Many find that obtaining a job teaching English in Germany is not an easy task for ESL teachers who are not from an EU nation. Although difficult, it is still possible to find employment; be prepared for paperwork.
The peak hiring season in German schools varies depending on the area an ESL teacher is moving to. Smaller cities in former Russia-controlled East Germany like Leipzig, Dresden, and Erfurt are in more need of American ESL teachers than the more popular destinations of Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg. Many ESL teachers in Germany have found more success applying to teach in smaller cities and have found these towns to be excellent places to learn about the culture and history of Germany.
The German school year is much like that of its American counterpart. The school year is divided into two semesters and children have a summer vacation which usually ends in the middle of August. The best time to apply for an ESL teaching position at a public school is at the end of the summer and Christmas vacation.
English is the international language of business in most places in the world, including Germany. ESL teachers in Germany are often hired to give one-on-one English tutoring to students of all ages and backgrounds. Some clients may be school-age children looking to keep up with their class and other clients could be VIPs of large companies needing to touch up their English conversational skills. If an ESL teacher does offer private lessons, they must be sure to keep track of all earnings and expenditures as they will be charged more tax for owning a business.
In today's world, finding a job on the other side of the globe is not as difficult as it sounds. With the Internet, English teachers can access all sorts of online resources and digital newspapers. Technology is not only useful in searching for a job, but it can also be a great source in finding a place to live.
Most German job websites are written in German, but can easily be translated to English using various online tools such as Google Translator
and Babel Fish
. Below are just some of the online resources that should help you in your search.
Resources that may include ESL teaching jobs:
- Oxford Seminars' English Language Schools Directory
German Newspapers (all of which are written in German):
Largest Chain Schools in Germany
Private language schools offer German and native English-speaking children an English school curriculum in a German setting. In order to attend these schools, students must pay tuition costs which can reach 16,000 EUR
a year. International schools often feature a wide range of students with an equally wide range of English knowledge.
Bavarian International School
For nearly 20 years, the Bavarian International School has been offering an English education to residents of Munich. Located in the historic Schloss Haimhausen mansion, students are surrounded by some great examples of German countryside. Classes are offered to students from preschool age to grade 12. There are 650 students enrolled at the school with 42 nationalities represented within the diverse student body.
International School of Dusseldorf
Government studies have shown that the Rhein-Ruhr region has the fastest growing English-speaking population. The International School of Dusseldorf is located within this region. Starting at the age of three and continuing up to Grade 12, the 111 staff from nine different countries teach students in English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, and other languages.
Frankfurt International School
The Frankfurt International School is the largest private English school in Germany and has a reputation for preparing students with the necessary skills needed to seek future education at some of the best English and German schools in the world. Since 1961, the Frankfurt International School has had a diverse group of students. Currently, the school features 1,770 students from more than 52 countries. With so many ESL teachers wanting to teach here, applicants are asked to have at least a Bachelor's degree or an equivalent.
Munich International School
Located on a 26-acre property, the Munich International School is known for providing excellent English-based education to its students. In addition to featuring a renowned academic curriculum, the school also promotes healthy living by offering a wide range of sports for the students.
Teaching Business English in Germany
With Germany emerging as one of the wealthiest nations in Western Europe, the desire to learn the language of business is extremely high. One of the most popular options for ESL teachers in Germany is teaching business English to adults. It is much easier finding freelance work as an ESL teacher in Germany than finding a position as an 'Angestellter' (a full-time teacher position with a school) and usually the pay is better if a foreign ESL teacher manages to keep busy. Generally, teachers with more teaching experience and an understanding of the German language will earn a higher wage than those without these competencies. Those new to teaching ESL can expect to receive 15-20 EUR for a one-hour lesson; these wages can double with more experience, an understanding of the German language, and a good reputation.
Jobs Teaching English in the Summer in Germany
Finding work teaching English in the summer months can be an excellent way to earn some extra money. For the most part, German students are taught English from an early age in the public school system, so many parents are not interested in hiring an ESL teacher to teach additional lessons in the summer. If they are interested, they are most likely going to send their child to a summer course in the United Kingdom. That being said, there are 'Volkshochschulen' (adult schools which do not offer official credits) that run English courses throughout the summer months.
Additional ESL Resources to Help Teach English in Germany
The best thing that any future English teacher in Germany can do is spend some time researching. Use the internet to look through job postings, apartment listings, and other online resources. There are also country guides about Germany which can be purchased in any bookstore. With today's technology it is easy to go online and read about the experiences others are having teaching English in Germany. Reading this type of content gives teachers the ability to see what working as an ESL teacher in Germany is really like. English teachers may also be able to email and/or post questions to the author.
The examples below may not suit all individual teaching needs, and are meant to be used as general resources only.
- Oxford Seminars' ESL Teaching Resources
- Teach Abroad - http://www.teachabroad.com
- Transition Abroad - http://www.transitionsabroad.com/
Many Germans do speak English in some capacity, but German is still the native language. Learning as much German as possible before leaving will make a new life teaching English much easier.
- Getting to Germany is expensive, so taking time to research airline prices and schedules could be very worthwhile. In addition to finding the airline with the best price, try to find one with minimal layovers. The Internet is an excellent resource for ESL teachers when looking for the best deal on flying to Germany.
- Go through belongings: while it would be nice to bring everything in suitcases across the ocean, it's not practical. Airlines usually have baggage weight limits and exceeding these limits can be very expensive. Pack wisely and pay attention to the latest luggage and customs rules.
- ESL teachers should find maps of the German city they will be teaching in. Use the Internet and find transit maps, restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, hospitals, and any future workplace or apartment.
- Traveling to Germany to teach English can be expensive and there are not as many jobs as in other markets. It is usually best to save some money before leaving to be sure that all bills can be covered until an ESL teacher gets settled in. Having saved money is also part of the requirement of getting a German working visa.
- Moving to the other side of the world usually means that ESL teachers must find someone they trust to manage their finances while they are gone. Some choose friends/family that they know and trust and others opt to speak to a professional financial advisor.
Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in Germany
English teachers coming from another European Union nation will not experience any major issues when applying for the needed paperwork. Those coming from the outside the EU will realize that there are many hurdles to being able to teach English in Germany. Remember, any stay longer than 90 days requires a German work visa. English teachers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan can work in Germany for up to one year with a German Working Holiday Visa.
Getting a German Working Visa
When entering Germany, visitors from most countries outside the EU have a short-term Schengen Visa (tourist visa). This allows the person to travel around the nation for up to 90 days with a strict ban on working.
Any person from outside Germany and the European Union must obtain a working visa to have employment in Germany. Many English teachers in Germany find the process of getting a German working visa to be long and stressful. Although challenging, receiving a visa in Germany is much easier than in many other EU nations. There are many lawyers that offer to help with this process for a cost; this could be an option for some English teachers.
Unlike most EU nations, foreigners working in Germany do not need a separate work permit to attach with their visa. The German work visa is both a visa and a work permit, which does make the application process easier when compared to nations that require two separate application processes and equally long wait times.
Americans have two options when it comes to obtaining a German working visa. English teachers can apply at their closest German embassy or consulate. Another option is to arrive in Germany and then start the visa application process. Every Aufenthaltstitel (German work visa) includes information concerning when the visa holder's permit expires, any conditions or restrictions, a color photo, and a stamp of approval from the Aliens Office issuing the visa.
An application for an Aufenthaltstitel will typically cost about 60 EUR. Prices vary depending on the length of time the applicant is applying to stay for. Future English teachers applying for their visas in America should expect to wait one to three months for an application to be processed; again this is quicker than many European nations. Many Americans seem to have better luck when applying for a visa in Germany, but beware that applicants who choose this method must get their residence permit before their 90-day tourist visa expires and will need a German address.
Documentation Needed for German Work Visa
- A valid passport.
- All areas of the application completed; when applying in the United States applicants will need to fill two applications.
- Two passport photos.
- If applying in Germany, be sure to have evidence of a German address available. To do so, bring the 'Anmeldebestatigung' issued by the 'Bezirksamt'.
- A letter from the applicant's future employer stating that a job has been offered; be sure to fill out the matching work permit application (part of the visa, not a separate card like in many EU nations).
- Bring recent and past tax information, bank statements, and other financial documents that show a healthy money situation.
- The public health system rarely covers Americans; bring evidence of private health insurance which is going to provide full coverage while working in Germany.
- A certificate of good conduct ('Fuhrungszeugnis') from your home country's embassy
- Bring cash to pay for the application.
- Any additional documentation which was requested before the application appointment.
Working Holiday Visa
Germany has working holiday visa agreements with Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This visa is meant to allow citizens from other nations to vacation in Germany and work at the same time to help maintain their travel costs. Applicants must be between 18 and 30 years of age. The maximum amount of time that someone can spend working one job is 90 days. This visa will expire after one year, so those interested in staying longer will need to research other options. Before being issued a Working Holiday Visa, ESL teachers must prove that they have money in the bank and have enough to pay 250 EUR for each month of the stay to cover living expenses.
Requirements for EU Citizens to Teach English in Germany
Germany is one of the most influential members of the European Union and like many other countries, it has an open-door policy when it comes to citizens from other EU nations making Deutschland their new home.
All EU citizens have the right to work and live in Germany without a work visa. English teachers from the EU simply need to visit their 'Einwohnermeldeamt' or' Burgeramt' (residence registration office) in the local German city hall and register with a German address.
The United States of America Embassy and Consulates Offices in Germany
Embassy of the United States in Berlin
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: 49 30 8305 1200
Fax: 49 30 8305 1215
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to noon, by appointment only
U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt
Giebener Str. 30
60435 Frankfurt am Main
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: 49 69 7535 0
U.S. Consulate General in Munich
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: 49 89 2888 0
Fax: 49 89 2899 8021
Canadian Embassy and Consulates Offices in Germany
Canadian Embassy in Berlin
Leipziger Platz 17, 10117 Berlin
Phone: 49 30 2031 20
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 12.30 pm; 1:30 pm to 5 pm
Canadian Consulate in Munich
Consulate of Canada - Munich
80331 Munchen, Germany
Phone: 49 89 2199 570
Fax: 49 89 2199 5757
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00am-12:00pm
Canadian Consulate in Dusseldorf
Benrather Strasse 8 40213
Phone: 49 21 1172 170
Fax: 49 211 17 21 771
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am-12:00pm
Honorary Consul of Canada in Stuttgart
70469 Stuttgart, Germany
Phone: 49 71 1223 9678
Fax: 49 71 1223 9679
Normal Hours: Monday and Wednesdays, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; Thursdays, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Australian Embassy and Consulates Offices in Germany
Australian Embassy in Berlin
76-79, 10179 Berlin
Phone: 49 30 88 00 880
Fax: 49 30 88 00 88 210
Australian Consulate-General in Frankfurt
Main Tower, 28th Floor
Neue Mainzer Str. 52-58
Phone: 49 69 90558 0
Fax: 49 69 90558 119
Australian Honorary Consulate in Munich
Ms. Rebecca Liebel
Pranner Strasse 8
Normal Hours: Contact Consular Section of Berlin for an appointment
British Embassy and Consulates Offices in Germany
British Embassy in Berlin
Phone: 49 30204 570
Fax: 49 30 20457 594
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00pm and 2:00pm to 5:30 pm
British Consulate-General in Munich
Phone: 49 89 21109 0
Fax: 49 89 21109 144
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9:00am to noon and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and Friday 9:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 3:30pm
British Consulate-General in Dusseldorf
Phone: 49 2 1194 480
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00am to noon and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Irish Embassy and Consulates Offices in Germany
Irish Embassy in Berlin
Phone: 49 30 22072 0
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm; 2:30 pm to 4:45 pm.
Honourary Consulate of Ireland in Munich
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: 49 89 20805 990
Fax: 49 89 20805 989
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 12:00pm
Honourary Consulate of Ireland in Hamburg
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: 49 40 44186 113
Fax: 49 40 44186 551
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Honourary Consulate of Ireland in Cologne
51427 Bergisch Gladbach
Phone: 49 2204 609 860
Fax: 49 2204 609 861
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
New Zealand's Embassy and Consulates Offices in Germany
New Zealand Embassy in Berlin
10117 Berlin, Germany
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: 49 30 20621-0
Fax: 49 30 20621 114
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm and Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm
New Zealand Embassy in Hamburg
20095 Hamburg, Germany
Federal Republic of Germany
Phone: 49 40 4425 550
Fax: 49 40 4425 5549
Embassy and Consulate Information Outside Germany
Embassy of Germany in Washington DC
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Phone: 1 202 298 4000
Fax: 1 202 298 4224
Normal Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, by appointment
Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honourary consulates offer a limited range of services including
consular services. A full list of German consulates in the US can be found
German Embassy and Consulates Offices in Canada
Embassy of Germany
1 Waverley Street,
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 0T8
Phone: 1 613 232 1101
Fax: 1 613 594 9330
Normal Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to noon
Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honourary consulates offer a limited range of services including consular services. A full list of German consulates in Canada can be found at:http://www.ottawa.diplo.de/Vertretung/ottawa/en/02/Oeffnungszeiten/missions__Seite.html.