Poland, Teaching English in Poland

Why Poland is a great place to teach English

I’ve been teaching English in Poland for the last 5 years and I’m extremely satisfied with my decision. I couldn’t ask for a job which suits me better – so much so that I got my Master’s degree in linguistics here in Poland. I get to talk to people all day, help them, learn all about their lives and opinions. I feel like I’m half linguist, half therapist with all details I know about my students. Sometimes I think I know my them better than my friends. I certainly talk to them more often.

To do this job, you have to like getting a lot of face time. I have something around 7-10 hours a day of face-to-face conversations with any number of people. This means no matter what’s going on you have to be charming, entertaining, and funny, even if you’re not in the mood. However, most of the time I find that even if I start a lesson in a bad mood, I end it in a good one because I have the pleasure of spending time with rad people. My fascination with people only continues to increase as time goes on.

Certainly, teaching English isn’t the same in all countries. Most people choose an Asian country like China or South Korea or somewhere in South America. Here I’m going to explain why you should choose Poland.

Poles are highly educated. For this reason, you can have high-level discussions about any topic, making your job more interesting and given you the chance to learn from your students.

You can teach from home or via Skype. This is an extremely comfortable option for teaching English and it’s becoming very popular. All you need a good Internet connection and you’re set. Most people want only conversations so it’s even better. It’s a great option for people without cars, who want to fill in their schedule, or want to teach in their pjs. Looking for a school? Try mine: www.talkback.pl

Most people already speak English on some level. Because of this, you won’t have to start from the basics of the language, which are probably the hardest things for native speakers to teach. That makes your job a little easier. Most of the time, you’re simply fine-tuning their current skills and teaching higher level grammar and vocabulary.

You can find a job really easily. There’s no lack of language schools in Poland and they’d all kill to have you work there. However, you’ll be working for less than you could on your own, with students who you can’t choose and in rather large groups, up to 10. Also, they typically hire only in the beginning of the school year around September so that’s the best time to look. It’s a good solution if you need a job fast, don’t want to bother with bureaucracy, and just want to show up and teach.

You get paid pretty well. This is due to the high demand and relative scarcity of native English speakers, especially good ones. If you’re certified or experienced, you can of course earn more.

You can teach adults. The political system in Poland changed in the late 80s, and before that, people learned Russian in school. Nowadays English lessons in school are better and better but people still need practice, mostly with speaking. That means your students can be any age, not only children. I personally prefer teaching adults since there are no limits to the conversation.

Poland is in central Europe. This is a huge advantage for traveling. Considering most Americans dream of exploring Europe, it’s the ideal location for a gap year. You can teach on weekdays and travel on weekends since everything is so close. With trains, cheap airlines, and the number of holidays in Poland, it won’t be a problem to balance those two things.

You can be an entrepreneur. Because there’s plenty of work, you can work just for yourself if you’d like, which is what I do. Having your own company is great but it’s a ton of work. You have to find the work yourself, advertise, have a website, make invoices, etc. Also, if you don’t speak Polish, you better have someone who can help you. You’ll have to speak with your accountant on a monthly basis and take occasional trips to the Tax Office, so it’s better to speak Polish with this option. However, I survived a couple years without it, so you can too.

All that said, if you want to teach English in Poland, it’s an obvious requirement to speak English but it shouldn’t be the only one. It’s not as easy as it seems. Can you explain the difference between remind and remember? How about the difference between present perfect simple and past simple? You at least need to have some basic grammar knowledge and teaching skills. Before starting, consider doing a TEFL course or reading a book geared toward ESL learners. It’ll be very helpful in not looking like a damn fool in front of a group of intelligent individuals!

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21 Comments

  • Reply Karolina 21 November 2015 at 17:31

    Hi! I found your blog randomly but I fell in love with it! I’m polish and I’ve been learing english since i was 6 (i’m 15 atm) and i’ve always wondered how americans view us. Your blog is really inspiring and honest, I love it! Keep posting stuff here please! xx

    • Reply Leah Southers 21 November 2015 at 17:49

      Karolina! thank you so much 🙂 You speak (well, write for sure) English fantastically! I will keep posting. Promise!

  • Reply Agnieszka 22 November 2015 at 08:00

    Hello,
    It’s a pleasure to find out that people from such a great country can enjoy Polish culture and everyday life. I truly hope you find good and honest people on your way here.
    Have a nice day! 🙂

    • Reply Leah Southers 22 November 2015 at 08:44

      Agnieszka – America has it’s pros and cons as well. As everywhere! The people I’ve met in Poland have shown me immeasurable kindness 🙂

  • Reply Hubert 22 November 2015 at 19:50

    Hi!
    I just found your blog and all I can say is – good job!
    It’s really nice to see American’s point of view about Poland. Although I’ve been learning English for 10 or even 11 years I still have big problem with speaking so I’ve been thinking about finding a native speaker who I could talk with. If I signed to your school would it be you teaching me? I want to learn American English instead of British so that’s why I would like to work with you

    • Reply Leah Southers 22 November 2015 at 20:54

      Hi Hubert — thanks so much! As for lessons, I’ll send you an email about it 🙂 Cheers!

  • Reply Inga 22 November 2015 at 22:17

    Hello, Leah!
    It’s a real pleasure to read your blog 🙂 I’ve started noting some phrases from your posts but it’s not the only thing – it’s great to get to know non-Polish point of view about Poland and not hear just “Poles are thieves and can’t behave lol”. You writes so easily and funnily. Looking forward to the next entry!

    • Reply Leah Southers 23 November 2015 at 08:43

      Hi Inga – I’m delighted that the posts are teaching you something as well 🙂 that’s to hear. The stereotypes are definitely tiring. I have to do a post soon about the stupid things people ask me about Poland…

  • Reply Ilona 22 November 2015 at 22:26

    Wow! Poland is a great country! It’s true but I cannot say that most people speak English! No way! Just people till 50 year old. Older generation in the majority do not speak English. As a person over 40 I may say that we were not taught English in a good way. No conversation only grammar! We do speak German,French,Spanish and of course English. It’s depends on the person and place where you live. There are hundrend of the languages school in POland so it may be hard to get a job. Many native Polish teach English too. Thanks.

    • Reply Leah Southers 23 November 2015 at 08:42

      Ilona – that’s true. I probably should have said most people who would like to study English already know something. This doesn’t apply to the whole population for sure.

  • Reply Magda B. 24 November 2015 at 11:50

    Hi Leah,
    nice to read about your experience with “polish” students. I hope that one day our english will be better than you can imagine! ooh one more thing 🙂 Every lesson is not only lesson you give us opportunity to know a different culture 🙂 Thanks for that! Good luck with your blog! 🙂
    Magda – ekinnolab

    • Reply Leah Southers 24 November 2015 at 15:47

      Magda! Your English is better and better all the time! Glad I can help with that a little bit 🙂

  • Reply Ilona 6 December 2015 at 10:12

    Hi, Leah! I found this website by chance and I am so glad, that you like our country. I really want to can talking and writing in English as you (eh, dreams) and… I am first here, so maybe it is here, but can you give some tips about more effective learing this language? For example, I have learned this language… when I was six years old and I have something, that I have a lot of words in English but I have some blockade in talking. It is, I know about (maybe) all tenses: past simple, present simple etc. but when I am talking, rapidly I must stop and think: which tense I have to use? It is so irritaiting, so… do you have any tips for me? I will be so grateful for this, because I need help. Good lock for blog and I am sorry for mistakes, my English it is not very good. 😀 Have a nice day!

    • Reply Ilona 6 December 2015 at 10:16

      Luck*

    • Reply Leah Southers 6 December 2015 at 11:12

      Hi Ilona,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts! I’ll be sure to write more in the future. As for tips on how to use the correct tenses? Practice makes perfect 🙂 Good luck to you too!

      • Reply Ilona 6 December 2015 at 15:00

        As for tips I think that’s a good idea. Personally, I am interesting which tenses are using in normal live, because we have learned present perfect continous etc. and I don’t think so, that it is in using in ordinary live (maybe is, i don’t know). Moreover, I will be so pleasure, if (from your point of view) you say, how we can better learn English ourselves, without for example languages school and learing all word in dictionaries. But this is only a suggestion 🙂 Thanks for that!

  • Reply CRAIG 25 March 2016 at 16:52

    What web sites are the best to find ESL jobs in Poland? I have a TESOL, TEFL, TESL PLUS two masters degrees, a Master in the Art of Teaching Special Education with emphasis in English and mathematics and a MBA from top ten business school, Duke University. I would like to teach in a University or high school but not a language school.

    I currently work for Berlitz Language school in San Luis Postosi, Mexico. I am a USA native speaker from upstate New York. I speak at the intermediate level. When I was young I took French from 3rd to 12th grade.

    So, what web sites or recruiters would you recommend? THE BAD NEWS IS I AM 63..

    • Reply Leah Southers 2 April 2016 at 09:13

      Hi Craig,

      I suppose you won’t have a problem finding a job in a language school with Poland, especially with all your experience. Berlitz is also popular here so maybe you can just transfer to a Berlitz in Poland?

  • Reply Claudia Warchal 6 August 2016 at 02:34

    Hi Leah

    Thank you for all the information. I am a South African, with a Polish passport.I am currently teaching English in South Korea, but am very interested in teaching english in Poland in the near future. I complete my contract at the end of February. When do you suggest is the best time to start looking for different positions and do you have any advice in terms of the most popular areas to teach English in Poland.

    Any advice is much appreciated.
    Claudia Warchal

  • Reply tabassum 19 November 2018 at 12:40

    hello, I want to know about non -natives or Asians, if they want to work, what kind of opportunities they have in Warsaw Poland?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 22 November 2018 at 20:05

      Hi there! Are you asking about teaching English? It could be hard to find a job like that as a non-native honestly. But if you have skills in other areas it shouldn’t be too hard. Try pracuj.pl or olx.pl for job opportunities in Poland!

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