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Is it normal for companies/schools in Poland to be rude?


Sparkle_Ravelle 4 | 11
12 Feb 2010 #1
Hi. I gained my Cambridge CELTA in Poland recently, with a distinction grade. I also have a lot of prior EFL teaching experience. I'm now back in the UK but interested in getting a job in Poland to come back...I miss the culture and my Polish friends (who used to live in the UK).

I've only applied for three of the advertised teaching jobs so far...heard from 2...

One school interviewed me, pretty much offered me the job and said that their next step would be to take up references from my previous employers and CELTA Tutor. They took references (at least from my previous employer - we became friends so he tells me when an employer has approached him for a ref and forwards a copy to me)

However, after that I didn't hear anything from them. I've emailed them, but still had no response.

Another school arranged a telephone interview with me yesterday at 9am and didn't phone.

Is this normal behaviour for schools in Poland? One of my friends says yes, but I find it hard to believe that a company could be so rude!
jonni 16 | 2,485
12 Feb 2010 #2
Is this normal behaviour for schools in Poland?

Most of them, yes.
rdw
12 Feb 2010 #3
Yes. It is a cultural thing. Get used to it if you plan to live there.
Think Twice
12 Feb 2010 #4
I find it hard to believe that a company could be so rude!

Believe it !!!

Protocol here is to kiss butt and bow as to royalty.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Feb 2010 #5
My initial experience was good. They kept to the time that they said but I lately tested the water. I speculatively applied to different schools, not really hoping to get anything as I already have work. It's just as well as the response rate was naff. My advice to you is get the initial rate right. Settling for a piddly rate is not ideal. There tends to be rudeness somewhere along the line. They are insular little fuc*s quite often!

Foreigners are best kept out of the picture, only there to put bums on seats and entertain. It's hard to get a look in with their xenophobic tendencies.
PolishNutjob 1 | 74
12 Feb 2010 #6
... but I find it hard to believe that a company could be so rude!

There is a significant lack of "follow-through" over here. A lot of talk, but not a corresponding quantity of action. How does Declan cope with it?

Incidentally, it is difficult for one to conduct a demo lesson from abroad.
pantsless 1 | 267
12 Feb 2010 #7
Follow through here ranges from nil to 'maybe a vague email'. Big on talk little on action that kind of thing. I remember sending out job applications when looking for corporate work and got only 1 response from 30 applications.

But the lack of response pretty much means that no one is interested in you, esp since its Feb and the crisis is getting a bit worse.
pgtx 29 | 3,159
12 Feb 2010 #8
Is this normal behaviour for schools in Poland?

well, maybe it's just not meant to be... :)
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
12 Feb 2010 #9
Is this normal behaviour for schools in Poland?

yes, it's normal. Language schools out here are notorious for being poorly managed, right up to the biggest most popular schools in the cities. I've dealt with several of them and know several teachers working for other schools all over the country, the story never changes. It's not just language schools but simply Polish business sense, or lack thereof. I teach my lessons, make sure my a$$ is covered and my paperwork is in, and I go home.

Watching good businesses being wasted away by poor management and abysmal business sense is something you simply will have to get used to, but just remember that these business people are dealing with Polish customers who share a common culture and are most likely used to this sort of thing.

THIS is another reason why Poland needs to hire foreigners to run their companies. Even if the Polish manager currently in place is competent, he's gotta know how to manage 50 incompetent employees.....no small task.

Flame away, but sometimes I just can't help but tie in one thread to another, but so many of these threads talking about issues in Poland all boil down to just a few main reasons, this being one of them, and a big one.
krysia 23 | 3,058
12 Feb 2010 #10
However, after that I didn't hear anything from them. I've emailed them, but still had no response.

Probably went on an "urlop" and zastępca knows nothing or deleted the mail. Write again.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Feb 2010 #11
Always an excuse with them too. Promises are promises, try honouring them. Away on a holiday is neither here nor there if you have made an arrangement with sb. Wanna change it then cancel it.

Too many leaves in the breeze. As long as they can engage in their jibber jabber, they are happy. Oh, and their skewed sense of importance!

At my first school here, it was known that I brought many students in and increased their custom. When the time came (long overdue) for me to quit, they were angry and the previous 3 years went out of the window. No thanks, just rude remarks that I had ceased to be a team player. Gratitude is NOT their strong point!
Harry
12 Feb 2010 #12
Is this normal behaviour for schools in Poland?

Yes it is completely normal. The next thing to expect is that after you get bored of waiting for them to get back in touch and find another job, the day after you start that job the first school will phone you and be utterly amazed that you've let them down so badly by taking another job.
mafketis 21 | 7,483
12 Feb 2010 #13
Yes, this is normal operating procedure in private schools (not the only reason I don't work in them, but up there). My favorite is the one Harry describes where they don't respond and then get upset when you take another job.

There are a lot of reasons for this, some historical, some cultural, some milieu-based. This isn't the place to describe them all. There are also little signs that are perfectly obvious for Polish people which foreigners are oblivious too. They may think you know exactly what's going on (because a Polish person would) when you're clueless.

A few things to consider:

- Polish employers are very much bird-in-the-hand oriented. Being on the spot is more important than qualifications from abroad.

- Native speakers (regardless of qualifications) are generally regarded as being unreliable (showing up drunk for lessons if at all, not knowing how to teach, sleeping with students, etc) and a flight risk. There is an assumption that they will be unable to thrive in Poland. (This is one of the reasons for the first point).

- Never wait for them to contact you. _ALWAYS_ say that _YOU'LL_ contact _THEM_. I cannot stress this strongly enough. This is not rude at all and while they may protest it's not necessary, ignore that. Always end interactions by telling them the time that you will contact them. Then do it. If they don't respond to emails then call. Polish people like assertive behavior and this won't bother people. Being perceived as a little too pushy is far better than being perceived as not being pushy enough.

- Once here. Do not expect the boss to take much interest in you. Depending on the school, another teacher may or may not be assigned to help you. If none are assigned then try to befriend a teacher who can help you arrange various things. Be aware that you'll be expected to do things for them (like proofreading translations and the like) for nothing. You can also use a student for the same purposes but you'll be expected to give them private lessons for free.

- Once here, don't go through channels. You can pretty much ignore your immediate supervisor, if you need something go straight to the director of the school hunt them down like a fox (wherever they are, whatever they're doing) to get their permission or signature or whatever. Trust me, they won't mind, they're used to it (and it shows you know how to get things done).

Living and working in Poland is not easy for the beginner. It takes time to learn how to get things done and the challenges are many and substantial (and there's often not much help to be found).

On the other hand, once you do know how to get things done it can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.
vndunne 43 | 279
12 Feb 2010 #14
When i saw the title of the thread, i was looking forward to telling you about business culture over here. But the previous contributors have all put it very well. Unfortunately, good and prompt service is an exception over here. And as people have said before, just get use to it ...it is nothing personal. I know it may sound defeatest but after 4 years over here, you just dont have the energy anymore to get upset over it.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Feb 2010 #15
Yeah, 5 years even more so. The poster Rogalski created a good thread about Profi-Lingua and their sharkish behaviour. They were so offhand it defies belief. They lied about the work they had on offer and I wish them all the worst. All I can say in my time there is that I stayed in the teaching game and that I earned reasonably. I will refrain from libel/calumny but they are bad.
tabrett 2 | 26
12 Feb 2010 #16
does anyone know roughly how many hours you would expect to get per week teaching english in poland? i know this can depend on area and type of school, but roughly speaking.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Feb 2010 #17
20-25 tends to be standard plus anything else you can pick up.
opts 10 | 260
12 Feb 2010 #18
Hi. I gained my Cambridge CELTA in Poland recently, with a distinction grade.

We are impressed with your Cambridge CELTA with a distinction.
Being rude is Poland's national character, a favorite pastime. Be rude back and you will fit in.
Rogalski 5 | 94
12 Feb 2010 #19
I certainly echo what Seanus says (and by the way wish to thank him for his very helpful advice during my stressful dealings with that particular school). I'll repeat my experience here for people looking for work with private language schools: They very often need you more than you need them, so DON'T accept any appalling conditions they try to impose on you and above all, do NOT sign any dodgy contract they try and foist on you. While such contracts are probably not worth the paper they are written on, they are quite distressing in their draconian terms and the penalties they threaten to impose. Keep the ball in your court.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Feb 2010 #20
It's worth reiterating what Rogalski just said. Get off to a bad start with the contract and it's just downhill from there. The penalties are stiff (a good word in Polish would be grzywny or sth like that) and they are just poised to impose them. They are so stingy, they make the Scots look like the most charitable nation on earth. Also, factor in illness provisions to your advantage. It's ok for the Poles to take their L4 sickness leave but I as good as couldn't as I had no cover, the other native having had his plate full too. I had to pay 10PLN to find a replacement, what a joke!

Many Poles have really gone rampant with capitalism. They are not as bad as the Japanese private schools but they are worth the watching!
Trevek 26 | 1,702
12 Feb 2010 #21
Is this normal behaviour for schools in Poland?

Yes. You are generally made to feel like you are scum and they are doing you a favour. Often the same in business. They are probably waiting for YOU to ring!

contact _THEM_. I cannot stress this strongly enough. This is not rude at all and while they may protest it's not necessary, ignore that. Always end interactions by telling them the time that you will contact them. Then do it. If they don't respond to emails then call. Polish people like assertive behavior and this won't bother people. Being perceived as a little too pushy is far better than being perceived as not being pushy enough.[/quote]

This is common business practise. You may find it a coomon occurence that when someone needs your skills they get someone to ask YOu to phone THEM. It's a subtle thing but it makes them feel like you are seeking work from them and not them needing your expertise (not that many people would know it themselves, it's just how it works).
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Feb 2010 #22
It was the poster childwithin that mentioned that some here are not forthcoming with assistance. I keep saying it, you will quickly be made to feel like an outcast if you don't slot in with their jibber-jabber. You have to play their games to a certain extent. Bring your ideas to them, though. Otherwise you will end up being a doormat! Who's to say you can't do that?
TheOther 5 | 3,891
12 Feb 2010 #23
Sounds to me as if the good old commie mentality is still alive and well in Poland.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Feb 2010 #24
I just learned today that even a reputable school was cutting corners and pulling fast ones, perhaps unknowingly though. The way it was described, it could have been innocent but money is such a drive in some peoples' lives and Poland is quickly catching up in that regard.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
13 Feb 2010 #25
I'm waiting for the inevitable posts from the die-hard Poland defenders. If we could only tie this thread into the other thread from a few days ago discussing why so many foreigners from America, the U.K., France, etc. come here and take high level positions and how "any Pole could do what those guys are doing" and that these foreigners are a waste of money and....and....and....and.....

this forum routinely cracks me up.
Torq 26 | 2,371
13 Feb 2010 #26
why so many foreigners from America, the U.K., France, etc. come here and take high level positions

Because we Poles (especially the older generation), suffer very often from an inferiority
complex, which makes us think that we couldn't train our own men to do the same jobs
foreigners are doing - of course we could and with time we will. When the post-communist
generation passes away, we will be free of this nonsensical inferiority complex and it will
be the end of golden days for foreigners in Poland earning ridiculous amounts of money.

"any Pole could do what those guys are doing"

Nobody said that "any Pole" could do those jobs (but some certainly could).

these foreigners are a waste of money

That was said in reference to some native speakers, working as English language
teachers, who are completely incompetent when it comes to teaching phonetics
and phonology of the language and very often don't have any pedagogical preparation.
They are in most cases grossly overpaid.

If we got rid of every single foreigner from Poland today (I'm not saying we should,
not at all - they're, by and large, decent folks) life would just go on as it was before.
We would easily find or train Polish replacements for them - no bother at all.

Many foreigners find a place to live in Poland and jobs to support them and their
families. It is quite strange and quite sad how they see fit to moan like bit**es
at every inconvenience they encounter and criticize every thing that they don't find
good enough for them.

Hey - folks, if you don't like it so much then, by all means, do leave - we would
really hate to keep you here against your will. That would be inappropriate
behaviour on our part.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
13 Feb 2010 #27
Torq has a point here. There are those teachers who really haven't invested in teaching at all, seeing a stint abroad as a stopgap measure and teaching as merely incidental. Their only strength is their instinct but they suck when it comes to phonology.

There are sufficient replacements, yes, and are good enough for the purpose of teaching world communication. However, don't expect to be fully accurate after learning from a Polish native. I've observed them and they make quite a few mistakes with articles and word choice. Still, who has the time to be fully proficient and accurate?

Yeah, many teachers are disgruntled. They need to accept their guest status and clear off as you can't expect the natives to bend just for your convenience. You should have researched your new assignment better before coming to Poland, rather than expecting Poland to somehow just cater for your every whim.

To the OP, good luck. Like anywhere, you get the good with the bad. I work with a super team at the moment and you just need to ask to be helped.
Torq 26 | 2,371
13 Feb 2010 #28
Wise words coming from a wise man!

Cheers, Seanus!
convex 20 | 3,978
13 Feb 2010 #29
The method of training has to change. More work experience, more international exposure, more apprenticeships.

Constructive criticism is good, whining just for the sake of it doesn't help anything.

Regarding teachers, I think no matter where you go, you will have native speakers selected for jobs over locals. Due to the wages, you're flooded here with native speakers who teach, instead of teachers who are native speakers.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
13 Feb 2010 #30
very insular of you Torq. So if that is the case why so many Polish people accept the welcoming of other countries when they leave their great Poland to make money somewhere else. Just wondering.

the end of golden days for foreigners in Poland earning ridiculous amounts of money.

you sound very envious Torq. Envy and inferiority complex has passed onto another generation already and it is a characteristic, which is really difficult to get rid of.

that sounds very unreasonable to me. Most of those people you are talking about will always have a better grasp of English because it is their first language, which does not mean that they are good teachers. Some of the Polish teachers are really good too. Some of the foreign teachers are very good as well. It depends on the person really.

As for the training - well, maybe Poland should concentrate of training their stiff better.

I guess what it boils down to is the stiff job market competition within the teaching industry.


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