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Any english teachers in Poland here with tips to share?


Echidna  
8 Jul 2008 /  #31
Echidna:
I work in Zory

If all goes to plan I’ll be working somewhere relatively near you, I'm originally from Jastrzebie Zdroj so I’ll be returning to that general area.

I know the men's volleyball team coach for Jastrzebie Zdroj .... Roberto Santilli ... lives in Zory. One of my schools English students actually. The assistant coach is an Aussie, and a new player is from Oz and arriving soon ... we shall have perhaps almost a dozen Aussies in Zory soon! Let me know when you are around. If you want me to check out any English schools for you, just ask.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
8 Jul 2008 /  #32
I would say this is a very isolated case, as after eight years of living here most of the schools that I have worked for ban the use of Polish in the lesson. Although I would say that it is extremely important to learn even the basics in the country of residency. And if I am not mistaken Hussar is Polish isn't he?

This is tru about schools but there are other multilingual possibilities, many foreign companies have offices here and could use bi or trilingual help, they'll pay big for it too.

You can do translations or find work at an embassy. Explore all possibilities, don't just teach.
mafketis 29 | 9,528  
8 Jul 2008 /  #33
I would say this is a very isolated case, as after eight years of living here most of the schools that I have worked for ban the use of Polish in the lesson.

But you don't live in the lesson or get paid in the lesson or have to convince the secretary or whoever that you need that zawiadczenie today not tomorrow. Theoretically the office staff might know English, but practically this often means they know enough to say "no" or "tomorrow" or "those are the rules" and then tune anything you say right out of their heads. It's harder for them to tune out (even bad ) Polish and you can often get your way just so you'll leave them alone and stop pestering them.

The more Polish you know, the better things go outside the lesson.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
8 Jul 2008 /  #34
haha good point this one time some babcia simply stole my spot in line at the supermarket. There was nothing I could say to her, my only recourse would have been force but I couldnt do that without explaining myself at least, so I just stood there in such a rage I collapsed my own rib cage.
ukpolska  
8 Jul 2008 /  #35
But you don't live in the lesson or get paid in the lesson or have to convince the secretary or whoever that you need that zawiadczenie today not tomorrow. Theoretically the office staff might know English, but practically this often means they know enough to say "no" or "tomorrow" or "those are the rules" and then tune anything you say right out of their heads. It's harder for them to tune out (even bad ) Polish and you can often get your way just so you'll leave them alone and stop pestering them.
The more Polish you know, the better things go outside the lesson.

Exactly, that's why I said, ''Although I would say that it is extremely important to learn even the basics in the country of residency". Please read the posts :)
Hussar - | 9  
8 Jul 2008 /  #36
Hussar is Polish isn't he?

Yes i am Polish, left as a kid with the family. My Polish is a bit rusty but i'd say semi-fluent.

volleyball team

Though I’ve always enjoyed volleyball, a player I am not due to being vertically challenged. :) I’m more of a soccer/tennis guy.

So what would be the best time of the year to seek teaching position ?

What are the contracts like?

How do they typically structure the pay, salary or per hour ?

Do the schools set up a curriculum or do you design your own?

How often is there someone observing your class ?
is that more of a beginning thing or a regular thing?…I ask because I don’t like when there is someone looking over my shoulder.

I’m not a teacher by trade as you already know so I’m planning on getting TESOL/TEFL certified here…I’m assuming that would help me find work and make me more valuable right?
Echidna  
9 Jul 2008 /  #37
There are many other sites that provide better, a wider range of information than I can give. try Daves ESL cafe. But I am happy to share my experience and I hope it helps. It is composed of about 18 month of teaching in Zory and Jastrzebie. Although i have been offered jobs in Warsaw and Katowice as well.

So what would be the best time of the year to seek teaching position ?
Now. Term starts in very late August.

What are the contracts like?
First year contract is largely written by the school. As an untried teacher you are not that unique. So, my advice is take the conditions offerred, work hard and demonstrate your worth. Next year, negotiate based upon what you delivered last year. Potential is of little value, actual performance is what counts. Also, I am doubtful that the contract is actually enforcable if you do a runner, but they are useful to set expectations for the teacher and the school. My contract talks about average hours per week, hourly rate, it defines a teaching hour as 50 minutes, it states you must be available for teaching between 7am - 9.30pm week days. I suggest you ask for clarification of your pay for cancelled classes, transport to classes that are outside the normal school. Travel time can be an issue. As I said, in year one I wore many small things like not getting paid for cancelled classes even after significant preparation ... year two contract addresses all of those.

How do they typically structure the pay, salary or per hour ?
In my school it is Zloty/teaching hour (50 minutes). minimum average of 22 hours/week over a month excluding short holiday weeks.
My school is mainly a Callan school with a base teacher rate of 36 Zloty last year, tax is 20%. rate for year two is significantly increased if you have performed, if you don't perform, you are asked to leave.

Do the schools set up a curriculum or do you design your own?
Callan has it's own structure and methodolgy and books and only requires a few days training to be able to teach. To teach Callan well is much harder. The Callan methology is seen by many teachers as too restrictive, not allowing teachers to be creative. In my experience, Callan is very effective for those students with no or little English skills. Afetr two years of progress, students need additional material to supplment Callan. Callan is not seen as sexy or trendy, but it works well for beginners especially.

I also teach children and business (my background is corporate business). Children are a problem to me as the school does not have a syllabus and every teacher just does their own thing with each class. I do not think this is effective and we end up just trying to maintain control rather than teach much English. It requries a lot of preparation to manage the kids classes. There is a range of books and other material available but because the age, ability of the kids varies greatly, it is tough keeping all the kids occupied. Some parents acknowledge they use us as a baby sitting service. One parent told us that their child has behavioural problems and their doctor suggested as many activities as possible for the child would be beneficial ... so their child's poor behaviour becomes part of my class. Aided and abetted by a good dose of sugar beforehand as well to really hype them up.

Business classes require planning and a good understanding of business in my view. If you just work through the reference books, it will be OK, but real value is when the teacher can select, supplement and build on the material. My classes tend to be one on ones due to the small business market here so the level and subject matter is very important. I would stress that with business classes it is vital to understand the students requriements, why are they learning English? what are their expectations. If this isn't known, you will be teaching the wrong stuff.

.
How often is there someone observing your class ?
is that more of a beginning thing or a regular thing?...I ask because I don't like when there is someone looking over my shoulder.

Observation is normal and if you worry about it, you are in trouble. The students assess you all the time and will tell the boss or any Polish speaking teachers of what they think. Observation is a positive to get better. You are in public and being assessed all the time ... really. yes, it can be a pain but it is part of the job. I have only had observation about four or five times in 18 months.

I'm not a teacher by trade as you already know so I'm planning on getting TESOL/TEFL certified here...I'm assuming that would help me find work and make me more valuable right?

The more certification the better.

I spent 30 years as a high tech sales person for large corporate companies. I wasn't a teacher two years ago either. I am now.

My recommendation is go with the flow for the first year, learn, don't apply your cultural expectations, learn some more and then make your own decisions for futrue years. Two ears, two eyes and one mouth. Use them in the same proportion. I was given this advice many years ago when I became a salesman, very useful advice.

Good luck!
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
9 Jul 2008 /  #38
So what would be the best time of the year to seek teaching position ?

Any time really. If you get your cv in early (March April) you get a head start on the others

What are the contracts like?

Bad usually and getting worse. Expect low pay and a significant amount of paperwork to justify it. This is a job for young women waiting to get married, not a career option

How do they typically structure the pay, salary or per hour ?

Some of the Foreign schools (Bell, IH) take you on for a number of hours a week and then try to fill your time. If you're taken on for 21 hours you might only end up working 19 but you'll be expected to help out around the school and be ready to take on other classes (anytime, anyone, anywhere). Otherwise you'll be take on per hour.

Do the schools set up a curriculum or do you design your own?

The school curriculum is usually the coursebook. You might have some input in choosing the coursebook or not. You might be able to play fast and loose with the lesson content or the school 'methodologist' might keep an iron grip on the controls. Depends on the school. You can anticipate that you will be either a teacher or a director - it's rare to have middle management, such as curriculum designers, in a school since they are probably seen as an unproductive waste of money. Why have a nutritionist working an a McDonalds franchise?

How often is there someone observing your class ?

Depends on the school. I told my handlers they could kiss my butt but I've been teaching for a while. Foreign franchises will require something like one obs every semester and these should be announced in advance and be accompanied with some sort of guidance / feedback. Other schools might just have someone charging into your lesson and staring at you.

Methodologists are the school's ar sehole. Each school has one and they are usually full of sht

I’m not a teacher by trade as you already know so I’m planning on getting TESOL/TEFL certified here…I’m assuming that would help me find work and make me more valuable right?

If you get a degree in food science, will this look good on your CV when looking for a job in McDonalds?
GodandBrown 2 | 63  
10 Jul 2008 /  #39
MrBubbles, are just making a career? Then don't forget to kiss lots of asses! Your words...your butt...!
Echidna  
11 Jul 2008 /  #40
Visitors demanding things in someone else's country is not a wise way in life. If my overseas born teacher spoke in that manner about working in Australia, I would not be impressed and would not stay as his student. I suggest if you, Hussar applied for a role at Mr Bubble's current place of employment you may be sucessful. Good luck.

I fully agree that was a cheap shot but I enjoyed it. One can be too serious in life.

Interesting that Mr Bubbles doesn't like the work there, but remains anyway. Maybe it is all the young women waiting to get married that is the attraction.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
11 Jul 2008 /  #41
You know its perfectly fine to complain about certain aspect's of one's stay in Poland. Mr. Bubbles may not like the work here, but there are thousands of other good things that might keep him where he is. I happen to enjoy teaching here in Warsaw, but if I didn't, I would still stay for my girlfriend and the change of lifestyle living here provides, as opposed to New York.
Echidna  
11 Jul 2008 /  #42
There are ways and places to complain and to complain.

What I find unpleasant is the tone and content of Mr Bubbles email and especially is words like "Methodologists are the school's ar sehole. Each school has one and they are usually full of sht". I think it is very arrogant way to respond and really impolite to speak that way about one's employer in a foreign country. It is this sort of arrogant perspective that gives TESL teachers a bad name.

I can think of many better and more constructive things to tell a prospective teacher that contracts are "Bad usually and getting worse. Expect low pay and a significant amount of paperwork to justify it. "? The fact that it isn't true is my experience and yours I gather.

If Mr Bubbles knows so much he would do better by putting his money where his typing fingers are, and opening a school and showing us how it can be done better. Words are cheap.

There is a certain kind of English language teacher who believe they are superior to the local people. Often these teachers have failed to make the grade in their own country and have in the past found an easy refuge in a country where the ability to speak English is valued highly, so their arrogance is put up with, for a while. I am not definitely not saying this is the case with Mr Bubbles, but I do know a couple of teachers at different schools who came here about ten years ago or so, who are exactly like this. In both cases they are now running into trouble with their school, studnets and management because the school and students now expect a certain professionalism, which these particular teachers find hard to accept and deliver, prefering to call methodologists names and such like, rather than working with the school.

Many schools are recognising this kind of teacher and avoiding them. I have been involved in discussing the problem with the management at a couple of schools.

My tip on how to be a sucessful English teacher is Poland is to earn respect by working with your employer.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
11 Jul 2008 /  #43
One thing I've noticed since I've been here is how easy it is to seem arrogant, especially as the people are touchy. I often feel arrogant when I walk into a place and try to get by with english, this is Poland after all. Even as a teacher standing in front of my students running my mouth in english I feel like they must think I'm a fraud - or like they're thinking "why don't you try learning our language wise-ass.."

I blame it all on our president. We've had such an arrogant administration - people can't help but equate american with arrogance. Everytime I walk in a room abroad I feel like I should introduce myself thusly: "hey I'm Jon, I apologise for the past 8 years of American arrogance, it will be over soon - we promise."

Yeah I can imagine that some of these teachers can be arrogant. I mostly teach private lessons or business lessons and those are really pleasant. Yet But I've heard stories about teachers in Universities etc, especially from ten years back, seems like both sides have had to deal with a lot of crap.
mafketis 29 | 9,528  
11 Jul 2008 /  #44
Even as a teacher standing in front of my students running my mouth in english I feel like they must think I'm a fraud - or like they're thinking "why don't you try learning our language wise-ass.."

ESL teaching is a prime area where the adage about those who can't (ie learn languages) teach is uncomfortably close to the truth.

The worst are English teachers who've been here for years and almost brag that they haven't even tried to learn Polish. If I were one of their students I certainly would take them .... not very seriously.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
12 Jul 2008 /  #45
Well I'm picking up the gauntlet, I alread speak French, and now I'm gonna leanr Polish in a month! Then I'll learn German which I studied in primary school.
GodandBrown 2 | 63  
13 Jul 2008 /  #46
MrBubbles is the typical representative of a wise-ass. But in Polish schools I have also observed arrogant managers leading people to believe a big business, but leading only a Mickey Mouse school. Cash money just by customers were counted next to your classroom. Was it a lack of a business accountant, or what? Is there a cash culture (do renka)? It seemed to be a show for me, but perhaps someone can explain me this phenomenon?! In addition to this they treated young learners and adults like kids and were really arrogant to them.
Oldyoungloon - | 16  
15 Jul 2008 /  #47
As someone toying with the idea of moving out to poland, what qualifications are required to enable you teach english? I feel at a disability due to my local dialect in the north of scotland so maybe learnin english first might help,;) but in seriousness can anyone tell me where i can learn polish!
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
16 Jul 2008 /  #48
nteresting that Mr Bubbles doesn't like the work there, but remains anyway. Maybe it is all the young women waiting to get married that is the attraction.

I am Polish, I married a Pole, I've bought a flat in Poland.

"Methodologists are the school's ar sehole. Each school has one and they are usually full of sht".

I stand by my statement. One day you too will work with one of these idiots and you will be thanking Bubbles for this gem.

I think ...

Obviously not

...it is very arrogant way to respond and really impolite to speak that way about one's employer in a foreign country.

And why do you think that? You think I should be grateful for my job? I put in the hours and perform to a standard above that of what my keepers demand - a standard considerably higher than my Polish colleagues I might add - and yet you seem to believe the employer is doing me a favour in some way.

Let me tell you about two of my esteemed colleagues for a moment. Mr x (not real name) spends the whole 90 minute lesson chatting in Polish, as do his students. Apart from an occasional short tape recording, you won't hear more than 5 words of badly pronounced English for the whole session. Mrs Y speaks English for the whole class (well, 80% of it) but nothing else happens - her students don't get a chance to say anything as they make desultory notes in their books and mutter to each other in Polish. At the end of the class, she manages a fair impression of Daley Thompson as she sprints down the corridor and towards the exit, leaving the class to pick up their things and wonder why they ever signed up to a language course.

Admittedly these ar the worst examples but they are indicative of the low standards within the Polish EFL market. Low standards brought on by poor pay and employment conditions, pikey money grabbing school policies and above all the low standard of training that Polish teachers undergo.

MrBubbles is the typical representative of a wise-ass.

Thank you. I take that to be a compliment.

Cash money just by customers were counted next to your classroom. Was it a lack of a business accountant, or what? Is there a cash culture (do renka)?

Well you'd better sit down a moment because I have news for you - schools are money making ventures not charity organisations. Handing a fistful of creased notes in return for the service I described above sums up entirely the grubby world of EFL. Having a school methodologist lecture someone on teaching methodology is akin to Stalin delivering a lecture on Human rights. Why the cash? A lot of schools are probably fronts for money laundering operations.
GodandBrown 2 | 63  
16 Jul 2008 /  #49
I am not so naive, MrBubbles and I think your name is your programme. I cannnot imagine that there is a language school in Poland in which a Polish teacher is allowed to speak Polish in an English lesson. It doesn't make any sense...and I am afraid you only get frustrated here because of payment. I know a lot of good Polish teachers. They tell me that they are paid worse than native speakers and language schools make profits with them...that's not fair and I fully agree with these complaints.
badabing  
16 Jul 2008 /  #50
I was luck and fell on my feet teaching English. Using the direct method, which anyone with half a brain can master. I teach during the school year about 30 hours a week They pay my zus and my tax and netto I receive 4800zl a month which keeps me in beer. It all depends on the school.
Echidna  
16 Jul 2008 /  #51
I put in the hours and perform to a standard above that of what my keepers demand ....... ........ ......... they are indicative of the low standards within the Polish EFL market.

Mr Bubbles, you put in your hours and perform above the standards which you yourself say are low. But being not the worst teacher is no commendation. I am sure you are not the worst teacher, and you may be a reasonable teacher but your attitude will prevent you from being a really good teacher or gaining respect and promotion. How about just trying to set a good example and being nice.

You call your employer is your "keeper". Can I suggest you think about why? If he is your keeper it is because you don't behave in accordance with his wishes. If he is your friend it is because you are friendly, if he is your mentor is because you seek his advice, if he is your admirer it is because you are admirable. If he is your keeper, it is because you need to be kept under control.

If you know how to run an English school in Poland better, do it and show Poland how good you really are.
OP masks98 27 | 289  
16 Jul 2008 /  #53
Why are people so frickin touchy, he complained about his experience teaching here, big deal - is he NOT supposed to complain? Surely there are some bad schools here, I've heard stories left and right from Americans working at universities here, where there is so much smoke there must be a fire, however small...

And why suggest that he set up his own school? He's not an entrepreneur he's a teacher, one who's probably used to certain standards that some schools here probably didn't meet. It doesn't mean he should set up his own school. I watch movies all the time and criticise them all the time, it doesn't mean I should make my own...
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
16 Jul 2008 /  #54
Why are people so frickin touchy, he complained about his experience teaching here, big deal - is he NOT supposed to complain?

Thanks Masks. At least someone here believes in free speech

And why suggest that he set up his own school?

Another good point. Echidna, if you'd read my post before your righteous indignation took over and forced you to clatter your hands across your dusty keyboard you'd have understood that I am criticising the Polish EFL industry. How would starting my own successful school prove anything apart from the fact that I am a big a crook as the rest of them?

I know a lot of good Polish teachers. They tell me that they are paid worse than native speakers and language schools make profits with them..

I too know a couple of good Polish teachers but I also know a far greater number of good Native speakers. The Natives I've met not only have a much deeper understanding of the language but are motivated enough to go abroad and teach because they find it interesting and challenging, rather than being processed out of a pedagogy course at Uni, believing they are owed a job for 5 years' dossing around. Take a school director away and the Natives will still be working.

your attitude will prevent you from being a really good teacher or gaining respect and promotion

Echidna, what a strange perspective you seem to have on life. You seriously believe that if I dilligently perform my duties to the best of my abilities, then the director will notice me and benevolently grant me a pay rise and more responsibility? Well there's not a lot I can say to a man who seems to be this far gone. The best of luck to you in your career and I look forward to working for you one day, although between you and me I won't be holding my breath.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
16 Jul 2008 /  #55
lets not beat around the bush. there are just as many sh!t schools in poland as there are dodgy native-speaking teachers. Anyone who has spent anytime working in ELT in Poland will know that. Anyone who denies that has an agenda.

You call your employer is your "keeper". Can I suggest you think about why? If he is your keeper it is because you don't behave in accordance with his wishes. If he is your friend it is because you are friendly, if he is your mentor is because you seek his advice, if he is your admirer it is because you are admirable. If he is your keeper, it is because you need to be kept under control.

what the fuk youre on i have no idea. but if i was you i would pack it in. quick smart in a hurry. its fukin your head up

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