Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
~ Japanese proverb ~
Teaching, being part of the development and progress of your students, is intensely rewarding — whether you work in a school or as a private tutor. A Latin teacher (or any other language, for that matter) can see these results almost instantly as they hear their students speak or read their work during each lesson.
A teacher's work does not only happen in the classroom. They often spend hours after school preparing lessons and marking student work. In fact, a high school teacher will work well over 54 hours a week — 43 hours at school and at least 11 at home.
With these hours in mind, when it comes to salary, teaching in Australia is not exactly known for its earning capacity. It's not the worst when compared to other jobs, but when you consider it requires a four year university degree at minimum, it's not the best either.
Despite this, many teachers say they wouldn't give up their jobs for anything.
So, how much can you earn as a Latin teacher?
There are many factors at play, including experience, qualifications, the system (public or private) you teach under and even the state you live in. This is what we'll discuss in this article.
Average Salaries for Qualified Teachers
It is important to understand that, in Australia, teacher salaries are determined at a state level, rather than federal. Other important things to know are:
- private and non-government school teachers often earn less than public school teachers
- there is no difference between the salaries of primary and high school teachers
- subject specialisation does not affect salary (that is, a Latin teacher, for example, earns the same as English teachers, French teachers, history teachers and physical education teachers).
What this means for Latin teachers is that the state you work in is the only factor that will affect your pay rate, as shown in the following table.
|State||Average yearly salary||Graduate starting salary|
|Australian Capital Territory||$90,409||$72,000|
|New South Wales||$91,249||$75,605|
In some cases, there may be supplementary allowances that boost these pay rates. These differ by state, but generally include:
- Special Needs allowance
- Lead Teacher accreditation
- Remote Teaching supplement.
For teachers at the top of the classroom teacher pay scale, which occurs after the tenth year of teaching, the only option available to secure a pay increase is through promotion to executive teaching roles, such as team leader status, deputy principal and principal jobs.
Another important factor to be aware of is that, although teacher pay increases with each year of experience, if you have taught overseas or even in another state, often that experience will not count in terms of determining your pay.
For a number of years, Latin language lessons have been hard to find in public schools (and even in private schools). They are rising in popularity again, although qualified Latin teachers are likely to find themselves teaching in other subject areas as well in order to make up their full-time hours.
Not everything is doom and gloom, though. One of the most heartening things about jobs in the education sector, particularly public education, is job stability. Once a teacher has gained permanency within a system, they may change schools within their state, and even transfer between year levels, subject courses and between primary school, high school and college — but they have guaranteed job security. For some, this is a price worth paying.
Promotion Opportunities for Latin Teachers
In the past, it was difficult for language teachers to secure promotion positions — mainly because their specialisation made them hard to replace. Thankfully, this is no longer the case and if you apply for a promotional position, even if you are the only Latin language teacher in the school or region, your application will be judged on merit.
However, many people who teach languages, especially the rare ones, or other specialised subject areas, do not want to leave the classroom in pursuit of a job or role requiring more administrative duties. Often people become teachers because they like to teach, not because they want to be stuck behind a computer all day.
If you'd like to apply for a higher duties position but still want to stay in the classroom, accomplished teachers can apply for lead teacher status or the equivalent in their state. This status keeps the teacher in front of the students most of the time, but also tasks them with more administrative roles, and more mentoring of new staff.
The increase in responsibility and administrative jobs means the teacher's pay also increases by approximately $10-20,000 dollars a year.
Other ways to increase your salary
There are other ways to supplement your teaching salary without straying from your education role if you so desire.
Many teachers, especially in their first five or so years of teaching, or upon retirement, take on private tutoring students. These students might be in the teacher's class, or they may be from another school — in the Latin teacher's case, another school that does not offer Latin.
Some teachers also apply to be markers for state and national exams, such as NAPLAN. This requires a significant out of hours time commitment, but it is only for a short period each year and pays well.
For part-time teachers, there is also the option of taking out a relief teaching card so they can work in other schools on the days they don't work at their own school.
Latin Language Lessons at University Level
If you prefer to work with adult language learners, a job in a university might suit you.
To apply for a position as a university Latin lecturer, you generally have to possess a Masters degree or a PhD — ideally in Latin.
The average salary for a university lecturer in Australia sits at around $114,000 per year. Of course, this rate is determined by the university and may be based on subject, merit, academic level or experience.
Somewhat ironically, while a university lecturer is required to have, at minimum, a postgraduate degree in their subject area, they are not required to have an education degree. However, prior teaching experience is 'highly regarded'.
For people who don't have the inclination to pursue a postgraduate degree or PhD studies, other options that keep you teaching in the adult education sphere, and are pathways into Latin teaching, include:
- Latin tutor roles in the university classroom
- Latin language lessons at a TAFE
- teaching evening, weekend or short course Latin programs offered by universities.
Does Private Latin Tuition Provide a Sustainable Income?
Not everyone who wants to teach dreams of finding work in the compulsory or tertiary education system. If working under the constraints of a national or institutional curriculum does not appeal, you may wish to consider working for yourself as a private tutor of Latin.
A private Latin teacher or tutor does not enjoy the job stability of a teacher in the private or public education system, however, the flexibility and freedom may outweigh this for some people.
This flexibility comes in the form of being able to choose:
- the way in which you teach
- the content of what you teach (to a certain extent)
- the hours and days you work
- your work and teaching location
- the fees you charge.
For example, Superprof tutors can choose whether they offer face-to-face tutoring, online tutorials or group tutoring. They also decide their niche areas, for example, Latin grammar or vocabulary, literature classics, early Roman history and so on.
Setting your rates is probably the most important, and trickiest part. Rates are often determined by tutors, and valued by clients, according to certification, experience or even reputation. They can also be determined by your location (as you saw with qualified teacher salaries), the level of your students, your method of lesson delivery or even the popularity (and trendiness) of your language.
There are many factors to consider.
The key is to make your prices competitive while honouring the hours you put in but not pricing you out of the market. Tutors who offer Latin language sessions currently on Superprof charge anywhere between $20 and $90 an hour (or an average of $40 an hour).
It doesn't sound like much, but if you work hard to gain a good client base, and you work around 25 hours a week (plus preparation time), you stand to make anywhere between $500 and $2250 a week, before tax.
Whether you're teaching in a formal education environment or tutoring in your local cafe, make the most of your skills and knowledge when you are planning and delivering each lesson. If you excel at grammar and vocabulary, or other languages such as French, Spanish, Italian or classical Greek, play on these strengths by comparing Latin with English and other languages, like classical Greek.
At the end of the day, your reputation should speak for itself. Happy students talk and word-of-mouth can be powerful.
Take that leap, start your career as a Latin teacher and embrace every opportunity with a positive mindset.
Above all else though, regardless of where you are teaching, and who you are teaching — if you love Latin, you want this to be your focus. And, you want to love your job.
Remember to live!
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