Starting out as an English teacher

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viennaexpats
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Starting out as an English teacher

Post by viennaexpats »

A number of people have mailed us, asked questions on our facebook page and been searching our site about getting into teaching in Vienna - looking for tips about how to get a teaching job in Vienna. Please share your experiences here - hopefully we'll have enough information to sort out an article of all the tips we receive.


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Robert Barratt
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Re: Starting out as an English teacher

Post by Robert Barratt »

It is quite a long time since I started but I would hope these things might be essential:

Private Language Institutes
1. Be a native speaker one way or the other.
2. Have a university degree (it will be seen as a sign of academic "rigour" and titles are important in Austria whether you like it or not).
3. For business English, any business experience is very valuable but you must sell it the right way.
4. In the beginning accept all the work you can do. Do not be picky. Do not be precious. Take that trip in to Lower Austria if you have to (or beyond). Start at 8 in the morning and finish at 8 in the evening. If you make yourself "available" then make yourself available (or the DOS will stop asking you). At the start you have to build up a reputation. Do that quickly and more work should follow.
5. A crucial part: be reliable and never be late.

Remember, most of the work is freelance so you will be responsible for own taxes and insurance (no holiday pay or sickness). If you are lucky to get a fixed position, then great but in my experience rare.

State Schools
Same as above mostly but you generally have to contact the Stadtschulrat (it's like a school board or education authority). They have a special department that deals with native speaker programme which places people in schools. These are often students on gap years but I know of several people (including myself) that worked in secondary schools as a team-teacher (subjects are usually the humanities, biology or business). Sometimes secondary schools will advertise directly and you can be invited for interview. But you are employed by the state or should be. An alternative is to contact a school directly, i.e. the headteacher. I have an acquaintance who does this quite often and gets work, but he has been in the system a long time and has built a reputation in different schools.

Important to note: a lot of these contracts are fixed well in advance and last from September till June (salary is also paid over summer). I doubt they are full-time as such so it is necessary, if you are not a student, to combine it with other work. Therein comes the problem of trying to juggle the hours and the times you are available.

Adult Education Colleges (Volkshochschulen)
Many, if not all, run English language programmes. Often afternoon or evening courses. Money is not the best but relatively stable if you can get a course or two.

Private Companies
Very difficult in the beginning to go direct to a company in Austria. The only way is to build up contacts through working at a business language institute and then after a couple of years try and strike out on your own. But contacts are essential. HR and training people are the obvious choice but remember they are inundated with offers of training all the time and will pay no attention to a new face without some kind of personal recommendation. Which is why you need to get through the door, do a great course and then employees can report back. Then it might be possible to offer them a course as a sole-trader and not under the umbrella of an institute. But it is a risk. A lot of companies in Austria will not switch a supplier unless there is a real problem. And price is not the driving factor so even under-cutting makes you look cheap and under-qualified. Bigger companies will keep several language schools on rotation in any case. Also, an institute will try and scare you with legal consequences if you steal their clients. This is a grey, grey area as you are not technically employed by them. But still.

Jeez, I have just realised there is more to share than I imagined.

Ps - Regarding contacting institutes; I suppose the usual ways for applying for any job in 2016. Job portals, mailing CVs, social media and business media platforms like Xing and LinkedIn
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Re: Starting out as an English teacher

Post by morgenhund »

Thanks for that list - plenty of food for thought there - looking forward to receiving more responses from others!
Vienna is like an Ikea sofa - you know you should upgrade, but why bother when it is this comfortable.
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Re: Starting out as an English teacher

Post by viennaexpats »

Does work ebb and flow quite strongly on a seasonal basis? And is there a "good" or "bad" time to be looking for work?
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Re: Starting out as an English teacher

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For the state secondary schools most of it as far as I know is organised before the summer holidays for the Autumn semester.
For private institutes courses run all year although summer is a quieter time. Christmas for two weeks also. But I would say it is still better to be looking September, January and then after Easter.

My busiest times as self-employed are always September to November (always the busiest month for some reason). December it tails off but usually there are a good three weeks of earning. January will always start in the second week (due to the 6th being a holiday). But intensively is more around the end of the month until end of June. July is quiet and August very quiet (this is the advantage of also teaching in a state school as you get paid for these two months also).
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Re: Starting out as an English teacher

Post by morgenhund »

The busy periods seem to mirror the peak times as a translator to a certain extent - with the possible difference that a lot of large projects (particularly ones that require a lot of budget and therefore are sometimes either split across two years or which need to be finished by year-end) come in the 4th quarter - and a lot of agencies sometimes are very happy to have coverage over the Christmas period.
Vienna is like an Ikea sofa - you know you should upgrade, but why bother when it is this comfortable.
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Re: Starting out as an English teacher

Post by Lingua_Franca »

Any advice if one would just like to pick up a few private lessons? What are the best boards/blogs to post on (physical or digital)?
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Re: Starting out as an English teacher

Post by W-ton »

As long as you have a work permit, it is possible to get a full time position working in an Austrian state school.

The Europa Buro manage several projects.
http://www.eb.ssr-wien.at/index.php/de/ ... e/englisch

So if you are interested contact them and see if any positions are available.
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Re: Starting out as an English teacher

Post by morgenhund »

Thanks for the tip off, W-ton. Good to see a Maltese on the site - been a couple of times to Malta, Gozo and Comino.
Vienna is like an Ikea sofa - you know you should upgrade, but why bother when it is this comfortable.
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