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What qualifications are needed for English teachers in Poland?


ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
13 Nov 2010 #1
ok, I promise I'll be nice - I would like to find out what qualifications or certifications one needs to have to be an English teacher in Poland. I'll be sincerely grateful for any serious replies.
pgtx 30 | 3,156
13 Nov 2010 #2
and you think we'll seriously help you out?

there are many threads about that...search...
OP ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
13 Nov 2010 #3
well, I was hoping you would, actually, since you're from Texas, too, and I'm guessing must have some knowledge about how schools work in Poland.

My husband keeps talking about Poland, and how he'd like to move to the "old country" one day, so I'm just wondering if there's something I could do over there. He really loves Poland, and he's a really good guy, and I love him, we've been married for 11 years, so if it's going to make him happy, I would move.

What's the worst that can happen? We have enough resources to live there for a while without working, but I don't want to get bored, and it looks like there's a lot of people teaching English there, so it must be good business. And a good way to meet people.

It's just kind of scary to go somewhere where you don't know much about people, so I thought I'd join PF and find out.

so, it's a serious question, and it would be awesome to get some firsthand info.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
13 Nov 2010 #4
Teaching English is ur best bet. Dont expect much from it.
OP ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
13 Nov 2010 #5
Really? A lot of PF people seem to like doing it. Are there better and worse schools to work for over there? Like private vs public or richer/poorer neighborhoods? Will they pay you more if you have a graduate degree?

My husband thinks all schools in Poland are great, but then he thinks everything there is great. Which is so cute...
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
13 Nov 2010 #6
My husband thinks all schools in Poland are great, but then he thinks everything there is great.

some schools might be great. native speakers are only needed to promote the school. there is no real reason why a native speaker should be offered more money than a local. teaching kids can easily be done by locals.

first they want to see your cv then they will look for the relevant qualification, but in the end it depends on the school's needs and how u blag for the job.

private teaching will bring in more lessons, but only after u have built up a reputation.
the lucky break would be to teach business personel within a particular company.

editing, rewrites, proofreading is not to be relied on. it comes and goes.

keep in mind that schools will pay as little as possible and use u to fit their needs, nothing more.
Richfilth 6 | 415
13 Nov 2010 #7
90% of Native Speakers here are backpackers, who came for the cheap women and beer. They f*ck the locals both literally and metaphorically, then move on when they realise they have no prospects here.

Schools exploit these sorts of teachers by offering them as "conversation", which is about all they're good for considering they don't know the basics of grammar, or how to regulate or control their speech depending on the level of the student, or fundamental lesson planning.

Unfortunately, the industry (if you can call it that) in Poland doesn't differentiate between these types of teachers, and those with qualifications, experience and an attitude of professionalism. The ones who just want beer money force down the prices of a lesson, meaning that unless you've been here for years and have built up a network of business clients, you'll be on the bottom rung regardless of what certificates you hold.

Having said that, a CELTA or equivalent (NOT a four-week online course) is the sort of thing top schools are looking for, as well as a Bachelors degree in something practical. Don't think about working for the state sector unless you have particularly masochistic tendencies.
zetigrek
13 Nov 2010 #8
ok, I promise I'll be nice - I would like to find out what qualifications or certifications one needs to have to be an English teacher in Poland. I'll be sincerely grateful for any serious replies.

So you wanna move out from USA to Poland?

He really loves Poland, and he's a really good guy, and I love him, we've been married for 11 years, so if it's going to make him happy, I would move.

To be honest with you I sincerely don't advise you come back to Poland. Many people starts to miss "the old country" when they are too long abroad but when they come back they start to remind themselves why they moved out from Poland. They are not happy about their decission to return. Live in Poland is not so easy as in the USA. You must take it into consideration.

Certainly you won't work in public schools. They pay too little, children are awful, and they don't need any teacher as those sector is to be reduced.

Foreigners who visit Poland works in private language schools mostly. There are many people here who work like this. Even though they earn quite nice money they are not particulary happy because in Poland nobody earns so much to buy a flat in 5 years. You must take it into consideration and if I were in your place I would be happy that I live in a country where life is quite easy and not move out of there...

My husband thinks all schools in Poland are great

then he must change the views. Poland has changed.
guesswho 4 | 1,289
13 Nov 2010 #9
well, I was hoping you would, actually, since you're from Texas, too

Well, she's not "from Texas" but she lives there. As far as your question, to be honest, in many cases you don't even need to be a teacher to teach English in Poland but most likely, you won't get enough hours to live of it. Sometimes you might come across a full time position and they usually offer around 2500PLN/month and it's rather a struggle than life (most of Poles will disagree with me here) because after you pay all of the bills, it won't be much left for entertainment. Then again, obviously it all depends on your expectations.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
13 Nov 2010 #10
Unfortunately, the industry (if you can call it that) in Poland doesn't differentiate between these types of teachers

I think it's actually starting to - I'm meeting quite a few "beer n gurlz" types who are finding it exceptionally difficult to pick up anything here. Maybe it's different elsewhere, but I've picked up quite a lot of work this year simply through having my own office and the ability to give an invoice.

I don't know about elsewhere, but Callan and the other "methods" seem to be dying quite rapidly. It does certainly seem as if the market is shifting towards people who are flexible.

But still, everything you said is absolutely bang on. There's one clown here who actually writes online "I am native speaker of English". Twat.
Lyzko
13 Nov 2010 #11
Ideally, (then again what do I know) one should be a trained, experienced, above all NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER, with a solid background in linguistics, phonetics and grammar. Oh yes, and an excellent working knowledge of Polish, the mother tongue of those one will be teaching. Beyond that, I can't think of much else that would suit the job. The native speaker part though, is super important, in Poland as anywhere else in today's world!

State Dept. clearance, valid working papers etc.. a given-:)

When I taught in Germany umpteen years back, the same applied. I loved it too.))))
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
13 Nov 2010 #12
Ideally, (then again what do I know) one should be a trained, experienced, above all NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER, with a solid background in linguistics, phonetics and grammar. Oh yes, and an excellent working knowledge of Polish, the mother tongue of those one will be teaching.

The truth is that (as Richfilth says) - you can be the most fantastic candidate, but if you aren't "on the ground" - you'll be paid exactly the same and treated the same as some beer swilling backpacker.

The problem is that if you get too hung up on linguistics, you end up becoming like the Polish English philologists - many of whom are very poor teachers because they've forgotten how to teach it on a simple level. Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is the most important thing. I actually refused some contract the other week because the director was exceptionally hung up on technical aspects of the language and seemed to have forgotten about what the main aim is.

The most important thing is to know what you specialise in. I have no time for native "teachers" who profess that they can teach anyone, especially if they've only been teaching for a couple of years. The same "I am native speaker" idiot reckons that conversation is the best way to teach people - which is such nonsense that it's not even funny.

In my humble opinion, the best thing is to be reliable and to give them what they want. If the students want a native speaker, then they'll have already a good idea about what they expect. Give it to them. Be honest - if you can't teach someone properly, admit it rather than milking them for all you can get. Don't be afraid to speak up. There is absolutely no point in wasting someone's time if you don't have a connection with them on a personal level - nor is there any point teaching them if you have no passion for what you're teaching. Common sense should be used as well - walking into a classroom full of busy corporate types and demanding that they learn complicated grammar is just going to cause them to hate you. I've only ever taught one corporate type who positively enjoyed it - and he's a freak who puts in 10 hours a week of English practice by himself as well.

And above all, find your place in the marketplace.
Lyzko
13 Nov 2010 #13
I agree for the most part with what you're saying, Delphiadomine. However, the indispensable advantage of the native speaker who is also fluent in the target language (Polish, in this case) is their ability to provide the authentic pronunciation, accent, intonation and most of all, natural, aesthetic idiomatic usage of English as only an educated native speaker can. Even the late, great Joseph Conrad might have written English like noone else, yet apparently spoke English like a Polish immigrant straight off the boat-:)))!!! LOL

Perhaps if everyone in every country heard British or American native English from the age of nine through twelve FIRST, rather than some native Pole, German, Czech etc.. mangling our accent and syntax, the world would be a different place

Just to briefy share a related story.

When I was learning Polish, I first had a Polish woman round about seventy, originally from Lwów. As a native Pole, university trained and of a certain generation, she had (and still has, I'm happy to add) an extremely high standard of pronunciation and usage. True, she might have been a bit of a perfectionist (horrors!!!!LOL), yet I learned from her as from noone else.

My second teacher was also a woman, but an American of Polish descent. Chatty, thirty years her junior, attractive and sweet, she nonetheless was so concerned with being 'nurturing' and 'nice', I learned precious little as an intermediate, compared with what I learned under the strict Pani Pawłak while still a beginner. Worse still, the second of course had an American accent, even confessing to grammar mistakes in her Polish - the language she professed to be teaching me.

Now I ask you: Who was the better teacher??
zetigrek
13 Nov 2010 #14
Who was the better teacher??

The Lwów strickness?
smurf 39 | 1,981
13 Nov 2010 #15
Don't do a TEFL, do a CELTA course in teaching,
That should do you fine,
also become familiar with British English as most schools prefer to use that as the standard, however as a native speaker with a CELTA you'll have no problems finding work...and if you go to a smaller city even easier, Warsaw, Krakow and so on are full of Native Speakers.

Even though you'll get a job, food & beer and cheap enough here, but things like clothes, utility bills and train travel are expensive.

Oh and you'll only be able to work in private schools, public schools sometimes have native speakers but the pay is dire and teaching kids that are only there because they have to be ins't rewarding in any way.

Best of luck
Lyzko
13 Nov 2010 #16
You mean "the strict (female) teacher from Lwów"? Strickness?? Must be new word-:))

Yes, you're right. Of courseLOL
OP ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
13 Nov 2010 #17
this is all really good information. so, public schools are not a good place to work. well, kind of like here.

you can be the most fantastic candidate, but if you aren't "on the ground" - you'll be paid exactly the same and treated the same as some beer swilling backpacker.

that seems odd. if you can compete with others and show you're better than they are, why wouldn't they pay you more? isn't that how it works?

what's a State Dept clearance? you mean, they check if you're not a criminal or something? that should be a non-issue.

I think I've got that training part covered, with three degrees (two in literature and one in business... I know, it's nuts...) and I can't say my Polish is too great, but I think I could manage to learn more.

I kind of agree with L on the native speaker issue. Not that locals can't offer anything valuable but I've seen people coming here thinking they know English and in fact they were taught the craziest phrases and funniest pronunciation by well-meaning non-native teachers. It just makes you stand out and look funny, and does not help, trust me.

now, do corporations hire English tutors? I've heard "business English" is something people are interested about (although, trust me, there is no "business" English. Women talk shoes and guys talk football while doing business as much as any other topic. It's part of the process.)

I'm kind of thinking I could do in Poland what I do here, but then it's exciting to do something different every now and then. Life's too short!

I would really want to hear, though, why I shouldn't move to Poland. Z thinks I would regret doing it. It can't be worse than South Dakota now, can it? And since my husband is from Poland, there's gotta be more good-looking guys there, why wouldn't one want to move there? ;)
zetigrek
13 Nov 2010 #18
if you can compete with others and show you're better than they are, why wouldn't they pay you more? isn't that how it works?

no.

Welcome to Poland ;)

It can't be worse than South Dakota now, can it?

look, in Poland you couldn't afford for many things you'd afford in the USA. You'd be frustated as the best well paid job for locals would be an equivalent of blue collar wage in the USA... and it's not true that life in Poland is much cheaper.
OP ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
13 Nov 2010 #19
oh...

i see.

i guess...

so, how do you get ahead then?
zetigrek
13 Nov 2010 #20
so, how do you get ahead then?

we don't go on expensive hollidays, we take apartment credits for 30 years, buy used cars from Germany, buy less new clothes, sometimes cheap clothes from second hand, cook at home, buy food in Biedronka, save water, electricity, invest our money if we have any, use less car and more public transport, don't go out more than once a week (the youngs)/once a year (the olds).

More less like that.
Any questions? ;)

........................................
Of course your salaries would be much better than average so you would not have to save money so much but for you as a foreigner (who is probably spoiled by constumptionism) it will be still too little for satisfactionary life.
Lyzko
13 Nov 2010 #21
Here's the bottom line: Poland works on who offers the authorities the best bang for the buck (resp. złoty)! If the Polish state can hire a non-native English speaker to teach English to Poles, so be it.

When I was in Freiburg, Germany it was identical. I was the second lowest bidder, so I didn't get the job of English teacher. That went to a former East German with an accent you could cut with a machete-:)) I only got it, when he decided to quit (no teaching license whatsoever)
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
13 Nov 2010 #22
that seems odd. if you can compete with others and show you're better than they are, why wouldn't they pay you more? isn't that how it works?

no.

Welcome to Poland ;)

this is how it is. the best qualified gets a foot in the door and then is offered the smallest wage possible. if u don't accept it the next guy will.
guesswho 4 | 1,289
13 Nov 2010 #23
You'd be frustated as the best well paid job for locals would be an equivalent of blue collar wage in the USA..

maybe

and it's not true that life in Poland is much cheaper.

very true
OP ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
13 Nov 2010 #24
the best qualified gets a foot in the door and then is offered the smallest wage possible. if u don't accept it the next guy will.

well, i get it, business is business, you do offer the lowest salary the best guy will accept, but then you can't like totally lowball the guy, because all you'll see next day is your best guy going to work for your competitor across the street, and he's going to take your best customers with him, and now you lost part of your business... companies (and schools) will hire the best they can afford, that's why the best guys (and girls!) get the best paying jobs at the most profitable companies...

hasn't Poland been a capitalist country for the past 20 years or so?
zetigrek
13 Nov 2010 #25
well, i get it, business is business, you do offer the lowest salary the best guy will accept, but then you can't like totally lowball the guy, because all you'll see next day is your best guy going to work for your competitor across the street,

Not really. In Poland the common economical rules starngely don't work.
My bro was working for job agency once and he used to talk like you: "less specialists of certain occupation on market makes wages higher"... It made him a little bit frustarted when orderers were telling him to find an electrican who will want to work for pennies...

hasn't Poland been a capitalist country for the past 20 years or so?

yes it is very capitalistic. Everybody wants to exploit you for the lowest costs as possible. Isn't that all what is capitalism about? And they screw the quality...
Lyzko
13 Nov 2010 #26
ItsAllAboutMe, Eastern Europe is really a sort of carbon copy of what the US has turned into since Reagan, a la Bush and affirmative action with a dash of Clintonian amnesty. The Golden Rule, under Communism as now, is He Who Has The Gold Makes The Rule(s)!!
OP ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
13 Nov 2010 #27
well, it's not like we're in the 19th century, I hope, when capitalism was completely unchecked and people were treated as mere cogs, and you were either at the very top and literally wallowing in it, or at the very bottom trying to survive (also literally, unfortunately).

is it really that bad when millions of people "in the middle" have fairly high standard of living, and improving? my FIL (he's Polish) was telling me how he would ride Komarek to work at the factory each morning, and then would spend 3 hours in line to buy shoes made in the USSR, and would only get 1 pair, because he had a coupon for one pair.

things happened since then (I mean the 19th century), people came up with more sophisticated ideas of management (mostly by trial and error), rather than carrying a big stick, now they figured it's better to offer a big carrot.

now you have to finish the story, though. did your brother find a guy?

to Lyzko:
Z is saying it's not like in the US. you're saying it is. I'm just curious.
can you tell me about the affirmative action? do you have a lot of minorities there?
zetigrek
13 Nov 2010 #28
now you have to finish the story, though. did your brother find a guy?

he found an electrican who had obviously a serious alcohol problem...

Z is saying it's not like in the US.

I've never been to the USA.
OP ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
13 Nov 2010 #29
oh. wait, wait, let me guess what happened, they guy installed the wires backwards, and it short-circuited, and burned the building down, so they learned to offer a better wage next time? :)

I've never been to the USA.

no, I get it, I just want L to elaborate on his post
Lyzko
13 Nov 2010 #30
The 'minority' have long since become the vocal majority, Zetigreku-:)) Hard to answer your question, as the issues have for at least always been about borders, language and culture, certainly since the late 80's.


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