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New English 'teacher' in Poland (I have no qualifications).


lost!  
1 Mar 2009 /  #1
Hello, I have been living in Wroclaw for a couple of months now working in a bar. I decided I want to earn some more money so I advertised myself to teach English lessons. I have recieved some interest but the problem is I have never taught before and I hold no CELTA or equivalent. Any advice from anyone?! My initial thoughts are to ask for advice on forums, search on google 'how to teach english' etc. i am very worried the first student will turn up and pay me for the worst lesson they ever received!
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
1 Mar 2009 /  #2
i am very worried the first student will turn up and pay me for the worst lesson they ever received!

youre right they will.....not pay you at all.....unless you find some materials you can use for conversation lessons,,,,have a look at onestop english.

You really might find a course would help. Students' knowledge and expectations will

throw you.
OP lost!  
1 Mar 2009 /  #3
I will definately take the course one day, but i really cannot afford to right now. My knowledge of grammar is pretty good, as are my speaking and writing skills, so is there no way I could be at least an 'ok' English teacher charging no more than 30z?

Maybe I can buy a book such as 'Jeremy Harmer, How to Teach English'?

Any positive suggestions from anyone?
frd 7 | 1,399  
1 Mar 2009 /  #4
That depends on what level of english you're gonna teach, maybe an apropriate english learning book would be enough, go to an english bookstore in wroclaw, they usually sell those in such shops..
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
1 Mar 2009 /  #5
I dont want to be negative,, thats why I told you about one stop english.

Yeh sure Jeremy Harmer is ok, but it's not enough.

You say your knowledge of grammar is good.....what will you say when your first student asks you if a verb is transitive or not? This is a typical question from a Polish student who will have had grammar grammar grammar since primary school. It will not be enough to know that "a verb is a doing word".

How many tenses are there in English and how and
when are they used......? How would you explain them?

Sorry but its DEFINITELY
OP lost!  
1 Mar 2009 /  #6
True, my knowledge DEFINITELY is not that good lol. Ok I am pretty screwed then.
ragtime27 1 | 146  
1 Mar 2009 /  #7
Like it's mentioned above,all down to what level you going to teach.

you're nervous,it's natural,you're perfectionist you don't want to go there half ready.
i would advice you to buy a teaching book based on the level you're going to teach.

have your materials ready,you'll be allright.

good luck
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
1 Mar 2009 /  #8
am pretty screwed then

##no no.,not at all...maybe start with English newspapers/conversation.....see how it goes....do a course if you can later. I am just talking from bitter experience...:} Good luck
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105  
1 Mar 2009 /  #9
Any positive suggestions from anyone?

You might be better off trying to earn money as a "teaching assistant". Advertise yourself as someone who can help people who are already having lessons but are maybe struggling with it. You could be their conversation partner or help them with written exercises. Without a qualification or proper structured learning method you won't get very far as a "teacher" and in fact would just be wasting the time of the students and wasting their money.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
1 Mar 2009 /  #10
Everyone has to start somewhere. You may get a chance to shine in a couple of demo lessons. If you impress, the door may well open.

I can tell you for a fact that quite a lot of teachers don't have a CELTA. Still, it gives you the edge for sure. It shows that you are prepared to invest your time and effort in the industry.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
miranda  
1 Mar 2009 /  #11
You might be better off trying to earn money as a "teaching assistant".

there are no teaching assistants in Polish school system.

Advertise yourself as someone who can help people who are already having lessons but are maybe struggling with it.

so what would that be? In Poland it is common to have a tutor on top of having regular lessons at school. Tutor already helps the student.

You could be their conversation partner or help them with written exercises.

that is what tutor does:)

Without a qualification or proper structured learning method you won't get very far as a "teacher" and in fact would just be wasting the time of the students and wasting their money.

not true. I have met so many bad foreign English teachers and they were making good money, because the market was not saturated:).

to Lost,

get a tutoring job/private lessons with lower levels. That would give you the opportunity to practice, become more confident and since you seem to be a sensible person - you will probably not rob the students of their money. LOL.

don't make it too complicated!!
OP lost!  
1 Mar 2009 /  #12
Thank you very much to everyone who has replied so far. I have just received more emails from potential students so there is no going back now!

Today I have bought some books and I ordered How to Teach English by Jeremy Harmer as I seem to be see that book advertised everywhere.

One student is at an intermediate level and another slightly below intermediate. My first lesson is in 7 days time. I lack the knowledge to teach English but I have the motivation to do well and will be reading a LOT over the next 7 days. I am charging one of the lowest rates I have seen from native speakers '30zl', but to me that is still a lot of money so I really want to give them value for it.
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105  
1 Mar 2009 /  #13
In Poland it is common to have a tutor on top of having regular lessons at school. Tutor already helps the student.

So perhaps I should have used the word "tutor" then. Either way, I meant the guy might be better off "assisting" the students rather then try to be the one teaching them. That gives him practice he needs. He might have to charge less but once he gets his confidence in this field he can move onto teaching. As he's already noticed there's a great demand for it.

Still, it gives you the edge for sure. It shows that you are prepared to invest your time and effort in the industry.

Exactly. I should imagine students feel more confident being taught with someone who has at least gone to the effort of getting a qualification.
miranda  
1 Mar 2009 /  #14
My first lesson is in 7 days time.

you might want to find out your students needs first eg. do they follow a curriculum, are they preparing for exams (eg. matura - matriculation exam or one of the Cambridge exams such as FCE, CAE, CPE, which are VERY popular in Poland), or perhaps they just need a conversation practice.

FInally, you might want to ask your students to lend you a copy of the books they are using if they are to follow the school curriculum, so you can prepare yourself ahead of time. That would lower the stress level.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254  
1 Mar 2009 /  #15
I can tell you for a fact that quite a lot of teachers don't have a CELTA. Still, it gives you the edge for sure. It shows that you are prepared to invest your time and effort in the industry.

Me, for one. But I have a good deal with my school - I'm responsible for their spoken English and the Polish teachers are more responsible for the grammar side of things. It works nicely - I don't have any desire to teach grammar, as the technical aspects of languages have always bored me. Certainly, I've found that many people are interested in the more bizzare uses of English, such as talking about how you can be in a pickle. But I have quite a nice deal really - and it suits me.

To the original poster - don't sell yourself too low. I've seen adverts in PoznaƄ from 'native speakers' who are charging as little as 30zl, yet virtually every Polish person I know wouldn't consider them on the grounds that they're probably doing little to no preparation for their classes. Even for a conversation class, you should be doing at least some preparation.

One thing I'm curious in - how on earth did the original poster get a job in a bar in Poland without Polish?
OP lost!  
1 Mar 2009 /  #16
Its a bar in a hotel, I was quite surprised to get a job without knowing Polish. I was actually offered a few jobs based on just knowing English. Telephone sales (boring), working in a hostel and the job that I currently have now.

IF I do ok teaching lessons I will save the pennies up and take the CELTA this summer. I know that 30z is pretty low for a native speaker and that a lot of Polish people will probably look at it and think I must be useless, but it is over 3 times my current wage and I have actually had quite a lot of interest already.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
1 Mar 2009 /  #17
You will manage. I recommend trying a school that is not under the patronage of the curatorium. You can slip under the radar sometimes, being unqualified, but it's a risky business.
ukpolska  
1 Mar 2009 /  #18
Have a read through this thread I made LINK; however, I would recommend obtaining some kind of qualification if you are going to stay here long-term....

The days are nearly gone when natives could just turn up here and claim the right to teach English just because the can speak the language as there is a lot of competition from so-called English teachers nowadays and Polish people are not stupid and can quickly suss a bad 'teacher' out very quickly.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
1 Mar 2009 /  #19
Good advice from ukpolska. Still, there are those schools, which I won't name, that continue to let such native speakers in. When I tell Polish teachers that I have extensive experience and a CELTA, they feel better. They work really hard to get themselves qualified and get paid much less. When I have dipped into the coffers, they see that it is not wholly unjust.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
1 Mar 2009 /  #20
natives could just turn up here and claim the right to teach English just because the can speak the language

If the student is switched on and well motivated then the teacher needs no teaching qualifications. Just set them an appropriate task and give them some constructive feedback. If you're not too confident and the student is pretty crap just flop a coursebook out - that's what most Polish teachers do!

Charge AT LEAST 40 zloty!!!! The coursebook / photocopier will pay for itself in a couple of sessions. Remember that confidence is king in teaching and good luck :)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
1 Mar 2009 /  #21
A rather simplified version of teaching there by Mr Bubbles. He's probably full of beer bubbles. Just kidding, he has a point in that confidence is key. When you are fresh and on your game, the rest takes care of itself.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
1 Mar 2009 /  #22
They work really hard to get themselves qualified

What kind of qualifications? Pedagogy?
miranda  
1 Mar 2009 /  #23
A rather simplified version of teaching there by Mr Bubbles.

how do you expect a new teacher to get started than Seanus?
We all started somewhere:)
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
1 Mar 2009 /  #24
Miranda, please look at post no 10 above. I was just saying that the process of teaching is deeper than Mr Bubbles painted. Read Jeremy Harmer and you will see.

There are various qualifications, Mr Bubbles.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
1 Mar 2009 /  #25
how do you expect a new teacher to get started than Seanus

Seanus refuses to accept that teaching is a moronically simple process that anyone these days with a coursebook and some free time (and maybe a photocopier) can do.

Most Polish teachers do a 'pedagogy' course as part of a Philology degree and then go off to teach English. Unfortunately, as I'm sure Seanus is aware, Pedagogy is the study of how children learn things and the course content is hence of little use when teaching grownups. Most teachers fall back on courebooks outside the classroom and so in that respect, Lost! is more or less on a equal footing with most of these graduates. In fact he could well have an advantage in that he has real life experience of the language in use and possibly other areas of expertise he can bring to the lesson.

Any teacher who waves their hands around mysteriously, muttering darkly about the secret techniques hidden the profession is doing nothing more than justify their salary to themselves. If Lost is approachable, consistent and provides an appropriate level of feedback he'll be more popular than Lech Walesa at a Gdansk workers' reunion.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
1 Mar 2009 /  #26
I don't think teaching is a moronically simple process, no. However, I also don't over analyse it as the likes of Harmer and MANY others do. It is relatively simple compared to how some Poles treat it.

I've watched some Polish teachers teach and I was bored to tears. There is little real and meaningful connection with the students. I will pit myself against most of them anyday.

Another major factor is adjustment to your students. I can change myself to suit different audiences, I can't say the same for the Poles that I have watched.
MrBubbles 10 | 614  
1 Mar 2009 /  #27
I don't think teaching is a moronically simple process, no.

Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, Seanus. The learning process is a natural one and can easily be achieved by a switched on student. The skill in 'teaching' comes with the higher level organisation of syllabi, course aims and so on. Individual lessons are a pushover for the outgoing confident beginner.

Now would be a good time to review the other thread about Polish organisational skills!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
1 Mar 2009 /  #28
And if your student isn't switched on, you have to labour a bit to spark their interest. Trust me, it's like pulling teeth sometimes. If the objectives of the class are clear, it's usually plain sailing, yes. Still, there are different variables. Have you ever taught multinational classes, Mr Bubbles?
OP lost!  
1 Mar 2009 /  #29
I like what MrBubbles has to say, gives me a bit of confidence. I ordered a couple of books from Michael Swan which received pretty good reviews. Hopefully I can just simply read the book, photocopy exercises and away we go! I have found some very good websites with free lessons for 1 to 1 teaching too.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
1 Mar 2009 /  #30
Michael Swan is also a good author, he wrote the seminal book, 'Modern English Usage'. I agree with Mr Bubbles in that you could learn the ropes with enthusiasm and commitment. However, it's just getting your foot in the door. Good luck!

Sometimes it's not what you know, but who you know.

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