Teaching English at Berlitz in Hamburg

53 posts in this topic

I have recently had quite a few ppl tell me to try Berlitz, and no one said anything bad, but they didnt much bout them except they are easy to get work with (not full time but some)

Is it just the Hamburg office thats the crappiest or is it just the company as a whole?

I am leaving Germany soon, but am planning to return next year and try my luck at jobs...anyone got any tips for first time work or best language school to start applying to? I've got a degree and have years of customer service in guidance.

I hope to be a bit better with my German then am now when I come back.

 

Cheers

Mel

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This is also posted here: Rates of pay at Berlitz language school

 

Well, I am typing this again, as I lost it when I tried to do a spell-check. Word to the wise: copy your post to the clipboard before doing anything else...save early, save often.

 

Here goes.

 

First. I came to Germany three years ago, speaking virtually no German, but with an MBA and a TEFL certificate. I obtained my first Visa for learning German at the VHS (long story),

and five days later was contacted by Berlitz about a job. While not prohibited from teaching anywhere else, (by Berlitz)

my Visa clearly stated that it was granted solely on the premise that I worked as an English teacher at the Berlitz School in Köln. This effectively held me at Berlitz until I was married, and

obtained an open Visa. Planned by Berlitz or German bureaucracy? I do not know. Anyway...

 

Berlitz enabled me to 'get my foot in the door' and gain experience and credibility, that now that I have an open Visa, that enabled me to find work at other schools earning 30-40€ per UE.

I plan to start my own company and teach on my own as well.

 

The Berlitz material can make you very lazy, just open the books and go. However, the material to most students is insultingly irrelevant, and at times useless (to be polite). So a bit of imagination and outside material

are needed. Yes, it is a total scam for the students. FYI, for groups they charge on average 55€ per UE.

 

Berlitz is NOT a US firm, they were bought by a Japanese publishing house in 1993

 

A not-so-quick summary of the facts for pay at Berlitz.

 

Recently they changed their pay system. Teachers who teach more than 120 hours per month (including travel time) receive 15€ per UE, with 10€ per travel unit.

Less then 120 UE, then the teacher, regardless of experience receives 13,50€ per UE with the same 10€ per travel unit. I have taught over 65 UE some weeks, and rarely have less than 35 UE in 'bad' weeks, so the 120 units is not an issue. Normally, I average 160-200 UE per month.

 

When I started, I received 11,76€ per UE, with the same for travel time. After my first year, this was raised to 12,50€, again the same with travel time.

Since I taught technical, or other English with material other than that from Berlitz, I received anywhere from a 20 to 40% premium over my base pay.

After my second year, I received another raise to 13,50 per UE, again with the same for travel, and the associated non-standard premiums.

I work primarily in companies, and am seldom in the actual language centre in Köln.

As a result, I was not privy to the sudden change in policy that took place in August, that is currently in effect (120 UE/15€ 10€ travel rule) I found this out 'by accident'.

 

What really frosted me was:

 

1. Any new teacher, regardless of experience, (this is a sick joke...Berlitz will hire any warm-body with English as a mother tongue it seems), receives this pay-rate.

2. This occurred when Benzin prices were at their highest...In July I paid over 600€ for Benzin.

3. The additional premium for 'Non-standard' classes was eliminated.

 

A last note- Here in Köln, IME, you really need to reconcile the hours you are paid with the hours you taught. Even on the daily work log I found them making "errors"; trying to reduce travel units, missing units for classes, etc. So working there is not the best...in two words: Berlitz s*cks.

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I can't believe more people don't bitch about this company, if for no other reason than to warn our fellow expats to go elsewhere!... .The other thing is, although you are a freelancer, Berlitz has fought to the highest court and won the point that you can only work for them. If you work elsewhere and essentially get fired, you can't fight it because they have a special ruling just for them. Normally freelancers can work wherever they want, not so with the freelancers at Berlitz.

I would be interested to see this in detail, as I was not aware of this, and have never heard this before...

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... work at other schools earning 30-40€ per UE. ...

Another person who claims to earn high rates *from a school* but doesn't say which school. :rolleyes:

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Skills4Business in Leverkusen, Team for Business English, Köln. Easy does it. Saying that I am "claiming" to earn this amount is a bit unfriendly. Of course I have a degree in English and a Masters in Business...if it is the case that your only 'skill' is that you have English as your mother-tongue, then you earn what you are worth...

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Hello all aspiring English teachers. I have just read through some of the responses to your message about getting an offer at Berlitz (sorry I have forgotten your name) and they are all pretty much on the money. Berlitz does create some difficulties - epsecially at the beginning of your time there when the expectations (or perhaps burdens) are high. I have had experiences with several schools inside of and outside of Hamburg and I will say this:

 

Berlitz is a great place to get your wings. If you are like me and came to Germany with no teaching experience whatsoever and are not clear as to what a preposition or future perfect progress is then I think teaching for Berlitz is a good place to start. Granted the training could have been longer and the first few months being thrown in at the deep end are difficult but after a short time you will pick things up.

 

The money is without a doubt the worst I have ever worked without going into details. However when you take into account that all the preparation work is taken care of for you after a while it becomes a real no-brainer. Some people like that and some don't. I love the freedom of making my own lessons but was unfortunately born extremely lazy so would rather not have to think about any of that linguistics development and help my students enjoy learning a foreign language. The staff can be trying - but also helpful. You just have to take care of yourself first and not trust everybody you meet.

 

I have never had problems with getting money back for train, bus, ferry tickets and eventhough this only from the centre to the companies etc you have to remember some other schools don't pay at all.

 

Germany is a great place to teach English. First most people can already speak a little. Second they have a lot of money. Third they are a very proud bunch. Great combination.

 

So in summing up about Berlitz: Money is bad vs. experience is good. No freedom vs. no brainer. Stress of having a job vs. stress of not having a job.

 

If you have no experience give it a go - but don't take it all so seriously. Work to live and all that. Enjoy Hamburg.

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I worked for Berlitz as an employee back in 1997/8. After doing the training in December, I worked from January until around Septemer, just before having my first child. I was fresh in from England and welcomed with open arms and worked very part-time. I felt confident working with beginners, but less than happy with advanced students. In the end, I managed to transfer my advanced student (who was a very intelligent professor) to a "real" teacher, basically I begged her to take him on because I felt he wasn't getting his money's worth with me!!

 

I had my maternity leave for my 1st child and then for my second. I didn't really want to go back to work there, but decided to go in and see them anyway and see what they had to offer. The management had changed and the woman there offered me a 7.30 class!! I said it would be really difficult for me to manage that and I would prefer to start later in the day. NO WAY! She obviously didn't want me back as an employee, but offered me freelance work. I ended up in tears - my hormones were playing havoc with my emotions :lol: It seems really funny now, looking back, but it was awful then. Once I pulled myself together I decided I could do better with them and believe I have done just that!

 

I'm sure there are better companies to work for than them .. but it's also down to the management in place too.

 

While I'm posting, I've got quite a few questions to ask about working for myself and how much I'm allowed to earn, etc. Not sure where I should post as I've only joined up today. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

By the way, I live in Braunschweig - lovely place for a family, but I find myself a bit bored (I'm a Londoner mate)! ;)

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It's like this. Berlitz is the McDonalds of language schools. They'd hire a monkey if it could serve a burger... ummm... read their step by step lessons. The pay there is basic enough compard to other schools but if you're willing to work from 8 in the morning to 9 at night and NEVER EVER question the almighty and powerful scheduler then it'll pay the rent. There's loads of work usually but you only get your schedule the day before and it's pretty much never the same so it can be quite stressful for obvious reasons. It's all about brand there and the teaching is secondary. They've screwed over so many students and teachers since I started there I've lost count. I got out early on and am a much healthier and happier person for it.

 

If you don't have any qualifications in teaching and it's something you want to do then Berlitz is a quick and easy way to get your foot in the door, otherwise try any of the other 500,000 english schools in Hamburg.

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Thanks for the conscise answer Frau. I must say you've scared me off Brelitz pretty thoroughly. But are there any other schools in Hamburg that you could point me towards? I don't have a TEFL (although I'll be taking the course soon), do you know any schools who may be more flexible than others on that point?

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though i can't say anything about berlitz in general, cuz i never had anything to do with them (luckily by the sounds of it),

just a short note concerning the money they pay:

 

if it's like roughly 14euros for 45 minutes, i don't think it's bad at all! of course if you've studied at uni to become a teacher it's not acceptable,

BUT most 'english teachers' i know here in hamburg did not have any teaching experience at all when they started their jobs (and not much knowledge about the english language at all).

ok, they're all natives which is great and i know that's the only thing that is required by the schools, but honestly, what do you expect to get paid as a completely "untrained teacher"?

i mean, if you work in a bar or a bakery how much do you get paid there? 8 or 9 euros for 1hour (=60mins).

you can't really compare the wage with german teachers who have studied 4-5 years at uni...

anyhow, berlitz sounds like a sh** place!

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I've thought about teaching english in germany and have always wanted to do it for pure love of the country. Reading through every post here berlitz does sound pretty pants but with absolutely zero teaching qualifications it would seem as though i'd be a monkey flipping burgers. Would this be a wise step trying to get a job with them or are there other english teaching schools that are just as good at 'getting my foot into the door'? I already work 12-14 hour days for pittance so it wouldn't be much of a change for me.

 

One other thing though, will working for a company teaching english help me learn anymore german? I know how ridiculous that might sound but i do really want to learn german.

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Sounds like they did you a favour.

 

I hope you now put your energies into building up a business on your own. It won't be easy, but I bet the experience will be much more rewarding.

 

BTW, maybe they somehow found Setting up a company in Germany

 

If that's your photo on your profile, it wouldn't take much to figure out who wrote it.

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Indeed. You'd be better off with one of those schools that actively prefers its teachers to have a portfolio across different clients. A lot of employers (not just EL) don't want you working for anyone else (or yourself).

 

Berlitz is a brand / franchise so what applies to one school is not always brand-wide practice. However, I take it for granted that contacts google may one now. It's not "spying", because I choose to have a web presence. It means we have to take care about our that presence though (unless we are in circumstances where we have the luxury of it not mattering)!!! (And I think the stuff about starting off with low hours is normal too and not just for Berlitz).

 

As the last poster says, the consolation is that what berlitz didn't like will be considered positively by many other schools, that probably treat you better, have better clients and pay more :) .

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the mentioned post I had here on Toytown. I honestly have NO idea how she found out about that post, since I do not have my real name on here, nor do I have any crosslinking between the two or on any other websites.

 

There's always a chance that a smart operator can penetrate our secret identities given a couple of tiny clues, such as, in the case of your profile, your date of birth, home town, location, and photograph. Very cute, by the way. I dare say Berlitz staff do look at this site from time to time, as we shit on them with a pleasing regularity. Up yours, director Kiel.

 

But forget'em, they're profiteers from indentured labour. You're better off.

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Yes, silty1, it was that exact post. However, I'm still confused how they found me. I don't use my username, Gummibaerchen, anywhere else on the web. Perhaps they were just glancing around, I don't know, but either way, I'm still disappointed in Berlitz.

 

And thanks, RainKing. :P

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