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Graduate Certificate in TESOL - respected by potential employers in Poland?


dr_rabbit 5 | 90
28 Aug 2011 #1
Hi Everyone,

I'm considering coming to live and work in Warsaw with my Polish wife, but if so it won't be for at least 18 months. The University in the city where I currently live and work (Wellington, NZ) offers a [victoria.ac.nz/lals/study/postgraduate/graduate-certificate-tesol.aspx] - Graduate Certificate in TESOL. I am wondering whether this would be respected by potential employers in Poland. Its a 12-week course with 10-15 hours of face-to-face classes per week, and includes teaching practice and assessment. From what I can tell, it is taught by highly qualified and experienced university lecturers and ESL teachers.

I don't think it is accredited to any international programme. However in general, from what I understand, qualifications from Victoria University are well respected by employers in USA, Canada, UK etc: would the same hold to a certain extent in Poland? The training institutions offering CELTA here look less desirable to me, and I'm keen to get qualified before I come to Poland.

To be completely honest, I'm wondering whether or not I do want to do English teaching. However I have had a year's experience as a tutor at university (this was taking classes of undergrad Art History students), and I have given quite a few one-on-one and group music lessons in past so I reckon these might help me with the confidence aspect of giving English lessons even if it counts for little to my potential employers. I also have a BA(Honours) in English Literature and Art History.

Thoughts on the suitability of this qualification and my general prospects in Warsaw teaching English - which might just be for a couple of years - would be greatly appreciated.
PWEI 3 | 612
28 Aug 2011 #2
Do a CELTA. Your program sounds pretty much equivalent of a CELTA but you'll always have to explain and prove it is, plus some schools will simply not bother interviewing people who don't have a CELTA (so many non-CELTA certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on).
OP dr_rabbit 5 | 90
28 Aug 2011 #3
PWEI
Thanks for replying: I get it that a CELTA is the usual standard for teachers in Poland, and that there are a million TEFL certificates somone paid 5zl for on the internet.

However I am also thinking about what will be useful in other countries: the CELTA school in my city seems to be a tiny private training place with no international reputation other than its CELTA accreditation, whereas the University has international credibility, especially in Anglophone countries, even though the GCertTESOL is not an "international" qualification.

Also, I can get the cost of the GCertTESOL refunded whereas the CELTA would cost me the equivalent of 7200PLN in my city.

Has anyone managed to get a good teaching job in Poland with a non-standard University-taught ESL qualification? Anyone employed someone with one?
PWEI 3 | 612
28 Aug 2011 #4
Has anyone managed to get a good teaching job in Poland with a non-standard University-taught ESL qualification? Anyone employed someone with one?

My certificate was non-CELTA: I managed, but only just.

It doesn't matter how good the course is: it matters how recognised the course is.
scottie1113 7 | 898
28 Aug 2011 #5
It doesn't matter how good the course is: it matters how recognised the course is.

What he said. And in Poland, CELTA is universally recognized. That wasn't a misspelling. I'm American.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
29 Aug 2011 #6
Has anyone managed to get a good teaching job in Poland with a non-standard University-taught ESL qualification?

The usual reaction of most employers is to put it in the bin - it's CELTA or bust here.

Truth be it, the CELTA has evolved into being a basic qualification - and while employers will consider an MA to be equal, your course simply won't cut it - even if it's just as good (in fact, it's likely to be better).

But why not do the CELTA in Poland instead?
nicnierozumiem
29 Aug 2011 #7
and while employers will consider an MA to be equal, your course simply won't cut it - even if it's just as good (in fact, it's likely to be better).

so true, maybe do an M.A. that has a certificate or diploma as part of it, that cuts the cheese.
But if you want to move faster then the 4 or 5 week RSA/Camb/Trinity thing is the most widely accepted. As DD suggested, maybe do it in Poland, as that puts you right on the spot for job hunting afterwards, and you will get an idea of the job market etc while you are studying.
OP dr_rabbit 5 | 90
29 Aug 2011 #8
delphiandomine

The usual reaction of most employers is to put it in the bin - it's CELTA or bust here. Truth be it, the CELTA has evolved into being a basic qualification - and while employers will consider an MA to be equal, your course simply won't cut it - even if it's just as good (in fact, it's likely to be better).

That's a shame: I guess that is a unique attitude to Poland? By the way, are you saying that from the perspective of an 'experienced' applicant or as an employer? I appreciate your comments but I do find it quite hard to believe that it would count for nothing. I'm reasonably confident of my ability to make a good impression in other aspects of applications.

nicnierozumiem

so true, maybe do an M.A. that has a certificate or diploma as part of it, that cuts the cheese.
But if you want to move faster then the 4 or 5 week RSA/Camb/Trinity thing is the most widely accepted. As DD suggested, maybe do it in Poland, as that puts you right on the spot for job hunting afterwards, and you will get an idea of the job market etc while you are studying.

At this stage, I really only want to be in Poland as a working holiday (if I'm going to be teaching English), likely for a maximum of 2 years, so doing a Masters would be over the top. I guess spending 5 weeks of my life doing CELTA in Warsaw as opposed to 3 months of this other course is a reasonable proposition. It certainly would cost me less money that way. My real desire is to be able to 'hit the ground running' in Warsaw, that's all. I'm also wondering, if I had to study in Poland, I might prefer to study Polish so I could maybe apply for non-teaching jobs.
teflpuss
29 Aug 2011 #9
That 12-week course sounds good but what others above have said is, unfortunately, true. CELTA is universally recognized. Make sure you do the RSA/UCLES course. It stands for Royal Standards Institute/University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. As you can see, it's a British qualification, but you can do it in most countries now, including Poland. It takes only four weeks but is pretty intensive. Avoid online courses like the plague; they are simply a waste of money. With a BA and CELTA you'll find it easy enough to find something if you come at the right time, i.e. before the winter term starts.
scottie1113 7 | 898
29 Aug 2011 #10
If you want to teach English in Poland, do the CELTA here. You can do it in four weeks and you'll make more contacts, especially in Warsaw. Do a course in early August, you'll finish in early September with plenty of time to land a job before the school year starts. I speak from personal experience four years ago.
PWEI 3 | 612
29 Aug 2011 #11
I do find it quite hard to believe that it would count for nothing.

A non-CELTA course doesn't always count for nothing but it very simply puts you immediately at a disadvantage to candidates who do have the CELTA: a prospective employer has to decide whether they want to either research the course you did so as to check whether it is any good (which will take them time and offers no real guarantee anyway) or to take the risk that your course is not Mickey Mouse (given the number of rubbish courses out there, it is risk) or to simply hire the next best candidate who has got a CELTA.
OP dr_rabbit 5 | 90
29 Aug 2011 #12
OK thanks for your responses everyone. It seems that there are no two ways about it: I'd better come to Warsaw and do a CELTA. Seeing as its at least a year before I come, I'll come back for more advice when I know I'm coming - who knows, by then all you guys might have all the work sewn up and I'll have no chance without a PhD ;)

Edit

PWEI: "A non-CELTA course doesn't always count for nothing but it very simply puts you immediately at a disadvantage to candidates who do have the CELTA: a prospective employer has to decide whether they want to either research the course you did so as to check whether it is any good"

Its good to hear not everyone thinks it counts for nothing - If they did want to bother to research the course, it would take them about 15 seconds to find the course description page that I posted, as the University's website is pretty well optimised for google searches :) Nonetheless, I think the others have given me good advice - I'm very likely to be better off using the three months here earning some decent coin if I'll be lucky to have it respected as much as a CELTA from a school in Warsaw.
PWEI 3 | 612
29 Aug 2011 #13
It seems that there are no two ways about it: I'd better come to Warsaw and do a CELTA.

The problem with doing the CELTA in Warsaw is that at £1,050 it's a fair bit more expensive than doing a CELTA in Katowice (£749) or Wroclaw (£799). Details of those can be found here

cactustefl.com/tefl/search.php?destination=Poland%40&filter=type%404-week+tefl+course+or+equivalent&course_dates=&currency=GBP&Submit=Search
OP dr_rabbit 5 | 90
29 Aug 2011 #14
£1,050

Thanks for the link. Those are all cheaper than here, where its equivalent to £1,500 GBP.
teflcat 5 | 1,032
29 Aug 2011 #15
Do yourself a favour and buy some teaching theory books before you do the course. Any CELTA centre can tell you what you should read before the course. It's been 20 years since I did it, but I think they still recommend Jeremy Harmer's book, Practical Teaching, or something like that.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
29 Aug 2011 #16
That's a shame: I guess that is a unique attitude to Poland?

No, not just Poland, but most countries. The CELTA is well established as being the 'gold standard' - it's well known by everyone as a consistent measurement of a candidate's basic ability. The good thing about it is that CELTA courses are much the same throughout the world - even if the provider isn't well known, the qualification is.

It's simply the way it is - it's much easier for an employer to say "Degree? Check. CELTA? Check." than to go to the hassle of checking your course content and so on. A CELTA is the same regardless if it's taken in Poland, NZ or anywhere else - your course isn't.

By the way, are you saying that from the perspective of an 'experienced' applicant or as an employer?

Both. From an applicant point of view, the CELTA was always something that the worthwhile schools would ask for, and from an employer point of view - it's much easier for me to see "CELTA : Grade A" than it is to see "Graduate Certificate in TESOL". Remember, Europe has a totally different attitude to university studies - such concepts as a "Graduate Certificate" don't exist here, it's the full MA or nothing.

Now, you're going to Warsaw. There are a *lot* of foreigners in Warsaw - and again - any credible school will simply scan your CV and say "CELTA? No. MA? No. Bin? Yes.". It's just the way it is - if a good school is receiving lots of applications, as they will be in Warsaw - you need to provide them with a reference point.

I appreciate your comments but I do find it quite hard to believe that it would count for nothing. I'm reasonably confident of my ability to make a good impression in other aspects of applications.

It's simply the nature of the system in Poland (and most European countries) - if you don't have recognised papers, see ya. Private schools simply aren't going to waste their time searching for your course and making sure that you've covered the same as the CELTA - why bother, when there are other people out there who have the CELTA?

I'm also wondering, if I had to study in Poland, I might prefer to study Polish so I could maybe apply for non-teaching jobs.

You won't get anywhere with non-teaching jobs without fluent Polish, so forget about that idea - unless you possess something that is highly in demand in Poland.
OP dr_rabbit 5 | 90
29 Aug 2011 #17
[b]delphiandomine[/]

non-teaching jobs without fluent Polish, so forget about that idea - unless you possess something that is highly in demand in Poland.

Yeah, I'm not under any illusion about that. There's one way to learn languages: the hard way :) I'm on track now, but I'll need a couple more years at least to get fluent enough for employment. I'll be sure to present my naive ideas before your brutal altar again before we make the move ;)


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