Travel & Teach - Poland
Poland took a large step towards the West when it joined the NATO alliance in 1999 and then joined the EU in 2004. If you are a TEFL teacher heading here you will find a ready made TEFL industry waiting for you and it is a great place for new EFL teachers.
In common with many of the Eastern European countries, demand for English is high as Poland seeks a closer relationship with the West. Teaching positions abound and are regularly advertised in the UK national press and on the Internet (a trawl through www.tefl.com will regularly reveal a selection of positions in Poland). Alongside the Czech Republic, Some of the best living conditions in Eastern Europe can be found in Poland, although this is not a region for those that are purely financially motivated. The government has played a big role in shaping a more professional approach to the teaching of English and well-qualified locals meet much of the demand. However there is still a strong demand for native speakers and while some of the attraction of the West has dimmed, the people still tend to be warm, welcoming and highly motivated to learn English. One thing is for certain here – you’ll be made very welcome and it is often thought of as being an ideal first stop on your TESOL career.
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Poland: http://www.britishcouncil.org/poland.htm
Polish Embassy UK: http://poland.embassyhomepage.com/
Polish Embassy USA: http://www.polandembassy.org/
Polish National Tourist Office: http://www.polandtour.org/
Need more info: Teaching English Abroad available through our bookshop page
Global English students are working all over the world with their accredited TESOL certificates. Find out
how TESOL training from Global English has made a difference to their lives:
I completed the Global English Level 2 TESOL course and have been visiting Poland since 1990 and have travelled extensively throughout the country with my ever-increasing circle of friends. In fact, it is impossible not to make friends as the Poles are very hospitable, and willingly introduce you to their friends and families, especially if you spend some time with them and take an interest in their country and culture. Although life in the rural areas is still quite basic, with not many people speaking English, the major cities are rapidly modernising with most professional people having a good grasp of English.
Polish people are keen to practice their English, often wanting to know if their pronunciation and grammar is correct (which makes it difficult for me to improve my Polish). It was giving this informal guidance, along with editing the English for a friend who has to write academic papers and assisting other friends’ children with their English studies, that prompted me to do the Global English courses.
As it is considered to be essential, English is now taught in schools; even so, parents who can afford it will often pay for additional private tutorials.
Away from Warsaw, the large cities of Lodz, Wroclaw, Katowise, Kracow, Poznan and Gdansk have many English language academies where native speakers are always welcome. Travelling throughout Poland is quite easy with a very reliable train service, or by using the Polski Express coaches, supplemented by an excellent network of local buses and trams.
Just wanted to let you know that all my certificates have arrived here in Poland - thank you very much.
The funny thing is, that about 20 minutes after taking my business certificate out of the envelope I got a phone call with a job offer! It's a 4-day business interpreting in a local branch of an international company.
Talk about coincidences!
If I had know your certificates are such powerful job magnets I'd have done mine ages ago :)
Travel and Teach
There is a wealth of EFL opportunities for teachers at every stage of their career and positions are regularly advertised in the UK national press. Journals to try include the TES (Times Educational Supplement) on Fridays and the Guardian EFL pages on Tuesdays, as well as the Internet. There are some voluntary organisations and agencies that recruit for Eastern Europe. These would be the place to look if you are a school teacher looking to be placed within the state sector. Try Teaching English Abroad, available through our bookshop page, as a useful reference for this.
However the private industry is thriving and the Polish term tends to begin in October. A good way to immerse yourself into teaching and the Polish culture is to teach at one of the many summer camps. But don’t travel there on spec – despite the inclusion to the EU you will need to visit your Polish Consulate and get all the documentation sorted before you leave for Poland. Again, Teaching English Abroad will tell you exactly what you need to know, or you can contact the Consulates directly (see Useful Contacts).
When looking for work in Poland, try the British Council Offices in Warsaw, which may hold a list of language schools locally. Meeting other teachers who can keep you up to date on current vacancies should not be too difficult in the big towns. Bear in mind that many Language School Directors may not speak fluent English, but it is still one of the easiest countries to find work quickly.
Teaching business English is also on the increase, so consider taking the Global English Level 2 TESOL with business before you go. This will help you particularly as you may have to devise your own courses from scratch. This will help you to get one step ahead in the search for work, particularly in the buoyant freelance market, where many teachers supplement their earnings. Remember that on applying for TESOL positions, it is generally advisable to send a passport-sized photograph along with a CV, covering letter and possibly copies of degree/TESOL certificates.
Polish employers may want to interview you before offering a contract. Often this can’t practically take place in person, so you may have a telephone interview. You can also find information on how to succeed at your TESOL interview on the ‘Interview techniques’ page on our website.
The typical teaching timetable is around 24 hours per week (a 45 minute lesson often counts as one hour). Allowing for planning etc., this is regarded as a fairly full timetable. However some overtime and/or freelancing could be fitted in and may be necessary to supplement your salary. Pay in the private sector ranges can go up to 4000 Zloty per month gross and deductions are made at around 20%. You can expect higher rates of pay for freelance work (up to 60 Zloty per hour) and for teaching business English or helping out at University level. In common with much of Eastern Europe, finding good quality, affordable accommodation can be difficult. The cost of living is also rising. Despite this, working conditions are not exploitative and Poland’s people and culture should make for an enriching personal experience. But be prepared for cold, cloudy, and moderately severe winters with lots of rain and snow.