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Tricky situation, should I refuse or accept? Forced to be an English teacher in Poland.


masks98 27 | 289  
8 Sep 2008 /  #1
Since I moved to Poland my girlfriend's family has been super supportive and helpful, especially her aunt and uncle. they let us stay with them in warsaw for a week when we first came, they made us great food, they tried to get me work as an english teacher (and they did,) and most importantly they got us an apartment in the city center!

Then suddenly yesterday her aunt calls and says that her daughter Ola wants me to be her english teacher, and that it is out of the question that I give her free lessons...

1. How can I possibly take any money from them after all their help?
2. Ola is 13, up until now I've only taught business english to adults, so what if I don't meet her needs and **** up, and then it's like "we had to fire your boyfriend because Ola wasn't happy.."

3. all that considered, would it be rude to refuse? "sorry but I can't.."?

i need guidance...
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
8 Sep 2008 /  #2
1. How can I possibly take any money from them after all their help?

Swap her for Polish lessons? (hey, isn't your month of learning Polish up?)
2. Don't worry, you'll be grand. I hope...
3. I do not know the exact circumstances but from reading your post it sounds like you know the answer?

Oh, don't take guidance from me, is my advise :)
szkotja2007 27 | 1,498  
8 Sep 2008 /  #3
Sounds to me like you have to do it.
I'm sure if you say its your way of paying back thier kindness they will understand if you dont take any cash.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
8 Sep 2008 /  #4
Swap her for Polish lessons?

Good Idea I'll suggest it! though that would require a longer lesson (2 hours) which is a lot of money id' be losing.

hey, isn't your month of learning Polish up?)

next person who brings that up I'm calling the police.

'm sure if you say its your way of paying back thier kindness they will understand if you dont take any cash.

no that's the thing they refuse to hire me for free. I really want to refuse this whole thing altogether, but I absolutely don't want to commit any faux-pas, I've been making a good impression on her entire family thus far. (well, I made her mother cry once but that's repaired.)
McCoy 27 | 1,269  
8 Sep 2008 /  #5
well, I made her mother cry once but that's repaired.

interesting. tell us some more about it ;)
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
8 Sep 2008 /  #6
(well, I made her mother cry once but that's repaired.)

dare I ask...... yeah go on then, what happened? i am so nosy sometimes.
polishgirltx  
8 Sep 2008 /  #7
i understand why you worry... earlier this year somebody suggested that i should give Polish lessons, because many people want to learn foreign languages... time has passed and i'm still thinking about that

1. who would like to learn polish in Texas??
2. what if i'm gonna screw it up?

masks, give it a try, it's a family and you may show yourself from the best side...
OP masks98 27 | 289  
8 Sep 2008 /  #8
it was my girl's dad's birthday, he made me get drunk, then this priest came over to give his birthday wishes, before launching a 49 minute tirade against my girlfriend for not going to church, at which point I interrupted and merely said "sh;es a very nice person, and she's very happy, so she's no anti-christ."

The father called me a 'heretic', the priest got up and said he had to go home, while the mother ran crying to the living room. They're complete religious fanatics. but I somehow patched things up with them before the priest left, even though they barely speak english. probably in my top 5 greatest exploits.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
8 Sep 2008 /  #9
probably in my top 5 greatest exploits.

HA HA HA HA, I love it!
shewolf 5 | 1,077  
8 Sep 2008 /  #10
give Ola candy before each lesson and she won't complain.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
9 Sep 2008 /  #11
lol, well I think I'll just accept and try to insist on making it free, even if in the end I lose...
Vincent 9 | 861   Moderator
9 Sep 2008 /  #12
Good Idea I'll suggest it! though that would require a longer lesson (2 hours) which is a lot of money id' be losing.

lol, well I think I'll just accept and try to insist on making it free, even if in the end I lose...

seems to me that you are really,just pissed off, having to give lessons free. Tell me, how is it possible to give someone English lessons, when you can barely speak their mother tongue?
OP masks98 27 | 289  
9 Sep 2008 /  #13
Tell me, how is it possible to give someone English lessons,when you can barely speak their mother tongue?

Hey that's what I said when the idea of me teaching english in Poland came up. But Veni vidi vici and my students have been pretty responsive. Of course, it's because most of these people already speak english, they just want to put their book-knowledge to the test and acquire more fluency...

seems to me that you are really,just pissed off, having to give lessons free

haha I was a little bit, but then it really bothers me to imagine taking money fromm their hands. In the end I will have to, Ola's mother will pay 50 a lesson, end of discussion. I guess It's okay at such a discount rate...
miranda  
9 Sep 2008 /  #14
In the end I will have to, Ola's mother will pay 50 a lesson, end of discussion. I guess It's okay at such a discount rate...

if that is a discount rate, what isn't. I was in a similar situation in Poland and I gave the parents 50% discount, so we both felt OK about the situation.
Vincent 9 | 861   Moderator
9 Sep 2008 /  #15
it's because most of these people already speak english

Thats what I was wondering, would be very hard if they did not speak some English, fair play to you, for teaching your English courses and good luck with that.

In the end I will have to, Ola's mother will pay 50 a lesson, end of discussion. I guess It's okay at such a discount rate...

good..glad that you have reached a happy medium:)
OP masks98 27 | 289  
10 Sep 2008 /  #16
f that is a discount rate, what isn't.

Ok perhaps it isn't such a discount rate, but I usually ask for 70 an hour..
Lir  
10 Sep 2008 /  #17
I think you shouldn't charge anything ;)

Why ? Because they are family , they helped you even when they didn't know you very well and no doubt would help you again if you needed it. Family / friends support is priceless and if this were me , I wouldn't even think about what I would do. It 's just a lovely way of being able to return kindness that has already been shown to you and no doubt will be shown again in the future.

Just my view for what it is worth :)

Good Luck with it :)
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
10 Sep 2008 /  #18
My thoughts too, there must be times in the week when you can fit her in and it wont disturb the paying customers.

It reminds me of a discussion I had with a friend (who is a bit of a tight arse) she asked why I gave a practically brand new drill to a friend - I simply said because she was a good friend and had done things for me in the past and I didn't want it anymore - lifes about give and take.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
10 Sep 2008 /  #19
fair dinkums

the family was being family - extending hospitality and making him feel welcome

were they doing anything they would normally charge for?

teaching english is how he makes his money

asking for lessons for the kid has put him in a tricky position - should he charge or not

thats not actually a very comfortable position to be put in
sausage 19 | 777  
10 Sep 2008 /  #20
1. How can I possibly take any money from them after all their help?

The dilemna is more about what to charge maybe. The girls parents will probably insist on paying...
dtaylor 9 | 823  
10 Sep 2008 /  #21
I think you should charge for the lessons, or atleast the material. I think alot of people forget that when it comes to teaching English properly, then alot of prep should be done before-hand. Plus you have the age thing to consider, at that age it's alot more hard work.

Everyone's got to make a living, if you were a car salesman, would you let your family drive away with whatever?
pldudeinus - | 6  
14 Sep 2008 /  #22
“they let us stay with them in warsaw for a week when we first came, they made us great food” – that should be considered normal and expected from a Polish family in Poland, 1 week is not a big deal…

“they tried to get me work as an english teacher (and they did)” – help is always appreciated when you do not know the local market, but that should not be a very difficult thing to do, any candidate speaking fluent English or born in English speaking country could relatively easily start with a job like that

“they got us an apartment in the city center” – that’s nice but it is not something extraordinary, it should not be a very difficult task for a local person

1. If it is really close/immediate family, in general, it is better to refuse the money unless you and your girlfriend do not make much and need that income. Commonly, teachers do not make a lot in Poland. Since they helped you find the job, they may realize that you are not make a lot there and you could use this extra income – in that case, it is all right to accept it. However, in any big city, English teachers should make better than average (among teachers). On the other hand, you may not be a licensed teacher so that you are only allowed to teach adults in some private school, as a result, your wages may suffer a bit.

To decide whether the particular aunt is close enough to provide free lessons, it is up to your Polish girlfriend to answer. After all, it is “her” family. Ask her how she would feel about you giving these free lessons. If she is really close with them, she may support this idea. Typically, uncle/aunt are not close enough that you could not charge them some rate. But if you do, make sure the rate is at lower end but not unreasonable low where it would be too obvious. Never tell them directly that you are giving them any “discount” or mention the discount percentage or discount amount – that could be somewhat rude too. Just mention the (low) rate that you would happy to do lessons for.

The aunt and uncle may also realize you just moved in and need extra income to settle down. If that’s really the case, it is all right to accept some money for the lessons.

2. How can you fail to teach 13-year-old “some” English? If she takes English classes at her regular school, make sure you keep yourself current with what is going on in her regular English classes, verify she understand the subjects covered in her regular text-books before you go above and beyond into some other curriculum.

3. Yes, typically it would be rude to refuse unless you got some clever and undisputable excuse (e.g. no time due to the new born baby). Long work hours, problems with transportation (no car, no bus route, etc) or long travel times where such lessons could not be conducted in a reasonable, practical and safe time for 13-year-old could be a good excuse too, however, there is always a chance her parents would ask about doing lessons on weekends.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
14 Sep 2008 /  #23
that should be considered normal and expected from a Polish family in Poland, 1 week is not a big deal…

Well it's nice to offer and accomodate us anyway. I wouldn't come here expecting it. They could have said no, in which case we would have had to move to her parents house in Zamosc immediately.

help is always appreciated when you do not know the local market, but that should not be a very difficult thing to do, any candidate speaking fluent English or born in English speaking country could relatively easily start with a job like that

Well It's not a matter of it being difficult to find work, it's a matter of offering your help and asking all your friends if they need english teachers and just helping at all in the first place, rather than not helping. It was a nice thing to do.

that’s nice but it is not something extraordinary, it should not be a very difficult task for a local person

although it's (again) not a matter of doing something difficult but of doing something that was nice and useful, you are wrong here. She made time to go and visit the apartment and when she got there, there was a line of about 60 people waiting to see it, some with sleeping bags thinking they would have it that night and sleep there. Instead of seeing the big line and walking away, she skipped everyone, went to the man and offered a bunch of money in advance, and she got the apartment. that was nice. And we are greatful.

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