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International House - Kracow school - any chances of being offered a job there


chrisp 1 | 2
16 Feb 2008 #1
Hi, I'm chris, from Reading in England (where we have a sizeable Polish community). I am thinking of taking a career break later this year to undertake a CELTA course at the IH school in Krakow.

Is there anyone here who has studied or taught there?

Once qualified, what are the chances of being offered a job there, or elsewhere in Poland?

What's the latest on salaries in krakow and in smaller towns, and Whats the cost of renting an apartment compared to how much i could earn?

I could also teach medical and legal english, so is there any chance of doing private lessons for extra cash?

Thanks for your help.

chris
jonni 16 | 2,485
16 Feb 2008 #2
Haven't taught there myself, but I know it well. There should be an excellent chance of work, if not there, then somewhere just as good or better. It's very easy to find work around Poland - small and medium-sized towns usually have schools that are gasping for teachers, in Warsaw/Kraków they increasingly prefer people with experience, but you should still be able to find a job there.

I don't know much about the going rate in Kraków etc., but in Warsaw a 'virgin' teacher, fresh from CELTA should expect 3000pln upwards (net - at that wage level, and for new teachers, there may well be accommodation thrown in. IH often do that). IH are notoriously bad payers, but usually fix accommodation and give excellent in-house training and teacher development which appeals to some people.

If the school-owner is Polish, they may try and pay you 'on the black' without tax. Don't go for that - now Poland is in the EU, either you or they or both will be caught some day. The Polish tax office are getting increasingly tough on language schools, and can get back tax off you even after you've returned to the UK. Unfortunately.

Some people (usually in out of the way places) get about 2500pln plus cheap or free accommodation. It should be very possible to live on that, especially if you're not a high-roller and get some private lessons which are usually easy enough to find. There are people in bigger places getting not much more than that, though those who stay generally wise up after a while! Most teachers get plenty of offerss ofprivates, and language schools somewhere are usually recruiting.

Teaching medical/legal English is very specialised, and most law firms/doctors who need it tend to go to an established provider (not least because they would want an invoice, which a teacher working on the side can't give). But privates are easy to get. Remember the amount would vary depending on where you are.

Being in small-town Poland can be very rewarding, if you don't mind being a bit isolated. There are expat communities in big cities, but there's something special about spending a couple of semesters in the back of beyond. Kraków is awash with native-speaker teachers and people from all over the world chasing teaching work. This depresses the wages and makes really good work a bit harder to find. IH usually want people at their branches in South West Poland, and the franchise that runs them is quite well thought of. Not all IH franchises have the same good reputation.

You should check out the job forums on Dave's ESL cafe which has quite a bit of specific information. Remember, there are a heck of a lot of language schools and teachers, and the market is changing all the time, particularly with regard to wages in different places and the legality of including accommodation.

And by the way, whenever a teacher or ex-teacher mentions salary levels on an internet forum, there's usually somebody who says the amount they've mentioned is either way too high or way too low. Poland is a big market, lots of towns, schools, teachers, payment methods etc. I'm just speaking from my own experience.
Michal - | 1,865
16 Feb 2008 #3
Is there anyone here who has studied or taught there?

International House is a total con and you should steer well clear of this organization. International House makes a lot of money by running English Language classes all taught by student teachers. This brings in lots of money for International House as students of English pay money for the privilege of these so called lessons and the English Language Student Teachers are also paying for the privilege. It is not good and I would not recommend either International House or a TESOL job in the first place. You can get a job teaching the English Language without any sort of training whatsoever. If you want to live in Poland and live on a hundred pounds a month so well be it but I think its just exploitation. Members of the Polish youth can be very rude in class too.
Harry
17 Feb 2008 #4
International House makes a lot of money by running English Language classes all taught by student teachers. This brings in lots of money for International House as students of English pay money for the privilege of these so called lessons and the English Language Student Teachers are also paying for the privilege.

That is absolute rubbish. International House does run teacher training courses but those lessons are free to students.

However, International House are one of the worst paying schools in Poland (standard pay is about 2250zl or 1500zl if they pay for your apartment) and for that reason they should be avoided like the plague.
Michal - | 1,865
18 Feb 2008 #5
International House does run teacher training courses but those

They certainly used to because once, a long time ago, I even went to London, to International House in London's Piccadilly for an interview. In those days they ran the Preparatory certificate, as it was called in those days of the Royal society of Arts. I think it has since amalgamated and is now called CELTA. I am certain that in my time International House ran TESOL courses and that if you got a grade B then you were classified as immediately employable by International House around the World.
OP chrisp 1 | 2
19 Feb 2008 #6
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm a bit worried about working at IH now! Would it still be good to do the CELTA course there, then look for work at another school elsewhere in Poland?

Does anyone know of any good, reputable schools elsewhere, say Gdansk...not fussy really, where i could do the course and work afterwards?

Thanks for your time.

chris.
scottie1113 7 | 898
19 Feb 2008 #7
None that I know of here in Gdansk. Bell offers CELTA courses in Warsaw during the summer. One thing about CELTA: it's a CELTA wherever you get it. We've got teachers at my school who have done the course in a lot of countries. Good luck.
Michal - | 1,865
19 Feb 2008 #8
If you check on availability on the internet you could book a place and do it overseas in Barcelona in Spain or even in Prague in the Czech Republic. You may find it a little cheaper that way too and have the bonus of experiencing life overseas at the same time. Who knows, you may even get offered a job by the course provider after the course ends.
Harry
19 Feb 2008 #9
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm a bit worried about working at IH now! Would it still be good to do the CELTA course there, then look for work at another school elsewhere in Poland?
Does anyone know of any good, reputable schools elsewhere, say Gdansk...not fussy really, where i could do the course and work afterwards?

Do the CELTA at IH (either Krakow or Wroclaw) and then look for work elsewhere. Gdansk has nowhere which offers the CELTA and isn't a particularly good place to work because one of the bigger schools (Bell) insists on paying terrible wages and that tends to affect the going rate for teachers.
Michal - | 1,865
20 Feb 2008 #10
The trouble is that being a teacher of English overseas is that you are expected to work when others (the students) are free so you have to work in the late afternoon and evening. A pretty crap job altogether if you ask me!
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
20 Feb 2008 #11
However, International House are one of the worst paying schools in Poland (standard pay is about 2250zl or 1500zl if they pay for your apartment) and for that reason they should be avoided like the plague.

I am wondering how much they pay teachers per hour ?
Is it possible to teach a few hours a week instead of full time ?
Also how much do these language companies charge their clients per hour for Language training?
They can't expect teachers to teach more than 20 hours a week and provide quality teaching , can they?
Harry
21 Feb 2008 #12
I am wondering how much they pay teachers per hour ?

Fairly close to b*gger all. The standard weekly load is 20 clock hours plus 1.5 hours of standby/cover teaching plus 1.5 hours of meetings. 23 hours a week = 92 hours a month, so it'll be 2150zl divided by 92 = 23zl/hour.

Is it possible to teach a few hours a week instead of full time ?

Yes it is but don't bother doing it for IH: you will earn far more at other schools.

Also how much do these language companies charge their clients per hour for Language training?

Lots. Here in Warsaw a good language school will charge a company between 80zl and 100zl for a 45 minute lesson.

They can't expect teachers to teach more than 20 hours a week and provide quality teaching , can they?

They're making too much money to care.
lowfunk99 10 | 397
21 Feb 2008 #13
What are the opportunities in the Poznan & Zielona Gora areas?
katyyelland - | 1
8 Jul 2008 #14
does anyone know which schools in krakow are good and which ones to avoid, in terms of how they treat their staff, the pay, contracts etc?

cheers
katy
dtaylor 9 | 823
8 Jul 2008 #15
There are a few good schools in Krakow, but the pay is getting less and less. Most teachers i know earn around 1500pln - 2000pln. Because of the amount of Natives here who only want to work a few hours a week, schools can get away with paying peanuts. Considering the average rent for a 1 bedroom flat is around 1500, it can be hard going.
lowfunk99 10 | 397
10 Jul 2008 #16
I am signed up for CELTA in Wroclaw.
MrBubbles 10 | 614
10 Jul 2008 #17
Yes it is but don't bother doing it for IH: you will earn far more at other schools.

You'll earn far more if you don't go to Poland. IH is OK for your first year or two - it still looks good on a CV and you learn a lot of tricks you can use later. If you're thinking long term, stay away from EFL altogether.
lowfunk99 10 | 397
11 Jul 2008 #18
I understand they do a lot of training. I might work for them for a year. Once I have some experience I can branch out.
topas
6 Feb 2010 #19
For anyone who is thinking about it, I recommend against doing a CELTA at IH Krakow unless the location is very convenient for you. I did my CELTA there and was very disappointed. The facilities at the school were awful; the computers, overhead projectors and photocopier were constantly breaking down. The staff was not very helpful (both teaching and non-teaching). The classes we were made to observe were very low-quality.

The accomodation they provide is filled with old, broken furniture and dusty bedding. In the one month we were there, the water heater, oven, washing machine and dishwasher all broke. The water heater was the only thing that was fixed.

Krakow itself is a great place, but I would avoid IH as much as possible.
amt0604ie - | 14
6 Feb 2010 #20
For anyone who is thinking about it, I recommend against doing a CELTA at IH Krakow unless the location is very convenient for you.

I was thinking of doing the CELTA there and wouldn't have needed accommodation,
despite all the problems do you think it has prepared you well to teach English?
That's all I'd be concerned about as I've no teaching experience.
MrBubbles 10 | 614
7 Feb 2010 #21
do you think it has prepared you well to teach English?

It'll give you a lot of tricks to help you through your first few weeks in your first job but it won't really help you deal with the management or the biz in general. Remember that teachers are the ******* of education - everyone beats on them: management, students and even other teachers.

Still Krakow is a beautiful city and a perfect place to study for a month or so. Things might have changed over th last few years but the staff used to be some of the best I've met. Worth considering if you've set your heart on a CELTA.

In the one month we were there, the water heater, oven, washing machine and dishwasher all broke

You had a dishwasher? And a washing machine?
Noel
11 Feb 2010 #22
I was there on the CELTA course last month (Jan 2010) and thought it was fine. Apart from the computers the OHP and photocopiers were ok, in fact, the photocopier was new. You are right about the computers, they were crap. Most of us took our lap tops in and used the WiFi. We only used their computers for printing.

Both teaching and non-teaching staff were really helpful and friendly.

The flat (on ul. Zaketek) I had was new and had lots of space. The only thing that didn't work was the dishwasher.

One other thing to remember about the Krakow course is that it is probably the cheapest around.

maybe it is because I have been working in Russia for so long that I found it so comfortable but it is my opinion.
Sparkle_Ravelle 4 | 11
12 Feb 2010 #23
All the job offers I've seen are offering around 1,800 gross and an apartment but you pay your own bills...and that's all over Poland, not just Krakow. It's an existence.

I'm a native speaker with 4 seasons of summer school teaching experience and a CELTA at grade B and yet I'm not being offered any more than that. I've even had two schools offer me a telephone interview, set a time and then not phone...

One school interviewed me, took up references afterwards and then didn't bother to contact me again! (I'm friends with both of my referees so I know when references have been taken and what has been said about me). I emailed them to find out if there were any problems and have had no reply. Apparently if they find a teacher with an MA or whatever in the meantime, they just don't contact you.

If you want to earn a decent enough wage and be highly respected as a teacher - go to Asia - Korea, Tawain, etc. Qatar are offering salaries of £25,000 tax free with free accommodation - you'd be hard pressed to spend £5,000 of that over the year.
MrBubbles 10 | 614
13 Feb 2010 #24
'm a native speaker with 4 seasons of summer school teaching experience and a CELTA at grade B

It's a sad fact that the English teaching market in Poland is driven by price not quality. School owners want bright and bouncy 21 year olds straight off a degree, ideally with a CELTA, who are going to entertain the customers and not have an opinion on teaching. They'll complain that 'natives are unreliable' when these 21 year olds stay in the pub till 2 in the morning on a weekday but it's a fair trade at the end of the day because they won't start demanding better standards like a more experienced teacher would (eg Being paid. On time. As agreed)

Qatar are offering salaries of £25,000 tax free with free accommodation - you'd be hard pressed to spend £5,000 of that over the year

Very tempting. Do that for two years and save up - you could move back to Poland and take the next 5 years off....

I was there on the CELTA course last month (Jan 2010)

Who was teaching you? Magda and Basia?
Trevek 26 | 1,702
13 Feb 2010 #25
Bell offers CELTA courses in Warsaw during the summer.

Yeah, did mine there and found it very good, very professional and friendly.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
13 Feb 2010 #26
I wouldnt even bother with the qualification especially in Krakow. IH already has such a bad rep in Krak that a lot of schools wont hire from them, and the schools that do will pay crap and be very unwilling to give any sort of contract.
Rich_UK 2 | 9
8 Apr 2010 #27
Merged: International House Krakow

Hi all,

I was just about to apply to do a CELTA at IH Krakow, then noticed that the school has been "disaffiliated" by International House and the Cambridge website no longer lists the CELTA as being available in Krakow. Despite this you can still apply for it on the IH Krakow website. Does anyone know anything about this, and if IH Krakow is likely to be back?

And if not, does anyone have any experiences with CELTA at IH Wroclaw?

Thanks
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
8 Apr 2010 #28
CELTA at IH Wroclaw?

Id advise you to do it there, the one in Krakow has a stinking rep.
jonni 16 | 2,485
8 Apr 2010 #29
There's a lot to be said for doing it in the UK, if that is possible. In part due to the fact that you would be teaching a wider range of students.
scottie1113 7 | 898
9 Apr 2010 #30
If you want to teach in Poland, do your CELTA here. I did mine in Warsaw at Bell three years ago. It was a little more costly than IH, but still cheaper than what it would have cost me in the US, and I made some good contacts while I was there, including the person who gave me my present job. I have friends who did their CELTA at IH, and they all said good things about it. I don't know what the current state of affairs is.


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