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How can I teach German as a Foreign Language (DaF) abroad?

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requirements

Regardless of whether you want to teach DaF in European countries or outside of Europe, there are often high demands on the teacher. On the homepage of the Forum for German as a Foreign Language, new DaF positions in Germany and in various other countries are advertised several times a week, from Hamburg to Shanghai, from Düsseldorf to a small town in India.

Apparently there is a high demand for the German language worldwide, but the expectations of many employers are just as high.

The usual requirements for teaching include a degree in German or German as a foreign language and several years of professional experience. This means that you have already taught at different levels from A1 to C2, are able to work with different target groups (with adults, young people, children, in companies and so on) and are very familiar with the most widely used GFL textbooks out.

As a rule, the number of trained and experienced GFL teachers is greater than the demand, so that beginners need above all luck to get started.

Little money for a lot of work

Depending on the federal state, the average German school teacher teaches about 24 hours a week, plus the hours for the preparation and follow-up of the lessons. If you would like to take up a position as a DaF teacher abroad, you should be prepared to teach 28, 30 or even more hours per week, with a lesson consisting of 45 or 50 minutes, in rare cases 60 minutes.

In addition, there is the often time-consuming preparation and follow-up of the lessons. DaF teachers in many institutes around the world receive around seven euros or less for one lesson. This also applies to work in countries with living costs that are comparable to Germany.

Six days work week

Most language institutes offer classes six days a week. The classes on Saturday mornings are often particularly popular, as many working people cannot take part in a language course during the week. During the week, however, lessons often take place in the evening, usually between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

For you as a GFL teacher, this means that you are busy six days a week and often during the times when the average working person is off work or off. These working hours can have a negative impact on social life and on a possible partnership.

DaF lessons are often not only offered on site at the language institute, but also at companies, schools or other institutions in the city and its surroundings. This can mean long additional trips to work for the teacher, which are sometimes not even remunerated separately.

Why is it worth working as a DaF teacher?

After these rather frightening facts, you are sure to ask yourself whether the effort of teaching German as a foreign language is worthwhile at all. The fact is that getting started is difficult and beginners in particular have to be prepared to teach at the most unpopular times and be paid very poorly for many hours. Nevertheless, the work opens up a unique opportunity to work closely with people from different countries and cultures and to learn a lot with one another and from one another.

Once you have gained experience as a DaF teacher, more and more doors will often open that allow you to stay in different countries for a short or long period of time. It also means that you can travel a lot and make friends around the world in the process. The pay will often remain rather low, but the job offers a lot of variety and opportunities to redesign the work depending on the students and the country and to develop your own creativity.

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