Payment for teaching English

Discussion about TEFL jobs in Europe

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flutes52
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Payment for teaching English

Unread post by flutes52 » 09 Dec 2014, 11:20

Dear All - I shall be reading the threads in this forum properly over the next few days, but for now I urgently wanted to post my question.
As follows: I'd appreciate the advice of people who have been teaching for some time, if possible in France. I live in France and my main (almost ex) career is in publishing, as an editor - so I work with words. Before we moved here I knew it would be harder to earn a living, so took a short, weekend TEFL course. I have some previous teaching experience in horticulture, mostly with adults but I had adolescents too - some said I was quite good at it.
I quite like teaching, although I find it very stressful - and recently found myself wishing I had trained properly. But now I am in a little bit of a pickle. In August I advertised for work, mainly to help us to eat, not to find something 'to do'! I now have one private pupil for English (!!). The teacher in our own (this is important - it's where we live) village school rang me up and asked if I'd like to teach there - I had never really envisaged standing in front of a class of 7-10 year olds, but I said 'yes'. I was told it would be voluntary; wasn't really happy about that, but said nothing. Then they added the affiliated kindergarten into the equation. So on Mondays I do two schools - only 3/4 hour each, but there's an awful lot of preparation as I am not an experienced teacher of English and I have the added difficulty of having absolutely no control over how the classroom is laid out. So it works out to be about 5 hours a week (plus, sometimes) with the teaching, preparation, travelling time. Certainly it occupies virtually the whole of my Monday. I should add that, rightly or wrongly, I am doing this almost entirely in my lame French, thus adding to the stress.
This was ok, and then on about week 7 a small change occurred - two/three of the children started causing problems/getting a bit rude. I take on board the fact that I am partly responsible for this because I was probably too friendly to start with and haven't really worked on building up the respect side of the relationship! But it made an already stressful (unpaid) situation even more stressful. I'm not working with the schools this week, and to be honest wish I didn't ever have to go back again!
I've checked with French friends unrelated to the village and the response has been anything from a rolling of the eyes when I say I'm not being paid, to another woman (a singer, teaching singing) who says never, never do it for nothing. They need to know that they have to pay.
Now I'm in a dilemma - part of me wants to go back next week and slay the dragon (that's what it feels like!!!), just for me. The other part of me wants not to go near it again and say I just have too much work (which actually, this week anyway, I do).
Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to be honest about all the facts so that I could get an honest opinion from experienced teachers. It is hard to be on the receiving end of children's rudeness when it really is a job - but when it's not, what do you do? And then there's the cost of printer cartridges etc. to prepare for lessons

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Susan
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Re: Payment for teaching English

Unread post by Susan » 09 Dec 2014, 16:20

I note that you say: you wish to teach for money not for something to do. You have to tell this school that you can only continue if they will pay you. I've lived in France for years and this doesn't surprise me; it's up to you to put your foot down. Apart from all the problems, it's preventing you from looking for a paid job.

Susan
Lucy Pollard's Guide to Teaching English

flutes52
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Joined: 09 Dec 2014, 11:15
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Re: Payment for teaching English

Unread post by flutes52 » 09 Dec 2014, 20:50

So helpful, thanks Susan - and actually what my real French friends are indicating. I guess one of the problems I have is that I am probably too old to have a paid job around here (although I could do cleaning for €8 an hour!!!). I have many qualifications and, at my age (58), should probably not have put myself in this situation. It would be much too late for me to find 'proper' work in France. This attempt to teach English has been to use my existing skills and (quite genuine!) talents and qualifications in order to earn myself a living in another country. So far, it isn't working out! I think your advice is very sound. If I genuinely believe I am offering something valuable (and I do - where else are the kids around here, in rural Lorraine, going to work - if not in an English-speaking environment?) then I need to charge for it. Thanks again.

flutes52
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Joined: 09 Dec 2014, 11:15
Status: New Teacher

Re: Payment for teaching English

Unread post by flutes52 » 09 Dec 2014, 21:52

Last comment - I told the school tonight that I couldn't carry on. Clearly I wasn't good enough for them to want me to carry on, because they told me 'no worries'.

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Susan
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Re: Payment for teaching English

Unread post by Susan » 10 Dec 2014, 17:59

HI,

I get what you're saying about difficulties for older people to find work in France; it really is hard. However, I think that teaching is the exception. Especially private English lessons in your home or your student's home. If you're aiming at school kids, parents will start thinking about this in January; as you get closer to exam time, more and more people will want their children to take classes. Just keep at it, I'm sure you'll get there.
Lucy Pollard's Guide to Teaching English

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Susan
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Joined: 12 Mar 2004, 21:17
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Re: Payment for teaching English

Unread post by Susan » 11 Dec 2014, 20:31

I'll also add: good on you for standing up for yourself. Their reaction shows how mean they are; it doesn't indicate that you weren't good enough!
Lucy Pollard's Guide to Teaching English

Humphries
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Re: Payment for teaching English

Unread post by Humphries » 01 Apr 2015, 19:08

Susan wrote:HI,

I get what you're saying about difficulties for older people to find work in France; it really is hard. However, I think that teaching is the exception. Especially private English lessons in your home or your student's home. If you're aiming at school kids, parents will start thinking about this in January; as you get closer to exam time, more and more people will want their children to take classes. Just keep at it, I'm sure you'll get there.
France is a great, but the French are not. :evil: Worked there for a year. Paris, Ohlala, etc. No, thanks. Been there, done that.
Same for kids: most of them HAVE to take lessons, and don't want to be in class. And you have to deal with the parents, who want to know why their little god is not bilingual after 30 hours. Not thanks, give me adult learners instead. People with a story, who can look further than the screen of their smart phones.

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