Tips to teaching in Berlin: Richard
Richard is from the South of England and has been teaching English since he moved to Berlin over 18 months ago. He also completed his CELTA qualification at the Berlin School of English and began teaching in a school shortly afterwards.
Tip 1: Network!
I can’t stress enough how invaluable it is to network with other teachers. There’s a group called ELTABB (English Language Teachers Association Berlin-Brandenburg) who hold regular meetings for teachers in Berlin and Brandenburg. The events range from networking to workshops to presentations and are seriously helpful for those who are looking to build a network in Berlin. I have found the events very useful; not only do I learn new skills but I have been referred for several teaching jobs through other teachers I have met. It’s also a great place to unload. As a teacher you work alone so it’s great to meet other people who are living the same routine as you – it’s place to get any grievances off your chest! ELTABB is also extremely useful when it comes to skills development. They offer lectures and workshops on English teaching and linguistic research to help improve and build on teacher’s current skills. There are around 200 members in Berlin, including freelance teachers working for companies and language schools, university teachers and state school teachers. I’ve also encountered a few entrepreneurs at these networking events who are on the lookout for English teachers to train their employees. They really are a useful institution and membership is about 40euros a year. Bargain.
Tip 2: Go local
I would recommend the classic CV hustle, but try to find smaller schools local to where you live. You're more likely to be able to speak directly to the manager and they will like the fact that you live locally. Right after I finished my CELTA qualification I handed my CV out in person to all of the local schools around my area. I was disheartened that I didn’t hear back, but then I got a call several months after I dropped my CV at one school to offer me a teaching position. That’s where I work at the moment, so don't lose heart!
Tip 3: Don’t forget tax
I’m sure that anyone who is freelancing as a teacher in Germany knows that tax can be very complicated. As a freelancer you will get taxed at the end of the tax year, which means you need to keep a significant amount of your pay saved all year round. It’s important not to forget this! Otherwise the end of the year will come round and you’ll find yourself a bit strapped for cash. In order to get taxed appropriately you need a ID nummer and a Steuernummer and, if you’re not from the EU, you’ll need a freelance visa. For all of the above you’ll need to collect a form from the Finanzamt and fill it out and then send it back. After about 14 days you will be given your Steuernummer which means you will be able to start working as a freelancer in Germany. I know someone who didn’t realise that they got taxed 19% pension on top of usual tax so they were in a really sticky situation by the end of the tax year. Keep your wits about you! And remember, when it comes to German Bureaucracy, it’s rarely straightforward. Good luck!
There you have it – some top tips from Kontist to you on how to make it as a freelance teacher in Berlin.
Author: Alice Austin