Travel & Teach - Poland
If you are a TEFL teacher heading to Poland then 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. 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.
TEFL tips for teaching English in Poland:
* choose the 150-hour TESOL Level 4 online >> for Europe
* consider adding a 30-hour Business TESOL >> as this specialism is very much in demand
* dress for business and present a professional CV/resume >>
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.embassy-worldwide.com/embassy/embassy-of-poland/
Polish National Tourist Office: http://www.polandtour.org/
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 :)
I have recently returned from a week in the Polish countryside, taking part in an Angloville English language immersion programme with Polish participants and other native English speaker volunteers. You do not need to have done TESOL training to apply as the programme does not involve formal teaching, though I had done a Global English level 1 TESOL before I applied. However, for any native English speakers interested in TESOL training it could be an excellent way to gain some practical experience relevant to the field. Certification is provided on completion, with references if required.
The idea is to enable the Polish participants, who work for various organisations and companies in Poland, to practice conversational English with native speakers outside of the classroom, exposing them to the various accents and varieties of English that they might encounter across the English speaking world.
After a guided tour of Wroclaw for the native English speaker volunteers, our party of Polish participants and native English speakers was taken by coach to the hotel in the Karkonoski National Park that was to be our venue for the week. Full board and a room shared with another native English speaker is provided for each volunteer. Once the rest of the Polish participants had arrived we numbered about 30 with roughly even split between Polish and native English speakers.
Most of the day is speant in one-on-one conversation in English between Polish and native English speakers, conversations taking place whilst either walking in the forested area around the hotel or sitting outside or inside as weather and inclination determines. There is also time for some two-on-two and group activities built in. After dinner in the evening there is social time and entertainment hour, which is a lot of fun and time to unwind and relax with new friends.
Application is from the website at www.angloville.com, with programmes running most of the year. I would definitely go again, particularly as I now know more about Poland, and where I want to see next.
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.
It is strongly recommended that you take:
This will help you particularly as you may have to devise your own courses from scratch. It will also enable you to get one step ahead in the search for work, particularly in the buoyant freelance market, where many teachers supplement their earnings.
Work teaching English to children can be found in the numerous summer camps, which have a lively ‘study-holiday’ atmosphere. If this is something you'd like to do, we suggest you add the 30-hour Teaching English to Young Learners >>.
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. 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. You might find the guide to writing your CV >> on our site quite helpful here.
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.