In this article we’ll deal with some numbers, like the salaries and benefits, the living costs, the amount you can save and advice on how to save some extra money, with a comparison of teachers’ living standard to other professions in Greece. So let’s start!
One becomes a teacher of English out of passion for languages, love for children or, perhaps, just pure curiosity. It usually doesn’t pay as much as it should, but occasionally, it also opens doors to new experiences.
One of the best examples of this situation is becoming an English teacher in Greece. This experience is beautiful and irreplaceable, as we’ve mentioned in our previous articles. However, it is important that you research before embarking on this journey, so our dreamland doesn’t turn into a nightmare just because you were not ready.
Basic Financial Information – Greece
Before we move on to teacher-specific information, first we should go over things that concern everyone who wishes to move to Greece and live and work in this country.
The official minimum wage reaches 758.33 EUR, while the average monthly wage currently is 1060 EUR. However, in reality, it is often different – a lot of people, including teachers, end up working for the minimum wage. The reasons for that are many.
The unemployment rate is still very high (18%), and some places in Greece are overflowing with work force (Athens), while rural areas are suffering. In our previous article about the urban vs. rural area, we explained this phenomenon in more detail.
Teacher’s chant in Greece: Rates, wages, salaries…
We all know that teachers are not paid as much as we believe they should be. Some say that teaching is an art that requires massive amounts of knowledge.
The rates for teaching English in Greece aren’t very artistic: they range from as low as 500 EUR, to the country’s average of 1060 EUR. These numbers are the borderlines: in reality, most teachers earn between 700 and 800 EUR per month.
Considering that most English teachers teach in private English schools that have 25-32 hours of work per week available, the rates are satisfactory in comparison to the country’s standard.
In case you feel like this isn’t enough for you, or you would like to prolong your working week to weekends and mornings, there is a good option for you.
How can you save some money by teaching English?
We’ve talked about giving private, 1-on-1 English lessons in our previous articles, but let’s talk numbers now. One hour of your time dedicated to one student is priced from 10 EUR, in Athens and other similar places abundant with teachers, to 20 EUR in villages, remote islands and towns without many English teachers available.
This option is great for those who want to increase their monthly income, or save up some money by teaching English. The best part about this job is that your rate can increase through “networking” – a common practice in Greece, and it basically means just spreading the word that your classes do wonders.
You will probably not be able to pay your rent and living cost if you only do private classes, but it’s a great addition to your income, that can turn into savings if you are living on your salary alone.
Let’s discuss the tax part?
Not to miss, here are some important details you might want to know. Great news! Health insurance is provided, and it’s a part of your monthly salary, so you will not have to worry about health care.
Greek national holidays that count as days off, are paid in full. Personal official holidays are also granted and paid. During these periods, however, you might want to schedule some private lessons – they will bring even more cash than usual.
Income tax in Greece is from 5 to 40 percent, depending on how much you earn, but it is important to note that Greeks tend to not respect the tax system. Your private lessons may often go “under the table”, and unfortunately, some private schools of English might also attempt to do that. This is, of course, punishable by law, and we do not recommend you to apply for a private English school that tries to avoid paying tax.
Such a paradise, with low living costs?
Living costs are quite low in comparison to other countries of the European Union. A teacher can get by for 595 EUR a month, according to official statistics, while in reality it is possible with even less, in case of a shared apartment.
Food, drinks, household items and clothes are cheaper in the fresh markets, that sprout in all villages and cities at least once a week (it varies from place to place, but they are usually very easy to find).
We found a lovely website that refreshes its information every month, and we are sharing it with you so you can be prepared, no matter when you are travelling! Click here for the website.
Here are some tips to help you save money
Shopping: Shop at supermarkets and weekly farmer’s market instead of the small “περίπτερο” shops. Despite being charming and unique to Greece, their proximity to busy neighborhoods allowed these small, road-side markets to put up high prices on everything they sell. Supermarkets, on the other hand, have frequent sales – marked as “προσφορά” – and even release sale catalogues, that you can pick up for free while exiting the supermarket building. There are many popular supermarket chains in Greece: AB, Sklavenitis, Lidl, etc. You can recognize them by huge parking lots always full of shopping carts! Their existence allows for careful planning and with it, brings the possibility of saving some cash.
Transport: Although this may sound unbelievable, it usually is more economical to drive than to take public transportation in Greece. Cycling is rarely an option, as there are no bike roads in Greece. With the exception of Athens, sporting every public transportation method available, and perhaps Thessaloniki, once the metro is finally completed, Greece generally lacks good public transportation. This is especially true if you moved to a village, or live on an island, as the final bus usually leaves around sunset. However, although a small car offers a reasonable value for money, the best low-cost option is a motorcycle. Speed through the busy traffic of cities and enjoy the sights of the island roads. But be careful – Greek drivers are, though skilled, often careless, so safety measures are a must. Never drive without a helmet!
Accommodation: Try finding flat mates for cost-effective accommodation. Big, spacious family apartments that are predominantly built in Greece become inexpensive when the cost is shared between a few people. Other than being able to share your experience of Greece, you will also help each other out financially, and save a bunch. If you are used to fast internet, Greece will be a cold shower – even the most expensive options barely reach a European average. Also, as Greece is usually a sunny place, only rare apartment buildings have some sort of heating installed. During the occasional cold winter months, the electricity bill can skyrocket from all the extra heaters. Considering these simple examples, you can see that it is important to share costs in this Mediterranean country, more than in any other.
While the average monthly salary for an English teacher is between 500 EUR to 1060 EUR, you must definitely consider various opportunities to earn some extra income by providing private tuition (10 EUR to 20 EUR per hour), which can add up to a decent amount useful for your travel.
Finally, you’re all set – when it comes to the numbers, at least. In the next article, we will go over the basic requirements for you to set off to Greece and start teaching English. We will be talking about the importance of your education and TEFL exam, but also about the struggles you may encounter if you are from overseas, with a foreign diploma. Don’t worry, you can teach English in Greece, with the right skills, no matter where you come from. We will just make it stress-free.