Sunday 15 March 2015

The TEFL Teacher Salary Myth

Everyone knows that things aren't what they used to be. Before any backpacker could waltz into a school and get a TEFL job. The salary was decent and you didn't have to teach too many hours. They often provided housing, a visa, and flights. The only requirement was that you were a native speaker, or looked like one. Nowadays schools are asking for more: a masters, TEFL cert, experience, a clean background check, publications, presentations, discrimination like lookism and ageism (too old or too young) also comes into play, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, while they're requiring more from teachers, they're not offering more in return.

I recently wrote about what the situation was like in Korea. The problem is that it's an employers' market. There are just way too many qualified teachers out there fighting for a position and salaries are suffering. 

Schools may try to trick you by telling you an old exchange rate or saying that local teachers only make X amount. Do your own research. Don't believe the exchange rate they tell you. Comparing local teachers to foreign teachers isn't a valid argument.

Some people will tell you that TEFL teachers are foreign guests, but this isn't true. We're not guests. We work for our money. No one cleans my room for me or cooks my meals. Other people will say that we're indentured servants which is also not true. We're free to leave at any moment. The truth is that we're employees. However, that doesn't mean that schools should take advantage of us. There are good schools that pay high salaries. You just have to look for the hidden gems.


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