Are you interested in teaching English abroad? Are you considering teaching English in Germany? If so, you may find the path ahead of you surprisingly easy!
Germany, with tight business connections to the Western world and a large amount of well-educated citizens and available universities, can always use English teachers. A high value is placed on native-speaking English teachers, particularly those from the United States and England. And unlike some other countries, where the red tape involved in getting a teaching job is almost too much to deal with, becoming a teacher in Germany is fairly straightforward and simple. You don't have to worry about getting sponsored for a visa or working illegally. All you really have to do is find a job... and even that is far from difficult.
In order to be qualified to teach English in Germany, you must be a native English speaker and hold certification in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). If you have those two requirements under your belt, and you are aware that you'll be living in Germany for at least a year, you're ready to begin your job search.
Some people suggest that it's easiest to find teaching jobs in the smaller cities in Germany. If you're looking in a large metropolis, it's going to be more difficult to find schools that need your help- not to mention more expensive to live once you're hired. Regardless of what city you choose, your first step is to contact schools in the area by letter or in person, and inquire about available jobs.
Once you have received a job offer, your best bet is to get it in writing and then head to the local registration office. They will be able to supply you with a three-month visa while the rest of the paperwork is organized. If you are from the United States or England, all you need in order to work legally in Germany is a residency permit. In order to obtain this you will have to have proof of employment, health insurance, and proof of payment into a pension fund, as well as a German address. Use your three-month visa in order to obtain these things, and then return to the registry office for your legal work and residency permit.
Those teaching English in Germany are paid quite well, particularly in comparison to teachers in other foreign countries. You may expect the equivalent of around $20 US dollars an hour... however, be aware of the fact that taxes in Germany are sky-high, and your take-home pay won't be anywhere near this amount. It's best to research this situation and work with your employer regarding how much money you will need to live comfortably. Too many English teachers in Germany are unprepared for the tax situation and end up taking a job that seems high-paying enough... but isn't once the taxes kick in.
You can also avoid the tax problem by becoming a full-time teacher. Many English teachers in Germany work on a freelance basis, which is why they are taxed so badly. You may have an ongoing contract with a school, but unless they are willing to put you on the payroll as a full-time employee you will be subject to large taxes. Consider finding a school that is willing to officially hire you full-time to avoid losing this large chunk of your income.
Germany is starved for English teachers, and if you have the right qualifications and a solid sense of adventure, teaching English in Germany can be a great experience. Centrally located in Europe, Germany is a hub for travelers, tourists, and educators alike. It's a great place to begin your TEFL career.
By Michelle Simmons