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December 27, 2006

Workplace Issues- Salary Expectations

Hello Readers!

As we approach the New Year, it might be a good time to think about what we can do to better ourselves. For some of us, that means losing a few pounds, exercising more, or eating more fruits and veg. For others, it might mean spending more time with family or watching TV less. And yet for others, it might mean making changes to yourself as a person- being less bossy or being more assertive.

How does this relate to ESL? Imagine this scenario. You go for a job interview at an ESL school...

... and after a lengthy discussion about your experience, methodology, and skills that you possess, the interviewer asks you about your salary expectations. If you're over-confident and ask for too much, you might not get the job; on the other hand, if you're not assertive enough and ask for too little, you may get the job, but come to resent it when you find that everyone else is making more than you.

This can be an absolute nightmare, as the salary for an ESL teacher can vary greatly from country to country, and even from city to city. You need to factor in your experience, your qualifications, the cost of living, the reputation of the school, and the competitiveness of this field. In some cities, anyone can get a job as an ESL teacher, which means that if you expect too much, they might decide to find someone cheaper. In other cities, only CELTA qualified teachers with x amount of experience post certification will be considered. For some schools, it's vital to have experience in IELTS, while for others, being bilingual will be more important.

So what do you do? The answer is, do your homework! Before you go to an interview, do a little research on google. Look for other ESL jobs and try to find out how much they are offering. Ask other ESL teachers if they could give you a basic idea of how much teachers get paid at their school. (You might want to explain the reason why you're asking so they don't think that you're simply being nosy). You might even consider calling a few other schools to find out what their basic salaries are. You might not always get an answer, but you've got nothing to lose. If you're going abroad, your best bet is to find out from other teachers how much they need to live and what a decent salary would be. If you're only making $500 a month in a small town in China, it doesn't seem like much until you realize that it only takes about $200 a month to live well, for example.

You can also do your part by sharing what you know about another country here.

Here are some of the details that would be useful:

Name of city and/or country:
Average salary (or range) for an ESL teacher:
Price of a 2 bedroom apartment (to rent):
Price of transportation:
Price of a local meal out:
Price of a bottle of beer/water:

For example:

Name of city and/or country: Beijing, China
Average salary (or range) for an ESL teacher: 100-150 rmb/hour
Price of a 2 bedroom apartment (to rent): 2000-3000 rmb
Price of transportation: 2-3 rmb/ bus ride, 3-5 rmb/subway,
Price of a local meal out (for two): 30-50 rmb
Price of a bottle of beer/water: 2-3 rmb (local beer or water)

I look forward to hearing from you!

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*Looking for more articles that focus on workplace issues specific to ESL? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, and lived and worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at the Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at December 27, 2006 04:26 AM

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