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Advice on Teaching English in Poland


Harry
13 Feb 2008 #91
I did my CELTA last summer at Bell in Warsaw and found a job with them in Gdansk. ... As a first year teacher I make 2400 zl a month

This is a very sad number. When I taught in Gdansk a decade ago, Bell were paying newly qualified teachers GBP105 a week (I was jealous because I was only on GBP 95 a week for the same number of hours at a different school). Back then GBP105 a week was about 2400zl a month and a reasonable wage, more than double the average national wage. But now it is a hell of a lot less money and about 75% of the average national wage.

Do you think that Bell has put its prices up in the last ten years? By how much? Any ideas why they still pay teachers exactly the same?
scottie1113 7 | 898
13 Feb 2008 #92
I figured I'd hear from you about this Harry. The reason I posted this is because no one else has mentioned how much they make and I thought the OP deserved at least one real life example.

I don't know about Bell ten years ago so I can;t address either the salary issues or whether Bell has raised its prices. As I mentioned, i know teachers at other schools who make more money, most by working at two schools. That's fine. I chose Bell because of their excellent resources and incredible support in every area I've neded. When my young American friend left for Thailand a couple of weks ago-before his contract ended-the DOS (who had taught in Thailand helped him locate a school and let him use school facilities to fax some necessary documents. He also paid him for his end of contract bonus.

BTW, I'm on a contract so I'm not paid by the hour. When we had a two week Christmas break followed by a two week semester break in January, I still got my base monthly salary, and because I taught some in-company classes durong the semester break I earned extra money. As I said, base is 2400, actual with Saturdays is about 3000 zl.

I've read some pretty negative comments about Bell both here on and eslcafe. Maybe they were true then, but not now, except for the relatively low salary which will invrease in time. It's better than some schools, worse than others. I guess we all have to choose what it is we're looking for in a school.

Harry, if you personally know of other schools in Gdansk which pay more, would you name them?
lowfunk99 10 | 397
13 Feb 2008 #93
Hi Scottie

I take it your having a good experience teaching then?
ranjit 1 | 11
13 Feb 2008 #94
My advice for teaching english in Poland is get paid before the lesson no matter what otherwise you will never get paid, polish people are more interested in getting drunk or getting a new pair of shoes than paying you fro your lessons.
scottie1113 7 | 898
13 Feb 2008 #95
I take it your having a good experience teaching then?

Yes, I love it. I have great students, all highly motivated. We just finished the first semester and critiques from my students indicate they like me. I had a review with my DOS on Friday-he does too and told me there's probably be going to be some in-company work here in the summer. Good news because except for a short vacation I want to stay here during the summer. He also wants me to return next fall, and no, Harry, it's not because he doesn't have to pay me much. I'll actually get more money next year.

lowfunk99, if you'd like to ask more questions feel free to email. Adress is in profile.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893
14 Feb 2008 #96
My advice for teaching english in Poland is get paid before the lesson no matter what otherwise you will never get paid.

Maybe that was just you they didnt want to pay, who would want to pay for a lesson that consisted of "oh deeeery me"
Harry
14 Feb 2008 #97
Maybe they were true then, but not now, except for the relatively low salary which will invrease in time. It's better than some schools, worse than others. I guess we all have to choose what it is we're looking for in a school.

The salary does not increase in time: it exactly the same as it was more than a decade ago. Prices (in general and of the lessons at Bell specifically) however have greatly increased. The salary now is worth half what it was a decade ago.

You want to name the schools which are paying more than Bell? The only one I know of which pays less is Berlitz and that's famed for paying terrible wages.

Harry, if you personally know of other schools in Gdansk which pay more, would you name them?

Sure: English Unlimited, Empik, Stanley's School, Distinction Language Centre, and those are only the ones which I know for a fact pay more because I know people who work or have worked for them!
scottie1113 7 | 898
14 Feb 2008 #98
Thanks for the info, Harry. When I said the salary will go up I meant mine next year. My DOS and I have already discussed it.
Harry
15 Feb 2008 #99
You mean they pay experienced teachers more than inexperienced teachers? Well there's an innovative approach. I wonder if it will catch on. Pity they pay inexperienced teachers the same amount of zloty (i.e. less in real terms) that they did more than a decade ago.

You want to name the schools which are paying less than Bell?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Feb 2008 #100
Sound advice would be to know ur contract, people have been tripped up on those niggling little provisions which have cost them. I've been a teacher for 3.5 years here, although I'm not at liberty to discuss my contracts.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510
15 Feb 2008 #101
does anyone teaching actually consider their contract to be worth the paper its written on...?
Harry
15 Feb 2008 #102
Are you kidding? I always used to keep my contracts in the bathroom and more than once they proved worth their weight in gold (when the toilet paper had run out).
Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Feb 2008 #103
Still, they can sting u legally if u r not careful, it can happen
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
15 Feb 2008 #104
as i've noticed over the last lil while, Harry is usually right more often than not when he chimes in.

if anyone wants to know specifics of contracts then send me a message on this thing but if i were you i'd go to Harry first, dude's on the ball.
Harry
15 Feb 2008 #105
if anyone wants to know specifics of contracts then send me a message on this thing but if i were you i'd go to Harry first, dude's on the ball.

Thanks for the kind words. It's not that I'm an all-seeing omniscient guru (I'm certainly not that, half the time I need both hands to find my arse even if I'm given a map), it's just that I spent more than a decade teaching English here and learned the hard way (although I had friends who learned in much harder ways) that law means little when it comes to contracts for teaching English here. Even if you have an absolutely cast-iron case (i.e. your contract says you get $x thousand if y happens and it does happen), because your contract will almost certainly not be a labour contract but instead a commercial contract (i.e. you are not an employee but instead contracted for a specific task), you'll be waiting four or five years for the case to come to court and before it does, the other side can usually convince a judge to make you deposit the amount they'll be claiming in costs if you lose. Generally speaking, the legal route is not one you'll ever be taking.

Especially not given that there are so many other ways to get even with a boss who doesn't pay you. Last boss who didn't pay me was told that he might see me in court sometime but I really did want my tax paperwork and a copy of my work/residency permit application because I'd be needing those for my next job. "You can't have them" the Swede replied (mainly because I'd always been paid in used Dollar notes). "OK. I'll just write to the tax office and labour office and explain it to them. I'm sure they will understand." "Ah, OK, you can have the paperwork." "And it will reflect that I have actually been paid the one month's pay in lieu of notice and the $500 travel allowance we're in dispute over, won't it? Otherwise I'd be saying that I earned money which I didn't earn and that would a lie." "F*cker. Here's the cash. Do you want the paperwork?" "Not right now. You hang on to it. I might need to come back and get it if the reference from here doesn't get me another job very soon." (At the time of having that chat I'd already secured a full-time job which would start the next day).
telefonitika
15 Feb 2008 #106
(I'm certainly not that, half the time I need both hands to find my arse even if I'm given a map)

you must have some sized ass then mate ... :) if you require a map ..!
Seanus 15 | 19,706
16 Feb 2008 #107
What I've learned is that the students expect the native speakers to be entertaining. They don't have to be 'all that' as teachers, just capable of being light-hearted and approachable. It's getting the balance right that's the niggly part. I'm quite comfortable teaching any grammar but there is a need to get involved. Maybe it's a question of giving them a distraction from a humdrum existence. Keeping interest is also important. Many students already know the material b4 I teach it so u have to 'doll it up' and give it some spice. It's a game.

The stakes are raised when passing an exam based course is at issue. The Cambridge complet or LCCI for example. I feel the need to be professional to a high level as they pay good money for these courses and don't want to feel cheated.
Buddy 7 | 167
16 Feb 2008 #108
Me bestist techir in hole Pooland me get much much money me very happy.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510
16 Feb 2008 #109
me get much money and no speak english me very happy to
Seanus 15 | 19,706
16 Feb 2008 #110
Me speaks Scottish, howz bout that? LOL
moonmustang 2 | 46
21 Feb 2008 #111
Does anyone have advise on the current best TESOL or EL certification programs for someone to become certified to teach English in Poland?
Harry
21 Feb 2008 #112
CELTA is the best by a long way. The Trinity cert TESOL is also accepted widely.

Those are the only two courses worth doing if you want to teach in Poland.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510
21 Feb 2008 #113
celta graduates like to think thay have the best course

trinity is widely known and respected

tefl international graduates more per year than trinity

none of them are cheap

plenty of work in smaller cities for unqualified native speakers - just turn up at your local callan if you dont want the expense of a cert
Harry
21 Feb 2008 #114
celta graduates like to think thay have the best course

I'm a Trinity graduate myself and think that the Trinoty course itself is superior but CELTA is more widely known.

trinity is widely known and respected

Entirely agree.

tefl international graduates more per year than trinity

But it's not well-known here is it? More of an Asian course.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
21 Feb 2008 #115
I don't think much about my CELTA, it was one month and then all over. What matters is teamwork here, whether it be with a co-teacher like in Profi, or informing others of ur progress in Callan. I have slightly more freedom at Britam. The CELTA is just like my LLM, letters on a piece of paper, whoopdeedoo. 2 a penny these days TEFL qualifications
moonmustang 2 | 46
21 Feb 2008 #116
that's for the feedback - excuse my early novice knowledge here....

1)

informing others of ur progress in Callan

What is callan?

2)

2 a penny these days TEFL qualifications

what do you mean by 2 a penny....?

Thanks!
Seanus 15 | 19,706
21 Feb 2008 #117
Callan is a teaching method, Speed is the name of the company that does it here in Gliwice. I trained others in the method for a while.

2 a penny means there are so many that have that qualification that those that have it aren't that unique
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510
22 Feb 2008 #118
I'm a Trinity graduate myself and think that the Trinoty course itself is superior but CELTA is more widely known.

me too - but that doesn't stop celta grads thinking theirs is the best ;-)

But it's not well-known here is it? More of an Asian course.

good question - they have at least 8 centres in Europe pumping out grads every month and have been doing so for a good few years now. they also have a different approach to conducting 'business' than the other 2 major providers which has helped them build a solid brand quickly. they are, and will continue to be, major players

the ceo is American and the company as teflintl targeted Americans to begin with - hence the popularity of their Asian centre locations

What is callan?

as seanus says, callan is a teaching method. callan as a brand has done phenomenally well in the polish market... for a number of reasons. avalon is the latest method to appear - produced by ex-callan teachers with an updated set of materials but not much else - they will be aggressively marketing in Poland and in fact have a training sessions for new avalon schools in Warsaw tomorrow

the great thing about these direct methodologies for potential teachers is that you probably wont be asked for any sort of teaching qualification - you will be trained up in the method and then be good to go
Seanus 15 | 19,706
22 Mar 2008 #119
Just thought I'd revive this b4 it gets deleted.

Any students have any questions?
lowfunk99 10 | 397
28 Mar 2008 #120
Where does one take the Trinity course?


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