« Is English Language Teaching a Real Career? | Main | The Role of Agents in ESL »

Compensation Packages for EFL/ESL Teachers

January 19, 2006

Much discussion has been taking place recently on the topic of an EFL/ESL teacher's pay. My own guess is that English language teachers in the private sector probably earn less on average than teachers working in the state sector.


This entire compensation issue for teachers is highly complex. Given that English language schools are so widely scattered across the world, it is impossible to apply any salary benchmarks for the profession as a whole . . .

. . . Pay is subject to local conditions, with the best-paid opportunities existing in western Europe, the Middle east, the USA and Australia. In Asia, Japan and Taiwan seem to offer the best prospects. However, the cost of living in these countries can be high too, so a higher salary does not always lead to more disposable income. How then can a school set a fair compensation package that will attract and keep good teachers without putting undue strain on the budget?

Much depends on the system of academic management. One model I have seen that works well for some areas is the school that has one or two senior academic managers who support a staff of freshly qualified teachers. If a school is taking on inexperienced staff, then a bottom-of-the-range salary is acceptable. The advantage is that teachers are usually keen to get started and can be trained to work in accordance with the school’s style. They will, however, need lots of supervision and support, so the amount of time that has to be devoted to this is a hidden cost of employing them. Another problem is that the school does not have a balance of experienced teachers and this may limit the kind of work that can be done. And teacher turnover is likely to be high as the newly qualified teacher gains experience and moves on to a better–paid job.

For the school that is looking for stability in the staffroom and a healthy balance of experienced and new teachers, the answer is to have a well-structured pay scale. This should involve both an annual increments and additional payments for posts of responsibility. The rates should be roughly in line with other schools of a similar kind in the area and should reflect the local cost of living. If the school can offer other benefits such as free accommodation, free transport, free meals during the working week, health insurance, then these benefits can be factored in when determining the salary. However, such benefits must be of an acceptable standard. Although teachers have to be willing to adapt to local conditions, they should not be expected to take poor-quality accommodation, for example, even if it is free.

Many employers feel reluctant to publicize their compensation packages but I think this is pointless as teachers in a region will get to know each other and compare notes. My own suggestion is that schools should form local associations and meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual interest. They could exchange ideas about compensation deals and help to establish a set of local standards that protect both the teachers’ and the schools’ interests.


Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Compensation Packages for EFL/ESL Teachers:

» Being Compensated Fairly for English Teaching from [The] English-Blog [.com]
With regards to being paid enough to live, are you being paid enough to teach English? Is it really true that English teachers are less valued in countries where English is primarily a first language? Teachers who begin to complain about their salarie... [Read More]

Tracked on January 20, 2006 04:41 AM

» Could ESL Teachers Be Earning More? from ESL Lesson Plan
If you're like many teachers, you simply accept the salary that a school is offering, and then promise yourself that next year, you'll ask for a raise, or look for a position that pays better. But did you know that most ESL salaries . . . [Read More]

Tracked on January 20, 2006 04:43 AM


  1. John Martinez Says:

    Cool blog! Come visit my site. John Martinez

Post a Comment



Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)