Until recent years Greece was one of the most popular destinations in Europe for teaching English abroad. Unfortunately, the global financial crisis of 2008 has led to a downturn in almost every sector of the economy, including ESL teaching. Despite these setbacks, Greece still attracts a large number of foreign teachers every year due to the warm Mediterranean climate, countless stunning beaches and islands, and a relaxed approach to life. Athens is home to the biggest job market for teachers, while other cities such as Thessaloniki, Larissa, Heraklion, and Corfu are also popular.
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Although ESL teaching jobs are still relatively easy to come by, the salaries on offer have not risen substantially since the start of the financial crisis. However, the average salary for a first-time teacher of around 800 to 1,000 EUR per month should still be enough to cover all the basic expenses. Teachers with experience may find they can earn significantly more than the average sum. It is also common practice for teachers to increase their income by providing private tutoring in their free time. Hourly rates for private lessons range from 10 to 20 EUR.
The vast majority of foreign ESL teachers in Greece are employed by private language schools known as frontistiria. You will find over 6,000 private language schools across the country catering to children of all ages, as well as a smaller number who handle business clients. As private schools are generally aimed at school children who come to improve their English skills outside of normal school hours, most positions involve teaching during the late afternoon and evening. The number of hours you can expect to spend in the classroom varies from one contract to the next but it is typically between 20 and 30 hours per week. It is rare for contracts to include financial help with airfares, but housing support and paid holidays are often included. Private language schools generally hire teachers at anytime of the year, although the peak hiring seasons are from August to October and throughout January. A degree in any subject is usually required and a TEFL/TESOL certificate will also be a big advantage. It is worth noting that due to the extensive bureaucracy involved in obtaining work permits for foreign citizens in Greece, teachers with an EU passport are generally preferred by most employers.
Despite the economic downturn, Greece is still a relatively inexpensive place to live in comparison to much of Western Europe and North America. Housing costs are typically the biggest expense for most teachers working overseas, and while that is still the case in Greece, rental prices have actually dropped significantly in recent years. Utilities are another big expense so many teachers choose to house share to reduce their overall outgoings. Imported goods including food items are generally expensive, but if you do your shopping at local fresh food markets you should find much lower prices than in supermarkets. In general, the cost of living is considerably less on mainland Greece than it is on most of the islands that surround it.