In general, there is a huge demand for native English speakers in Poland. If you’re thinking of teaching English in Poland and you’re a native English speaker, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding work. But you may be wondering what your students will be like, where you can work, whether you need a teaching certificate, and how much you can earn. You’ll find the answers to all those questions here, and also why Poland is a great place to teach English.
Many Poles already speak/have good knowledge of English but would like to improve or actually learn to use the language in conversation. I would say a majority of students are within the range of 24-40, these people working people who mostly need English for work and travel. On the whole, young people speak better than those who are older as they’ve been learning practically their whole lives (plus the internet helps for sure) – the best speakers being around 15-22 years of age. You’ll find that your students are very nice people with many interests and plenty to teach you in return.
That depends on the kind of work you’d like to have. If you work in a school, the lessons will typically be in large groups – 5-10 people and in the evenings 4pm – 8 pm, sometimes on Saturday mornings as well. Some schools will send you to companies but that depends on the school and how they do business. Generally, you’ll be teaching from books, so you won’t really have to create your own materials, unless you’d like to. If you work via Skype, like for my company Talkback, then you can work from home or while on vacation, as long as you have a reliable internet connection, and you’ll be teaching mostly one-on-one lessons. These types of lessons are more personalized depending on the needs/desires of the student, so there may be more preparation involved, but also the lessons are more interesting and you see more progress as the student is more engaged.
The best times of the year to start teaching, if you’re going to teach English in a language school, are in September/October and January/February when the semesters begin. That’s when schools will be looking for teachers, so it’s best to contact them perhaps a month or two before that. If it’s via Skype, you can start anytime you’d like.
Teaching English in Poland is a lot of fun and the pay is good. If you teach in a school, you’ll often be teaching just conversation as you’ll be teaching in parallel to a Polish teacher who takes care of the grammar, etc. That makes your job a little more fun. If you teach via Skype, you’ll build close relationships with your students as it’s just the two of you and you speak at least an hour each week, which is sometimes you speak to them more than your own friends and family. This is my preferred way of teaching as it provides a lot of flexibility as well (making your own schedule, etc.). Also, check out one of my previous posts about why Poland is a great place to teach English.
When looking for a job in a school, my recommendations would be to do a quick Google search of the schools in your area and to contact them via email or, perhaps even better, by phone or go there in person (that’s what I did when I found a job here). Often they don’t check those general emails, so calling and asking whether they’re looking for someone would probably be the best bet. Another option is to check tefl.com, where you can find offers specifically in Poland. If you’d like to teach via Skype, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schools offer between 40-60 zl per hour, sometimes net and sometimes gross. They often want you to have your own company as well, which reduces that per hour amount when you consider social security payments, having an accountant to prepare everything, and also commuting, etc. Working via Skype, it’s about 35-45 zl per hour, depending on the type of lesson and how many students are in the lesson.
How many hours?
In schools, usually about 20-25 hours per week, so around 4-5 hours per day. Essentially, they’ll give you a schedule and that’s when you have to work. If you work via Skype, you can choose your own schedule, working when and how many hours you choose. It’s totally up to you whether you’d like to take off Mondays or Fridays, or only work 3 days per week.
What kind of contract?
Typically you’ll be working on monthly contracts, so umowa o dzieło in Polish, as the job is per hour and you work different amounts of hours every month. I highly doubt any school would offer a full-time contract with benefits as it’s rare that teachers work 40 hours per week. That way, they can also pay more per hour, so that’s a plus in some way.
Do I need a teaching certificate?
In my honest opinion and experience, no. What schools are looking for is someone who speaks English natively, not necessarily someone who fully understands grammar and teaching methods. They know that most natives don’t have those skills anyway, so it’s usually not required. Some schools like International House might require it, even a CELTA, but generally I’d say it’s just a waste of money. You can prepare yourself otherwise by reading a book like English Grammar in Use. And anyway, overtime you’ll gain experience and knowledge of what Poles need to improve and what their common errors are. As most of your lessons will be conversation based, it’s not a huge issue whether you can explain grammar perfectly, but it’s a good idea to brush up on it at least.
So lots of info here and hopefully this post gives you a better idea of what teach English in Poland is like. Again, if you’re interested in teaching English via Skype, please feel free to message me or leave me a comment. Is there anything here that you’d like to know but I didn’t outline? Feel free to ask whatever you’d like to know and I’d be happy to get back to you about it!