What is MELTA?
MELTA (Munich English Language Teachers Association) is an organisation for teachers of English as a second language. MELTA is open to anyone who teaches or who would like to teach in the Munich area.

When I'm in Munich, can I visit MELTA's office? 
Sorry, but the people involved in the running of MELTA are volunteers, working from home. MELTA doesn't have an office.

How can I get to know MELTA? 
Why not just come to one of our events and find out what MELTA is about? Non-members are charged €10 for a half-day workshop and €15 for a full-day workshop (exceptions: the annual beer garden social and Christmas party are free of charge), but you can put this toward your membership if you decide to join MELTA.

Do I need a CELTA certificate or other teaching qualification? 
Today, a lot of schools say they want people with teaching degrees, but when it comes down to it, they don't necessarily demand the degree. However, they will often demand that you have a college degree of some sort, even if it's in a field totally unrelated to English language teaching.

Where can I teach? 
Basically, you have three options: private schools, the VHS or Volkshochschule (adult education centres) or companies.

What's the difference? 
Well, for one thing, pay is quite different. Companies generally pay the most. If you can establish yourself as a teacher who is in demand at companies, you can earn a good income. The VHS (adult education centre) pays better than many private schools and you are contributing to a good organization by teaching there. However, you cannot make a career of it.

I'm looking for work. Can MELTA get me a job? 
Sorry, MELTA is not an employment agency. We regret that we cannot deal with individual job enquiries. 
For job opportunities please refer to our Jobs page and the local press, for example the magazine Munich Found or the website Toytown.

At home I teach K-12. Can I teach at a German state school? 
Education is a prerogative of each of the 16 German states. The state of Bavaria requires you to have studied for "das Lehramt" at a Bavarian university and to have passed the state examinations at the end of your course of study. (Update 7/2007) Rumour has it that this requirement is being relaxed due to the lack of teachers. Most foreign teachers of English teach classes at adult education centers (VHS), at private schools or in companies.

Can I do a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults) course in Munich? 
Yes. For information see CELTA

As a citizen of a non-European Union (EU) country, do I need a work permit to teach in Germany? 
Yes, non-EU teachers can apply for a work permit if they can show they have been offered a job as an employee at a school. In order to get a work permit for freelance teaching work, non-EU citizens may be asked to present a business plan to the authorities showing: 
a) they are in a position to invest €1,000,000 in the business and/or 
b) they will create 10 new jobs 
c) that the business will be of economic benefit to the region 

NB. Most of the sections of the German immigration laws require discretional decisions from the authorities, i.e. there is generally no legal claim for receiving the necessary permits.

TIP! The local authority in Munich is quite strict and seems to be applying this regulation to the letter, other authorities bordering Munich aren't.

How much can I expect to earn as an EFL teacher in Munich?
If you are working through a language school as a freelance teacher you can expect to earn around €20-25 for a 45-minute lesson. If you work directly with companies you should be able to negotiate a higher fee. Qualified EFL teachers who have a professional background in a particular area of ESP (English for Specific Purposes, e.g. legal, financial, medical, etc.) should be able to negotiate much more.

Do I need to have health insurance? 
Yes, employees normally have to pay into one of the Ersatzkassen (state health insurance schemes), whereas freelancers have to have a private health insurance scheme. 

Do I need to pay into the state pension scheme? 
Yes, as a freelance teacher you have to pay compulsory contributions of 19.9% (2009) to the Deutsche Rentenversicherungs Bund and employees have half that rate deducted from their salary every month (the employer has to pay the other half). 

What other compulsory contributions do I have to pay? 
You also have to pay Pflegeversicherung (nursing care insurance). AS of 2009, the contribution was 1.95% of your gross income if you have children, or 2.2% if you don’t. Employees have to pay half that; their employer pays the other half.

Is my driving license valid in Germany? 
Yes, but only if it was issued in the EU. If you are a non-EU citizen you may be able to convert your driving licence to a German one. You have to do this within six months of arriving here, otherwise you be will be required to take both a written (theoretical) test and a practical test. In some cases, getting a German driving licence simply involves exchanging your current driving licence for a German one, but in others you may have to take a written test, or a practical test or possibly both; it depends on which country or state it was issued in. 

I’m moving to Germany soon. What paperwork will I have do when I get there? 
I’m afraid we can’t answer that in two or three lines, but this website might be able to help you: http://elt.yuku.com/topic/698.

What does CEF mean?
CEF stands for Common European Framework. Its main aim is to provide a method of learning, teaching and assessing which can be applied to all European languages.

The CEF levels are used to define someone's ability to speak and understand a foreign language. Ability is split into six levels from beginner to advanced: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 and many training managers may ask you how long it takes to get from A1 to C2. The answer to that isn't easy, but most English teachers would probably agree that it takes about 100-120 hours to get from A1 to A2, then a bit longer to get from A2 to B1 and, as you progress up the CEF levels, the longer it takes to move from one level to the next. As there are six levels from A1 to C2, it could take an average student around 1,000-1,500 hours to achieve this.

Where does Germany rank on your list of “Great Places to Teach”?
Probably not amongst your top ten. Admittedly, Germany hasn’t got the same kind of attractions that the Mediterranean countries have to offer; sun, sea, sand, and so on, but it still has a lot going for it, both in the type of courses that you can teach, as well as what you can do in your free time.

As a place to teach, Germany is different from most other European countries in that most English language teachers work as freelancers. There are probably two reasons for this

a) under German labour laws, employees enjoy considerable rights and are not only difficult to fire, but the social insurance contributions an employer has to pay for their employees are also high and

b) a well-qualified and experienced teacher can expect to earn two to three times as much by working directly for companies.

General English is still an important market, especially in the neue Bundesländer (ex-East Germany), but this market is likely to decline as English gains more importance at school. It is now taught from the first year onwards – and is often even taught at pre-school or kindergarten level.

The hourly rates that teachers get for teaching general English are relatively low, thanks to large number of subsidised English courses offered by public further education institutes such as the Volkshochschule which can be found in every fair-sized town in Germany.

The demand for teachers who are interested in teaching Business English, Technical English or English for Special Purposes is high and growing in importance. This high demand is also reflected in the hourly rates which can range from €20-25 plus for a 45-minute lesson on a freelance basis (teachers working under contract may earn less, regardless of the type of course or degree of specialisation needed to teach it).

The hourly rates freelance English teachers can ask for may seem high, but we see very little of the money we earn. Around a third of whatever we earn will disappear for health and social insurance. Freelance teachers are required to pay 22% of their income before tax into the state pension scheme and have to pay at least another 10% for private health insurance. Income tax is progressive, but on average the government will want about a third of what you earn and there is also solidarity tax and, if you are religious, a church tax. All in all, between 60-70% of what a freelancer earns before tax will disappear in deductions of one kind or another.

All these deductions are made at source if you are teaching under contract, so before accepting any kind of offer, it is a good idea to ask your would-be employer how much you will earn net. If you want to be able to live, rather than just exist, in Germany, you will have to earn at least €1500 a month.

In the alte Bundesländer (ex-West Germany) you can usually get by quite well without being able to speak any German. In the neue Bundesländer (ex-East Germany) knowing a bit of German is more important and probably essential when dealing with the local authorities. This may seem obvious, but if you are planning to live in Germany for a few years, you will find it much more fun and rewarding if you are able to communicate with the Germans in their own language. You will also be accepted far more quickly.

How do I find a teaching position in Germany?
The first place to look is obviously the language schools in the town or city you are interested in working in. Go to the German Yellow Pages (http://www.dasoertliche.de), select “English” from the options at the top of the web page displayed, then type in “Sprachenschulen” as the keyword + the name of the city/town you want to find language schools in.

A lot of the German language schools also advertise positions in EL journals and magazines.

One major drawback of trying to find work in Germany is that the schools and companies looking for teachers normally require the candidate to appear for a face-to-face interview first.

Generally speaking, the reputable schools expect applicants to have a degree, a recognised EFL qualification and at least two or three year’s classroom experience. Trying to find a teaching position at a company is extremely difficult unless you are actually resident in Germany. Companies tend to take on freelance teachers living locally and large multinational companies based in Germany usually receive enough applications from English teachers working in that area to cover their demand for courses.

So, if you like fairly hot (and often wet) summers, cold winters, a glass of good wine or beer, being able to afford to eat out more often than you do now, and you want to live in a place where the locals are generally socially and environmentally aware, then Germany could be the place you have been looking for!

Disclaimer:

The information posted here is to the best of the author's knowledge correct. However, neither the author nor MELTA can assume final responsibility for its accuracy.

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