For many years Greece was at the forefront of teaching English abroad in Europe until the global financial crash in 2008 which hit the country harder than most. In the years since, the economic situation in Greece has severely disrupted many sectors including TEFL. Despite these difficulties, the country still attracts large numbers of teachers thanks to the warm Mediterranean climate and the relaxed way of life. Athens is at the heart of the teaching market, although other cities such as Thessaloniki, Larissa, Heraklion, and Corfu all offer potential.
How much can I expect to earn while teaching English in Greece?
Due to the financial troubles in Greece the average salary for TEFL qualified teachers has changed little in many years. The average salary for a first-time teacher is around 800 to 1,000 euro per month, which is not enough to get rich on but should enable you to live comfortably. Teachers with extensive experience on their portfolio can potentially earn considerably more than the stated top rate, while others routinely resort to extra private tutoring to raise their income. Private tutoring is common practice in Greece with hourly rates ranging from 10 to 20 euro.
What type of employer will I work for while teaching English in Greece?
Greece has a huge number of private language schools known as frontistiria spread throughout the country that employ the vast majority of foreign teachers. There are around 6,000 schools in total, catering mainly to young learners of all age groups. A small number of these also offer business related English to groups and individuals. Typically, lessons for young learners take place outside of normal school hours, so most jobs will involve working during the evening and at weekends. On average you will spend around 20 to 30 hours per week actually teaching in the classroom, with extra hours set aside for lesson planning.
Some jobs include paid holidays and support with accommodation expenses, however, financial assistance with airfares is highly unlikely in most cases. The best time to be looking for work is from August to October and also in January, although there are always some vacancies available whatever the time of year. To be eligible for the best positions you will usually require a degree and a TEFL certificate from a respected provider.
How does the cost of living affect TEFL teachers in Greece?
Despite the previously mentioned economic problems in Greece, it is still a relatively cheap place to live in comparison to much of Western Europe. Accommodation is the biggest expense to consider, although rental costs have actually gone down in recent years. To lower the cost of rent and utilities bills most teachers decide to share with friends or colleagues or rent a private room with a local family. It is also advisable to avoid imported goods as the high tax rates make them much more expensive than local alternatives. It is possible to save a considerable amount of cash each month by shopping at local markets and eating out at small local restaurants rather than places that are aimed at the tourist market. It is also worth noting that the cost of living is significantly higher on most Greek islands in comparison to the mainland.