Teaching English in Poland

Why teaching English online is the best way to teach in Poland

Are you considering teaching English in Poland? This post should help you decide what style of teaching in Poland would be best for you. In general, there are three ways to teach English in Poland: teaching online, finding your own private students, working in a school. Which would be the best for you depends on how enterprising you are, how much you’d like to work, and what days and times you’d like to work. There are advantages and disadvantages of each, and I’ll outline then in this post. 

Teaching online 

Most online teaching in Poland takes place via Skype or something similar like Messenger video chat or Google Hangouts, whatever your preference is, but Skype is the most popular. This is probably the most convenient way to teach English in Poland because you can do it anywhere there’s a reliable internet connection and you can choose your own schedule. 

Upsides: You can live wherever you want, teach while on trips, whatever you wish, so it’s a super flexible job. Some of my employees only work 4 days a week and I think that’s really cool. Mostly the lessons are one-on-one, so you get to know your students well and you can really customize the lessons specially for them, so you see a lot of progress very quickly. If you’d be interested in teaching English to Poles via Skype, take a look at my website https://talkback.pl and feel free to message me at leah@talkback.pl for more info. 

Downsides: You’ll be spending a lot of time at home and you need a place to do the lessons, so it could be problematic if you live with someone in a small flat. Also, you need a good internet connection so if you live somewhere without that it would be a problem. 

Hours: Flexible – work any time you choose. 

Payment: Once per month, 30 zl – 60 zl per hour depending on whether you have your own business or not. Usually work on umowa o dzieło (work as a subcontractor).

Finding your own private students

If you’re organized and enterprising, it’s very possible to teach English in Poland completely on your own – but it takes time. It’s hard to find enough students to fill your schedule from the get go. Generally, you need a few months/years to really fill your schedule with a good number of people. The best is word of mouth as for sure many of your friends/family members in Poland will have acquaintances who are interested in learning English and those are always the best students. Usually private students would like to learn a mix of things – so grammar and vocabulary will be expected in addition to conversations. Of course you could very well only take conversation lessons and have it a bit easier. 

Disadvantages: The disadvantages of working for yourself is that you have to manage your schedule and your students, find the students yourself, and charge them for late cancellations or accept the fact that very often people disappear or just won’t show up to lessons. My suggestion is be clear about your rules from the beginning and people tend to respect them more. Also, people will be coming to your flat or you’ll have to meet them somewhere in the city center, so you have to be comfortable with that and therefore have to have a special room or keep your place presentable. 

Hours: Flexible

Payment: This way, you could either work under the table by accepting cash (as many teachers do) or open your own company and offer invoices as well. 

Teaching English in a language school

I taught for 2 years in a language school and it’s a good way for the start. Often in language schools you’ll be teaching larger groups – 6-10 people. That can be hard if you’re a total beginner and have never taught and are just thrown into a room with people expecting you to teach like a pro. However, usually you focus on conversations as you’ll teach in tandem with a Polish teacher who handles the grammar and vocabulary. Usually there’s a book involved, so you’ll be expected to teach from that. There are also tests, etc. Most schools are open from about 16-20, so you’ll teach about 3-4 hours in the evenings and sometimes weekend mornings. Some schools may also send you to teach in companies in the morning hours as well. 

Disadvantages: The downside of teaching in a school is that you can’t choose your students, so sometimes people are a little weird and because they’re in groups, many students are afraid to speak and you really have to pull it out of them sometimes. Also, you have a boss telling you what to do and who will check your work. Also, many schools unfortunately don’t pay on time and don’t treat their employees fairly. That is my experience and what I’ve heard from others. 

Advantages: The upside is that you don’t have to deal with any of the organizational aspects, so it’s good for people who just want to show up, teach, and get paid.

Hours: Usually in the evenings (sometimes Saturday mornings) but it depends on the school. Some schools offer company lessons and those are usually early.

Payment: Once per month; many schools will ask you to open your own company for this purpose as it’s cheaper for them but not all of them. 

Anyway, that’s my two cents. If you’d like to post yours, please feel free to comment below or ask any questions you may have.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Magdalena Hiszpańska 22 October 2018 at 13:07

    Teaching online is a very good way to have lessons with student. Only you and him, and you may give him more attention, it’s better than whole class of students.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 5 November 2018 at 13:07

      Yeah I agree, Magda! It’s a great way to get to know someone and learn English at the same time.

  • Reply Steven 24 October 2018 at 00:48

    This is very insightful and exceedingly helpful. Thank you for taking the time to post pertinent information for those of us interested in Poland.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 5 November 2018 at 13:07

      Glad you found it useful Steven! Let me know of if you have any other specific questions 🙂

  • Reply Helen p. 31 October 2018 at 04:23

    I am a pharmacist, thinking of retiring. I have relatives in Poland, and visit them .I speak Polish,and wonder if I could teach English maybe in a pharmacy school,or pharmacy or medical students.,and how to go about this….helen

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 5 November 2018 at 13:09

      Hm I mean I think it’s definitely possible but you’d have to contact the medical universities here in Poland. I’m sure they’d be interested. You could also offer private lessons with that focus and I’m sure that would also be well-received 🙂

  • Reply Ela (Lizzie) 5 November 2018 at 14:53

    Yeah, I agree that teaching English on the internet or with a private tutor is the best option. I personally learned English by myself. I watched tons of TV shows with English subtitles, I tried to use the internet only in English (I do that all the time now, without even noticing) and I translated song lyrics all the time, and I read… so, so much. Later on I started to talk with people in English, then I met my current fiancé and somewhere along the way, I just realized that I can communicate in English, and that I understand more than I don’t. It was a revelation for me and it makes me very proud of myself.
    Of course, as practically every Polish child, I had my basics form school, but the truth is, that with only school education in that matter, I wouldn’t be here right now, because I wouldn’t even be able to understand this text.
    So yeah, in conclusion, I think that learning languages needs a personal approach, instead of group classes.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 5 November 2018 at 20:17

      Honestly my husband also learned a ton from watching tv/movies…especially friends! He knows so many words/cultural references from it so it really helps in our case as I’m American and it’s an American show, you know?

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