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Native English speaker from the US better than from the UK to find a job in Poland?


Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #1
Is there a preference in Poland with native English speakers? Meaning... Do Polish schools prefer native English Speakers from the UK over the US?

I was thinking about getting certified and coming to Poland to teach English someday.

Just wondering..

Thanks : )
Ajb 6 | 232
17 Dec 2010  #2
Some people say that schools prefer a British native speaker, of course the Americans disagree.

My students prefer a British accent over a Canadian or American accent, but of course, if someone wanted an American accent they wouldn't come to me :)

I think you will be fine as long as you get a good CELTA and come with an open mind :)
Richfilth 6 | 415
17 Dec 2010  #3
In terms of the classroom, it won't matter at all, there's arguments for both sides (US is the most popular variant globally, British is better for the region.)

What's far more important is the paperwork. Poland has a crippling level of bureaucracy, and as an American if you don't start dealing with it as soon as you arrive, you'll run out of time and have to leave the country again because you'll be in the Schengen Zone on just a tourist visa. It all depends on what sort of contract your employer offers you, and if they don't offer a contract at all and insist on paying you cash (which is common) then you'll be screwed within six months when you try to cross the border.

Because of this paperwork, many schools refuse to employ non-EU teachers because they don't want the bureaucracy-induced headache.
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #4
Ahh I see...

Thank you both for replying so quick...

What about age?

Is there such a thing as too young? Is 23 too young?

Say I come with a good CELTA, open mind and determination but no prior teaching experience or college degree... What are my chances of landing a job in time?

Thanks so much people : )
delphiandomine 83 | 17,531
17 Dec 2010  #5
I'm seeing a distinct trend for schools to only hire US teachers who have their own business - or to hire those who don't need work permits at all.

Say I come with a good CELTA, open mind and determination but no prior teaching experience or college degree..

My advice is not to come blind, but rather to come to Poland with a job offer already in place. The job market simply isn't stable enough to guarantee that you'll pick up enough work within the time limit - and depending on where you go, there can be a hell of a lot of competition.

Is there such a thing as too young? Is 23 too young?

Sadly, this kind of nonsense still prevails here. I started at 23 as well, and suffered quite a bit with this - Poles do seem to prefer older teachers. But if you look older, problem solved ;)
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #6
Sadly, this kind of nonsense still prevails here.

Great! Everyone tells me I look like I'm 18-19! This is why I have always hated looking young. Although I'm sure Ill appreciate it later in life. : )

I'm seeing a distinct trend for schools to only hire US teachers who have their own business.

Now do you mean like a resturant? Lol! What is a normal business an American would have in Poland? And... Who wouldn't need a work permit?

My advice is not to come blind, but rather to come to Poland with a job offer already in place.

This seems like a much better idea!

I read many threads on this forum tonight. I see many people praising you for knowing what you're talking about when it comes to this. Which cities/towns would you recommend for the least amount of competition? Maybe a smaller town? I hear some schools in smaller towns will try to spin you around in circles given the chance. Would a young looking 23yr old have a better shot in a rual or city area?

Thanks once again!
zetigrek
17 Dec 2010  #7
Sadly, this kind of nonsense still prevails here

isn't it that youth wants young teacher?
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #8
I hope somewhere in Poland this is the case. I'm really determined to come to Poland to teach English.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,531
17 Dec 2010  #9
Great! Everyone tells me I look like I'm 18-19!

Tell me about it - I resorted to growing a beard at one point! But it can work in your favour too - just be prepared for idiotic comments about "needing to look older". My advice is simply to ignore such nonsense - if someone wants to criticise you for not being old enough, they're not worth listening to.

EU citizens don't need work permits, nor do those resident here on the basis of marriage to a EU citizen. You also don't need a work permit if you have your own business - which - Americans can set up legally here. You get hit for 350zl a month social taxes (850zl after two years) - but you can register as a self-employed language teacher and avoid the need for work permits.

Which cities/towns would you recommend for the least ammount of competition?

It's hard to say - rural areas will be more desperate and will be willing to go to the effort of getting the work permit/etc, but cities are easier to pick up hours in. Certainly, I'd say to avoid Krakow and Wroclaw - though as I understand it, there's still a lack of native teachers in places like Bialystok and Lodz.

My suggestion would be to try and land a job in a Callan school for your first year. Usually, such schools will have "traditional" classes too - and you can strong-arm them into giving you a few of those classes. You can then use that year to "find your feet" in Poland - with the bonus that Callan schools require no preparation at all. I started this way, and I moved into corporate teaching - it's not a bad way to start at all.

Some people will be critical of this approach, but I found the first year of Callan teaching to be invaluable when it came to discovering how people think - I didn't have to go home and stress about preparing more classes.
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #10
Im guessing schools using the Callan method are more likely to hire someone with no teaching experience? I have 0. : )

but you can register as a self-employed language teacher and avoid the need for work permits.

Can this be done from the US? I'm guessing no. I would have to first come to Poland, register as a self-employed language teacher, come back to the US and try to secure a job? I'm a little confused on this method.

If I'm pestering you just let me know. Haha. I'm just very excited about this.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,531
17 Dec 2010  #11
Im guessing schools using the Callan method are more likely to hire someone with no teaching experience? I have 0. : )

Yep, much more likely.

I would have to first come to Poland, register as a self-employed language teacher, come back to the US and try to secure a job? I'm a little confused on this method.

No no - what you do is come here, register as self employed, use the self employment to obtain legal residency (as you own a business here - so you can be resident legally) - and use the self employment to approach schools. It's the easiest way for Americans - you are employed by your own business, and your business invoices the schools directly :)
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #12
I see! Genuis! Who came up with that idea? Haha.

Once I have self employment would it then be easier to obtain a working permit later down the road if I chose to?

One last two-part question.

These schools that use the Callan method. Are they grammar schools, middle schools or high schools or other? And which of these schools most commonly hire teachers from the US?(Callan or none Callan)

Thanks
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
17 Dec 2010  #13
delphiandomine wrote:

if someone wants to criticise you for not being old enough, they're not worth listening to.

i have to disagree here.

there are plenty of instances where a student can benefit more or simply feel more comfortable with an older teacher vs. a kid fresh out of Uni.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,531
17 Dec 2010  #14
Once I have self employment would it then be easier to obtain a working permit later down the road if I chose to?

As long as you're self employed, you don't need a work permit for doing any work that your business does. That's what makes it much easier for Americans - they can start working for schools as soon as they get the business registration completed :)

These schools that use the Callan method. Are they grammar schools, middle schools or high schools or other? And which of these schools most commonly hire teachers from the US?(Callan or none Callan)

Private schools. You need a Masters degree, with a recognised "right" to teach in schools in order to work in Polish public schools. I've heard of exceptions, but it's generally the rule.

As for who hires more - hard to say. I'd say though, that a Callan school is much more likely to take a shot on an unproven American than a non-Callan school.

there are plenty of instances where a student can benefit more or simply feel more comfortable with an older teacher vs. a kid fresh out of Uni.

If the ability is exactly the same, there should be no difference. Of course, we all know that sometimes, students just want a certain age/sex/look of teacher and nothing can change that. The worst is when they claim that it's the teaching at fault - yet it's obvious that they just want a woman to stare at.

At least for me personally, age means nothing, only ability. It's worth pointing out that many "older" Polish teachers lack empathy compared to the younger ones.
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #15
I see.

SORRY! One last question! Promise : )

I'm getting my CELTA in Miami very soon. BUT. I have no degree in English. How much will this affect my chances of getting decent jobs? Is it possible? I really don't have the money to go and get a BS in English right now : /
delphiandomine 83 | 17,531
17 Dec 2010  #16
What is your degree in?

To be honest, an English degree doesn't count for that much anyway - because most (sensible) employers know that we don't study English in the same way that they do. The requirement for a degree is just a way of separating out people, nothing more.

(for what it's worth, no-one has ever asked me for my degree certificate here!)
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #17
I actually have no degree : (.. I was half way to getting a degree in graphic design (I know completely different and irrelevant to teaching english) but I was receiving no financial aid whatsoever so I had to take time off to start paying off my loans and never made it back.

So a high school diploma with a CELTA certification is enough?

If I may ask, are you from the US or UK?
scottie1113 7 | 898
17 Dec 2010  #18
I'm seeing a distinct trend for schools to only hire US teachers who have their own business - or to hire those who don't need work permits at all.

Not true at my school which has five locations in Poland. BTW, the school also requires a university degree and a CELTA or equivalent.
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #19
the school also requires a university degree and a CELTA or equivalent.

Do you mean the school you teach at, or all schools? I was under the impression that a high school diploma and a CELTA certification was enough for a fair amount of schools? Is this not the case?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
17 Dec 2010  #20
delphiandomine wrote:

At least for me personally, age means nothing, only ability.

and age has a direct connection to ability in many cases.

let's take Business English:

Is a 23 year old guy, fresh out of college who has never had any sort of professional career and probably never even a full time job able to relate to a 33 year old guy with an upper management position? Does the 23 year old have his own business experiences, strategies, intuitions....?

he talks about his boss riding him every day, you've never had one.

he wants to discuss his annual performance evaluation, you've never had one.

he wants to talk about corporate culture, you have never been exposed to it.

he wants to discuss business strategies and how they work in practice, you've never practiced anything.

You can talk words, but you can't talk business and it's a legitimate request when a student asks for someone "older with more experience".

Think of it this way: is it necessary for a language school director to have language teaching experience? no. the job doesn't require you to teach, rather your main responsibilities are to sell contracts, keep the peace, run the school in an orderly way, manage your teachers and other staff and be a good spokesperson for the school. BUT.....could and would having previous language teaching experience make you a better director at a language school? most certainly.
Richfilth 6 | 415
17 Dec 2010  #21
To cover some areas:

a) Callan is a method. It is taught at Callan-approved private schools, and does not need a CELTA, a degree or to be a native speaker. Among EFL "professionals" it is often disregarded. Having Callan experience equates to having no experience, when it comes to applying to a "real" school.

b) Without a Masters degree, you will not be able to work for the Polish State Education system (so regular primary, middle or high schools.) You might be able to find a position with a State Approved private school, but those positions are extremely lucrative and with no degree or experience, you won't get that job. Therefore, you will most likely be working for a private language school, teaching classes in the afternoons and evenings, or very early mornings. Your schedule will be something like 7am-10am, then 3pm-10pm, depending on how much work there is for you.

c) Cities vs Small Towns. It's true that small towns don't have any competition, but they also don't have any money. The wage difference between provincial towns and the capital cities is vast; 15zl per hour compared to 60zl or more, depending on your target clientele. Even ToruĊ„, a sizeable university town, does not pay private English Teachers much more than 25zl. If you think about the 850zl monthy insurance contribution you MUST make, that's 34 teaching hours gone immediately, and if you can pick up 100 hours a month in a place like that then you're a lucky man. So trying to start in a small town is VERY hard.

d) Your age. At 23 with no vocation, you don't have any niche value; you'll be completely out of your depth trying to teach Business classes, which is where the real money is (over 60zl per hour.) I moved here when I was 22, but I had a BA in Linguistics, and I had lengthy business experience in the UK. But that was a long time ago, and Poland has been inundated with backpacking teachers attracted by the cheap beer and gorgeous women. You'll have to find something that makes you different to them. A CELTA isn't enough.

Therefore, your best option is to email the big chain language schools in the big cities (Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, Gdansk) and ask if they are interested in employing an American. Get them to tell you how interested they are, and what they will pay. But don't let your youthful exuberance lead you on; Poland is a tough country to start out in, and if you're not prepared for it you are in for a sharp shock.
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #22
To cover some areas:

Thanks a million times for such an in-depth post.

Just to be crystal clear, it's very hard/unrealistic to make a living in poland teaching English in schools without a degree? BUT It's possible to find work at "Callan-approved private schools" or "big chain language schools in the big cities"?

But don't let your youthful exuberance lead you on; Poland is a tough country to start out in, and if you're not prepared for it you are in for a sharp shock.

This is the reason why I'm asking so many questions. I don't like sharp shock. Haha!
Richfilth 6 | 415
17 Dec 2010  #23
Just to be crystal clear...

That's pretty much it, yes. Without a degree your first year here will be impoverished, overworked, hungry, cold, and ******** about all the things you had in the US that were better or cheaper. I've seen it too many times. Even with a degree, this happens a lot, and those guys move on to Spain or China or Saudi Arabia after a year here.

Consider it paying your dues. Once you've proved yourself and built up a network of students who contact you for private classes, classes for friends, classes in their wives' offices, your earnings will increase and your life will get easier. But that only comes with time. You have to rough it for your first year. After that, you'll have worked out which schools in your chosen city are worth working for, what Poles expect from a teacher, what the life of a teacher is like and whether you want to be part of what's going on here.
OP Florida727 2 | 14
17 Dec 2010  #24
Most of my life I was impoverished,hungry and broke so this is nothing new.(although american standards I'm sure are different than polish)

I think I'm willing to rough it for a year or more. I have a nice savings account and it should more than hold me over in Poland for over a year. Towards the end of your post I saw a little light at the end of the tunnel which makes me happy : )

It's obvious I need a lot more time to think and plan this out. One way or another I'm going to make it happen though.

Thanks to everyone who contributed. Hope to see you in Polska some day : )

Jared


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