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First English teaching job in Poland (Katowice)


InPolska 9 | 1,816
15 Jul 2015 #31
Also how many hours per week? How many different levels? It can be for instance 5 clients with similar level (so same lesson more or less ;)) or 6 clients with different levels (= 6 completely different lessons). How much bureaucracy to do for the school?

Yes, re NFZ. What type of contract? What about holidays?

The OP is very young and has no experience with teaching or with Poland so he signed without knowing much ;)
daytona1
15 Jul 2015 #32
Hi smurf,

I wasn't aware of this cost but ill be taking out travel insurance beforehand and I've got some additional insurance through a credit card.

Teaching 20 hours a week. Add on the planninv time etc. Going to be 2-3 levels so not too bad in terms of variety. Isnt going tl be as tough as a PGCE though!
InPolska 9 | 1,816
15 Jul 2015 #33
@Daytona: 20 hours a week is a lot especially since different levels. What about paper work? Some schools expect a lot from their teachers.

To give you an idea, 18 hours a week are considered full time in Poland.

If 20 hours a week, + preparing lessons + school's bureaucracy + travelling from one client to another = MINIMUM 40 hours (and most probably it'll be more) for 1,800 (gross or clear?)!!!! --- 11.25 ZL/hour (1,800 divided by 160) ;). To give you an idea, I pay my cleaning lady 100zl (clear) for 3 hours of work and in Warsaw the normal rate now is 20/25 ZL...

I am not even sure such job can be a "+" on a cv if you mean to move ahead.

If you accept said job, just see it as a trip out of England ;)
smurf 39 | 1,971
15 Jul 2015 #34
Teaching 20 hours a week

Teaching 20 hours a week for 1800zl!!!
That's seriously f*cked up.

You should be getting at the very minimum 2500zl from the school, @50zl per hour. Since you're, probably, the only native willing to work there, get asking for 60zl per hour.

Doing some private lessons on the side....get an ad up on gumtree.pl in your area and you might be able to get another 1000zl.

3500 & living rent free and you'll have the life of Reilly, but from bitter experience, you'll struggle on 1800.

Seriously mate, this school is screwing you already. Your choice, but most of us here know people who've done the same thing and they've gone home with their tails between their legs by Christmas.

Plus it's only July, schools don't start till late September/early October, most haven't even started looking for teachers yet. Plenty of jobs out there.

Re: insurance, just make sure it's valid for living abroad and not just for travelling. I was in hospital here once and nobody wanted anything to do with me. Showed them my travel insurance and I was given the gold treatment. Ultra sounds, MRIs, the works :D

Without it though, I was proper f!cked.

Good luck to ya fella, I can see your heart is set on coming to Poland so best of luck. 1800 wouldn't last a week for some posters. Petrol, cigarettes, beer and food etc. That'd cost me roughly 400-500zl a week plus whatever bills are due.

Living ain't cheap in Poland....only food and drink are cheap...actually gas and electricity are too (but I guess you're not gonna pay for them), everything else costs the same as back home.
InPolska 9 | 1,816
15 Jul 2015 #35
@Smurf: I agree with you except for food. Food in Poland is also expensive if you don't want to eat potatoes, cabbage, onions, pork and greasy sausage.

I agree with you too that schools start looking towards the end of August. They must think that they have found an idiot and they are happy ;).

Considering how generous they are, I doubt that the accommodation is a castle ;)
DominicB - | 2,707
15 Jul 2015 #36
Food in Poland is also expensive

Relative to wages, the cost of living in Poland is very high compared to the States, including the price of food.
InPolska 9 | 1,816
15 Jul 2015 #37
@Dominic: yes, it is! Of course, if one stick to potatoes, cabbage, onions and greasy sausage, it's cheap but if one wants to eat a variety of good food, it is not. And what about the rest? A bus ticket is already over 1 euro. Clothes are minimum at the same prices as in Western Europe (we can checl prices on labels). Medical bills are also expensive.

That's why a salary of 1,800 ZL (gross or clear?) is peanuts. What about emergencies? 2 weeks ago, I had to replace a filling I had lost the day before and I paid 237zl. What about if the guy breaks a tooth and needs a crown? On Monday, I was at my dentist and checked the price since I mean to have some and prices go from 780 to 1,800. What about medication? Most of it is not reimbursed now by NFZ. Often I leave 2 or 300 zl at the pharmacy. Young kids coming to Poland to teach English think they'll live in on a couple of grozy ;). Poles can get by better because they have their family network and also because they are used to poor life quality.

Life is rough when not the right kind of money ;)
daytona1
15 Jul 2015 #38
Thanks all.

If it doesn't work out then ill be coming back to UK. No big deal.

Also have plenty of savings, and I could live off the savings without the need to work. These will top up wages.

At the end of the day this school will find someone to hire in my place (and pay them the low wage), and I've been stuggling to find another position. So I'm not in too strong of a position. It is much easier to point out that well paid jobs exist, but somewhat harder to get into one without experience and references.

As another poster said, just treat it as a trip outside of England.
InPolska 9 | 1,816
15 Jul 2015 #39
@Daytona: is it normal to work, to receive a salary and to have to rely on one's savings????
OP daytona0 3 | 10
15 Jul 2015 #40
Well, I'm confident that the money and insurance will be enough. Even so, the savings are for travelling and as such could either be spent this way (gaining experience in a working context) or touring Europe like a backpacker (which isn't really me).

One thing I genuinely worry about, though, is how other EFL teachers will perceive me whilst out there. It would be ideal meeting some friendly and supportive people (even in such a 'bad' school) but people on here have some very strong views! Fully justified, I might add, but it seems to be of the "here is another fool with no plan" mindset. This isn't necessarily true, and this decision wasn't made lightly. On saying all of this, I only posted to ask a few questions relating to travel/entertainment etc!
InPolska 9 | 1,816
15 Jul 2015 #41
@Daytona: Cool! if it's very bad, you'll just leave. Do come to let us know in a few months!

Most probably, that school can find/keep teachers...
jon357 74 | 21,965
15 Jul 2015 #42
It would be ideal meeting some friendly and supportive people (even in such a 'bad' school) but people on here have some very strong views!

Their probably won't be many natives there, however some EFL teachers can be fairly (even very) eccentric. Read Daves ESL Cafe for clues on this - there's even a thread on the weirdest teachers people have worked with. If EFL teachers weren't a bit out of the ordinary they'd probably have stayed at home and worked at the tax office in Warrington. Having said that, there are also some very interesting and decent people.

If you don't like it in the town in Silesia that you're going to, it's an easy matter to move to a school in a different town or even country. In katowice itself there are a few decent places. Just keep your ear to the ground.

Good luck and enjoy yourself!
Dougpol1 31 | 2,640
16 Jul 2015 #43
the tax office in Warrington

Nothing wrong with Warrington by 'eck! :) Zory on the other hand.......

The eccentric tag is a fair one :)
piotroceans - | 4
12 Aug 2015 #44
Working outside the UK always broadens the mind and develops a much more circumspect view of others around you. Coming from a scouse background you should be a good mixer. So if you want to work in a country with a re-emerging market economy and the problems that this situation tends to attract, then do so. Keep your options open and look around for better opportunities, even your own business if you are brave enough and if you can find good quality advisers. So visit other satellite towns around Katowice and spend weekends in the city if you are able. Every major city has the same problems of winos and hobos in the similar type of areas as Mariacka. Even London can be pretty scary in the evening, and much more so than in the city here. However, I do agree that the 1,800zł per month is not very good, and basic food costs are a lot higher here that they were say seven to ten years ago when food was very good value. Enjoy!
CMC
13 Aug 2015 #45
I don't know why anyone in their right mind would go to a small town in Poland. These are crap places which are full of folks who are uneducated, poor, and ignorant. Dayton0 will hate it for sure!!
not_polish
13 Aug 2015 #46
Guy is not coming to get rich, he is coming for cheap beer and stag parties galore.
piotroceans - | 4
13 Aug 2015 #47
CMC, I really think yo need to read some contemporaneously written 'history' books that cover the period from 1933 to 1945, and then look into the 1946 to 1992 era. You can find many texts on-line on the websites of rare book sellers and shops. You will in time become better informed and you words "crap places which are full of folks who are uneducated, poor, and ignorant" will be rapidly withdrawn by you and such sentences re-drafted this time containing facts and educated statements. So be a little more willing to accept that not all the people in the EU share your opinions. However, you are totally entitled to hold these thoughts yourself.

not_Polish, may I suggest that you ask him openly why he wants to travel to and to work in Poland.
CMC
13 Aug 2015 #48
Trust me Piotroceans, I have taught and lived in a small town and a small city in Poland before. I wouldn't advise anyone to do the same. I realized that there are two Polands. 1. The rapidly developing and Westernizing one. 2. The backwards and underdeveloped one. Unfortunately he will live in the latter. :(
InPolska 9 | 1,816
13 Aug 2015 #49
@CMC: 100% ok with you!
OP daytona0 3 | 10
15 Aug 2015 #50
Hey,

Yes I will certainly be looking out for better opportunities, but this in itself is a good opportunity to gain some experience in teaching. Money is low but I've got a small income from another source, and enough savings. As for the location, yes I did see the potential cons of working there. Truth be told I don't mind quieter places, and it would give me more of a chance to immerse myself in the local language (learning some functional Polish is a secondary aim of the trip - it will prove useful in the future). The place has a gym which I'll be joining as soon as I arrive, and a tennis court nearby! They've also got a cinema and a few restaurants, and supermarkets. That is a good start. The only thing I'm a bit nervous about is who I will be working with, as there will be at least two English teachers alongside me and I just hope they are alright!
mcm1 2 | 81
16 Aug 2015 #51
We shall be there over Christmas period so if you fancy a beer or two?
OP daytona0 3 | 10
16 Aug 2015 #52
Yea sure! I'll certainly let you know closer to the time.
CMC
16 Aug 2015 #53
Daytona0, please take my advice seriously. DO NOT go to a small town. I am struggling to understand your thinking process.
You say: "Yes I will certainly be looking out for better opportunities, but this in itself is a good opportunity to gain some experience in teaching."

Ok, so why not try to work for a private school in a better place? There are so many schools in the big cities which hire inexperienced people like you. You just have to send a CV and then call them afterwards. Its simple.

You also say: "Truth be told I don't mind quieter places, and it would give me more of a chance to immerse myself in the local language (learning some functional Polish is a secondary aim of the trip - it will prove useful in the future)"

Ok, but you will need to meet people who can communicate in English to tell you the meaning of the words in Polish. Anyways, you will most likely find yourself lonely and depressed because no one can communicate in your language, and you will not be able to communicate in their language good enough to have a basic conversation. For me, this was a big problem. I didn't have many friends at that small town. In the gym, everyone will only speak Polish and also they will likely feel uncomfortable around you since you are foreign. People will think: "why the hell is this British guy doing in this small town in Poland." They will be suspicious of you, and rightly so..

Another thing you say: "The only thing I'm a bit nervous about is who I will be working with, as there will be at least two English teachers alongside me and I just hope they are alright!"

They will be okay to work with. But they will probably not hang around you after work as they have families and different priorities.

My advice: Go to one of the big five cities: Gdansk, Wroclaw, Krakow, Warsaw, Poznan. Find an online directory which has all of the language schools in the city. Here is a link to Wroclaw's list of language schools: wroclaw.angielski-kursyjezykowe.pl/

Then send CVs to these school and afterwards follow up with a call. Dude, life in the big cities is MUCH better. You will meet people who can teach the language. You might meet a pretty girl who will be happy to teach you.:)) In small towns, polish people are leaving in droves because life is so poor there.
Roger5 1 | 1,448
16 Aug 2015 #54
daytona0 seems to be going into this with his eyes wide open. He will be an hour away from Kato, so it's hardly the gulag. Small towns are not all poor by any means, and they have their charms. Big cities can be lonely places. When I first came to Poland I taught in a small town. As in any other place there were educated, intelligent, open-minded people. You just have to find them, which isn't too hard as they are precisely the types who want lessons, either for themselves or their kids. Nowadays in Poland just about everyone under 30 has some English. daytona is not going to pine away or die of loneliness. If he gets bored, he can jump on a bus to Kato. What's the problem?
CMC
16 Aug 2015 #55
The problem is that he will feel depressed after a few months. His overseas honeymoon period will dissipate and reality will hit him like a box of rocks. I hope he can afford going to Katowice every weekend. Small towns get boring fast.

Also, people will be shocked and surprised that a Brit decided to come to such a dump in Poland. I can imagine him telling people where he teaches, once they hear it they will laugh and/or go crazy. Reactions will be like: what the f*** are you doing there? Are you crazy? Why this place?

By the way, there are open-minded and educated people in small towns, but unfortunately they are very few of them. These folks usually head to the big cites for a better life.
InPolska 9 | 1,816
16 Aug 2015 #56
@CMC: why several "months"? I would say several days or max. 2 weeks. Futhermore, in a few weeks, it's going to start being grey, days shall become shorter.... Otherwise 100% ok with you.

@Roger: sure Kato is not that far but town is rather depressing too.

For me, only Warsaw although a big village is liveable in Poland. Wroclaw, Gdansk, Poznan, Krakow are kind of ok but small and rather provincial. As to the rest of Poland, after 2 days there, I get depressed.
smurf 39 | 1,971
16 Aug 2015 #57
sure Kato is not that far but town is rather depressing too.

Says you, wtf do you know about it?

What's it like up there on your high horse?

With a population of 5.2 million there's plenty of things to do here.
Urban population of 2.7m

The area has a higher population that Warsaw, money and standard of living are better here too.
Plus you don't get so many people whose heads are rooted up their own arses.
OP daytona0 3 | 10
16 Aug 2015 #58
If I wanted to live your life, I would most certainly do what you suggest.

(this comes across as quite arrogant, but to elaborate I have considered all of the negative and positive points and made the decision :) If a small town is so bad then maybe I will end up in a similar job to you in the future, CMC, unless you are currently depressed too?).

As a side note, but I would be hopeful that Polish people in small towns were not all suspicious and closed-minded towards a foreigner who willingly chooses to live and work in their town!
Atch 22 | 4,111
16 Aug 2015 #59
As a side note, but I would be hopeful that Polish people in small towns were not all suspicious and closed-minded towards a foreigner who willingly chooses to live and work in their town!

In fairness, some people are nicer than others and they will appreciate you making an effort to speak Polish. Some of the younger people are quite friendly and curious about Western Europe. The gym though is not the friendliest place. Working class Polish guys are very into the whole macho thing. They take the gym pretty seriously and there's quite a bit of staring you down and mentally getting out the measuring tape to compare muscle sizes! (That's what my husband says anyway).
Dougpol1 31 | 2,640
16 Aug 2015 #60
Plus you don't get so many people whose heads are rooted up their own arses.

This. To split my infinitives ......Up with Warsaw I could not put :)

Nowt wrong with Katowice. They have fixed it up nice now that I have left :(


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