Greece is widely regarded for its ancient history, beautiful islands, and turbulent, recent economic woes. However, now is the best time to visit Greece, particularly if you an English teacher in training. With job opportunities galore, and excellent programs to guide you through them, Greece is a hot destination for TEFL trainees. While the media may not portray Greece to living up to its former glory, teachers will find enjoyable and educational adventures, both inside and outside of the classroom.
In Greece, English language courses are only recently starting to take off. There is a need for native-speaking educators in schools, and luckily, there is the support and training to back up that demand here.
TEFL + Teach:
Growing ever more popular in the teach abroad sphere, the combination TEFL course + teaching placement program is a very helpful and comprehensive choice for teachers looking to live in Greece. Many of these courses are 140+ hours in length, reserving time for both in-class observation and in-class practice for teacher trainees. Once the course is over, the program staff will assist you in job placement in the country. These providers often have relationships with reputable schools, and can provide the necessary resources in your transition to a full-time position.
120-Hour TEFL Courses:
Typically spread over the course of four weeks, the 120-hour course covers basic teaching materials as well as instruction on classroom management. The majority of instructors and staff members are international teachers, highly qualified and trained to teach ESL to students from all over the world. While these courses do not offer guaranteed job placement services, some will assist you in the job hunt, by placing you in touch with alumni for example. These alumni networks exist all over the globe, from surrounding European countries, such as Spain or Italy, all the way to Southwest Asia or Central America!
TEFL + Advanced Certificate:
If you are looking to make a lifelong career in education, and wish to train for longer than the minimum of 120 hours before entering a classroom abroad, consider getting your TEFL certificate and an advanced degree. Most of the advanced courses are “add-on’s” to your basic TEFL course and specialize in teaching children or teaching business English. Generally, the structure of the course is as follows: you take your 120-hour course over 4 or so weeks and spend another 60 to 80 hours learning about a specialization. This is an efficient option for teachers who want to teach long-term in Greece, or Europe, and need some extra instruction before Day 1 of the job.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look:
The majority of teaching jobs in Greece are in its larger cities, such as Athens or Thessaloniki. There are many teaching jobs available in mid-sized towns, but these will be hard to discover on your own. Additionally, most schools will begin recruitment (for the following year) during the spring and early summer months. Thus, it’s advisable to start your TEFL course in early spring, allowing yourself about 6 weeks, more or less, to take your course and begin interviewing for jobs. Note that most Greeks go on vacation for all of July and August, making it quite impossible to get in contact with school employees.
The requirements to teach in Greece are a bachelor’s degree (in any subject), TEFL certificate, and that you are a native speaker. Additionally, if you plan to stay in Greece upon completion of your TEFL course, you will need to obtain a work visa. For stays over 90 days in Greece, you will need to apply for a visa at a Greek consulate or embassy with the following: valid passport, the visa application, tax and bank forms, travel insurance, and a letter from your employer that confirms your position and your salary.
Most teaching jobs in Greece will require a one year contract from their teachers, regardless of the type of school. Depending on your location, you will likely teach K-12 students at either a public or private school. You will likely teach an English language course for a number of different grades and levels.
Additionally, you can find work at an international corporation as their in-house English instructor. Some companies, with offices in Greece, will hire foreign teachers to instruct business English or conversational English courses to their employees. You will likely work in more than one office and have a pretty flexible schedule. Lastly, if you are looking to earn a bit of extra money, private tutoring is a great option. Many young students, particularly those with upper class parents, wish to practice their language skills outside of school. This is popular in urban areas and you can charge by the hour.
Cost of Living:
Depending on your school and its location, your monthly salary will range from $650 to $1200 USD per month. The cost of living in Greece is roughly around $450 USD per month (though, this varies based on the individual and his/her preferences). Some employers will provide housing in the teaching contract, but if they do not, rent will be your largest expense. Most one-bedroom apartments start at about $400-50 USD per month. In addition, to save some of your hard-earned cash, be sure to cook at home! Groceries can cost as little as $200 USD per month. However, do go out to eat from time to time to try some of the delicious Greek dishes, like souvlaki!