Teaching English in Poland

6 traits you need to teach English in Poland

Working as an English teacher in Poland is a popular job for native English-speaking expats looking to earn some easy cash. But it’s not for everyone. And it’s not as easy as just being able to speak. In addition to knowing how to instil knowledge in others, teaching English in Poland about people skills and deep understanding of the language. A little dose of eccentricity doesn’t hurt either. Think you got what it takes? Read on to find out.

Below I’ve listed the 6 traits I think are most important if you want to teach English in Poland:

Open-mindedness

Teaching English in Poland, you’re going to be meeting with people who are quite different from you and from each other, and it can be hard to accept/manage. But that’s what makes the job amazing! Each lesson is also a chance for you to learn something new, not just your students. 

Down-to-earth

You’re the teacher, but as you’re probably teaching mostly adults, you’re more of a friend than a traditional English teacher. You need to be able to relate to people, understand them, and have deep conversations (some people will use the time as a therapy session. It’s cheaper!) Some of your students will become your friends, and you’ll certainly talk to them more than your family/friends. 

A sense of humour

You’re not only a teacher, you’re an entertainer. People want to have fun in their lessons, not be put to sleep. Don’t be afraid to be yourself (and if you’re not funny at all you might wanna think of a different career path) and be a little “out there”. Your students will appreciate it. Plus, Poles have a great sense of humor. Harness it! 

Adaptability

Like I said before, teaching English in Poland, you’re going to be meeting all kinds of people/groups and you never know what the dynamic is going to be like. Maybe they’ll be open, maybe not. Maybe they’ll only want to talk about PRL, old movies, and windsurfing – three things you know nothing about! (I had a student like that for 3 years!). Whatever the case may be, you gotta be ready to adapt to it because, if not, it’s gonna be awkward! 

The ability to make shit up on the spot

Is there a word for that? If not, there should be! Maybe “a good bullshitter?” For real – this is useful. Not only are you going to be talking for hours and hours about all kinds of things, sometimes you need to pull a topic or a lesson out of your ass, so to speak. Although you should always be prepared, you never know what turn the lesson will take. 

Curiosity

As an English teacher in Poland, you have the unique opportunity to not only teach, but learn from your students in turn. These people will be interested in all kinds of various topics, hobbies, professions, you name it. So deep curiosity in people and their lives will really come in handy. I’d also add that knowing a little bit about a lot of things goes a long way, as well as having opinions on a variety of topics. You have to be prepared for anything!

Are you an English teacher in Poland? Perhaps there are other traits you think are missing from this post? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

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2 Comments

  • Reply KW 22 February 2020 at 08:31

    Great list! I thought I’d add two more traits…

    The first is thick skin! When you work with people, often times it is unpredictable what they may ask or say, therefore you need thick skin in order not to feel hurt or offended when someone says something that catches you off-guard or is perceived as rude. Teaching is very similar to customer service and those skills you may have learned from another job will definitely come in handy to protect your mentality as you work with the public. Sometimes people hurt others because they’re hurting, or they’re just having a bad day, and unfortunately there are times when you will be the receiving end of their angst. Just remember it’s nothing personal and try to see it from another perspective.

    Secondly, patience is incredibly important as sometimes you may try to help someone and they don’t listen, or perhaps their point of view is vastly different than yours or even as simple as internet connection has issues being stable that day… It’s important to stay cool and have an abundance of patience so you don’t overwhelm your student. The more patience you have, the more comfortable they feel which means the more they will speak.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 27 February 2020 at 11:28

      Yes!! Very good points from a very experienced and wise teacher 🙂

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