Choosing your TEFL School

For many people who take a TEFL course, they also have very little idea about what to expect when they graduate. My main experience is in Spain but from my discussions with my graduates who are now working around the world, Spain is quite a good example.


what to expect after the TEFL course hours and payWhen I tell potential trainees that the normal working week is between 20 and 25 hours and often a four day week, they think – that sounds easy, sign me up!! What’s important to remember is that as well as teaching the hours, you have to add on travel time and lesson planning. This will certainly make it into a full time job. Even if you only work 4 days a week, you are likely to leave the house at around 7 in the morning and get home after 10 pm which is by no means a part time job.

The typical schedule vary depending on whether you are teaching in-company, academy-based or private work.


There are some golden rules to remember when arranging your teaching hours.

Rule 1 – Days belong together 
Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday are the usual timetables for students (twice a week). If you take a job that is only on a Monday then you will struggle to find a similar fit on a Wednesday. It’s like a jigsaw and without all the pieces fitting together; you will find it hard to make enough money.

Rule 2 – Get the most out of prime hours
8-10 in the morning, 1-4 in the afternoon and 6-9 are all prime hours where students will be taking classes (i.e. before work, during lunch and after work). You therefore need to get the most out of those hours. If you only take a 1 hour class from 2.30-3.30 from Monday to Thursday – then that is only 4 hours of classes. However, if you can get a 2 or 3 hours block then that is a huge chunk of your teaching schedule. Don’t take one hour classes for your prime blocks.

A good schedule should look something like this:

good timetable

Total: 22 hours

In company: (16€) – 224€
After school: (15€) – 60€
Private classes: (20€) – 80€

Total: 364€ per week / 1.456€ per month

It is also important to remember that when you are a newbie teacher, you can’t be as picky as the seasoned teacher. I always advise my graduates to be selective, but to remember that you need to prove you are a good teacher by being organized, responsible and on time. Once the agency or school begin to see that you are someone they can rely on and you start to receive positive reports from your students, your schedule will begin to get better and better until you have your golden schedule (working the least amount of time for the most amount of pay with as many block hours as possible).

3-  PAY:

Whatever the profession, this is always a sticky subject to talk about. Teaching rates are often quoted in hourly rates and new graduates can get very fixated with the hourly rate, but there are many more things to consider than just this. This is an example:

You have been offered two jobs with the following hours and rates:

Job Awhat to expect after the TEFL course hours and pay

Monday/Wednesday                      Tuesday/Thursday
08.00-09.00                                        07.00 – 08.30
13.30 – 15.00                                     13.00 – 14.00
18.30 – 20.00                                     19.00 – 20.30

The rate is 18 euros net an hour, which would give you a weekly salary 288 euros.


Job B

Monday/Wednesday                      Tuesday/Thursday
08.00-09.00                                        07.00 – 08.30
13.00 – 16.00                                     13.00 – 16.00
18.30 – 20.00                                     19.00 – 20.30

This job offers a rate of only 15 euros net an hour. But because of the block hours you take home 345 euros a week. Over 4 weeks this adds up to a huge amount of money and you get home the same time each night for both jobs.  Make sure you look at the whole picture, as some will offer higher hourly rates, other lower rates but more block hours; others will pay holiday and sick pay – consider all that is being offered before making a decision.

Finally, remember whether you are new to teaching or have been doing it for a long time, job satisfaction is the key to being a happy teacher. The TEFL industry can often be seen as a way to earn money until you find a ‘real’ job but for many of us who take it seriously and do well; it can mean a whole new career.