teachers into working for slave wages.

When you work out how much a TEFL teacher gets per hour and take into account that it's not only teaching, but also lesson planning, and going to meetings, it's often less than you'd get if you'd work at McDonald's. Though, at McDonald's at least you'd get benefits.

Employers complain that the teachers aren't working hard enough, don't show up on time, or don't dress appropriately.  I'm not sure what employers expect: after all, you get what you pay for.

TEFL teachers don't help the problem either by not taking their job seriously. One month intensive TEFL courses are good, but they just provide the basic foundation a teacher needs to teach ESL or EFL. Teachers need to do more. Researching on their own, further study towards a teaching diploma or masters degree, attending conferences, and talking with other teachers.

It's a two way street. If teachers want to get more recognition, higher pay and better benefits, then they need to put more effort into teaching. If employers want serious teachers, then they need to pay them more.

What do you think?
Are salaries way to low in the TEFL industry even when you take cost of living into account?  Or do you think TEFL teachers are getting what they deserve?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.



  1. I think the wages in TEFL are rather poor for the amount of work we put in. I have to do extra business hours in the morning to make a decent wage, but even then I'm struggling to save money. But then again, I don't do TEFL for the money, or that's what I try to tell myself when the alarm goes at 6.20am and the last class ends at 10pm...

  2. While I don't do TEFL for the money, it would be nice to get what we deserve. Don't forget about retirement either. If you're only able to save $100 a month, retirement will pretty much be impossible.

  3. Yeah, that's true. I got married last year and managed to save about 5,000 euros in a year. It was a hard slog. I do worry about retirement though...guess the only option is to open an academy...

  4. Not sure where you are, but in Korea I saved about double, supported my husband, had a baby, and took three intl vacations :)

    I've been told the Gulf is where to be and I'm trying to get over there.

    Opening your own place isn't the only way to go, there's always winning the lottery!


Spammers need not waste their time: all comments are moderated.

Privacy Policy and FTC Disclosure

Please read TEFL Tips' Privacy Policy and FTC Disclosure.
Google Analytics Alternative Google Analytics Alternative